Massage Hack #2

Sub-occipital Relief by way of Anterior neck

 

As a massage therapist, there is nothing more frustrating than working on a person’s body and not being able to make a difference in the tissue.

  • Maybe it’s because the joint isn’t as neutral as it could be, making the soft tissue have to stabilize instead of mobilize.
  • Maybe something on the opposite side of the body or joint is pulling making a tug of war situation limiting mobilization of a joint.
  • Maybe the person is holding on to an emotional pattern which won’t allow a shift in soft tissue or causing chronic lymphatic congestion.

There could be dozens of reasons why a person’s body isn’t responding to treatment.  Over thousands of clinical hours and two decades studying human movement and bodywork, I have developed certain protocols in dealing with acute and chronic musculoskeletal dysfunctions in the body.

In this series, I will provide you with quick, concise, and accurate information on how I have successfully treated certain conditions in the body over and over.  I am making this intellectual information available free of charge because I believe in inclusivity instead of exclusivity, and I want the most number of people on this earth to be able to be helped with this knowledge.

Disclaimer: It is YOUR responsibility to adapt this information to the training you have received and are qualified to do, and work within your scope of practice and laws in your area.

Problem: overly tight sub-occipital muscles at the posterior upper neck, where the neck and cranium meet. These set of muscles can at times seem impossible to loosen up, no matter how you try to mobilize them. Many times these muscles and surrounding fascia are ischemic, and very dense, even up on the occipital ridge of the cranium.

Treatment: soften/mobilize the longus capitis and longus colli muscles located on the anterior neck. What? You say? That’s an endangerment zone. Yes, it can be a tricky place to work, which is why receiving proper training is essential. There are non-invasive ways to soften those muscles indirectly (Ortho-Bionomy) as to minimize risk of dissecting a major blood vessel. There are also safe direct methods to mobilize those muscles with proper training and advanced palpation skills, you can learn how to navigate behind the sternocleidomastoid, up and over anterior transverse process attachments, weave underneath the blood vessels and slide onto the longus muscles without making direct contact with the carotid arteries and jugular veins. With expert palpation skills, you will know if you are on a blood vessel because you will feel a pulse. Constant communication with your client is also essential here as when you are on the correct structure, it will give the client a sensation of having a tension headache. The feeling of headache will go away once you remove the pressure, but it’s the sign you’re on the right muscle. The amount of pressure you would use would not be enough to dissect a blood vessel if you were on one, because you would not add any extra pressure beyond the weight of your own thumb or chosen finger for this work and there is no stripping. Even the direct work is very gentle and deliberate.

Re-Check: In my experience, mobilizing the longus muscles has a profound and immediate effect on the posterior upper neck (sub-occipital group). Usually both myself and the client is amazed on how loose and mobile it feels after doing this protocol

 

For more information on Ortho-Bionomy classes near you, visit http://www.ortho-bionomy.org

For more information on career training or CE classes in Indiana, visit http://www.carmelschoolofmassage.com

 

Massage Hack #1

Massage Hack #1 Lower Leg Congestion and the Mobility of the Fibular Head

 

 

As a massage therapist, there is nothing more frustrating than working on a person’s body and not being able to make a difference in the tissue.

  • Maybe it’s because the joint isn’t as neutral as it could be, making the soft tissue have to stabilize instead of mobilize.
  • Maybe something on the opposite side of the body or joint is pulling making a tug of war situation limiting mobilization of a joint.
  • Maybe the person is holding on to an emotional pattern which won’t allow a shift in soft tissue or causing chronic lymphatic congestion.

There could be dozens of reasons why a person’s body isn’t responding to treatment.  Over thousands of clinical hours and two decades studying human movement and bodywork, I have developed certain protocols in dealing with acute and chronic musculoskeletal dysfunctions in the body.

In this series, I will provide you with quick, concise, and accurate information on how I have successfully treated certain conditions in the body over and over.  I am making this intellectual information available free of charge because I believe in inclusivity instead of exclusivity, and I want the most number of people on this earth to be able to be helped with this knowledge.

Disclaimer: It is YOUR responsibility to adapt this information to the training you have received and are qualified to do, and work within your scope of practice and laws in your area.

Problem: Massaging lateral half of lower leg prone or supine, distal to proximal, perhaps a deep stripping effleurage, and when you get to the upper 2/3 of the leg, just below the knee a few inches you run into a wall of congestion that can’t get out of the way. Perhaps it’s a ball of stagnant lymph, or it’s short, dehydrated, immobilized fascia, or it’s that the fibular head can’t get out of the way…Or all three and more… It’s painful to the client if you just bulldoze your way through so what do we do?

 

Treatment: Mobilize the fibular head by whatever scope of training you have had and available techniques in your ‘toolbox’. My training is in Ortho-Bionomy (O-B), positional release of joints, and neuromuscular re-education. So my first technique is the least invasive O-B/positional release to help the fibular head’s reflexes to self-correct, move into neutral, and start to mobilize in both directions equally and easily in relationship to the tibia.

 

Re-Check: Go back to the original massage technique and check to see if the congestion now has a place to go, the fibula will get out of the way and there will be a clear channel for lymphatic drainage to occur as well as allowing the fascia to stretch into more space. Now there should be less intensity for the client when you repeat the original massage strokes and a shift in tissue can occur.

For massage/career training and CE’s in Indiana visit http://www.carmelschoolofmassage.com

For Ortho-Bionomy training near you , visit http://www.ortho-bionomy.org

 

How Football Shaped My Massage Career

 

I wish I could name this blog, “Just Another Stupid Blog”, but that title was already taken. Anyway… who would care to read a blog written by me anyway? I’m just a massage therapist that started practicing in the fall of 2000, opened a massage school three years ago, and has been extremely fulfilled by passing down the knowledge of this craft to the next generation.

Truthfully, since blogging has become popular, it’s been a long time coming and something that I’ve ‘noodled’ around in my brain for a couple of years. In that time, I realized that I may have acquired a couple of fans in the 14 years of massage therapy I have practiced… some clients, some students, some colleagues. The owner of Earth-Lite Massage Tables, Tomas Nani, specifically asked me to write something about my experience working on professional athletes. So it’s time…

This past week my most loyal and frequent NFL player-client publicly announced his retirement from 11 years of playing professional football.  I realized that I felt a little sadness because not only had I been his ‘go-to’ massage therapist for ALL of those years, but that it may well be the end of an era of working on pro athletes in the NFL for me! The kind of treatment I provided can be most accurately described as ‘Can- O- Whoop-Ass’ deep tissue therapy. I used techniques such as Neuromuscular-Reeducation, Myofascial technique, trigger point therapy and stripping effleurage. I also did joint mobilization and proprioceptive neuro-facilitating stretching (PNF). The purpose was always very clear… INJURY PREVENTION

For the massage nerds out there, this is how it works… When there is restriction in the fascia of a muscle, and the muscle undergoes strain in an uncontrolled environment (such as playing a game of football) the muscle can become damaged above or below the site of restriction. AT the site of restriction the muscle is extremely strong, like re-bar or scaffolding holding strong in that area. In the treatment room (a controlled environment), massage therapists are trained to place just the right amount of strain on the muscle, not so much as to damage it, but just enough to start an unraveling response. The muscle and surrounding fascia becomes supple and more resilient to sudden shifts.

I can honestly say, and I know my pro-athlete client would agree, that during his career, we were successfully able to prevent many injuries. The injuries he did sustain were unpreventable. Never did he have a hamstring pull or groin injury, which are very common amongst football players. On a side note, have you ever seen the size of their thighs, or more specifically the imbalance between the front and back of their thighs? The ratio of muscle mass from the quadriceps to the hamstring is probably close to 4:1. How they manage to stay injury-free as much as they do is truly a mystery to me.

The most frequent question I get asked is, “Don’t you get exhausted from working on those big guys?” My answer has always been NO! I mean YES, it’s hard physical work giving 2-4 hour massages multiple times per week to men who are almost twice my size. But, there is something special about their energy vibration that offsets the output that I give. These athletes vibrate at the highest energy vibration I have ever come across. I mean, think about it. They spend their entire work day exercising, eating right to fuel their ‘machine’, and truthfully… I believe they also spend a LOT of time working on their spiritual growth. How could you be a celebrity athlete, making tons of money and keep it all ‘real’ withOUT spirituality?

Bottom line is… when I get finished with a session with one of these elite athletes, I leave with MORE energy than I came with! They are truly special in that way!

I have had the honor and experience to work on over a dozen NFL players in my career, and I can honestly say that each one was respectful, humble, and down to earth. I feel SO honored to have had the experience of being called to training camp, where it is very unusual for a woman to be invited into the ‘boy’s club’… I was asked to help with rehabilitation efforts in the training facility in Indy, and was fortunate to have had MANY other incredible experiences that I am not at liberty to discuss with this platform. However, if you REALLY want to know, meet with me in person and I will be thrilled to tell you some cool stories! Lastly, I was so humbled and honored when asked to come out to other states to give NFL player treatments during the season. What a testament to the effectiveness of the work!

I always knew this type of work was special, and not every massage therapist had the opportunity to provide the kinds of treatments that I have been blessed to do. I actually became a fan of the game of football because I wanted to see how my clients played, got hit, got injured… so I would know how to treat them the next week. But I never took the time to reflect on my experiences and pay attention to the specialness of the moments, until it became clear that there was an end to this run.

I am grateful for my strong body and hands that have enabled me to provide the kinds of treatments I have for so many years, and for the opportunities that have come my way!

On to the next chapter! Thanks for reading!!

For more information on becoming a massage therapist, contact Nicole at admin@carmelschoolofmassage.com or by visiting www.carmelschoolofmassage.com