<![CDATA[Progressive Healing Massage - Healing Thoughts]]>Thu, 05 Apr 2018 18:51:03 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Orthotics or not=> Our limiting foot beliefs are hurting us]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:59:18 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/orthotics-or-notgt-our-limiting-foot-beliefs-are-hurting-usI found this to be an interesting article - Not just for people with foot issues but knee, hip and low back also. 

Our highly specialized, homo sapiens, feet have been around for thousands of years! The many intricacies of the foot are still beyond the scope of science; yet, we are tricked into believing “one brand of shoe” or “a pair of orthotics” can fix our feet. Really?

Orthotics = Artificial support
When you think of artificial what comes to mind? Artificial sweetener, artificial colour, artificial flavour, artificial intelligence, artificial personality. The likelihood of artificial having a positive connotation is doubtful.
I HAVE to wear orthotics because:
  • My feet are flat
  • I have high arches
  • I’m genetically flawed
  • I always get injured
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Fat pad syndrome
  • My parents, grandparents and great grandparents had them

    Taking my shoes for a walk
    Unshod studies
    Research on European, Indian and Asian adults who had never worn shoes in their lifetime all showed fan shaped feet with variations in arch height. Flat feet, middle arch or high arched unshod adults were all asymptomatic. That means no foot problems.

    Most people in their lifetime will never even come close to moving their feet in 860,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different ways {Katy Bowman, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief}. Yes, that’s all possible foot ‘formations’.
    Our feet have 100,000 to 200,000 receptors each that sense our environment as we stand, walk, run, skip and jump our way through the day. However, if we are shod our receptors (information coders) cannot transmit vital feedback to the brain in order for the brain to decide how to move our body, our feet, appropriately. For example, how often have you sprained your ankle? I bet it was in a shoe!          
    Enough about the FEET!
    Well, foot health is 100% indicative of whole body health. How are you knees, hips, pelvis, back, shoulders? How’s your cardiovascular health or your immune system functioning? How are you? Think about that for a bit.

    Do your jeans fit the environment? Or, does your environment fit the jeans? Does the environment matter? Do your jeans matter? Yes! Both matter AND the environment far outweighs your genes, unless they are skinny jeans then you win (or lose because you’re cutting off input to your feet instantly!). Yes, in the excellent picture I drew I wrote jeans for ‘genes’, just for fun.
    Epigenetics, how the environment influences if, how and when your genes may be expressed, is a hot topic today. Sometimes certain genes will be turned off your entire life while others will be turned on, like when you wore those skinny jeans! If you didn’t get that, it’s okay. I am bad at jokes!
    My dad, and all my dad’s family have osteoarthritis in the big toe (hallux). My brother has it and I have it too. Did I get it because of my dad? No! The environment-> cushy, heeled shoes with orthotics, tight calves, too much sitting, poor skeletal alignment, lack of proper movement. I absolutely believe if I knew then what I know now I would have never acquired osteoarthritis in the first place, 15 years ago. Sure, I might have a slightly higher tendency to acquire osteoarthritis than you… but, without those skinny jeans, I’d be fine! I’m done with the skinny jeans joking. 

    Are you asking me to stop wearing orthotics or go barefoot?! No, I’m asking you to do more work on your feet and think more of a whole body approach to your health. Top 10 things to do for better foot/overall body health.
    1. The first thing you need to do is make sure ALL of your shoes (home, work, sport, dress) fit properly. Trace your feet and cut it out. See if that paper fits in ALL your shoes without coming up on the sides, the front or the back. If it does, give those shoes away. NO exceptions. Period.

    2. Your toes are often overlooked. If you can’t interlace your fingers inside your toes there’s dysfunction. Do as much as you can now with slow ankle rotations. It doesn’t matter if only a bit of your fingers are in between. Slowly increase movement over time. You can also buy correct toes or happy feet [I am not a distributor if you are wondering]. Note: Correct toes can be worn ALL day long and adjusted to your toes. Happy Feet are usually just worn at home for a little while.  

    3. Your calves have been adaptively shortened over time. It doesn’t matter if you wear orthotics or not, have shoes or not. I would 100% recommend you do calf stretches several times a day because your calves do not have their full natural functional capacity. AND calf tension plays an direct role in foot and toe tension. While standing, place the ball of your foot on a rolled up towel or a half dome (DON’T press your foot into the towel) to stretch your calf. Keep your ribs down, your hips in line, relax your shoulders and the front of your quads. [BUT my FEET hurt barefoot! No problem. Lie on your back on the ground, take a towel, wrap around the ball of your foot and slowly straighten your leg (or keep it bent) pulling towel (toes) towards your head. You ought to get that calf/back of knee/hamstring stretch]. The calf stretch is the #1 corrective exercise in Restorative Exercise, under the umbrella of Nutritious Movement. It can change your body!

    4. The top of your feet and your shins have been taking a beating… you have noooo idea. Now, if you are a dancer then forget this one, it’ll be too easy for you! But, everyone else do the top of the toe/foot stretch! Make sure you are plumb line (i.e. not leaning forward) and take a SMALL step back while placing the top of your foot on the ground… gently at first and then with 50% of your weight. Over time move your foot back a bit more. [But, I LOSE my balance! No problem. Sit down and point your toes with your hands (don’t point your toes with your toes!) It’s a passive exercise. OR sit on a chair with butt cheek slightly off so you can bring that one leg back and place the top of your foot on the ground. This is less pressure and you are not on your feet!].

    5. Grab some balls! Yoga Tune Up Therapy balls to be exact!!! I used to have tennis balls lying around everywhere but now all I have is YTU balls. They are the only balls specifically designed for muscle and fascia. Honestly, they are brilliant! Roll on your feet, calves, shins, hamstrings, butt, back, shoulders, neck, everywhere!  -(I still use tennis balls)

    6. When you sit [hours on end] do you sit on your ischial tuberosities or on your tailbone? Sit on your “sit bones/ ischial tuberosity” not on your coccyx! Nerves run down your spine into your feet! Don’t CUT the flow off! And, think about sitting beside your furniture while at home. It’s healthier!

    7. Most people that have “bad” feet are not so great at squatting. Start by squatting everyday on the toilet! It’s a DAILY dose of I love you body! If you can’t do it… start with one book and slowly add more books to the mix. (or just practice doing squats, getting as low as you can). Ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion and hip flexion are vital to your whole body and foot health!

    8. Be uncomfortable! If your feet are weak, so are many other parts of your body. You have got to go beyond comfort to get to health. YES, our “comfortable” lives are impairing our bodies. Go barefoot several times a day (even if it’s only for one minute at a time), go for walks on rocks (even if you can only stand there for 30 seconds), sit on the floor more often, lie down 15 minutes on the floor before going to bed to have a different kind of ‘loading’ on your body, get textured mats [floor mat, bath mat, tub mat, kitchen mat] at home to use on your feet, step on objects purposefully to gain more proprioception, crawl, move! Pick up marbles or objects with your feet! Do the alphabet with your feet as you walk around your house OR as you watch TV. Be uncomfortable! It’s the only way you know you are changing.
    9. Find your foot playground! Yolande and I are taking in the beauty of this PARADISE before moving for two hours. Honestly, this was the BEST barefoot WHOLE body workout I have ever done. My feet, legs and all my body were shaking after moving around, crawling, jumping, playing.

    10. Are your feet MORE sore when you wake up in the morning? Your body position while sleeping is fundamental to your blood circulation and electrical flow. If you can, sleep on your back with a towel under your pelvis (at least for a bit). Place a towel just below your iliac crest (just below your low back. FEEL the bony pelvis and go below that). Now, touch your crotch and the front of your pelvis (either side). You can see I have a LEVEL. You don’t need one. BUT, I can almost guarantee anything you THINK is ‘straight’ is actually in posterior tilt, meaning your crotch is higher than your pelvis. Why does this matter? Innervation to your feet needs to happen 24/7! You will also find your calves and hamstrings aren’t so darn tight when you wake up
    Bonus: Work on sitting down and standing up without using ANY body parts except your feet!
    I just want people to understand if they take away their foot health, they are reducing their bodies function by 25%. Is working 75% of your body good enough for you?
    As a side note: I had orthotics for 16 years. Over time I became FED up, I just quit! Quit believing that I HAD to wear them all the time, that I needed them for life and that I couldn’t do what I wanted without them. I was just too young (early 30’s) to rely on orthotics to “fix” me.
    I s-l-o-w-l-y weened over the course of 2 years. I cried many many times because doing barefoot work was painful, tiring and taxing on my whole body. There was NOTHING easy about the process and it was 100% uncomfortable. AND, it was the best thing for me! 
    To add, it took another 7 years to truly understand the implications of “comfort” shoes and heeled shoes (that includes ALL shoes~ running, dress, home, slippers, sandals, etc). 
    All my shoes are now flat and I will never go back. 
    Kristin Marvin is a Performance Recovery Specialist, helping athletes achieve their best through proper recovery. As a former Canadian team runner she had her fair share of foot problems: plantar fasciitis, shin splints, achilles tendonitis, hip issues and massive back pain. Sharing her knowledge with athletes is her #1 objective, so others don’t have to suffer through pain, injury and setback. 
<![CDATA[About Fascia - "The Fuzz Speech"]]>Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:44:06 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/about-fascia-the-fuzz-speech
<![CDATA[Licensure in Virginia]]>Sun, 20 Mar 2016 18:57:51 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/licensure-in-virginiaIn the News...
March 14, 2016
It is done! Massage Therapists in the Commonwealth of Virginia made a huge step forward this weekend when Governor Terry McAuliffe signed house bill, HB 562. This bill elevates the profession of Massage Therapy from certification to State License. This will take effect on January 1, 2017.

One may ask, ‘What’s the big deal?’ It would be easy to overlook, but now, those who practice massage therapy legally have  title protection. Title protection doesn’t sound that great, but it is. This change in title demonstrates that the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes there is a required amount of training to perform this service. Having a State License indicates there is a National Exam that measures competency and verifies that at a state level, the person calling themselves a massage therapist is qualified, safe and meets a minimum standard. 

Can you imagine going to a Dentist or a Psychologist who didn’t have a state license? Most people wouldn’t leave their child at a unlicensed daycare center. But there is more. Another bonus of having a State License is  a higher level of credibility

Now, the newest clients seeking massage therapy to manage their pain or relieve daily stress can feel safer, rest easier, knowing that they will be working with a State Licensed professional. In fact, existing clients also benefit, as they will realize a deeper level of confidence when sharing with a friend or spouse that their massage therapist holds a State License.
This is a big win for the profession and for all legitimate massage therapists practicing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

<![CDATA[Massage for Aging]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 16:51:25 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/massage-for-aging]]><![CDATA[Why Choose Board Certified?]]>Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:56:30 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/why-choose-board-certifiedWhat is a  Board Certified Massage Therapist?
 I have noticed lately that people do not know about the term "Board Certified", thinking that it is the same designation for all certified massage therapists who are certified through the Board of Nursing in Virginia.

The NCBTMB in 2014, changed their requirements for certification and term length and introduced "Board Certification" for those with higher education.  Meaning now,  a certificant needs an additional 250 hours of education to be "Board Certified". For those who have achieved this designation,  it is  an  accomplishment.

 Whether  you’re visiting a massage therapist or bodyworker for relaxation, rehabilitation  or rejuvenation, you deserve to be treated by a practitioner who is skilled , knowledgeable, and committed to excellence in their chosen profession. That’s what the NCBTMB credential stands for a commitment to  excellence.

 Board Certified Therapists Meet Rigorous  Qualifications 
When  you choose a Board Certified practitioner, you can be confident you’ve selected a dedicated professional.
To become Board Certified, a practitioner must  demonstrate mastery of core skills and knowledge related to their profession,  pass an NCBTMB exam, uphold the organization’s
Standards  of Practice and Code  of Ethics, and take part in continued education to ensure they  remain at the top of their profession.

 Today,  there are thousands of Board Certified practitioners nationwide and you can find  them throughout the country in physicians’ offices, private practices, spas,  rehab facilities, health clubs and hospitals.

Find a Board Certified Massage Therapist 
So, what are you waiting for? Get connected with a board certified practictioner today,
Find  a Board Certified Massage Therapist.

<![CDATA[About Kinesiology Tape]]>Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:39:03 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/about-kinesiology-tape]]><![CDATA[Types of Massage and What to Expect]]>Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:21:30 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/types-of-massage-and-what-to-expectAbout Swedish Massage
 Swedish massage consists of a specific set of massage movements: effleurage, or sliding movements; petrissage, or kneading movements; friction or vibration and percussion. It traditionally also includes passive and active joint movements, stretching and bending joints with the assistance of the massage therapist. Other types of massage stemming from Swedish massage may include manual lymphatic drainage, sports massage, chair massage, pregnancy massage, oncology massage, and geriatric massage to name a few.

 Deep Tissue Massage 
Deep tissue massage focuses on stretching fascia, a three-dimensional web of connective tissue that surrounds, supports and penetrates all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Deep tissue massage works layer by layer through connective tissue and muscles down to the deepest accessible layers to change posture and create freedom of movement by releasing fascial adhesions and chronic muscle contracture. Adhesions and scar tissue form in muscles because of injury, chronic poor posture, chronic or acute inflammation and repetitive motions. Deep tissue massage therapists use their fingers, thumbs, fists, forearms and elbows to stretch each muscle and fascia

 How Massage Affects the Body
 Swedish massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph, which has the result of cleaning and nourishing soft tissues--the skin and muscle. It lengthens and relaxes the superficial muscles and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines. Deep tissue work creates micro-tears in the fascia, which fill with elastin and collagen in about three days, creating muscles that are more flexible, supple and have greater range of motion. For the most success, the client must be willing to stretch regularly between sessions to retrain muscles and prevent recurrence of muscle contracture.

 Weighing the Benefits
 Choose Swedish massage for relaxation to increase circulation of blood and lymph, for relief of pain, improved mood, improved sleep and sharper thinking. Choose deep tissue massage for chronic pain that is muscular in origin, to improve posture and range of motion. 
Misconceptions and Considerations
 Swedish massage is sometimes considered to be more soothing than therapeutic, but research by the Touch Therapy Institute in Florida shows that Swedish or classic
massage has many therapeutic benefits.

Deep tissue massage shouldn't be painful! There is "good pain" and "bad pain" and if you have to "tense-up" to manage the treatment, you are defeating the purpose.
Well-trained deep tissue massage therapists work very slowly, within the client's tolerance, to stretch muscle layers without causing pain or damage. It often results in a little soreness afterwards, but you should feel better, not worse, after your massage!

<![CDATA[Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage]]>Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:48:51 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/benefits-of-deep-tissue-massagePicture


 Deep-tissue massage is a specific type of massage therapy that concentrates on the deep layers of muscle and fascia in the body; and recommended by many doctors as a treatment option. By using deep finger pressure and slow, firm strokes, deep tissue massage is used to treat a variety of physical ailments.

 Reduces Chronic Pain
 The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that deep-tissue massage is more
effective and affordable for relieving chronic pain than conventional medical remedies. Because deep-tissue massage increases the flow of blood through the body, it helps reduce the inflammation that causes pain. Deep-tissue massage can also help alleviate muscle tension that is often a side effect of chronic pain by loosening the tight tissue clusters.

 Improves Blood Pressure
 Deep-tissue massage helps ease stress and tension, which can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. People who had a deep-tissue massage saw their systolic pressure drop by an average of 10.4 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure drop an average 5.3 mm Hg, according to a study cited by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Deep-tissue massage can help increase the body's production of serotonin, the hormone that promotes happiness and good feelings.

 Breaks Up Scar Tissue
 Over time, deep-tissue massage therapy can help break up and eventually erase scar
tissue in the body. It does this by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area. Scar tissue is often associated with ongoing pain and stiffness, so deep-tissue massage can improve these symptoms. Massage therapy is often recommended for people who are recovering from surgery.

Rehabilitates Injured Muscles
 Deep-tissue massage can be an effective treatment for injured muscles. Because it
facilitates the movement of toxins from the muscles and helps stretch tight or twisted muscle mass, deep-tissue massage can help promote healing. Because massage also helps relax muscles, it can reduce the pain caused by injuries, too. Deep-tissue massage is frequently used to rehabilitate sports injuries.

 Stress Relief
 For those people who suffer from chronic stress, and all of its various, possible
side-effects like tension headaches, rigid shoulders and tight muscles; deep tissue massage can be a relief. During a session you can let it all go and give in to the healing. Once renewed and revitalized you'll be able to face your challenges more equitably.

<![CDATA[Why it takes more than one massage...]]>Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:43:36 GMThttp://progressivehealingmassage.com/healingthoughts/why-it-takes-more-than-one-massagePicture
A lot of people come get a massage for the first time after hearing friends and family go on and on about how much massage has helped them. In some cases, massage newbies come in expecting that one thirty-, sixty- or ninety-minute massage with fix an issue that’s been lingering for months (or worse, years). Massage is most helpful as part of a routine regimen of self-care.

Many medications people take are taken daily as a means to control issues or symptoms in the body. Would you take cholesterol or diabetes medicine for just one day and expect the problem to be resolved? Of course not! Changing metabolic processes, complex, system-wide chemical/molecular interactions or even neurotransmitter levels throughout the body requires more than one pill. These complex, system-wide issues need daily adjustments, either from medication, through diet or through exercise to be managed well. The neuromuscular system is no different.

 Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and other connective tissue run through the body. They connect the bones to one another, they hold your organs in place, they work together in complex firing patterns to create smooth and seamless movement.
Massage works on loosening these connective tissues, resolving tension in spots
that need to be looser, opening areas that are constricted, breaking up adhesions that have grown between layers of injured or compromised muscle and tissue.

 Muscles work in groups across joints or flexible areas. One set pulls the limb or body
in one directions, and its other members oppose that action. These groups act together in complex patterns whether you’re performing a pirouette, fixing dinner, or working on the computer while talking on the phone.

 I often have clients ask me how many massages it will take to “fix” the problem.
In order to set realistic expectations in the mind of those new to massage, or new to massage as a therapy for self-care, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:

How long did you spend developing the issue?
 Often pain and discomfort develops over months or years of abuse of the body. When clients come in complaining of headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and they tell me they sit for hours at a keyboard in a slouched position, I can get an idea of
the severity of the issue. I can work out some tight spots, and release some
adhesions, but in addition to my sixty or ninety minutes, I suggest improving
posture or ergonomic positioning. Or I give them some simple self-massage or
stretching exercises to try.

 When clients ask me how many massages it will take to “fix” the issue, I have to set
expectations. In most cases of chronic pain, repetitive motion and overuse injury, the injured tissues have setup a compensation pattern that redirects force or use away from the compromised areas. 

When someone with a bad knee limps, he’s favoring that knee, but putting additional
work and stress on the opposite leg, and on the core and torso to compensate for the uneven gait and weight-bearing of the two legs. Compensation patterns are what enable us to continue moving and working when we’ve injured part of the body. They allow the injured area to heal by taking away some of the mechanical pressure on the area and passing on the work to other muscles not as compromised or overused.

 So, ask yourself how long you’ve had the problem. Some physical therapists will say
that for every month you’ve had a problem it will take a week of physical therapy. I see more variance in the response of my clients from physical therapy. But I would admit that the longer you’ve had an issue or injury, the longer it will take you to correct it. And I would add that correcting the issue includes more than receiving massage. It includes self-care, self-massage, stretching and strengthening to rehabilitate the body. Which brings me to my next point:

What are you doing to resolve the issue other than massage?
You’ve heard the quote, “Insanity is doing something same way over and over and
expecting a different result.” Your body knows this intimately. Massage can help. Massage does help, but if your issues are overuse- or posture-related injuries and you continue to do things as you’ve done them before, the benefits of the massage will quickly be overcome by the resumption of old patterns and behaviors.

 In order to reset the neuromuscular system, you need to include some self-care in
your health regimen. This can be something as simple as taking breaks for every
30 or 40 minutes at the keyboard, stretching out your arms and neck every hour,
or standing every 30 minutes to stretch out the lower back. It could also include strengthening and stretching exercises throughout the day. It might be meditation, or visualization, yoga or T’ai Chi.

 The point is that massage is most effective when combined with daily retraining or
refocusing of the body and mind. For people who include stretching, strengthening and other self-care in their routine the effects of massage last much longer, and the recovery time from injury is shorter. Including these changes to your routine constantly reminds the body that there is a more relaxed, efficient and healthy way to move.

Is this something directly related to an activity you can’t or won’t give up?
 We all have things we love to do, even when we know it’s hard on our bodies. I have
knitters who won’t give up knitting, musicians who keep on playing, and gamers
who continue to spend long hours at the keyboard. We all have things we have to
do even when we don’t want to – long nights holding kids who won’t sleep, slogging away on a project late into the night, hours at a laptop at a customer site – things that have to get done.

 But there’s often a middle path to find. A gentler way to position yourself or
perform your hobbies so that you can continue to enjoy them, or a way to make up
for the long hours at work or taking care of others by taking care of ourselves.
You may have to do a little research or fact-finding, and it may require some
modifications, but it may be possible.

 Get creative. Talk with other people in your situation. Find those people who seem
calm no matter the whirlwind going on around them, the ones who’ve been doing
the hobby for decades and tease their modifications or secrets out from them.
They’d probably love to tell you how they figured to survive.

There are cases where what you’re doing physically to your body is unsustainable.
Sometimes runners reach the point where their knees can no longer carry them. Or
individuals who spend long hours sitting or standing have to change their activities. Change is inevitable. But in many cases, you can keep your hobbies or at least enjoy them in a different way.
And finally:

How committed are you to getting better?
 It’s no surprise that there are some people who don’t want to change. They may hurt, and ache, and talk constantly about how bad things are, but the bottom line is
that they don’t want to change. People have a lot of fear of change. It brings with it the unknown, an uncertainty in how things will turn out. It might make things better, but it might also make things worse, or take you right back to where you started. You may know people like this. This may be you.

But if you are hurting enough, tired enough, or just plain fed up with the way your
body feels, you WILL find a way to do it. I’ve seen people make incredible
recoveries from chronic pain, from injuries and complex issues to live a normal
life. And it wasn’t magic. We didn’t fix it in 30 or 60 minutes on the table, but we were able to work on daily activities, stretching and strengthening. We built a plan that included regular massage, stretching, self-massage, self-care and whatever else was needed to give the body time to heal.