NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

Are you a Hipster for the wrong reason?

As you go through your day, some things you do just out of routine, some just to cope with getting through the day, and others just out of bad habit. If you stand with one knee locked, you just may be a Hipster for all the wrong reasons.

If you are standing to one side, you are having half your body doing all the work of holding you up.

If you are standing to one side, you are having half your body doing all the work of holding you up.

For the most part, your hips are there to help balance the body. (Could you imagine just having one hip?) When the pelvis is tilted to one side or the other, muscles on the opposite side are compressed into a smaller space. It’s the same as you doing the job of everyone on your team, while they are doing nothing at all. You see your team mates, and you are ticked off. That’s what it’s like when you rest your weight to one side of the body, and the other side is just there. Over time, the lower back begins to ache, stiffen, then become a real pain in the butt.

Well, how would you feel? Half of your body is doing all the work of holding you up,  and the other muscles are not doing their job; you’d get irritated, too! Your lower back will all of a sudden look like a pouty 4-year old, arms crossed.  “I’m not gonna work for you anymore!”, It is saying to you. Your backside doesn’t know what to do, so it just clenches to contribute to the job of holding you up. You begin to feel an ache in your backside that doesn’t want to seem to go away.

One great way to help get rid of a knot is to take a tennis ball and put it in a trouser sock (a clean one, preferably), place it near the knot, then massage the ball over the knot. The sock will help you place it where it’s needed, since it won’t just stay on the wall. Foam rollers work great over wide areas of muscle. You can sit on it, and apply pressure to your preference over the roller.

If you slightly bend your knees, not a full bend (you don’t want to look like the last kid picked for dodgeball), and hold your core stomach muscles, then all your muscles will help you hold you up. Now they are going to pitch a fit; they haven’t worked in a while, so they have to get back in the habit of doing their job. Don’t let them off the hook, get in the habit of standing straight. It takes 21 days to create a habit, so just be aware of how you are carrying yourself. Once you get into the habit, you will definitely feel a difference.

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A Pain in the Neck

A Pain in the Neck

Ever wonder why your shoulders and neck hurt so much? The muscles in steady use or overuse get trigger points, that refer pain to other locations. Sitting at your desk, leaning into your tablet or smartphone, getting into an accident and playing an instrument are among the causes for neck and head pain. The Xs in the photo are the trigger points, the blue areas are where the pain is referred. Take a break 2-3 times an hour to stretch, and give those muscles a rest. If the issues persist, a massage may be a great way to relieve the trigger points! Make sure if the area is sore, and you do get a massage, let the therapist know if the pressure is too much; they can always adapt to help you feel better. (Photo source: Real Bodywork app)

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You Really Don’t Have Time?

I hear more often than not “I don’t have time to get a massage, even if you came to my office.” So from what I understand, you are OK with dealing with pain and stiffnness in your:
Neck and Head – Leaning forward toward computer desktop monitors, laptop and smartphone screens contribute to a stiff neck and eyestrain. Taking frequent breaks to have your eyes focus on more 3-D objects approximately 20 feet away can help your eye muscles relax, and not be contracted to focus on flat, 2-D objects closer to your face.

Shoulders– Your ears and your shoulders should be like exes; Aware of each other, but nowhere near one another. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and not rolled forward

Good Door Stretch

Excellent Shoulder Stretch (Image Credit- http://www.Abbotcenter.com)

(slouching posture). If you lean against a wall, your shoulder blades shouldn’t be the only things touching the wall. Stretch your pecs in the doorway, doing a forward lean, to help release the tension in your shoulder blades.

Lower Back – Locking your knees does nothing good for the lower back. It tightens and compresses all the lower back muscles in to one small area. Remember when you sat in the back seat of the car as a child on long road trips, all stuffed and cramped back there? Well, now you know how your lower back feels! Bending your knees slightly, not so bent that you are slouching, will help all muscles responsible work together to help you stand better, be more agile on your feet, and tilt your pelvis to give your lower back muscles more room to move.

High Heels– I know, your legs look GREAT in your favorite pair of stilettos, but being in

High heels look great, but is it worth all the pain in your feet? (Image Credit - webmd.com)

those shoes does more harm than good. You already know about your Achilles tendon shortening, heel pain, hammer toes, and your toes crammed into too small of a toe box contributes to bunions with prolonged use of high heels. What about your overall posture, hip displacement and muscle pain, especially your calves, shins because you’re walking on your tiptoes? Massage would be great to help your muscles in your lower back, thighs and calves feel better and help articulate your ankle to improve mobility.

Backs of Legs/ Sitting all Day – We spend WAY too much time sitting down. Whether it is at the computer, behind the wheel, on the couch, et cetera, we weren’t designed to be sitting all day long. Even if we work out after sitting all day, the detriment will outweigh the benefits. Take breaks and walk around throughout the day if at all possible. Stand when you can, and make sure you slightly bend those knees!

Taking care of yourself, a few minutes each day will do WONDERS for your overall health, stress levels, and your personal well-being. If no one has told you, you are definitely worth all the effort that it takes to take care of yourself. If you don’t, how will you do what you love to do?

If you want to feel better at work, talk with your massage therapist to come up with a
customized stretching regimen so that you feel better throughout the day. If I happen to be YOUR massage therapist, why haven’t you called me yet?

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