Article Archive

Four-Legged Clients

... and the bodyworkers who care for them

Most bodywork clients appreciate the serenity of a darkened room, with soothing music playing quietly in the background and a touch of scented oil in the air. Then, there are Kathi Soukup’s clients.

Like a growing number of massage therapists and bodyworkers, Soukup has become a family practitioner in the broadest sense of the term. An avid endurance rider, she began her career working on horses and later learned to work on humans. Now, she’s just as comfortable providing massage and acupressure to four-legged family members as two-legged ones.

Soothing Moms’ Aches and Pains

Soft-Tissue Strategies for New Mothers

Looking for a great Mother’s Day gift for a new mom? How about a massage? It may sound like some kind of advertisement, but there is no joking around with the serious level of musculoskeletal pain new moms endure. Having a child is a joyful time for many mothers, but it can be complicated by significant pain complaints.

Sometimes Pain is the Sum of Many Factors

“I can’t believe how much my back hurts,” said Mr. M., an active young man in his mid-30s. “If I bend over—even a little—it really grabs. At its worst, it can take my breath away. My doctor said it is a muscle spasm, but man, this feels like a lot more than that.”

“I understand why you think that, but actually a spasm can be one of the worst pains you can experience,” I assured him.

“But this hurts so much,” Mr. M. asserted. “I’m afraid something is seriously wrong.”

The Heart Center

Infuse Yourself with Healing Energy

The heart center, located in the chest, is the most important energy center for healing work. The energy generated, amplified, and filtered by the heart center is intrinsically healing. When focused, the transpersonal love energy of the heart center can give clarity to a healing dynamic, a personal dynamic, or an event much more quickly than the energy of the other chakras can.

Why Does Touch Feel Good?

A Question of Basic Science

Humans and other animals use touch to communicate, explore their environment, heal, learn, sense danger, and more. On a molecular level, it is the least understood of all the senses. While there are several types of touch-sensor neurons, it is not known how these neurons respond to force.1 Our ability to sense gentle touch is known to develop early and remain ever-present in our lives, yet, until now, scientists have not known exactly how humans and other organisms perceive such sensations.2

Pervasive Pain

The Central-Sensitization Situation

A client relays this conversation with her primary care provider:

Mrs. Smith: No matter what I do, it hurts all the time. It hurts when I rest, and when I work. It hurts when I eat healthy, and when I eat junk. It hurts whether I sleep or not. It hurts all the time. I don’t remember what it’s like to not hurt. What am I supposed to do?

Doctor: I can’t imagine why you’re having so much pain, Mrs. Smith. Your tests show hardly any …

What is Deep-Tissue Massage?

The term deep-tissue massage is defined by different authors in different ways. Some say it is massage directed at the deeper myofascial structures of the body. Others ask, “What if the myofascial structures needing deep-tissue massage are superficial?” Some say that deep-tissue massage is work that feels deep to the client. Others ask, “Does this mean the work should feel painful to the client?” Some say the term is a misnomer and should be completely stricken from massage literature.

Delivering Care for Delivery Workers

Delivery workers have one of the highest rates of musculoskeletal injury compared to other occupations. The television show King of Queens might portray Doug Heffernan as a lighthearted, rarely debilitated delivery worker, but in reality, this occupation is physically and mentally demanding, with injuries comparable to those experienced by professional athletes.

The unique biomechanical challenges of this occupation put these workers at significant risk for a host of musculoskeletal complaints, including injuries to the shoulders, neck, back, head, and knees.

Massage Improves Postoperative Experience

Patient experience is commonly referred to as the fifth vital sign. Persistent suffering is at the crux of the term patient experience.1 Hospitals dependent on patient satisfaction surveys for funding and ratings are trying a variety of interventions to improve the patient’s experience and relieve postoperative pain and distress. According to recent studies, massage therapy safely and effectively improves patients’ postoperative experience.

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