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Understanding Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is a specialized hands-on treatment for relieving pain and tension throughout the body.  To understand how the treatment works, you need to know what fascia is and what myofascial means.

Fascia is a thin tissue that covers all the organs of your body, including each muscle and the fiber within the muscle.  When you move, the fascia stretches along with your muscles, making up the myofascial unit.  When muscle fibers are injured or traumatized, the fascia surrounding the fibers becomes short and tight, transmitting pain and other unpleasant symptoms throughout your body.  Myofascial Release treats these symptoms by releasing the uneven tightness in the injured fascia.

Your Myofascial Release Treatment

Your massage therapist will find the areas of tension and tightness caused by the injured fascia and apply gentle sustained pressure.  This pressure allows the fascia to elongate, or stretch.  John James is experienced in this specialized technique and knows how much force to use and how long to stretch based on each individual’s needs.  Your feedback will aid John James to treat you properly.

Many patients are unable to pinpoint certain sore spots, but John James will not only be able to locate these “trigger points,” but decrease their size and sensitivity.  He will accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the right amount of sustained pressure to facilitate the release of the fascia.  Myofascial Release eliminates pain and restores motion, even if alternative treatments youíve tried in the past have failed.

Benefits of Myofascial Release

When trauma occurs – physical, mental, or emotional, people respond with a flight or fight freeze response.  Myofascial Release therapists believe than an unresolved freeze response is ìrecorded,î so to speak, in the myofascial tissues, and that full recovery is not possible unless this “record” of trauma is released.  Myofascial Release is the treatment that allows your body to release its hold on the trauma that is still causing you pain.

Inflammatory responses, surgical procedures, and injuries all create myofascial restrictions that are capable of producing pressures of an estimated 2,000 pounds per square inch.  John James works with you to find these restrictions and release the pressure off pain-sensitive tissues like your nerves and blood vessels.  You will enjoy increased mobility in your joints and a dramatic reduction of nerve and muscle pain.

Other benefits of Myofascial Release include:

  • Improved circulation and nutrition for your tissues
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Decreased fascial tension beneath scar tissue
  • Restoration of motion and functional movement
  • Reduction of migraines and TMJ symptoms

Myofascial Release is highly recommended for anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological disorders, migraines or headaches, neck and back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, sports injuries, scoliosis and postural dysfunctions, and other chronic pain syndromes.

by Alaina M. Coyle, Freelance Writer

Fibromyalgia Massage: Pain Relief Without Pills

If you suffer from fibromyalgia as I do, no doubt you are constantly looking for new ways to treat your symptoms.  The pain and aches you experience on a daily basis are as discouraging as they are debilitating.  Fibromyalgia massage has proven to help fibromyalgia patients in a variety of ways, and is becoming increasingly recognized as a valid treatment among medical professionals.

What is Fibromyalgia Massage?

For many of us who suffer from fibromyalgia, visiting an inexperienced massage therapist can make us question the value of massage therapy – or even leave us worse off than before.  A treatment with a therapist with extensive experience in fibromyalgia massage can make all the difference in the world.

Although it may appear to be a new treatment, massage therapy dates back thousands of years.  Hippocrates actually defined medicine as “the art of rubbing.”  John James takes this “art” very seriously and has dedicated himself to helping his patients find the relief they so desperately seek.

Fibromyalgia massage is a hands-on treatment that utilizes key techniques to draw negative energy away from the face and head, relieve tender trigger points, loosen fascia (the tissue that covers your muscles), and improve circulation – all important elements of treating fibromyalgia.  John James, who has eighteen years experience leading fibromyalgia support groups, understands fibromyalgia and its impact on the body. John has the knowledge and compassion necessary to treat you professionally – and successfully.

The Benefits of Fibromyalgia Massage

Although researchers are not certain exactly how massage therapy reduces pain, they do know that it does.  One theory suggests that massage boosts the body’s production of natural pain-blockers, such as endorphins and serotonin.  These “feel-good” hormones counteract pain signals the brain sends to different parts of the body, which explains why so many patients report relief from their fibromyalgia pain.  However, this is only the beginning of the long list of benefits you’ll enjoy from your fibromyalgia massage.

John James’ patients also experience improved blood circulation – blood flowing more freely through congested knots of muscle.  You will enjoy increased flexibility and range of motion, as well as a reduction of stiffness in your joints.  Because fibromyalgia massage focuses on bringing energy away from the head and neck, you may experience fewer migraines – a frequent complaint among many fibromyalgia sufferers.  John James will use massage strokes that move down your body to encourage release of negative energy out through your feet, leaving you feeling lighter and refreshed.

Many patients also enjoy a better quality of sleep after having a treatment with John James.  Since a lack of refreshing sleep is one of the leading culprits of fibromyalgia flare-ups, this may be the best benefit of all.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that fibromyalgia massage has been a complete life-saver for me.  My fibromyalgia is always worse when I am under stress, and there is simply no better stress-reliever than a good massage from an experienced therapist who really, deeply understands fibromyalgia massage. I know you will find similar relief when you visit John James Massage Plano.

by Alaina M. Coyle, Freelance Writer

Sports Massage Therapy Benefits Swimmers Pre and Post Event

Evelyn Davis Licensed Massage Therapist

Evelyn Davis Licensed Massage Therapist

Sports massage therapy for swimmers has both physical and psychological benefits. Serious competitors and recreational swimmers alike can improve their swimming performance with sports massage therapy designed specifically for the issues swimmers face.

Swim athletes worldwide now view regular massage as a necessary part of their training regimen. Sports massage therapy increases blood flow which reduces soreness and speeds recovery. Certain sports massage techniques, properly applied,  increase the range of motion of injured muscles and further accelerate the healing process. With a shorter time required for full recovery you can increase workouts and adapt your body to a higher level of physical stress.

For swimmers’ sports massages we prefer a combination of trigger point massage, myofascial release and Swedish massage methods aimed at the muscle groups and movements that swimmers use in order to swim fast.

swimmer sports massage therapy

Trigger point release of the infraspinatus muscle.

Most swimmers generally get tight in the areas underneath and behind the shoulder blades, with lots of tender trigger points. Swedish massage movements are best here to relieve the general tension in the muscles while the patient is lying on their side. Trigger points are released with careful pressure as they arise. In particular in swimmers, the infraspinatus muscle (see photo) often triggers and refers pain to the front of the shoulder, limiting the internal rotation which is needed for a good “catch”.

Another area of significant range-of-motion concern for swimmers is the myofascia located below the shoulder at the side and extending the length of the latissimus dorsai down to the lower back. Tightness in this long muscle and fascia group is a significant impediment for swimmers. For this area we use a myofascial release technique which stretches the muscle and fascia in a very targeted way.

Swimmers all seem to generate trigger points on the back between the spine and

top of shoulder trigger point release

Top of shoulder trigger point.

shoulder blade as well as on top of the shoulder closely adjacent to the neck. We find that relieving these irritations significantly improves relaxation, posture, and breathing.

Here are some thoughts about how massage could be incorporated into your swimming regimen:

Pre-swim meet: Use a sports massage to aid in warming up your muscles before training or an event. A sports massage can help stretch the muscles as well as stimulating blood flow and relaxation. By having the muscles well stretched and relaxed it can help prevent sports injuries. Massages can provide benefits even if performed up to two days before an event.  And it’ll relax you – a competitive edge!

Post-swim meet: Utilize a sports massage after the sporting event to help in muscle recovery. A post-event sports massage can also aid in reducing muscle spasm and soreness. Post-event massages are short and direct lasting usually only 30 minutes. The post-event focuses on the muscles used specifically for the sport. After striving hard a massage will increase your blood circulation to speed the removal of fatigue toxins, relieve your muscle spasms and prevent soreness.

Fine-tuning: For regular fine-tuning a massage will search out and relieve areas of bio-mechanical stress in your muscles before they become problems, enabling you to train harder and more consistently.

Injury Rehabilitation: Massage will speed healing of your injuries, increase your range of motion, and reduce scar tissue thus allowing your muscles to expand and contract fully. With less time spent recovering you’ll be training at your peak levels more often and become more competitive.

John James Massage Plano is a sponsor of the City Of Plano Swimmers (COPS)  and provides complimentary massage services to COPS members at their regular swim meets.

Reflexology: Addressing Pain and Putting Cancer Patients at Ease

Jack Bleeker
May 2010

With roots in ancient Egypt, China, and Japan, the art of reflexology is a healing and relaxation technique that has stood the test of time and is familiar to many today. Found on treatment menus in world-class spas and on the schedules of many hospital-based palliative care centers, reflexology is viewed by skeptics as just a foot massage, but those who have recognized the therapy’s benefits will loudly proclaim that it is much, much more.

For patients with cancer, such as those battling malignant mesothelioma, reflexology is said to have numerous benefits. Used as a complementary therapy along with conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, proponents of reflexology note that the treatment goes a long way in addressing such issues as pain, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting. Especially upon the mesothelioma prognosis, these individuals are in dire need of therapeutic relief from the side effects mentioned.

So how does a foot rub help eliminate the unpleasant effects of cancer? Simply put, reflexology involves applying pressure to and stretching the hands and feet in order to trigger responses in other parts of the body. Experts theorize that the pressure sends a calming message from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system, where it signals the body to adjust its tension level, therefore creating a feeling of overall relaxation, increasing blood supply, and bringing organs to an optimal level of functioning. Others say the success of reflexology relates to the “gate control” theory of pain relief, which theorizes that pain is a subjective experience created by an individual’s brain. The notion that factors like mood or stress can also affect the experience of pain enters into play here. Hence, reflexology can reduce pain by relieving stress and anxiety.

Though there is no steadfast scientific evidence that reflexology offers an cure for cancers like mesothelioma or any other disease, numerous studies have shown that this complementary therapy improves quality of life for many cancer patients, even if just for a short time, hence, its inclusion in many complementary and palliative care programs at cancer hospitals nationwide.

A 2000 study at the School of Nursing at East Carolina University, for example, involved 23 breast and lung cancer patients who noted “a significant decrease” in anxiety with the use of reflexology treatment. This, wrote the professionals that authored the study, “has important implications for nursing practice as both professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology.

“Reflexology is a simple technique for human touch which can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is non-invasive and does not interfere with patients’ privacy,” the study continues.

Indeed, many medical professionals have suggested that caregivers for cancer patients take time to learn reflexology so that they can use it when necessary to help those for whom they are caring find relief from the pain and stress associated with the disease. Furthermore, noted study leader Dr. Nancy Stephenson, in the case of those caring for spouses or other family members, “the therapy provides a way for partners to get involved in their loved one’s care at a time when they may feel there is nothing they can do to help.”

Sources:
University of Minnesota, http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/how-does-reflexology-work

American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Reflexology.asp

Dosing, Cancer, and Reflexology (Kunz), http://www.reflexology-research.com/dosing.html

—-
Laura Norman Wellness
Comprehensive Reflexology training
courses using unique
Reflexology techniques
in NY and FL.

Massage Therapy from Pharoah to Plano Texas

john_james_massage_plano

John James, LMT

Massage in many forms has existed since the beginning of human history. The power of physical touch to soothe, comfort and even to heal physical and emotional pain has been noted in all civilizations.  Many cultures have evolved massage therapy techniques into distinctly different and recognizable methods.

Early Records of Therapeutic Manipulation

Ancient Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations produced the first written records of manual techniques for medicinal and therapeutic uses. Drawings on pyramid walls and papyrii from nearly four thousand years ago advise manipulation and specific types of gentle touching for pain relief. The Ayurveda, a pre-Christian medical script, codifies specific manual methods which are still used today. Traditional Chinese medicine is based upon Huangdi Neijing, written in the first or second century BC, which includes the recommendation for stroking, stretching and repeated gentle blows to the muscles among its methods.

Hippocrates, the Greek physician often called the “father of Western medicine” strongly promoted massage. So did Julius Caesar who demanded massage therapy daily to treat his frequent headaches.

Massage became widespread in France during the sixteenth century due to surgeon Andre Pare’, the Royal Court physician to four French kings. Inventor of hemostats and the first to use ligatures in surgery, Pare’ commonly used massage therapy practices on his patients. Many of the terms used in teaching classic massage techniques today are of French origin - i.e. effleurage, petrissage, tapotement.

That’s Swedish Isn’t It?

Widely used and known to most people in the West, “Swedish massage” is a collection of methods initially developed in the 1800s by the Swedish doctor Per Henrik Ling. Borrowing techniques he learned from the traditional Chinese manipulative therapy tui na and from Asian martial arts, Ling founded the Royal Central Institute for Gymnastics in Stockholm to educate physiotherapists in his medical gymnastics protocols.

The development of “classic” Swedish massage as a separate discipline, and, the use of French terms for its techniques, is credited to Dutchman  Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909). Mezger, a massage practitioner, compiled a reduced set of techniques and maneuvers from Ling’s gymnastics into what he called the “Swedish massage system”, the collection of strokes used in classic massage that are still employed today. So what is commonly known today as “Swedish massage” was actually developed by the ancient Chinese, systematized and given French technique names by a Dutchman, and yes, finally employed and widely popularized by a Swede – Per Henrik Ling.

Recent Developments in Massage

The twentieth century has seen America evolve its own physical therapies based on more subtle understanding of human anatomy, and, on selected ancient techniques. Two advanced methods in particular have emerged as popular and effective – myofascial release technique and cranosacral therapy.

Myofascial Release Therapy

Devised by the internationally recognized physical therapist John F. Barnes, myofascial release therapy considers the patient’s whole body rather than just isolated symptoms of aches and pains.Rather than focus entirely on musculature, this whole body approach considers the tissue that joins, supports and surrounds the muscles, the fascia, as equally important. The myo-fascial unit composed of muscle fibers and fascia should move smoothly within the body, gliding over adjoining muscles, structures and even its own muscle fibers.

Injuries, overuse or poor posture may cause the smooth and flexible myofascial tissue to shorten and become rigid and inelastic. Pain is caused thereby, range of motion is restricted and muscle spasms might occur. Stress to the myo-fascial unit and imbalance can radiate up and down the body causing pain in unexpected locations.

Myofascial release techniques restore the smooth functioning of the fascia caused by injured muscles, and, stretch the fascia/muscle unit back to its normal length. This form of massage therapy releases tight, bound-up areas of muscle in a gradual way, slowly evening-out tight, injured fascia and relieving pain.

Craniosacral Therapy

An Osteopathic Physician and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, Dr. John E. Upledger developed CranioSacral Therapy after years of research and clinical testing. Focused on improvement of central nervous system performance, CranioSacral Therapy frees circulation of the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid by relaxing the fascial tissue surrounding the spine. By relaxing restrictions to the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the spine and in the cranium, migraines, insomnia, and TMJ pain and tension from stress can all be reduced.

Call me to learn how massage therapy techniques descended from ancient sources can help you now:

John James, LMT
John James Massage Therapy Plano Texas
469 855-2049

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Myofascial Release is a specialized massage therapy which lengthens your body’s muscles and connective tissue to relieve pain common in soft tissue disorders. You will leave your first myofascial release session more comfortable than you thought possible, more relaxed, and breathing more deeply than before.


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To understand why myofascial release therapy works so well you first need to know a bit about fascia, the thin white layer of tissue which covers every organ in your body. Each muscle group and every fiber of muscle tissue within it is covered with fascial tissue. As much as 40% of each muscle group, or myofascial unit... Read more > > >


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If you suffer from fibromyalgia as I do, no doubt you are constantly looking for new ways to treat your symptoms. The pain and aches you experience on a daily basis are as discouraging as they are debilitating. Proven to help fibromyalgia patients... Read more > > >


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