Monthly Archives: November 2008

15 Quick Tips for Icing Injuries

In the spirit of the weather turning cold lets talk ice. It is one of the most effective treatments of injuries such as strains and sprains. We massage practitioners emphasize this until the cows come home. You hear us do this because it works. It makes all the difference in the world on how fast you will recover. Here are some ice tips:

  1. It is most important to use ice within 48 hours of injury.
  2. Do not use heat within 72 hours for it will promote swelling.
  3. If you use heat after 72 hours and you still have swelling, be sure to end with a session of ice.
  4. Use for up to but no longer than 10 minutes for thin tissue like ankles, feet, hands, wrists, elbow.
  5. Use for up to but no longer than 15 minutes for medium thick tissue like shoulders, mid back, neck, knees.
  6. Use for up to but no longer than 20 minutes for thick tissue like gluts, thighs, and calves.
  7. Make sure to leave 45 minutes to an hour between icing sessions.
  8. Let ice rest on injury keeping a thin layer of cloth between you and the ice.
  9. You can also massage an injury with ice. You don’t need a cloth layer but don’t let the ice rest on one spot.
  10.   Homemade ice pack option 1 is freeze a Ziploc baggie or hot water bottle filled halfway with 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water.
  11.   Homemade ice pack option 2 is a bag of frozen corn or peas.
  12.   Homemade ice pack option 3 is freeze a wet cloth the size of your choosing.
  13.   Homemade ice pack option 4 is a little paper cup with frozen water to perform ice massage on an injury.
  14.   When you are icing a limb, if possible, keep it above your heart while icing.
  15.   Any concerns make sure to call your health service provider!!

I encourage my Seattle Treatment massage clients to ice and have found the ones who do achieve better results. Thank you, PJ Harris LMP.


What is Treatment Massage?

The type of massage I offer in my Seattle Massage practice is Treatment Massage. This form of massage has a different goal than a relaxation massage. Injury recovery and chronic pain relief are the focus. My Treatment philosophy is based on what I call Open, Strengthen and Release:

OPEN: This helps facilitate length in shortened muscles using specific fascia (connective tissue) and muscle stretching techniques and giving the clients stretches to do in between their massages.

STRENGTHEN: With my Fitness Specialist Certificate I can show my clients proper posture, body mechanics, and exercises to strengthen those weak muscles to encourage fortitued in your frame and movement.

RELEASE: By applying slow deep pressure to painful muscles I encourage a gentle release. Avoiding stretching that would add to the injury is important.

Many people look to treatment massage for recovery of:

  • Chronic pain including:
      Back pain
      Neck pain
      Leg pain
      Hip pain
      Foot pain
      Arm and hand pain
      Shoulder pain
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
  • Sciatica
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Headache
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Whiplash
  • Tendonitis
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) a jaw disorder
  • Constipation
  • Sleep issues
  • Sports injury


Another advantage of treatment massage is that the in depth documentation used to track your treatment is a wonderful tool to achieve specific goals and become educated on the ways your whole body is connected. With education comes power, the power to make lasting changes to your body and it’s ability to move pain free. Thank you, PJ Harris.

Need Pain Relief from Headaches?

Many of my Seattle treatment massage clients complain of headaches. So I am writing today to let you know some of the most common causes:  

  • Dehydration
  • Tension in the jaw, neck, upper back, or shoulder muscles
  • Alcohol, caffeine, or other drug use or withdrawal
  • Lack of sleep
  • Emotional stress
  • Exposure to chemicals including carbon monoxide or chemical sensitivity
  • Eye strain
  • High blood pressure
  • Sinus infections due to colds or allergies
  • Cold, the flu, or fever
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Dental issues for example pain from grinding the teeth or from a root canal
  • Eating or drinking cold foods and fluids AKA Brain Freeze (slang)
  • Drop in blood sugar

I know a few tricks that might help with some of these causes.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. When you have a headache, drink a glass or two of water. Many times when your headache goes away by taking aspirin it is the glass of water you took to swallow the aspirin with that helps the pain more so than the aspirin.
  • Muscle tension. Hmmmm wonder what I’m going to suggest here? You guessed it, Massage. Let your massage therapist know you are having headaches, where the pain is, how often you are feeling it, what decreases the pain, what makes the pain worse and any other information you might think is pertinent. Stretching and breathing are always good things to try to alleviate muscle tension.   

    Press and hold firmly for 15 to 60 seconds

    Press and hold firmly for 15-60 seconds

  • There is an acupressure point, known as the Hoku point, between the thumb and index finger if given firm pressure can relieve headache pain. This is not recommended for pregnant women.
  • The American Optometric Association recommends a visit to your eye doctor every year or two for optimum vision correction.
  • For grinding teeth there is a handy little invention known as a mouth guard. If you think grind your teeth ask your dentist for more information about that.
  • Reoccurring sinus infections can sometimes get relief from nasal irrigation.  Nasal irrigation is an ancient Ayurvedic practice which uses water to cleanse the sinuses. The practitioner uses a neti pot to perform the irrigation. Always check in with your physician before trying any new treatment. 
  • Naturapathic Physicians are always a wonderful resource. Give them a call they would love to help you out.

If you have any questions about these headache relief tips feel free to ask in the comment section below. Thank you. PJ Harris LMP.

Common Causes of Injury or Pain – Posture

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of injury or pain that I see in my practice. Since I specialize in injury treatment massage, I see a lot of people with this issue. Mom was right we need to sit up straight.

Why is good posture so important? If you use poor body mechanics (body movement in daily activities) your body will not have proper alignment. The joints and muscles lose their ability to create a strong structure when your alignment is off. Some muscles will become overly elongated and vulnerable to injury. Others will become shorter and adhere themselves to a shortened position to prevent you from comfortably putting your body in the right posture. Your body is most efficient when the muscles and joints are aligned.

How can a massage therapist help with my posture? Well, first off we can look at your stance and help you to get into the correct posture so you can feel the difference between standing correctly and standing incorrectly. We can also help you with your sitting posture and correct body mechanics in your daily activities. Massage itself will assist release in holding or stiff muscles, like those pesky shortened muscles, that keep your body out of alignment.

Postural muscle strengthening (for example: core strengthening exercises) is a very important piece of the posture puzzle. An elongated muscle can sometimes be restored to proper function by strengthening it. I have a Fitness Specialist Certificate so I can give my Seattle massage clients exercises to help in this area.

There are many ways to help heal from or prevent specific postural issues. I will write more about these issues in future massage blogs. Thank you for reading. PJ Harris, LMP