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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Healing with Massage

My very first client before I started Blue Pacific Massage & Body Works,  had a chronic injury from when she was young. She had been in  a car accident that affected the scapula and shoulder area. This person is someone I have known for most of my life and I never knew she had been in pain so long and the first time I went to do a massage for her I saw how off her scapula area was and I just said to her OMG I never realized and I can't believe this is so out of whack, when she was standing in front of me I could see how one side was so off it looked twice the size of the other and when she was laying prone (face down) on the table I could see how the one side was about 2 inches higher than the other, I was not sure how I was going to do this. I was still in school and she was letting me practice my massage on her. I was very determined to help her and make it right. I started off with just a full body massage to assess what I needed to do for her and as I progressed with the massage I could feel with my hands what areas I needed to work on most. I spent a lot of time on the upper back and shoulders to get her relaxed I then continued with the lower back and then the whole back then onto the arms and hands where I also found areas that needed attention, I continued with the massage, the legs and feet and no surprise here she had issues in these areas also yet not visible like her scapula and shoulder area. I then finished the Full Body Massage with the her lying supine (face up) massaging the legs feet arms hands and finishing with the neck and shoulders. When I was done with the massage I put her through some good stretching techniques (which she loved) and I knew from experience how the stretches would benefit her so this was a good thing.

Like I said I was determined to help her get rid of the pain she had accepted was going to be there forever yet I knew it didn't have to be. I told her what I wanted to do and we started a plan of sessions. My plan was to continue with the full body massage because everything in our body is connected in its own way and when one area isn't doing what its suppose to do another area steps in and helps but then it is doing more than its supposed to do and it becomes affected so another area becomes affected and so on and so on and now there is so many more areas that need attention. So I started her with full body massage sessions to relieve the tension and tightness so the body becomes relaxed and the healing process begins. Not only is the relaxed state of the body and mind healing,  massage brings blood to the area, the blood supplies water, oxygen, food and secretions and carries away carbon dioxide and waste products to be eliminated from the body, causing a healing process of its own. Repair takes place when infection- causing bacteria has been destroyed then the connective tissues cells send what is called fibroblasts to the area for the regenerating and rebuilding process of the area.

 As I do the Full Body Massage I integrate other techniques that my client is comfortable with. Some Deep Tissue massage on the taut bands I find is beneficial only as long as the pain scale is ok for my client as I don't want to cause her to tighten up from to much pain as that would only hinder the process as we want to loosen the tightness not make it tighter. Everyone has different pain scales so it is important to be in good communication while doing any deep tissue.There is that good pain which is tolerable and actually feels good and then there's that pain that causes the body or muscle to tighten,which is not what we are aiming for. I also used some cross fiber friction strokes, Friction is specific circular or transverse movements, generally across the grain of fiber of the underlying tissues. It is not a sliding/gliding action like effleurage and is focused on a confined area. A variation called Cyriax Cross Fiber Friction is a very specific treatment technique frequently used to break up adhesion's and scar tissue. Using Myofascial Techniques to reduce fascial restrictions, Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) techniques to address trigger points and pressure points, using NMT I can usually feel when a tight area or taut band releases

I continued doing Full Body Massage sessions with her and each time I could see improvement and she was telling me how much better she was doing for example before she wouldn't feel her scapula against the seat back when she was sitting and now she could actually feel it. She didn't feel the awkward hitch in her shoulder it was now feeling relaxed and more like it should feel and her posture was improving giving her a more balanced feeling when she stood.

There was one time during our sessions where circumstances led to missing a session and although she was feeling good and didn't feel she needed it so it was ok if she missed a session  within a few days after the missed session, yes that soon, the pain returned and we could see a difference where as the muscle memory caused the muscle to return to where it had been for so long. I was doing what I call retraining the muscles with massage and body works, to return to their natural position to where they should be not where the injury caused the position of the muscles to go and because they stayed that way for so long  muscle memory causes them to return to that position until the retraining process takes over and they stay where they actually should be and were meant to be for their function. Missing the session didn't really do any damage it just set us back  prolonged the outcome.

The whole process took about 4 months of massage & body work therapy to retrain the muscles and get the body to realign itself to its natural stance where she is now pain free, has a better more relaxed posture and her overall health and well being has improved. She now keeps up on what I call body maintenance by integrating massage into her life schedule. She can now choose what type of massage she wants and one of her favorites is the Hot Stone Massage. She continues to have regular massage at least once a month if not more !!

I would like to add how important it really is to stick to a plan your massage therapist may give you as sometimes it does take time for the healing process to work yet from experience I have seen it work well. I also feel and highly recommend doing the full body massage as it may seem to you like "oh I only need this part of my body done" and yes that is very beneficial for the area but having the full body massage I believe will speed up the process of healing any area as the body is made up of a whole lot of different parts that all work together.

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