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24/May/2017

Low back pain hurts and can result in pain when trying to stand up or shift position. Aching while trying to sleep. Trouble with bending or lifting.

Low back pain is the most common cause of missed time from work— it affects up to 80% of adults in the US at some point and can be completely incapacitating.

Many factors contribute to back pain including muscular injury, postural irregularities, obesity, problems with the spinal column and discs, and nerve problems. In some cases, no one culprit becomes evident– termed non-specific chronic low back pain. Despite its prevalence, low back pain remains a frustrating malady to treat.

Massage for Low Back Pain

Fortunately, for many people, massage can help ease low back pain. Although research has only just begun to support the efficacy of massage, the evidence that exists suggests both relaxation and therapeutic massage can reduce low back pain. In fact, recent medical guidelines list massage as a go-to therapy for low back pain. The team at Nimbus has helped countless people with their low back pain over the years. If muscular tension or injury has led to the pain, many people find relief in a few short sessions. For underlying factors that will not go away (arthritis, scoliosis, etc…) many manage their pain with ongoing treatments. Here is a list of some causes of back pain and some observations from the Nimbus staff about how massage may or may not help.

Massage may be most helpful for resolving pain or other symptoms in a short series of sessions:

– Muscular pain with recent onset.

– Nerve entrapment (by a muscle) with recent onset– including sciatica.

– Recent injury, sprain, or strain.

Massage may be very helpful for the following cases, however it may take a longer series of sessions:

– Chronic muscular pain.

– Nerve entrapment (by a muscle) that has been on-going– including sciatica.

– Past injury, sprain, or strain.

– Pain from postural or repetitive motion stress.

– Non-specific low back pain.

– SI Joint Dysfunction.

– Tendonitis.

– Piriformis Syndrome.

Massage may be helpful for relieving pain or other symptoms, but will not resolve the underlying issue:

– Arthritis including Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Spinal Stenosis.

– Fibromyalgia.

– Scoliosis.

– Degenerative or other disc diseases.

– Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Massage may not be helpful depending on the level of nerve vs. muscular involvement, may help pain or other symptoms:

– Ruptured disc.

– Nerve impingement (by bone)– including sciatica.

– As always, talk to your healthcare provider about your condition, and seek medical help for distressing, severe, or chronic pain.

What to expect during a massage

As with any complex condition, the treatment plan your massage therapist would suggest for your particular case will vary. The therapist will ask many questions concerning your pain, overall health, and history of massage and then discuss a plan with you. In some cases, the therapist may recommend a flowing massage using techniques to elicit relaxation and calm stress. A Massage for Stress & Anxiety can help back pain, and is a good fit for people who do not like structural massage. In other cases the therapist may recommend a more structural approach. If the pain just started recently, this would fall under the Massage for Aches & Pains category. For pain that has lasted more than three months, the Massage for Chronic Pain would be appropriate.  In either of these cases, the therapist may employ firm pressure to tender muscles; vigorous strokes to loosen stuck muscle fibers; sustained moderate pressure to ease taut areas; stretching and movement to move a nerve or muscle; and many more techniques. Depending on what you list as your symptoms, the therapist may check muscles in areas other than your low back including your legs, buttocks, and abdomen.

Home Care

You can also take steps to ease your pain at home. The American College of Physicians recently came out with a list of recommended approaches to easing back pain. Some examples of therapies you can use at home include the following. Apply heat, especially moist heat, like one of our Mother Earth Pillows or a soak. Engage in exercise, tai chi, or yoga. Try mindfulness techniques or progressive relaxation. You can also do self-massage at home with your hands or a gadget such as a trigger point tool or foam roller.

If low back pain hampers your daily living, massage and a good home care program, could help you get your pain under control, naturally.

 


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24/May/2017

Taking on a new exercise or physical activity can lead to sore aching muscles the next day.

Sometimes the muscle soreness even lingers for a few days making every step, bend, or twist a wince-worthy moment. Fortunately, with conditioning, learning your limits, and a little TLC post-activity, muscle soreness can fade into the past.

Lactic Acid and Sore Muscles

For a long time, the fitness community blamed lactic acid build-up for post-exercise muscle soreness. New studies show that lactic acid does indeed play a role in the muscles during physical exertion. However, it appears to dissipate quite rapidly after the activity stops instead of “building up” in the muscle.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Currently, the medical community believes that tiny little tears in the muscle fibers, combined perhaps with inflammation, cause the pain. They call it Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (“DOMS”). In general terms, as long as it feels good when stretched, it isn’t too severe. People often also qualify it as “good pain.”

Steps to prevent DOMS

Working with a personal trainer or exercise specialist when undertaking a new program can help people recognize and understand their limits and how to gradually improve. In general terms, starting slow with a moderate increase from previous activity can work. Then one can gradually increase the intensity. People can also apply this to non-exercise tasks such as gardening, home projects, or cleaning. Jumping in and overdoing it can lead to unwelcome muscle soreness. Take it easy and build up. In either case, warming up, cooling down, and stretching afterwards can minimize soreness.

Sports Massage

For those who push their limits in training, massage can help. Some people use sports massage directly after training to decrease inflammation and stave off DOMS. Recent studies have shown an actual physiological decrease in inflammation in muscles post-exercise with the application of massage. Typically, this type of sports massage entails light to moderate pressure vigorous massage.

Between heavy training cycles, one may use firmer more targeted massage to address problem areas with knots and tension. In either context, adding stretching can help.

The same principles would apply for someone who had sore muscles from non-exercise activity. In either case, the client would want to share how long it has been since their last intense activity, their typical activity, and what level of muscle soreness they feel. All of these pieces of information help a massage therapist plan a session that will ease the client’s pain.

Self-Care

Some things to try at home for easing DOMS include stretching, soaking, and self-massage. Taking time to stretch the sore muscles can feel great and get them back to normal more quickly. Applying heat, especially moist heat, can relax the muscle and ease pain. Many people find an Epsom salt bath or heat therapy pillow particularly helpful. Some people prefer cold therapy- such as icing or applying a salve such as BioFreeze. Self-massage techniques like rubbing, kneading, thumping, and jostling the muscle can help get them back in shape as well. Hands or tools such as a massage ball or foam roller all work. Light activity can also help speed recovery.

People of all levels of activity and fitness can experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Taking these steps can help relieve and/or prevent it for free, happy, easy movement.


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24/May/2017

Stretching is a mildly controversial topic.


For decades, many athletes have believed that a pre- and post-activity regimen of statically stretching individual muscles to or beyond their maximum length provided the following benefits: effective warm up, injury prevention, improved performance increased flexibility through permanent muscle elongation, and dissipation of knots in muscles.

However, current research leans away from such claims. Multiple studies have shown that pre-activity stretching can actually decrease performance, and makes no appreciable difference in frequency or severity of injuries. Other studies show that pre-activity stretching doesn’t warm and prepare the muscles as well as simply performing a scaled-down version of the activity itself, and that muscles cannot undergo plastic changes simply by being stretched.

So if stretching doesn’t deliver on injury prevention or performance improvement, what is it good for? Depending on how we define good:

|Good| adjective, better, best
1.morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious:
2.satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree:
3.
of high quality; excellent.

Stretching Article by James Arbuckle

Per current research, the following can be safely claimed as benefits of stretching or what’s “good” about it: Temporary relief from muscle soreness | Improved peace of mind | Improved flexibility by increasing stretch tolerance.

Most people agree that stretching just feels good. It may not “cure” sore muscles, but it can provide some short-term relief. For many, stretching induces a peaceful state, and can be used as a meditation. And finally, stretching has been proven to improve flexibility, not by actually elongating muscles, but more likely, by increasing the athletes tolerance of stretching.

Yoga, a stretching-based activity, can provide all of these benefits. For clients who would rather have yoga “done to them”, we offer Thai Yoga Massage at Nimbus. In this modality, the therapist puts the client through various yoga poses and stretches, inducing a state of relaxation and invigoration. And for those who would rather be massaged on a table rather than a mat, we now offer a sixty-minute Table Thai session.

 

 


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24/May/2017

Couple’s Massage Basics

Each February our schedules fill with couples wanting a massage together. Whether celebrating Valentine’s Day, or another occasion during the year, read on to learn more about Couple’s Massage.

The basic premise of a Couple’s Massage is that two people receive massage at the same time, in the same room. Each person has their own massage therapist and their own, individualized massage.

Upon arrival, expect your therapist to do an intake process with you so you can tell them your goals for the massage. You will also discuss your overall health and your preferences for a massage session.  Your partner’s therapist will do the same with them. Then you will all go to the treatment room and receive a brief orientation to the room and how to get on the table. The massage therapists will leave to let you undress and start relaxing on the table.

When the massage therapists return, they will begin your and your partner’s massages as you discussed in the intake. Since you probably have slightly different needs than your partner, the massages will be slightly different, and tailored to each person individually. The therapist will ask about your comfort, but will otherwise maintain peaceful quiet. Unlike some spas and franchises, we do not do a standard choreographed massage “routine.”

Why Choose Couple’s Massage

You may choose Couple’s Massage for a variety of reasons. Perhaps to celebrate a special occasion. Or one person is a massage veteran who is bringing the other for the first time; it can feel more comfortable to come with someone you know. Sometimes, it just makes more sense time-wise if both of you can receive a massage at the same time. Or you may simply find it a lovely way to spend time together.

If you want to try a Couple’s Massage, give us a call and we will help you book it. We offer 30, 60, and 90 minute sessions. We call it Massage for Two because not everyone who wants to get a massage at the same time is a couple, and we can also see two people is separate rooms.

During the month of February only, we offer on-line booking for a Valentine’s Day Couple’s Massage Package. This special package includes a rose, chocolates, and rose aromatherapy to take home. Due to the high demand for this service, we do require a deposit to reserve this service.

We look forward to seeing you and your someone special soon.

 

Couple's Reservation

 


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24/May/2017

How to Stay Wired for Love

Guest blog post by, Teresa M. Hunt, Ph.D.Licensed Psychologist

I love a good massage, don’t you? I think we can all agree that a luxurious massage from a caring therapist skilled in healing touch is a real gift to ourselves. During a massage, it is wonderful to feel that we can just let go of all our “survival tasks” and just be. From a neurobiological perspective (the study of the nervous system, physiology, and innate drives) we feel so relaxed because kind safe touch activates in the old “survival-based part of our brains the nonverbal message that all is OK; we are safe. The part of our brain (the amygdala) that stays at the ready to sound the “fire alarm” in case of danger can quiet down. With our defenses lowered, we can take in our environment, and open up to the pleasant experience and sensations. We feel a sense of calm, and perhaps even better, a sense of relaxed joyfulness.

This principle of safety and relaxation is so important to understand in the context of our closest relationships. When we humans (and animals) feel safe we will feel the same sense of relaxed joyfulness. We will then seek to: make love, nurture our young, rest, play and work creatively in flow. However, if a sign of danger arrives (ex. shot fired in the forest), all those connecting and joyful activities are instantly stopped. Instead the imperative becomes: stay alive! And we will move into one of five forms of reactivity: fight, flee, hide, submit or freeze.  It is important to realize that in a situation of danger, we cannot connect and love, while we are trying to stay alive.

From a neurobiological perspective, we are hard wired to connect, and hard wired to strive for safety. Sometimes these drives can work together and sometimes they conflict. On the attachment side, we know that a secure bond with a love partner buttresses us against the slings and arrows of life, and strengthens our immune system. Indeed Susan Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and author of “Hold Me Tight” states “attachment is the most compelling survival mechanism that nature knows.” And we know it is true that most of us, no matter how different we each may be in any other way, each long to connect AND feel safe with a significant other, to have one special person to comfort and love us. Indeed research has shown that isolation is toxic to our immune system, just as a strong secure bond strengthens it. Also toxic to our health are relationships filled with no safety, but instead filled with threat, rancor, and disconnection.

So how do we ensure to keep our love bonds strong once we find love? Of course that is a very large topic, and the focus of my daily work as a Couple’s Therapist. But some lessons from interpersonal neurobiology are very helpful. Couples Therapists are so excited to now know some principles that can really help. In years before our understanding of the science of attachment and how brains and our sense of safety are affected in relationship interactions, we had less effective methods of intervention. Now we know much more.

So a couple of things to keep in mind. And for more on this topic, please see “Wired For Love” by Stan Tatkin, the founder of PACT (The Psychological Approach to Couples Therapy)  This is a very helpful book for those wanting a more secure relationship. I call these items below “relational dance lessons”.

1. The most important thing I can say to help you is that if you desire a strong safe bond with your partner, where love, connection and fun can abide, you must recognize that unless your partner feels safe with you on a central nervous system level, inside their brain and body, which, by the way is largely outside of their conscious control, they will not be open to you in the way you may long for. Think of your shared relationship as a dog that has been mistreated badly that you are adopting from a kennel. How would you energetically behave towards this animal to get her to relax and become open and playful with you? You must become mindful of the energy you are putting into your relational space.

2. You can also create safety by understanding your partner better and developing an “owner’s manual” on him or her. Tatkin suggests that you become an “expert” on your partner. This means understanding his or her “tender spots” from the past, and being empathetic about them, so you do not take them personally. It also means understanding their characteristic way of reacting when they feel threatened, which is related to their attachment style. For example, does their energy get bigger (ex. complain when underneath they are feeling hurt), or does their energy constrict (ex. withdraw, or get very quiet when they feel criticized). Understanding your partner’s attachment style and how they respond to a felt sense of danger is the single most helpful thing you can do to learn to “dance well” in your relational space. When partners are in fear, they get into reactivity, and their primitive survival brains take over. When they feel safe, they can connect. So learning how to put their primitive brains at ease is a very helpful skill.

3. Create a Couple Bubble to allow each partner to feel safe and secure. This means a formal pact is made of true mutuality, which is pro relationship versus pro-self. The idea that “two is better than one.” And “we come first.” And “it has to be as good for me as it is for you,” and vice versa. “We are on one boat going down the river of life, etc….” You get the idea. This formal agreement is very powerful, similar to the way our young military men learn “you never leave your buddy on the battlefield,” and “we are in the foxhole together.” Such agreements create an ethos of security for the Couple that is extremely powerful and helpful.

4. Find a safe way to dialogue about frustrations and concerns that is always respectful, especially in tone and body language. The non-verbal messages are the ones that lead your partner’s brain and central nervous system to decide whether they are safe or in danger. So eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, body posture, etc…, should be attended to. Keep in mind that feeling wronged does not give you license to act aggressively. You will not get what you long for that way. Dealing with anger is a much bigger topic, but these guidelines overall are important. Remember the dog you adopted. Does this mean watch your words? Yes.

5. Amplify the Positive. Positive practices to create an atmosphere of fondness and appreciation go a long way to improve the security of a Couple’s bond.  It is so important to express appreciation to your partner verbally, even on a daily basis, and to make regular declarations of commitment (ex.”I am here for you babe”, or “you got it, whatever you need”). Understanding your partner’s love language regarding what makes them feel cared for, and gifting them those caring behaviors on a regular basis whether it be verbal affirmations, tender touch, acts of service, spending quality time together or giving gifts, strengthens a feeling of love and safety in your Couple space. All these things can be done mindfully knowing it is good for your relational health. You don’t have to wait until the spirit moves you to do it.  A positive intention to behave lovingly is enough. You will be glad you did.

These are just a few tips, there is much more to say, but it is a good beginning. For those wanting to read more about interpersonal neurobiology, google Daniel Siegel and Allan Schore. Also see Rick Hanson who wrote “Buddha’s Brain.” The idea of Mindfulness, and working with one’s own reactivity to become a safe partner for your love partner, where fun and passion can abide is also relevant here. However, just becoming aware of how important and vital these ideas are to a secure bond will get you off to a great start.

All the best!

Warmly, Dr. Teresa M. Hunt

443-817-8300
drtmhunt@gmail.com
www.huntpsychology.com

 

Teresa M. Hunt, Ph.D. is a CERTIFIED Imago Therapist/WORKSHOP PRESENTER and Licensed Psychologist who has specialized in individual and couples psychotherapy for over 29 years. She was clinically trained in the Columbia, Harvard, and University of Michigan Medical School Systems. In addition to Imago Couples Training, she has also had training in EFT (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy). She is also a CERTIFIED, PACT Level I and Level II Clinician (Psycho-biological Approach to Couples Therapy). She has completed Levels I and II of ASCH Clinical Hypnosis Training. Her work includes Psychodynamic and Interpersonal Approaches to Individual Therapy, Imago/EFT/ PACT Relationship Therapy, ADHD Counseling, Clinical Hypnosis for Selected Problems, and therapeutic work around anxiety, depression, coping with grief and loss, and other concerns. Dr. Hunt is a clear thinker and a dynamic presenter, and thoroughly enjoys connecting in a group format. She brings transformational expertise to enliven the ways partners learn to increase passion and communication.


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