Thursday, May 01, 2008
Having learned about Dr. Janet Travell's Trigger Point Release therapy, I made it my business to find out what muscle(s) influence and work the Plantar Fascia. Having all that information, I've made my daughter a test subject, so to say, regarding the effectiveness of Trigger Point therapy for those suffering from Plantar Fasciitis in one or both feet. My daughter and I are extremely happy with the results and have found that even if she gets an episode during a game, she knows how to stop it and get back on the field as soon as possible. This is yet another situation that I think might benefit from a study and it might be a wonderful alternative to surgery or all the money spent on podiatry products. I'm not saying that *poof* Trigger Point Release therapy is the miracle cure nor that my opinion is a substitute for a visit to your doctor but surely some people (like me) are tired of how Western Medicine views symptoms and causes and that there are other alternatives to try before going the traditional way. That's all I'm saying on that for now.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Happy New Year!
I know that I've spoken about the benefits of a new energy healing modality called "Quantum Touch (R)" on my website but I've just recently discovered that Reiki works better and faster with me than "Quantum Touch (R)" ever did.
I've always wondered why there seems to be so many different modalities out there and I'm not just talking about energy work modalities either. Massage techniques are numerous as well that it's no wonder people are confused about what is what. But that's a topic for another day because I really want to talk about energy work today (just be sure to check back again for my discussion about the different massage/bodywork techniques). Anyway, it seems that -- oh no, here comes my huge discovery -- everyone's different, not only physically but emotionally and energetically. Wow, huh? Go figure that! So it seems to make sense that not everything fits or works with everyone. You may have a friend who swears that the modality "Healing Touch" is absolutely miraculous but when you try it, you come away wishing that you could get those 60 minutes of your life back. I mean, seriously, have you ever done something a friend suggested was the best thing ever to end up being disappointed? Certainly, it has a little to do with setting your expectations too high, I'll give you that. In any case, I'm saying it all depends on what's right for you:
When I was at a weekend workshop learning "Quantum Touch (R)", I certainly felt some energy (I've always been a little sensitive to it anyway) when I was focusing on my visualizations, trying to feel the energy travel through my body from my feet up, and using the different breathing techniques. But it didn't seem that it was as effective as I (hello ego) wanted it to be. Others at the workshop were immediately converted from other energy work modalities, saying that they'd never experienced anything quite so powerful and effective. Okay, I thought, maybe I just need more practice and hands-on (literally) to get to the point of enabling the effectiveness of the technique. So I persevered and tried it out on a few people; no one seemed all that impressed with it. Not only that, the breathing techniques are a little distracting which made it difficult to integrate into a massage session. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is a very effective energy healing modality for those who are attuned to it. I still offer it as a freebie (I never did complete my certification) but I don't really push it too much.
I have wanted to include some type of energy work into my massage practice for a long time and even though "Quantum Touch (R)" didn't quite work out for me, I still wanted to try a few other things. One day, not so long ago, I had two massage clients tell me (yes, on the same day and they're not related) that my hands seemed to get very hot while I was working on them -- had I ever considered doing Reiki? Hmmm-- yes, I'd already considered it but I was a little reluctant. So off I went to the bookstore and got myself a book -- The Everything Reiki Book -- just to get a better idea of what it was all about. I was a little less reluctant by the time I finished reading through it and decided to make an appointment for a session so I could feel it for myself. WOW!! It was so many things all at once that I was immediately sure that I wanted to facilitate others to feel, if even a fraction, what I felt that day. So, I signed up for the level I class and got myself certified as a Reiki, level I practitioner. I'm crossing my fingers to be able to get into level II next month!
So, I know it was a long road to get to this point and I want to thank you for coming along for the story of my energy work search. Now, here's some information I'd like to share with you about what to look for if you're thinking about adding energy work to your health and fitness plans --
What to look for:
1. Energy work does NOT require removal of clothing - if someone asks you to remove your clothes for energy work, quickly run away! Exception-if the energy worker is a massage therapist or doctor or nurse and there are other valid reasons to remove clothing.
2. Make sure the practitioner shares with you an oral or written description of what happens in a session.
3. Energy workers (& massage therapists) aren't doctors and shouldn't be diagnosing anything nor claiming they can "cure" you.
4. According to the Texas State Department of Health law(as of the date of this blog entry), energy workers cannot physically touch their clients unless they are licensed as a massage therapist (or they're a doctor, nurse, etc.).
5. An energy worker should NEVER touch you in anyway that makes you uncomfortable even if they are licensed (see #4).
*Also, remember that the energy practitioner is only the facilitator in the healing process. Just like I tell anyone that comes in for a massage and they've never had one before - "I'm only the vehicle to your healthier destination, you are still the driver."*
So get out there and try an energy healing technique and go with an open mind. Don't set up road blocks by raising your expectations too high either!
By-the-way, I'd love it if you'd like to comment on your own experiences with an energy healing modality. Don't forget to check my website for the question of the month -- answer it and earn a $5.00 credit for a massage! Go here - http://www.wholenessmassage.com/MonthlyQuestion2008.htm
Blessings and peace to all!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
According to the article, there's a lot of controversy and debate regarding what a massage therapist should or shouldn't charge their clients. Some believe that in order for us to be taken seriously by the professional health community that we need to charge exorbitant fees per session. Still others believe that charging the higher fees is what can keep them from going out of business. These types seem to also be the ones to avoid giving free first-time massages, or free anything (even charging people at charity functions though the fees might be donated to the charity -- after all operating costs have been subtracted). Some of these massage therapists don't think they should offer sliding fees or discounted rates because they believe that their work is completely worth the money they're charging. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?
In the foggy, murky land of Making-a-Profit, sometimes people lose sight of one of the basic formulas for a successful service business -- you NEED clients and each client has the promise of bringing more clients to your business! Would anyone refer someone to a service business that seemed cold and indifferent to their needs? Not usually, even if the product/service is exceptional. Maybe there aren't many massage therapists doing what I do but that's okay -- I'll take the clients that they push away. Yes, my services are worth money but I knew that I needed to start out slowly in order to build a practice that enjoys repeat clientele who, in turn, enjoy referring their friends and family to me. One of the main reasons I went into massage therapy was to help others. If this means making my services more attainable to more people by cutting down how much I charge, by offering discounts, or by offering payment plans -- then so be it. Let other massage therapists cater to only those that can afford to pay exorbitant prices, I'm happy in my little corner of the massage therapy world offering my affordable, custom massage sessions. Hey, I believe in Karma, do you?
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
If you think that massage therapy is too expensive to keep trying different people until you find the right one, think about how much money you've lost with bad hair cuts! But if money is an issue that stops your search, there are a lot of therapists willing to offer money back guarantees, some will give you a free session the first time, and others may offer a first time discount.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the massage therapist and you need to communicate! Communicate your needs before getting on the table and then listen to what the therapist says. Get them to give you a quick run-down on how the session will proceed and how they're going to try and help you feel better. Communicate with the therapist after the session and be honest. No one really likes to hear criticism but a therapist who really wants to help others feel better will get past that and listen to how they can improve the sessions for you.
Just remember that who your friend, soul-mate, mother, father thinks is a really great massage therapist, that person may not be for you because we are all very different and are on different levels of needs. Whatever you do or decide, remember that it's not your fault that you had a bad session with the therapist that someone's recommended -- they may not be right for your needs and that's okay. Keep looking - don't get discouraged!
Ooooohh-- A CHALLENGE!! I challenge you to take one beauty indulgence that you pay for every month AND every other month, swap it for a 60 or 90 minute massage appointment (by a therapist you like -- see my next blog entry about massage therapists)! What? You don't have time? Let me ask you this -- if you became ill and had to be restricted from doing most of your daily activities for a week or two, would the world continue to revolve? Would everything fall apart or would it get done (maybe not up to your standards, but sometimes we do have to drop that bar a little in order to live)? Your body needs you to listen to it and if you're too busy to hear what it's trying to tell you, it will eventually take matters into its own hands (ha ha ha) -- meaning that it will shut you down whether you wanted to stop or not. Have you ever started a new job and within a week, you've gotten really sick, even though you hadn't been sick in years? That's your body and what stress does to it -- make time for your body. Call your massage therapist and schedule an appointment -- can't afford it still? Try finding your local massage therapy school and find out about their internship massage clinic which charges almost half of the going rates. Of course the down side is you probably won't get a customized massage to fit your needs but it's still better than not getting a massage at all and you'll be helping a student get more experience :-D
Monday, April 02, 2007
Every child, no matter the age, should be massaged at bedtime on a regular basis." So says Tiffany Field, Ph.D., of the Touch Research Institute (TRI) sometimes including scented oils and herbal remedies as part of the experience. With our modern technology and hurried lives, we frequently find ourselves lacking in quality family time and touching each other less. The ancient practice of massage can serve to reaffirm a close bond with our children, and to convey a comforting sense of security and trust. Touch is the first sense to develop in humans. It is essential to our health and well-being. Babies have been known to fail to thrive and even die without an adequate amount of physical contact. Adults, as well, can become depressed and ill if they are isolated from this most basic of human needs. Children who learn healthy views of touch and are provided with positive tactile in Miami, Fla. Field and her associates at TRI have worked diligently over the past decade proving the benefits of massage for children. But this is not a new concept. Infant massage has long been a common practice in families of Eastern and African cultures. Many indigenous tribes use some form of bodywork to soothe, relax and heal their little ones, experience by their caregivers are more likely to grow up to be adults with healthy self-esteem, a sense of appropriate boundaries and long-lasting intimate relationships. TRI researcher Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., says she regularly gives massage to her own daughter. When asked if other parents should do the same, she says, "Absolutely, a daily massage at least. That's what the studies show. Regardless of whether it's an infant, a child with illness, a preschooler, pregnant women or the elderly -- no matter who we studied we have found that massage benefits all age groups and individuals of different conditions."
Massage is a wonderful stress-buster for children. "Oftentimes when we think about stress," Hernandez-Reif says, "we think it's just an adult condition, only adults have stress. But if you think about it, even young infants and children are prone to stress." A young child starting school who is unfamiliar with the area or children in the class will experience stress. Family illness or financial problems, divorce and even vacations can produce emotional strain. Hernandez-Reif notes that one of the consistent findings in studies of the benefits of massage therapy is a reduction in stress and stress hormone levels: "There is a relationship between stress and the immune system. If stress hormones are chronically elevated, the [hormone] cortisol will destroy the healthy immune cells that fight viruses and tumors and keep the immune system healthy. If you can reverse that, you not only reduce stress but also reduce stress hormones, allowing the immune system to bounce back and do its job, which is to heal the body and keep it healthy."
As for children's behavioral response to massage, she says, "They are happier and in a better mood. We have observed they appear more relaxed, calm and oftentimes fall asleep during massage." If it's the child's first massage, they may squirm a bit because they are not familiar with this type of touch. Due to the discomfort and pain of medical procedures inflicted on them, infants and especially premature babies may have developed a negative association with touch. Given this new, positive experience they relax and their bodies quiet down. With infants, a gentle gliding stroke is applied to the body, but as the child grows older, the massage may become more sophisticated to include work on the feet, fingers and toes, and use of more extensive types of strokes and techniques. "Teens are a little different," Hernandez-Reif says. "With young children we can train the mother or parent to do massage for a daily dose. Teens, however, don't seem to like their parents giving them massage. They respond better to a massage therapist." TRI's guideline of 15- to 20-minute sessions is a good rule to follow at home. Longer sessions can be overstimulating or even uncomfortable for a younger child with a short attention span. One of the best ways to give your baby safe, positive messages about touch is to give her massage on a regular basis. Early infant massage may stimulate the developing nervous system and brain, and memory of that positive touch may then be permanently registered in the body cells. By improving circulation, respiration, digestion and elimination, massage promotes a sense of comfort in your baby and makes her less prone to colic. As the baby grows, the stroking of massage prepares the body for sitting, standing and walking by promoting strength, motor coordination and self-confidence. Infant massage is becoming very popular with new parents and a number of resources are now available to get you started. In addition to books and videos, you can find certified infant massage therapy instructors in local private practice and at hospitals and clinics specializing in holistic medicine. Once massage is established as a family routine, it can benefit your child throughout his growing years. Preschoolers have shown better performance on tests of their intellectual and manual skills after a 15-minute massage. They also slept better during naps, were less likely to be overactive and had better behavior ratings. For teens struggling with the growing pains of adolescence, massage helps to balance unstable hormones and can relieve anxiety by producing a state of relaxation. A supportive relationship with a massage therapist who gives them safe, unconditional touch can also increase their feelings of self-acceptance and self-confidence during those trying years.
The studies at TRI have ranged from massage for pre-term infants to parent-administered massage for children with chronic illness. This research is having a profound impact on pediatric healthcare, providing a noninvasive treatment within a positive, nurturing experience. Pre-term infants and cocaine-exposed and HIV-positive newborns have responded to massage with increased weight gain, decreased stress behavior and improved motor skills tests. Pre-term babies also slept better and were more alert and active. Stress has been identified as a major contributor to exacerbated symptoms in children with chronic illness, if not the root of the disease itself. Coping with frequent hospitalizations, painful or uncomfortable treatments and restrictions on diet and daily activities can take its toll on parents and siblings as well as the patient. Massage reduces stress hormone levels and provides an ideal opportunity for positive interaction between parent and child in the midst of the negatives of treatment. In TRI's studies on chronic illnesses, parents were instructed in administering nightly massage sessions. Across the board, not only did the child's symptoms improve, but both the child and parents experienced a decrease in anxiety. Controlling stress is crucial for children with diabetes, asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and skin problems. As stress hormone levels rise, symptoms increase -- in the case of diabetes and asthma, sometimes putting the child's life at risk. In TRI's research, massage has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in diabetics, improve pulmonary function in asthmatics, decrease JRA pain and improve skin condition in children with eczema. Massage for children with cancer is currently being studied by TRI with the expectation that it will decrease the stress of medical procedures and boost the immune system. "From my perspective, one of the most important research findings from our studies is that massage therapy increases natural killer cells," Hernandez-Reif says. "These cells are constantly traveling through our body looking for foreign objects and tumors to destroy. Massage therapy naturally boosts these cells. This has tremendous implication about the benefits of massage for keeping people healthy." Massage has proven equally effective for psychological and behavioral problems. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exhibited less hyperactivity and more on-task behavior, and generally were happier with regular massage treatments. For autistic children, there was a decrease in touch sensitivity and disruptive behavior, and increased ability to relate to their teachers. Adolescents suffering from bulemia had improved body image and decreased depression and anxiety, while teen psychiatric patients experienced improved sleep and clinical progress as well as decreased depression, anxiety and stress. "What we would like to see is for massage therapy to be added to standard care -- not to take the place of medical care, but to go hand-in-hand with the doctor's care to help the child recover more quickly," Hernandez-Reif says. "I think it's a great tool." Touch is essential to a child's development, sense of well-being and good health. Children reach out for touch as naturally as they do for food and water. A nightly massage can ensure that touch is a positive, nurturing part of their human experience. And, as Field says, "They love it."
Shirley Vanderbilt is a staff writer for Body Sense magazine.
Labels: add, adhd, Anxiety, behavorial, child, depression, eating disorder, Immune system, Juvenile diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, massage, pre-term baby, special needs, stress, teen, touch, youth
Pregnancy is a beautiful and natural condition -- nine transformative months full of excitement, planning and peering at the awesome unfolding of life. But this transformation also brings inevitable side effects, sometimes making a woman feel like her body has been taken over by an alien force. In the early months, there are mood swings from ecstasy to unpredictable crying, in later months, there are aches and pains more common to the domain of the elderly. Physical changes, such as nausea, back pain, heartburn, raging hormones, breast pain, and swollen legs and ankles affect many women during this time. But you don't have to suffer in silence. The gentle, noninvasive approach of pregnancy massage can ease your discomfort, help you prepare for labor and give you the emotional support of a caring practitioner. Massage sessions can also bring back a sense of body-mind integration, putting you into a state of relaxation and calm acceptance of your continually evolving physical form.
According to Lynne Daize, with the National Association of Pregnancy Massage Therapy, training for this specialty includes learning specific techniques for each trimester, as well as those required for labor and postpartum massage. A certified pregnancy massage therapist is well-acquainted with the physical and hormonal effects of pregnancy and has the skills to counterbalance these changes. You'll find the therapist uses a lighter touch and concentrates on those areas most vulnerable to changes in your body. She will also give you deep breathing exercises and tips on how to improve your posture to adjust to the added weight and shifting center of gravity.
Massage has many scientifically proven health benefits such as stimulating the blood and lymph systems, thereby increasing immunity and removal of toxins, stabilizing hormonal levels, and adding tone and flexibility to muscles -- all of which enhance the health of both you and your baby. As pregnancy progresses, your body adjusts to a changing alignment caused by the baby's increasing weight. This puts strain on your back and legs and increases stress on weight-bearing joints. Massage increases flexibility, enhancing the ability to carry this extra weight while also relieving aches and pains, leg cramps and muscle spasms. The effects of relaxation and tension release add to improvement in the physical state of muscles and joints, and assist in balancing emotions.
Recent studies from the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Fla., indicates that pregnancy massage provides more than just symptom relief for the mother. A group of 26 pregnant women were given either massage or relaxation therapy during a five-week study. In addition to experiencing a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, stress, sleep problems and back pain, the massage group had fewer complications in their delivery. Their newborns also had fewer postnatal complications. Another TRI study reported massage during labor resulted in shorter labor times for the mothers, shorter hospital stays and less postpartum depression.
Obstetrician Bonita Kolrud of Westside Women's Care in Wheat Ridge, Colo., is an avid proponent of bodywork, although she cautions women to make sure their therapist is experienced with pregnancy massage. Kolrud praises the physical benefits of massage, noting it relieves tension and pain caused by changes in body alignment. "The biggest thing is so many women still look at massage as a luxury. But it has so many physical health benefits and is more of a necessity for some patients. Emotionally, it's really beneficial for women to be touched when they're pregnant. I think a lot of pregnant women don't necessarily get as much physical touching as they would like. It's a very nurturing thing having someone taking care of you, and it's a great bonding experience with the baby when you're both receiving massage."
What to Expect When Expecting
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a primary goal of massage is to provide relaxation and increase flow of the circulation systems. Stimulating the blood system pumps more energy-giving oxygen and nutrients into your cells and increases blood flow to the placenta. Muscle tension can slow down lymph flow, leaving you fatigued and at risk of toxemia. By stimulating this system, massage speeds up elimination of toxins and excess fluid, boosting your immunity and energy level.
And when it comes to morning sickness, Daize indicates that while bodywork won't completely relieve nausea, it can certainly diminish the queasiness.
In the second trimester, increasing weight of the baby can cause muscle soreness. "The mother starts going through more changes," says Daize, "so massage is used to relieve muscle spasms and ease structural changes." The therapist works to loosen joints, keeping them aligned, and soften the connective tissues, relieving backaches and leg cramps.
As pregnancy progresses and the abdomen enlarges, special positioning is required during massage. Up to the 24th week of pregnancy it is acceptable, according to Daize, for moms to be on their back with the right hip tilted up, taking pressure off the nerves and arteries. Pressure on the arteries in the back, she notes, will diminish blood flow and oxygen to the fetus. Another position that decreases stress on the back is side-lying, with the belly supported by a small wedge pillow.
During the final trimester's "home stretch," the baby begins to gain weight more rapidly, pressing against inner organs and shifting them about. Discomfort increases and the impending due date can cause added stress and anxiety. At this stage, Daize says, the therapist focuses on trigger points to relieve pain while continuing to elicit relaxation throughout the body. Generally, during the last two weeks before mom's due date the therapist concentrates her techniques on preparing the mother's body for delivery.
Before initiating massage, consult your obstetrician, especially if you are high-risk. While massage is a safe treatment, there are certain conditions that require your physician's approval and careful monitoring by the therapist. Notify your therapist immediately of any changes in your physical health, and consult your obstetrician about continuing the treatments should complications arise. Some physicians may be unaware of the benefits of pregnancy massage and hesitant to recommend it. In these cases, the therapist can help by providing information that explains her specialized training and experience.
Spouses and partners can be included in the massage experience as well. As your due date nears, you can bring your labor coach into your session to learn basic massage techniques. Kolrud notes that massage during labor is especially beneficial if the woman "prefers to do it as naturally as possible." You might consider hiring a doula or massage therapy birth assistant to comfort and guide you through the entire labor and delivery process. These professionals are trained to provide both physical and emotional support. They act as a liaison with medical staff and as the mother's caregiver, using their expertise to create a stress-free and positive environment. By giving massage, suggesting alternative positions for labor and tending to minor details, they relieve fathers and family members of much of the pressure and responsibility in the labor room.
Once your baby has arrived, massage can continue to be an important part of good health for you and your new infant. Postpartum massage can relieve the stress and tension of your new responsibilities and provide nurturing and relaxation to help you in adjusting to motherhood. By increasing circulation, massage enhances the post-birth healing process and has a significant effect on realigning the body when the center of gravity shifts back to normal. You can also share this pleasurable experience with your newborn. Infant massage is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and provide a secure, comforting welcome into the world. Ask your therapist about infant massage instruction, or call Johnson & Johnson (877/565-5465) to order their video, Parent Guide to Infant Massage.
Shirley Vanderbilt is a staff writer for Body Sense magazine.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
"Do you get headaches?" I asked Cindy. She had come to see me for massage to address her neck and shoulder pain but hadn't mentioned headaches.
"Well, yes," she said. "I've always had headaches and, now that you mention it, they seem to be worse when my neck hurts." Cindy went on to say she suffered from them as often as 2-3 times a week and typically treated them with ibuprofen.
Like many Americans, Cindy suffers from chronic, frequent headaches. Her neck pain finally prompted her to seek help, but she was so used to the headaches, she thought they were something she simply had to live with. What Cindy didn't understand was that frequent headaches are not normal and, with a little proactive planning, there is something that can be done to manage and even prevent them.
Types of Headaches
Headaches come in many varieties. Following is a short list of the most common types.
Migraines. Migraine headaches occur when the blood vessels in the brain become dilated, usually due to a chemical reaction, such as food allergies or a stress response. They often start with visual disturbances and quickly develop into severe head pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. They're usually felt on one side of the head, but can be on both sides. Migraines are often managed with medications and avoidance of foods known to trigger them, such as red wine, chocolate, aged cheese, and nuts. However, some bodywork techniques can also be effective in easing migraines or decreasing the frequency of these painful headaches.
Tension Headaches. Exaggerated by stress, tension headaches are related to poor posture, jaw problems (such as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ), and neck pain. Many people describe a headache that starts at the base of the skull and then moves in an arc over the ears and behind the eyes. Tension headaches are most often caused or exacerbated by poor posture, work station positions, and body mechanics, creating undue stress on the upper neck muscles.
Mixed Headaches. The term mixed headache is used to describe a tension headache that leads to a migraine. Typically, the tension headache starts first and the chemicals produced from the pain of it create conditions for a migraine to develop. In people with patterns of mixed headaches, the best way to avoid the onset of a migraine is to treat the tension headache.
A treatment regimen that includes bodywork, attention to body position, and stress management can help prevent or greatly reduce the frequency of headaches, in turn reducing your reliance on medication and the need to avoid food triggers. There are many different bodywork techniques, each with specific approaches for treating headaches. Following is a short list of techniques often effective in treating recurring headaches.
Swedish Massage. A tension headache, by its very name, implies the presence of stress and tension. Swedish massage, on the other hand, promotes relaxation and relieves muscle tension. When muscles become tight due to stress or poor posture, they eventually adapt a chronically shortened state. Swedish massage teaches the body how to let go of muscle tension and resets muscle tone.
Integrative Bodywork. Rolfing, Hellerwork, Structural Integration, and CORE are examples of the types of bodywork designed to improve posture and structural alignment. A primary cause of chronic headaches is poor posture, which produces tension in the neck and shoulders because the weight of the head is not properly balanced on top of the spine. Integrative bodywork can produce lasting postural change for greater ease of movement. By selectively freeing the soft tissues, integrative bodywork literally can change postural alignment and remove the stresses and strains on the muscles that cause headaches.
Deep Tissue Therapies. The integrative therapies mentioned above, as well as neuromuscular therapy and myofascial release, use similar techniques to free connective tissue. A chronically tensed muscle tends to maintain that tension, even after the stressful event has passed. Deep tissue techniques free the connective tissue glue, creating a new way for the muscle to function.
Reflexology. Like acupuncture, reflexology works to move energy blockages in the body. By stimulating points on the feet that correspond to organs in the body, reflexologists can promote relaxation, reduce pain, and restore energy flow. Several scientific studies have shown that reflexology is a viable treatment for migraines, in some cases working as well as, or better than, medication--and without the side effects.
Craniosacral Therapy. Craniosacral therapy addresses the inherent, gentle, rhythmic movement of the bones in the skull and their effect on the fluid that surrounds, bathes, and cushions the brain and spinal cord and runs throughout the body. Cranial bones move in miniscule amounts as a response to the production and absorption of cranial fluid. With head trauma, whiplash injury, or even severe stress, cranial bone movement can be compromised, resulting in headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or vision disturbances. This therapy restores the normal movement of the cranial bones and fluid.
By addressing the root of the problem, regularly scheduled bodywork sessions can greatly reduce headaches as well as your need for medication. Remember, headaches are not normal, and you don't have to live with them.
Cathy Ulrich, P.T., is a Colorado author and bodyworker with more than 20 years of experience in physical therapy (sports medicine and orthopedics), craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, Rolfing, Rolfing Movement Integration, and visceral manipulation.