Monthly Archives: July 2009

Can Massage Help Alleviate the Discomfort Associated with Arthritis?

handYes and most definitely, massage can help with alleviating the discomfort of arthritis. It is not a cure and will not stop the progression of this disease, but many find relief on the massage table.

The Arthritis Foundation list more than 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases exist affecting approximately 46 million Americans today. But first off, lets cover the two main types of Arthritis:

1.  Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative joint disease and occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down over time. It can affect any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, hips, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis typically affects just one joint, though in some cases, such as with finger arthritis, several joints can be affected.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes joint pain and damage. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of your joints (synovium) causing swelling that can result in aching and throbbing and eventually deformity. Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms make even the simplest activities — such as opening a jar or taking a walk — difficult to manage.

Here are some of the ways massage can ease the symptoms associated with inflammation and help improve the quality of life of someone affected by arthritis.

The benefits of massage include:
• increase in circulation
• increase in flexibility and mobility
• decrease in pain and inflammation
• relief of muscle aches and stiffness
• a sense of overall relaxation and wellness

Massage is just one of the ways sufferers of Arthritis can find relief. Ask your ND for some other tips. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

How Soon After an Injury Should I Seek Treatment?

massage-LThat is the million dollar question. So many people who come to see me at my Seattle Treatment Massage practice, show up after they have had an injury for a while because the injury is not healing. By then the body has developed holding patterns and scar tissue in reaction to the injury. These issues can create more work for your massage therapist who has to help you break up your scar tissue and relax your holding patterns. This can lead to a longer time for your injury to heal.

 Holding patterns and scar tissue are the bodies way of protecting itself from further injury. While this can be helpful during your accident to possibly protect you from more traumas, it is important to slowly encourage your body to relax and heal so that you won’t continue to develop additional scar tissue and tighter holding patterns. Massage is the best way I know to help with this process.

It is important when you sustain a serious muscle injury to see your doctor and find out if you are in need of a prescription for massage. This is especially important in cases of a motor vehicle accident or a serious fall. I believe you increase your chance for a more speedy recovery from an acute injury if you can get treatment within 24-72 hours.

I had someone on my table not to long ago that had a serious fall and came to me the very next day. Her lower back was quite sore and she rated the pain an 8 on a 1-10 scale. She received that massage and another one two days later. She was amazed how much better she felt after receiving the massages. I believe if she would have waited a few weeks for her pain to “go away” and then come to me for massage, I would be writing a much different story. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

What Is Chair Massage?

chair-massageA chair massage is a massage provided to the client while they are seated and fully clothed. Chair massages can vary in length. A massage therapist can help clients a lot with only five minutes in the chair. Some massage practitioners offer chair massage at their clinics, but most of the time you will see chair massage provided at an event or on-site situation. A chair massage and an on-site massage are basically the same thing. While I have seen practitioners use massage tables for an on-site event, the more common equipment used is a massage chair.

Some of the benefits of chair massage are:

*Instant relief of the stress created at your workplace
*Increase circulation
*Helps clear your mind
*Clear mind brings about more efficiency
*Decrease in the pain also created at your workplace including but not limited to; headaches, neck pain, and upper, mid and lower back pain.

Here is an interesting video by David Palmer about the history of chair massage.

I offer on-site chair massage through my massage practice. I think it is a wonderful way for people to get a sample of how I work. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

Core Strengthening Part 3 of 3

As stated in the last two week’s posts, core strengthening is not just limited to working your abdominal muscles by doing crunches. It also includes exercising other muscles that help stabilize and strengthen your back, trunk, pelvis and hips. In this three part series, I will be writing about three different muscles that I like to encourage my Seattle Treatment Massage clients to strengthen if I find they are weak. Strengthening these muscles is a great addition to any core workout program.

In the last two parts of the Core Strengthening Series, we talked about the hip flexors and the adductors. The final third section is really going to get to the core of the matter. I am referring to the blue pelvismuscles know as the pubococcygeus muscle or the PC muscles. This muscles is located between the pubic bone and the tailbone. The PC muscle and the pelvis make up the bowl that holds your internal pelvic organs. When this muscle is weak it can contribute to hip instability and incontinence in men and women. A strong PC muscle can also aid with child birth and prevention of pelvic organ prolapse.

To exercise the PC muscle, you must first be aware of this muscle. Awareness can be found by attempting to cut of the flow of your urine midstream. The muscle you feel clamping down is your PC muscle. It is important for men and women to have strong PC muscles. If you are having a hard time feeling your PC muscle, see if a health practitioner can help you.

Exercises strengthening your PC muscles are generally called Kegels. One way to do a Kegel is to squeeze and hold your PC muscle for as long as you can. You might feel your PC muscle start to weaken and other abdominal muscles take over. That is fine. With time you will get stronger and getting a little abdominal strengthening with this exercise can be an added bonus.

Another way to strengthen these muscles is to picture them tighten like an elevator climbing your pelvic muscles, tightening at the bottom and working your way up.

You can also just do repetitions. One thousand and one, one thousand and two- squeeze.  One thousand one, one thousand two – release. You can use Mississippis, if that is your counting preference.

This concludes the core strengthening series. I hope it has been helpful and thank you for reading. PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

Core Strengthening Part 2 of 3

I am repeating the opening paragraph from last weeks post on Core Strengthening Part 1, in case there are those who didn’t get a chance to read it. Core strengthening is not just limited to working your abdominal muscles by doing crunches. It also includes exercising other muscles that help stabilize and strengthen your back, trunk, pelvis and hips. In this three part series I will be writing about three different muscles that I like to encourage my Seattle Treatment Massage clients to strengthen if I find they are weak. Strengthening these muscles is a great addition to any core workout program.

In the second part of this series on core strengthening we are going to look at the adductors. The adductors are another set of muscles that stabilize the core of the body. They are commonly weak amongst clients in my Seattle Treatment Massage practice. Adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and gracilis make up this important muscle group. The adductors are responsible for bringing your thighs together from an open position.

I often find people with low back pain or the side of their hips and/or legs are tight and/or painful, have weak adductors. The latter of these symptoms seem to be prevalent in bicycle riders. Strengthening the adductors can bring greater stability to your hips, trunk and low back. This in turn can provide more power and stability with walking, bending, and sitting for long periods.

VERSION ONE – Adductor exercise

SIDE ADDUCTION: Remember to do both sides. To add a challange to this excersise, put a weight on the inner part of the lower leg above the knee.

VERSION TWO– Adductor exercise

SEATED ADUCTION: Don’t let the title of this adductor exercise with a ball fool you, its not just for seniors. Everyone can benefit from having strong adductors.

One must be very careful when strengthening your adductors for it is easy to overdue and strain them. Start off slow and steady, increasing only when you are sure you are ready.

Stay tuned for next week and the third and final part in this three part series. We will learn about the PC muscles. Thank you for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.  http://www.pjharris.com/