Article Archive

Rolfing a Legend

NHL Hall of Famer Gordie Howe Finds Relief with Bodywork

The body of the 84-year-old client on Robert Toporek’s table shows years of abuse. A once-fractured skull, uncountable broken ribs that healed with time and tape, and the remnants of 500 facial stitches have all left their mark. Yet, the client never complains; he would say these injuries—and the many more he endured over the course of his 32-year career—came part and parcel with his job.

MS: Easing Symptoms with Informed Massage

Right now, more than 350,000 Americans experience symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), including weakness, spasm, loss of coordination, and impaired cognition. As a massage therapist, you can be sure that someone with MS will walk through your door and be desperate for help.

What is MS?
MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the myelin sheath deteriorates, resulting in the destruction of nerve fibers. The origin is unknown, but we do know:

Nurses’ Injuries

With more than 5 million nurses working today, nursing ranks as the largest of the health-care professions.1 Given the type of work nurses do and the stresses they endure, it is not surprising that nursing has such a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries tied to it. Physical demand is a primary reason nurses choose to downgrade their work hours, request administrative nursing roles, or even leave the profession.2

Tiny Trigger Thumb

A Strategy for Young Clients

“It isn’t clicking anymore. Cool, huh?” My little client, A., flashed a smile that lit up the room. She glanced at her mom, as if she needed approval to show her elation. Her mom was clearly thrilled with her daughter’s progress.

Scar Tissue

When a Solution Becomes a Problem

Anyone who studies the structure and function of the human body must be amazed by its remarkable ability to heal. Our poor bodies are insulted every day by irritated hangnails, blisters from sunburn, scraped elbows, bruised shins, and overworked livers. Even inactivity takes a toll: actin and myosin in underworked muscles may disintegrate with lack of use, and the fascial sheaths around and within muscles can dry up and become sticky.

Wall Angels

A wall angel is a stretching/strengthening exercise that can be used as a functional assessment for upper-crossed syndrome. If the wrists come forward off the wall or are unable to touch the wall, then there is an upper-quarter imbalance.

Wall angels can be done either against a wall or on the floor (floor angels). This exercise stretches/lengthens pecs and strengthens/shortens rhomboids and trapeziuses. They are similar to snow angels, but the elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Masseuse, masseur, or massage therapist?

The word massage was originally a French term meaning “friction of kneading.” It is believed to be derived from the Arabic massa, meaning “to touch, feel, handle.” Another possibility is that it comes from the Portuguese verb amassar, meaning “knead,” based on the Latin massa, “mass, dough.”

It’s a hot issue, with good arguments from both sides, but what’s the “correct” term?

Massage Therapist

Mind-Body Medicine for massage

First, let’s examine the stress response and how it affects our bodies. The stress response is an important evolutionary process that evolved as our alarm to danger. This fight-or-flight response creates a cascade of hormones that affects brain function, digestion, heart function, muscle tone, and more. The opposite of that reaction is the relaxation response, which calms the stress response and releases feel-good hormones. The stress response was beneficial in warning us against immediate danger, like a saber-toothed tiger, but our modern-day stresses are not as dynamic.