Category Archives: Seattle Massage

Can Massage Help Heal Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. The capsule that holds the bones, ligaments and tendons of your shoulder thickens and tightens around the joint causing a restriction in movement.  The symptoms start gradually, get worse over time, and include stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Some people might notice their pain getting worse at night when they are sleeping.

There are typically three stages of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Painful stage. This is the stage where pain and limited range of motion start.
  • Frozen stage. In this stage the pain might decrease and, unfortunately, your limited range of motion and stiffness gets worse.
  • Thawing stage. During the thawing stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Massage can break up the holding associated with Frozen Shoulder. Massage incorporated with exercises and stretches a therapist can give you, will help you to be well on your way to recovery.

Some others things that have been known to help heal Frozen Shoulder:

  1. When lifting with just one arm, lift with your unaffected arm.
  2. When lifting with both arms, do not lift over your head.
  3. Ice your shoulder after heavy activity for up to but no longer than 15 minutes.
  4. Heat your shoulder by taking a shower or using a heating pack in the morning.
  5. Heat your shoulder, if you are not inflamed, before doing your exercises.
  6. Ice your shoulder several times a day when you are inflamed or in a lot of pain.
  7. Support your elbow with a pillow when you sitting and your arm with a pillow when you are sleeping so that gravity does not pull your shoulder down.
  8. In the first painful stage, don’t do something that causes pain. Be very gentle.
  9. Do the exercises you get from your treatment massage therapist every day. The improvement might seem slow but this is very important.
  10. Acupuncture has been known to be helpful with decreasing the pain and symptoms that come with Frozen Shoulder.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this post. If you have Frozen Shoulder, I hope you recover quickly. PJ Harri, LMP


6 Tips for Strong Ankles

anklesThe importance of strong ankles is far reaching. It greatly affects the fluidity in your walking stride. A disjointed stride can cause knee, hip, low back, mid back or even neck pain. Many of the people who come to me for knee pain can trace the cause to their ankles. In order to have strong ankles you must also have flexible ankles. Flexible and strong ankles are especially important if you run, play basketball, soccer, football, ride bicycles… or just want to stay active for many years to come.

 Here are a few exercises to retain or regain ankle strength and flexibility:

1. The first exercise is called calf raises. Here are a few examples on how you can do these at home:

2. This video includes the exercises of ankle circles and alphabet ankles:

 3. Another great ankle strengthening exercise is balancing on one foot:

 4. This exercise involves sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. With you heels firmly planted on the floor, slowly raise your toes up and down.

seated toe raise




5. Here is a great stretch for the front of the lower leg and ankle:

6. Keeping your calves flexible are also important to ankle health. You can do this stretch with the back leg straight and then do it again with the back leg bent.

calf stretch





 Always check with your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. If you find your ankles or lower legs are pretty tight and stiff, call your injury treatment massage therapist to help you find relief. Thank you for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.

What is Swedish Massage?

massage3While doing research on the history of Swedish massage, I came across many discrepancies. So as a result, I will not be relating information regarding it’s history. What I will explain is the main techniques incorporated in what massage practitioners practice while giving a Swedish massage currently in America.

The main goals of Swedish massage is to provide relaxation and improve circulation. The direction of massage strokes are what helps facilitate blood flow improvement. The focus of using strokes that are long and flowing help to promote relaxation.

Swedish massage consists of mainly five basic strokes:

1. Effleurage: Gliding strokes
2. Petrissage: Kneading movements
3. Friction: Deeper pressure
4. Tapottement: Brisk tapping
5. Gymnastic: Bending and stretching

Some of the other benefits of Swedish massage are:

1. Increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles
2. It stretches the muscles, ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable
3. Reduces muscle spasms
4. Stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time
5. Reduces stress
6. Promotes well-being
7. Satisfies needs for caring nurturing touch

As you see, Swedish massage is beneficial in many ways and adds to the overall quality of life for the recipient. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP

Common Culprit of Wrist Pain

wrist flexorsDo you have frequent wrist pain? Do you spend a lot of time on the computer or playing video games? Do you do strength training but ignore your wrists?

You might be one of the many people who have wrist pain because they have tight wrist flexors. What are wrist flexors? They are the muscles on the inner side of your forearms and are responsible for bending your wrist inward. Most of the people who come to my Seattle Treatment Massage practice with wrist pain need work on their wrist flexors. Often the work I do in tight wrist flexors is Myofascial work. This will help stretch the wrist flexors and the connective tissue around them.

If you have tight flexors you could probably benefit from stretching them. Always check with your health practitioner before you try any new stretching exercise. Here are a few movements that can help you alleviate your pain:





 Slowly move your hands and arms into this position breathe and hold for 20 seconds.

Many folks who do strength training have tight wrist flexors and weak wrist extensors. Make sure that you are strengthening the whole wrist in all four (up, down and both sides) linear wrist movements, especially if you work on a computer all day. Ask a personal trainer to help you with this.

There is a lot more we can say about the wrist, but that will have to wait for another post. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP.

Can Massage Decrease Anxiety?

Many of my clients have such busy lives. They show up at my office and the anxiety is written all over their face. I hear about how bad trafficanxiety was on their way here or that they almost had to cancel because their calendar is too full. At the end of their massage, they are relaxed, their breathing is slowed and their face is calm. Do I think that massage can decrease anxiety? Most definitely! Although, I have not done an official study including a control group regarding this fact, there are those who have.

I have read many studies that show a decrease in anxiety for people receiving massages. There are even studies that show that people who give massage can decrease their anxiety too. Looks like I picked the right career.

One place that specializes in studies about touch and it’s effects on people is the Touch Research Institute. TRI did a study showing that massage therapy decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in adults with hypertension. Another study showed twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and 24 control group adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. The group receiving massage exhibited a decrease in anxiety.

 So, there are studies and my opinion, but what is most important is what do you think about how massage can help us become more calm? My guess is that most of you will agree and even believe that your life could benefit from receiving more massage. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP.


Massage therapy decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in adults with hypertension.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.

Twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and 24 control group adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. On the first and last days of the study they were monitored for EEG before, during and after the sessions. The massage group exhibited: 1) increased frontal delta power (suggesting relaxation); 2) decreased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness); 3) increased speed and accuracy on math computations ; 4) lower anxiety levels; 5) lower salivary cortisol levels; and 6) lower depression scores at the end of the 5 week period.
Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Gonclaves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.

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

Can Massage Help Heal Tendinitis?

elbow2I am going to give you all a quick rundown of information regarding Tendinitis. This injury can be successfully treated with patience, diligence and even massage.

Tendinitis is inflammation (swelling) of the tendon. A tendon is the type of tissue that connects muscle to bone.

* Heat and swelling
* Referred pain
* Burning and/or sharp pain

* Repetitive motion, overuse
* Tendon/muscle weakness
* Poor posture
* Sprains or strains are often accompanied by Tendinitis

Four Types of Tendinitis (symptoms)
1. Painful after activity
2. Painful at the beginning, goes away during and then returns after activity
3. Painful beginning, during and after activity and might inhibit said activity
4. Painful with all activity and is getting worse

Treatment Tips
1. Ask your doctor to give you an actual diagnosis
2. Ice after activity
3. Rest from causing activity
4. Massage
5. Painless stretches given to you from a Health Practitioner
6. Strengthening exercises given to you from a Health Practitioner

Some believe that deep friction massage helps stimulate collagen production in the damaged fibers. Others believe that using massage to break up the scar tissue is the key to healing Tendinitis. Either way, massage is most beneficial in the treatment of Tendinitis. Don’t wait, get relief. PJ Harris, LMP