Massage in the News: CST and Pregnancy

Have you or a family member been effected by infertility? Studies have shown that decreasing stress levels with CranioSacral Therapy can improve fertility as much as 60%. Follow this link for more information:

CranioSacral Therapy Can Help Decrease Stress and Improve Fertility

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle technique which relaxes the body from the inside out. Practitioner’s hands gently hold the body, listening for restrictions to movement, flow of tissue, holding the body in position after position allowing the opportunity to release tension, tightness and improve range of motion. The central nervous system releases from deep within the physical body, enabling relaxation signals to be sent throughout the body. Over all stress levels are reduced as muscles, joints and organs relax into the moment.

In my office, I encourage my clients to notice their breath bringing Oxygen into the body while inhaling, and releasing tension during exhalation. This deepens the breath and the letting go of tension brings an inner calm to the body. These simple techniques can be done at home to continue the relaxation and release of the physical body. This is a wonderful way to take care of your own being while caring for your partner or young child.

When you stress level is high, please call me to schedule an appointment: 603 365-0852 or email: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

Much Love and Gratitude,

Sarah-Elizabeth

 

 

 

Body Talk: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the heel and sole of the foot. Medically the plantar ligament has micro-tears within the tissue which causes pain. The foot was likely strained from walking, or running coupled with in adequate foot support, high or low arches, being over weight or even walking/standing/running for long periods of time. This is a painful condition that can be helped with regular massage sessions in addition to daily self care.

WebMD.com has a list of self-care suggestions here: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-home-treatment

Stretching first thing in the morning, alternating hot and cold soaks and wearing supportive shoes, possibly with orthotics, are keys to the healing of the soles of the feet. Massage for the plantar muscle is often painful to receive, yet effective for pain relief. I have seen plantar fasciitis resolve with twice a week 20 – 30 minute treatments over the course of 6 weeks. Massage deeply stretches the tendons, connective tissue and muscles of the foot allowing for increased circulation in the injured tissue, which aides the healing process.

When you a colleague or neighbor are suffering from plantar fasciitis, please give me a call to set up a series of 6 – 10 sessions for the feet, legs and hips. This focused session brings relief to pain and gets you back to playing your favorite games on foot!

Happy Walking Feet to all!

Sarah-Elizabeth

Contact information: 603 365-0852 or relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

 

Massage In the News: Labor and Delivery

This article recently was published in the New York Times:

They discuss the relationship of labor and delivery time to the need for an epidural or c-section. Labor and deliver of a baby is a normal physical process of life creating life. There is need from time to time for medical interventions, though the majority of women have the internal strength and knowledge to birth a baby on their own. When a woman is feeling unready for the journey of labor, suggest a prenatal massage.

Relax. Pause. Breath. Become strong from within. These are some of the lessons of prenatal massage. Labor time can be shorter and less uncomfortable with a prenatal massage within one to two weeks of delivery.  During a session on my table, I remind the mother-to-be of her own body, breath and the connection between her and the child growing in the belly. Massage releases tightness in the shoulders, back and hips. The rib cage is massaged to bring additional space for breathing which will support full breaths during labor and delivery.

Moms who are at 40 week and show no signs of delivering their baby may consider prenatal massage to encourage labor to begin. Acupressure points at the ankles are activated to stimulate labor. Most pregnant moms I have worked with feel this activation of energy right away. This acupressure activation can be continued at home following the massage with the support of a parent, spouse, doula or mid-wife to the toleration of the mother-to-be.

Refer your pregnant friend, co-worker or family member to schedule a prenatal massage prior to the birth of their child. This is a gift for both the mother and the baby-to-be!

Call 603 365-0852 or Email  relax@sarah-elizabeth.org  to set up an appointment today!

Many Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

Body Talk: Relaxed muscle = Strong muscle

This may seem counter intuitive: a relaxed muscle is a strong muscle. A muscle that hold tension or tightness is often tired, lacks circulation and oxygen in the cells. Tired muscles can not move as easily, thus the body feels and acts weaker when it is tight. Muscles that are open, relaxed and flexible are ready to move and lift for the next task.

Try this: Notice where in your body there is tension: shoulders, neck, hips or legs. Move this part of your body, challenging the muscles for a moments. Take a breath in and out, releasing the movement back to neutral. Now, gently stretch the muscle. Repeat this two or three more times and observe the sensations in that muscle. Breath in oxygen, breath out tension. What do you notice happening?

Sports massage techniques are used to release muscle tension and holding patterns around joints in order to free the body for flowing movement. On my massage table, you are invited to release the bones of the shoulder, hip, neck or head into my hands. One the muscles release, the joint is moved towards a comfortable range of motion (ROM) into a gentle stretch. The body pauses to enjoy the stretch and then is invited to move the joint back to the neutral center of the body. Once relaxed, you are invited to breath deeply, bringing oxygen into the body and the muscle being worked on. As the body relaxes once more, the stretch is invited into the joint to bring further release to the muscle and joint.

Notice the improvement in strength as ROM and relaxation deepen.

Each movement increases the relaxation, improves ROM and brings relief to the pain in the joint and with movement. This is a lasting improvement as the body will begin to circulate blood, nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and joints more freely. Healing deepens as the muscles relax. Relaxed muscles are strong muscles.

Call today to schedule a sports massage session to release the tension you are holding throughout the body!

relax@sarah-elizabeth.org   or 603 365-0852 Many Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Massage Therapy and Fitness Training

A few weeks ago I learned about rhabdomyolysis, a disease that is on the rise as particularly CrossFit training and other intensive workouts become more common. Taking a break from your regularly scheduled workout routines for massage therapy assists your body in recovery time, body/mind awareness and rest and relaxation.

Fitness enthusiasts: how much are you listening to your body’s needs for relaxation? Do you know where your body is strongest or weakest? Taking time to step away from the gym, track, court or rink is a gift to your intensive workout schedule. During these times of rest your body recovers. Massage therapy enhances the recovery time and connects your body/mind to the effects of your workouts.

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=14177&catid=328&title=fitness-fans-listen-to-your-body-when-its-time-for-massage

Sports massage techniques gently stretched the body to explore the range of motion in muscle groups around the major joints of the body: ankles, knees, hips and shoulder. Major joints are connected through fascia, muscles, tendon and ligaments into the spine, neck and head, so the whole body is effected. With awareness of breath, you are guided to notice sensations in the body, noticing where the body is open, releasing or holding tension, tightness or discomfort.  As the body begins to relax range of motion improves, the muscles melt open and circulation increases bringing oxygen and nutrients into the tissues deepening relaxation.

Awareness of holding patterns is an opportunity to make shifts in your workout routine to address the issues of imbalance. A CrossFit athlete may have an imbalance in the shoulders that began with a slight injury. A Baseball player may have a strong rotation in one direction around the spine as they power through to hit the ball. Release of the shoulder muscles (cross-fit) spine (baseball) improves the range of motion in the body, invites awareness to the difference in rotation to the left around the spine and creates space for healing.

As massage therapy on a monthly basis becomes an integrated part of your exercise routine you will cultivate body awareness, create body/mind connection, deepen full-body relaxation and improve recovery between workouts.

Call Today!  603 365-0852 or Email: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org  to set up an appointment for sports massage.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

Body Talk: Pain

Pain. How is pain speaking with you today?

Pain catches our attention and asks for a response. NOW! Pain brings a present state of awareness into our lives. Pain may stop you in your tracks, keep you from activity or bring you to your knees.

Pain may be described as: a dull ache, sharp, hot, electrical, shooting, stabbing, creeping, restrictive, cutting, catching, breath taking, stinging, pointy, throbbing.

Put a focus on pain and give your body the chance it needs to soften the pain and regain mobility. With a skilled massage therapist, pain can be reduced and movement restored to the body in just an hour’s session. Over a series of sessions, pain can be reduced up to 100%. Gentle pressure to explore the area of pain, stretching, compression and movement brings increased blood flow to the body allowing the body to realign and heal from within.

Are you ready to release the pain you’ve carried for weeks, months or even years? Call to set up an appointment today for a one hour session to reduce your pain, learn more about the source of your pain and gain new freedom to move!

603 365-0852 cell or email me at: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

Here’s to letting go and being free from pain!

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Rhabdomyolysis

In the news lately are stories of CrossFit training leading to Rhabdomyolysis. A blog post from 2011 details one man’s journey with a  CrossFit induce case: http://www.crossfitreality.com/?p=38  What I understand is this dis-ease is not easy to recognize at first onset. Once you have experienced this illness, your body’s ability to restore muscle and kidney function will be compromised.

A culture of mindfulness may assist CrossFit practitioners in staying clear of the training stress on the body. From what I understand, there is a  CrossFit mentality which encourages individuals  to push through pain in order to gain strength. A body can only become as strong as the weakest link in the system.  Rhabdo manifests with the kidney in the form of dark urine is often the first signs of the disease. Muscle fatigue, weakness and swelling accompany the kidney issues. Without care including hydration, the entire body can shut down. At the first signs of any symptoms of Rhabdomyolisis, hydrate and get to the emergency room.

Before you begin a CrossFit program talk with your doctor (for medical clearance) and the instructor about a weight lifting routine that eases your body into the increased strength training. CrossFit is a scalable practice of movements, take it slow the first few weeks as your body builds muscle strength, aerobic depth and more. Be mindful of pain. Pain is there to grab your attention when the body is fatigued or injured.

Rhabdomyolisis can not be reversed with massage therapy. So, listen well to your body and when you need to rest between trainings rest. If your muscles are feeling fatigued, yet they are not recovering as fast as you would like, consider a sports massage session to stretch out the muscles and attend to the joints. Return to your training with a routine of scaling back on exercises for 3 – 5 sessions. Give your body a chance to recover and to gently stay moving.

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Running from Couch to 5 K

Running is hereditary, you catch it from your kids…

My whole life I’ve had this thought that I could not run. My knees hurt over short distances chasing the kids in the yard. Over the years I’ve worked out on a yoga mat, played at water aerobics and using general housework as my workout for the day. Who knew vacuuming brings on a good sweat!?!?!?!!!

This fall as our two kids donned their running shoes it occurred to me that I might put some on myself. They both have improved their stamina over the course of a few short weeks. Both kids have improved their run times and are making “PR” (Personal Record) for the courses they are running.  On Facebook many friends  are running 5 K races with their kids, or without them. “Mapmyrun.com,”  “mapmywalk.com” “mapyourride.com” are just a few of the apps I’ve watched my facebook friends use in the past few months. Then “Couch to 5 K” came to my attention and I decided to “get of the couch and get running!”

Here’s the plan: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Today is the middle of week two for me and here is what I’ve begun to learn:

1. I’m not so much a couch potato as I thought. The recommendations are to run for 90 seconds, walk for two minutes three times in the first week. By the third workout  I was beginning to stretch the last of my 7 cycles to 2 minutes of running.  This week, I am running for 2 minutes, walking for 90 seconds, repeating for 7 cycles. I did my second run this morning, skipped the walking between 6 and 7th cycle, in order to run for 4 consecutive minutes! Who knew?

2. There is a post run elation that sets in after running. My brain feels more clear, my mind organizes thoughts better. I notice the world around me, changes in terrain, the sun’s rays catching the tops of trees as it rises across the land and my arms swinging at my sides.

3. My body responds to running differently at the beginning or ending of my run. During my first 2 minutes, my body finds it’s way into a rhythm, oxygen makes its way to the muscles and the joints begin to free up. The second 2 minutes my knee is stiff, tight and somewhat painful. Once I get into the third or fourth 2 minute runs, my body is flowing freely, I feel my arms pumping and notice it is possible to swing my arms and feel as if I am flying! That last 4 minutes this morning felt fluid, energizing and grounding. The land moved beneath my feet with each step. Maybe I was moving the Earth, rather than pushing off the Earth into the sky?

4. Big thoughts come as I settle into a pace with my body. My mind became something that I choose to witness while I am running. Ah… there is a thought about A-B-C, and another about D-E-F. With my legs moving underneath my body, arms pumping at my sides, I let go of the mind and allowed the sensations of moving to be a focus and from that place of moving, thoughts scrolled through effortlessly.

5. There is excitement in me that I might actually be able to run! It feels good to run. In a short time I can feel my body gaining strength, the ability to process Oxygen more quickly and even the energy to keep running ever other day. In less than two weeks, I can feel my body wanting to run on my “rest day.”

My kids have inspired me to get running and I hope one day to run alongside them. It is not a race. One day, one step at a time. For now, I’m grateful to have a body that is willing to try running!

In Peace with Gratitude and Love,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: The Psoas Muscle

The article on the Psoas muscle came to my awareness recently. For years, I’ve understood the importance of releasing this major muscle of the body. The psoas lies along the inside of the spine and back, connecting the lumbar vertibrae and the femur. The psoas moves the hip in flexion, lifts the leg forward to take a step for walking or running. See the attached article for some amazing views of the muscle.

The psoas muscle relates to four chakras: the root chakra, the creative center, the solar plexus or power center and it reaches up towards the heart center. A mantra that I envision for this muscle is: I AM CREATIVE,  POWERFUL AND LOVING. When the body tightens up and is unwilling to walk forward, look to releasing the psoas muscle to regain your ability to step forward once more.

The Psoas: Muscle of The Soul

Empower yourself to create love with attention to the psoas muscle.

Peace and Gratitude,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Feet in the News

Do you wear high heel shoes, pumps, stiletto heels, platform shoes? Are you feet tired at the end of the day from walking on your toes? It could be time for a massage to release the tenderness in your foot joints, ankle and calf muscles.

Podiatrists are taking a closer look at our feet wearing high heels. Recently they have turned the CT Scan into a way to look at feet with shoes on, supporting the body while standing. These views will enable a complete understanding of the origins of foot pain. Article here with some amazing views of a normal foot in a high heel shoe:

http://www.today.com/health/what-your-foot-really-looks-high-heels-8C11017156

As a massage therapist, I find this way of viewing the body fascinating. Each time I “look” at a foot with my hands, I begin to feel the restrictions around the toes, metatarsals, and ankle bones. With appropriate pressure and decompression, these restrictions release and free the bones of the foot to move more easily. Foot pain is reduced, range of motion increases as the body begins to walk with a new found ease.

Wearing comfortable, flat shoes is important for life long care of our feet. Stiletto heals may be fabulous at making women taller and slimming the look of the leg. The article goes on to say:

“Among the issues some women may develop are a shortening and tightening of the Achilles tendon, which may prohibit a woman’s ability to wear flat shoes. Tendonitis, pinched nerves, bunions, hammertoes or metatarsalgia, an inflammation of the bones in the ball of the feet, are also problems associated with the sky-high heel, explains podiatrist Jeffery Alexander, assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.”

The next time you take off your high heels at the end of the day, only to rub your tired foot joints, think about giving me a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll reduce your pain and get you on track to wearing flats!

Peace and Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth