NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

Are your feet holding your whole body hostage?

I walked a 5K this past weekend for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. Now normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’ve had breathing issues most of this year, so walking even at a brisk pace was a challenge.

I walked it, in better time than I had the last time (I came in with the truck that picked up the cones at my last 5K). I was so happy that I went shopping to treat myself for a job well done, and was out for hours.

When I got home, hours later, I was tired, but wasn’t as tired as I had been in the past walks. My feet felt fine, but apparently were beginning to throw a serious hissy fit. As I slept, my feet held a meeting with the muscles in my calves.

If you've been on your feet for most of the day, and you haven't taken care of them, be prepared to be taken hostage by them.

If you’ve been on your feet for most of the day, and you haven’t taken care of them, be prepared to be taken hostage by them.

They regaled my calves with stories of abuse and mistreatment, and after all the stories, the calves believed my feet! In solidarity with my feet, my calves began to twitch, ever so slightly, my brain didn’t even notice. My feet were really upset that the brain still didn’t tell me to get up, that they gave an ultimatum – move that leg one more time, and SEE what happens next!

Again, as far as the brain was concerned, it was off the clock. ‘Time for maintenance, please come back later,’ the message replied. As I fell back to sleep, my legs shifted into a more comfortable position, and the feet seized the opportunity to wake me up.

The foot began to curl, as the calf muscles contracted. Just before it fully seized up, I bolted out of bed, and almost stood up on my foot, like I used to when I would get a Charlie horse. Once I calmed down, I took deep breaths, massaged the muscles, and got in that knot before any of the other muscles tried to gang up on me.

Now, as a massage therapist, I should know better. Yes, I see you shaking your head as you read the post. Everyone has a slip now and again.

Here’s how you can do better than I did. If you don’t take care of your feet, no matter how long your to-do list is, your feet will take your whole body hostage.

– After doing an activity, such as a 5K or a run, have a banana. The magnesium in the banana will help feed the muscles the nutrients they need to regulate and repair. Don’t like bananas? Here is a link of magnesium rich foods.

– A cool water bottle rolled under foot will help soothe sore soles. A golf ball will help address knots, but don’t press so hard, the cramp in your foot may just get worse. Apply pressure to your level of comfort only.

– Self massage always helps when you just want to take care of that knot that’s been bothering you. Again, digging into a knot may not be the best idea; bruises look cute on noone.

– Warm ups before and gentle stretching afterwards helps the muscles prepare for and recover from an activity. This is a hotly contested idea, and opinions vary widely. I’d rather let my muscles know that they’re getting ready to work, than to cramp up in the middle of an activity. Check out the last post – Leg Cramps – for some great stretches that you can do for your legs.

– A pre-event massage helps warm the muscles up and prepare them for your upcoming activity, as a post-event massage will help the muscles calm down and recover. If your event has therapists on site, go and check them out. They are there to help you!

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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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What ‘not’ to Say to a Therapist (Part 1 of 3)

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Have you ever said any of these things to a Massage Therapist?

I came across this picture as I was finding things to pin on my Pinterest Board, and it sparked an idea for a blog post. Now most of these comments are answered in the subsequent posts, but other comments that are not in this pic are some that I’ve come across in my 12 years as a therapist.

1.            Is that a knot? It could be a knot, a lipoma, or a myriad of other things. If it’s outside of my scope of practice, I will suggest that you see a doctor to find out exactly what it is.

2.            Am I the worst you’ve ever seen? Normally I would say no, but if it’s the worst, I’d still say no. Who wants to be the ‘worst’ at anything?

3.            Sorry I’m 20 minutes late…Can I still get my full hour? No, it’s inconsiderate to expect to get a full hour when you are that late to an appointment, especially if you haven’t called. You will get whatever the remainder of the session time is, for the full price. Now, if I’m late, you are absolutely sure to get the hour.

4.            Oh, you’re a massage therapist; does that mean I get one for free? Unless you’re my husband, no. I give away samples like Baskin-Robbins. They are exactly 10 seconds long. No repeats.

5.            Happy Ending? There once was a client that was really sore, and then the brilliant massage therapist got a booking online. The therapist arrived on time, and had the best therapeutic massage and the client re-booked! …And they lived happily ever after. The End. Anything else past that, I do not offer.

6.            I bet your hands get tired, huh? They do, but that’s why I employ other methods of getting the massage done!

7.            Wow, you’re a Massage Therapist? I’ve never met a masseuse. I call myself a Positive Attitude Adjuster. When I called myself a Negative Attitude Adjuster, no one ever wanted to make an appointment.

8.            Do I really need to keep this sheet on? Unless we are performing traditional Lomi Lomi, that sheet will be draped, for your modesty and my protection. Since Lomi Lomi is not a service I provide, the short answer is YES.

This is a series of three posts, so look out for the next upcoming episode of What NOT to Say to a Therapist!

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Got a Knot You Can’t Reach?

Got a Knot You Can't Reach?

You know that knot that you’ve had for the longest…sitting right in between your shoulderblades? Here’s a quick & easy trick to get that knot busted!

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