What is Neuromuscular Therapy

The most effective type of massage therapy for lower back pain is pass4sure PHR neuromuscular therapy. Neuromuscular therapy is also called trigger point myotherapy. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).

Neuromuscular therapy has a holistic approach towards healing in that emphasis is laid on stimulating the body to heal itself. Once this healing has begun, neuromuscular therapy techniques are used to stimulate soft-tissue repair in the affected areas. During a typical session of neuromuscular therapy, the therapist will first examine the patient and his or her medical history in an attempt to accurately gauge all the factors that are creating and prolonging pain. Once the problem areas have been identified, alternating levels of concentrated pressure are applied on the areas of muscle spasm with the fingers, knuckles or elbow.

Neuromuscular therapy works by addressing the following six physiological factors which can intensify pain patterns. They are:

  • Trigger points – trigger points are highly irritable points in the nervous system.
  • Nerve entrapment/compression – when a nerve gets pressed constantly between the surrounding structures, it can lead to an acute kind of chronic pain.
  • Postural distortions – Postural distortions result in underdevelopment of the supporting muscles and thereby lead to their weakening.
  • Nutrition – Lack of adequate nutrition to pass4sure PHR the cells leads to an overall weakening of the entire system.
  • Ischemia – In a condition such as Ischemia, the cells and tissues get a reduced blood supply and as a result are under-nourished.
  • Stress – Stress plays havoc with the functioning of the nervous and musculoskeletal system.

Neuromuscular therapy is used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, sciatica, rotator cuff dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and migraines. It is also used in the treatment of some physical and sexual abuse-related traumas. Neuromuscular therapy is also the most effective type of massage therapy for lower back pain. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hyper contractions in the tissue. It aids the healing process for injured tissue, assists in venous and lymphatic flow, restores postural alignment, and imparts flexibility to the tissues.

Techniques of De-Stressing from Around the World

When stress hits, you can either lose your marbles or handle the overload with grace. Try one of these effective stress-busters from around the world.

Sweden: Taking a Sweet Pause Every Day

Your “coffee break” may consist of an out-and-back sprint to grab a latte to-go, but in Sweden, the institution of the coffee break, usually around 10 a.m. and another at 3 p.m., is a sit-down mini-meal that dates back to the 1700s. It’s called fika, and it involves leaving the workplace with a friend to have a cup of coffee and, usually, a sweet treat. Schedule an afternoon fika into your busy day, and invite friends to join you for you can’t fika solo.

India: Getting a Massage—Above the Shoulders

Indian head massages date back thousands of years, according to Ayurvedic texts, and are believed to not only balance the chakras, or energy centers, but also alleviate stress, stimulate the lymphatic system and relieve migraines. While some versions of this therapy can put clients to sleep, others can induce heightened alertness and concentration, which can make you eager to dive back into a project.

Japan: Going Shoeless at Work

We’ve heard about the habit in Asia of taking off shoes before entering the home, but in Japan, it’s also common for professionals to kick off their stilettos when arriving at the office. They store their “outside shoes” in a vestibule, cubby or locker and change into inexpensive slippers to pad around the office and settle in at their desks. Being comfortable not only helps people to better focus on their work and not the throbbing pain in their big toe, but, for women, it also helps eliminate calf and ankle cramps from wearing high heels.

West Africa: De-Stressing to the Beat

Focusing on participating in group drumming has been shown to improve mood and decrease stress. Another study suggests it can also strengthen the immune system. If you don’t think you’ll ever be comfortable dropping in on a drum circle in the park, which may seem like a free-for-all jam session, seek out a more structured African-drumming class in your area. African djembe drums are almost always found beside bongos and congas in modern drum circles, but in West Africa, the djembe drummer is usually a solo storyteller who sets the rhythm and structure for a celebratory dance. You’ll feel a strong sense of unity while pounding away with the other drummers, an appreciation for a different culture’s rhythms and a sharpened concentration while trying to follow the beat.

 

Three Popular Essential Oils and Their Uses

Essential oils carry the physical properties of flowers and plants in a highly concentrated form. They are, in short, the essence of the plant and can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts. The particles in essential oils, which come from various parts of the plant such as the flowers, twigs, leaves or bark, can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varying physical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation, relaxation, pain relief and healing. Here are three popular essential oils and their uses:

Lavender

It’s calming properties relieve tension, headaches, hypertension, stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Lavender improves memory, mood/emotions, circulation, digestion, skin problems, earaches, hair loss, respiratory problems, and a number of women’s health issues. As an antiseptic and anti-bacterial, lavender can be applied directly to burns and stings, where it will cool the pain. It will also stimulate blood flow to the affected area, to aid healing. It is the most versatile, all-purpose essential oil available. It is inexpensive, and can be applied directly to your skin, if necessary.

Peppermint

With its natural mint flavor and scent, peppermint is useful in a number of personal body care recipes and around-the-house mixes. Peppermint’s powerful scent can change the environment and air quality very quickly thus acting as an air deodorizer. Peppermint also has an amazing ability to increase alertness to aid with concentration. In small doses, peppermint has a cooling, soothing effect, and when combined with lavender it can be useful in treating sunburns. As an astringent, peppermint is good for bacterial or viral infections of the mouth, as well as a variety of digestion issues, nausea and diarrhea. It is also beneficial in treating osteoarthritis, cramps, muscular relaxation & sprains, and lower back pain, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Peppermint is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and an expectorant that is especially helpful during coughing attacks. It can also relieve itching from allergies and is frequently used as an insect repellent.

Sandalwood

Reduces anxiety and depression through its relaxation properties and helps with stress, nervous tension, tearfulness, and insomnia. It helps relieve coughing, nasal mucus, and a number of respiratory ailments, thanks to its antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant qualities. As an anti-inflammatory antispasmodic, and analgesic, sandalwood is good for treating arthritis and lower back pain, as well as muscle cramps and varicose veins. Its aphrodisiac qualities help to increase libido, and it’s good when you are having difficulty concentrating. It is very useful with a number of skin conditions, including dry skin as well as oily skin and acne. It also eases night sweats due to menopause and encourages peaceful sleep.

Basic Techniques of a Thai Massage

Thai massage is usually given only by licensed massage therapists who have had specific training in Thai massage. This type of massage relies heavily on stretching, compression and yoga-like body manipulations. These movements are meant to elongate the muscles and increase blood flow throughout the body. These are a few Thai massage techniques that we practice at Thai Odyssey.

Working the Lateral Torso and Shoulder

The therapist stabilizes the client’s arm over their leg while compressing the lateral border of the shoulder blade. This technique can relieve shoulder pain originating in the latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior and teres major muscles.

 

Knee Press the Glutes in Folded Leg Position

The folded leg position shortens the gluteal muscles. This pose compresses the piriformis and other glutes while also stretching the adductors. It is a very effective pose for piriformis syndrome, hip pain, sciatica and other complaints stemming from trigger points in the glutes and rotators of the hip.

 Backbend with Feet on the Back Lines

In this pose, the therapist compresses the spinal erectors while leaning back to bring the client into an assisted backbend. The spinal erectors often limit extension by painfully contracting when they are asked to shorten. Pressure from the therapist’s feet provides feedback to the shortening muscles and disables the normal pain reflex.

 Foot Press the Posterior Leg – Locked Position

This is a very efficient and strong pose for the therapist, making it possible to lean back and use body weight to bring the client’s leg into the foot pressure. A very effective technique for trigger points in the medial hamstrings and vastus medialis.

 

Elbow Press the Anterior Lower Leg while Shortening

As the therapist leans back, the anterior muscles of the leg are shortened. This is a very effective and powerful way to treat tibialis anterior and the long extensors of the foot. Shortening the muscles makes them more responsive to pressure and provides retraining so the muscles learn to shorten gracefully.

All therapists in Thai Odyssey are well-trained and have more than 5 years of experience in providing traditional massages. Thai massage should never be painful. We encourage open channels of communication during the massage so that you receive the best experience at all times. Give traditional Thai massage a try – your body will feel its soothing benefits.

Practicing Yoga Before Sleeping

We’ve all been there — rolling around in bed at night, replaying the day’s craziness and mentally going through tomorrow’s to-dos. Before you know it, it’s 2 a.m. and you’re still counting sheep. Sound familiar?

A person who’s deprived of sleep should avoid large meals before bed, limit intake of caffeine, create a soothing atmosphere and take a warm bath. But if you say, ‘been there, done that,’ take advice from the yogis who suggest courting sleep by working with your subtle energy. In other words, forget the sleeping pills or the babbling brook; a few simple yoga moves might be all you need to summon the Sandman and enjoy a night of quality sleep.

Yoga can help tackle sleep related problems through tension releasing exercises and poses that loosen up the tight muscles and put you into a deep state of relaxation. A relaxed session of yoga helps to calm the body, mind and spirit. This helps to quiet the constant thought patterns that can rob you of sleep. Combine yoga with a short meditation practice to enhance this benefit.

Inversions, twists and relaxation poses are combined to release tension, relax the body, improve circulation and sleep easily. Here’s a video on yoga poses you can do before going to sleep.

http://youtu.be/ixIWDMokjoE

Practicing Yoga in the Morning

Practicing yoga in the morning reduces your stress, which improves your focus for other tasks such as work or school. A research reported that one hour of morning yoga practice, including meditation, reduced stress and improved confidence, leading to better performance throughout the day. There are so many awesome reasons to practice yoga first thing in the morning.

Yogic breathing stimulates your body and mind. All that fresh oxygen wakes up the brain like a jolt of caffeine. Yet, unlike coffee, the energy boost from deep-breathing lasts all day. Morning yoga will help you to feel more energized, helping you to be more productive during the day. After your hour-long practice, you’ll feel increased clarity of mind, ready to face your day brighter and more alive. This means that you will be able to accomplish more in less time during your work day.

Practicing yoga early in the morning will also set the tone for your whole day. It will calm and center you before you have to step out into the chaos of life. You will be ready for any situation that comes your way. That traffic jam? – No worries, you did yoga. Grumpy boss? – Just remember to inhale and exhale. Each early-morning session will remind you to set an intention to practice kindness, compassion and love. Others can feel that, and the world will start to reflect that peace back at you.

Aside from that, the stretching in yoga makes your body tighter, lighter and brighter. It raises serotonin levels, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals and that will all show up in the glow of your skin. Studies show people who practice yoga can actually slow down the aging of the heart, liver and kidneys. All of your insides will reflect on the outside. You eyes will be brighter. Your skin will have a glow. Your body will feel taller and longer. Your immune system will be stronger.

In addition, yoga also helps speed up your metabolic rate, which means that you can eat more and burn calories faster. When you practice yoga early in the day, you improve your digestion and food will burn up faster, and more nutrients will move through your body. When you have enough nutrients moving through efficiently, then your body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates faster and your insides will be running at tip-top speed and efficiency, so you can have that second bowl of granola and don’t sweat it!

Here’s a video of morning yoga poses to get your engine started early in the day.

http://youtu.be/dBw37_jmy_M

Importance of Sleep to the Body and Soul

Do you often wonder why you feel tired sometimes or maybe even all the time? Since the invention of the light bulb people sleep much less, approximately 500 hours a year, or 1.25 hours a day. While the exact mechanism of sleep and how it impacts our brain function, it is clear that science knows that sleep is one of the body’s most important processes.

Overnight, the body’s cells are renewed, the body’s digestive system is at rest and the brain becomes only partially active which is why we feel so refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is the cause of many physical and mental problems including poor concentration, digestive problems, depression and accelerated aging. Over time sleep deprivation can also result in blurry vision and impaired judgement, while severe sleep deprivation can result in hallucinations, mania and nausea. Usually getting a good night’s sleep alleviates these symptoms but chronic sleep deprivation (such as night shift workers such as doctors and nurses, or mothers with newborn or sick children), may require longer periods of sleeping.

The way in which you treat your body can have a profound impact on your body, mind and soul balance. The body has its own natural rhythms that are designed to uphold its state of balance. This includes the natural cycle of sleep.  If our bodies are not functioning properly, it is a sign that there is disharmony in our body, mind and soul.

Here are some helpful tips you should remember the next time you sleep.

  • As a general rule, you should aim for 7 hours sleep a night. If you know you require less, make sure you get your minimum sleeping hours so that you are fully functioning during waking hours.
  • Have a routine for sleeping hours and try to stick to it.
  • Make your bed and your bedroom enticing to go to sleep in. Make sure it is quiet, dark and warm.
  • Do some form of relaxation before going to sleep. Yoga, stretching, meditation or reading can help orient the body and mind for sleep.
  • Don’t do any computer work directly before going to sleep. The brightness of computer monitors stimulates the brain.
  • Avoid large meals just before bed. Try to keep your dinner portions to a minimum and eat at least 2 hours before going to sleep.

So get the right amount of sleep to bring harmony with your body and soul!

Injury in Sports

The most common sports-related injuries primarily are overuse injuries. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints subjected to repeated activity.

By far, the most common sport that leads to injury is running. According to James Garrick, MD, director of the Center for Sports Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, running jars the body from the foot all the way up into the back. He has seen more runners than any other recreational athletes in his clinic, followed by those who participate in dance (including aerobics), tennis, skiing, basketball, gymnastics, football, soccer and figure skating.

 The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, achilles tendon injuries, pain along the shin bone, fractures and dislocations.

Certain types of injuries plague sports participants. Most of them, however, are minor. Knowing the early signs and what to do can help prevent them from becoming nagging problems. Here’s a video to give you more information on how to prevent sports injuries. http://youtu.be/AOA87LbrSZA

If you get hurt, you must stop performing the sport, because continuing to play or exercise can cause more harm. You can limit swelling and start healing faster after common sports injuries by using the PRICE principle:

  • P — protect from further injury. For more severe injuries, protect the injured area with a splint, pad, or crutch.
  • R — restrict activity. Restricting activity will prevent worsening of the injury.
  • I — apply ice. Apply ice immediately after a common sports injury. “Ice is the miracle drug” for sports injuries, says Putukian. “It’s an anti-inflammatory, without many side effects.” Use ice for 20 minutes every one to two hours for the first 48 hours after the injury. Don’t use heat during this time — it encourages swelling and inflammation.
  • C — apply compression. Compression with an elastic bandage will help reduce swelling.
  • E — elevate the injured area. Elevating the injured area above the heart will also reduce swelling.

Over-the-counter pain relievers usually relieve the pain of common sports injuries to a tolerable level. If they don’t, it’s probably time to see a doctor. You can also opt to go for a sports massage where your sore and tired muscles are gently rubbed and allowed to eventually heal. Be tough and smart in playing your favorite sport!

Foot Reflexology and Its Many Benefits

Foot reflexology is a “pressure therapy” that involves applying focused pressure to certain known reflex points located in the foot to cure or prevent disease. It is a complimentary therapy, intended for use alongside conventional medical care and not as a replacement of it.

 

According to the book The Touch of Love, Thai Massage (written by Sombat Tapanya), massage is an art of healing originated some 5,000 years ago. It was mentioned in an ancient Chinese medical textbook in the reign of Emperor Wendi (179-157 B.C.) of the Han Dynasty and in an Indian Ayuraveda Book that “Massage is a self-healing method.” According to Chinese medicine, the sensory nerves of the internal organs that spread throughout the body are mainly gathered around the soles of the feet.

Among the benefits of foot reflexology includes:

  • Induces a state of deep relaxation by opening neural pathways
  • A reflexology session stimulates more than 7,000 nerves, encouraging the opening and cleansing of neural pathways
  • Effective for pain management. When reflexology is applied to the feet, more endorphins are produced to block pain signals to the brain. Endorphins are painkillers that are stronger than morphine. People who are experiencing pain may get significant relief through reflexology.
  • Increases circulation, improving blood flow throughout the body
  • Cleanses the body of toxins and impurities
  • Stimulates the central nervous system
  • Stimulates energy work throughout the body
  • Balances the whole system thus revitalizing the body’s natural energy flow

The benefits of a foot reflexology session are manifold. It is appropriate for all ages as well as for a variety of ailments. Not only soothing to sore feet, it can benefit most other body aches and pains. If you can’t handle pressure in a part of your body because of soreness or inflammation, there is a corresponding part in the foot that can bring relief.

The healing power of touch is instinctive in human nature & when we formalize that instinctive touch into massage, it becomes a powerful healing tool.

 

Simple Exercises to Perk Up Your Day in the Office

Do you often wonder why you feel so sleepy in mid-afternoon? The brain associates stillness with sleep, especially if there is not enough natural light. Also, poor posture doesn’t just make you look tired, it places excess strain on your back and hips, which can make you feel drained and achy. Your first instinct may often be to reach for a sugary snack to boost your energy. Unfortunately, that energy increase will be short-lived and in reality, the extra calories will just widen your waistline. The alternative is an exercise break. A rapid 10-minute walk raises energy faster and for longer (up to two hours) than sweets and snacks. You will also find that the physical activity can provide an outlet for job-related tensions or mental fatigue and make the afternoon more productive. So, how can you do this?

Simply start with stretching at your desk to loosen the muscles, ease joints and allow blood to flow more easily around your body, which will give you a quick energy boost. Then, instead of heading towards the vending machine or pantry, walk up and down 20 stairs 10 times. If your building doesn’t have any stairs, walk around the block or car park for 10 minutes.

You may also find this video below quite a helpful tool for simple exercise you can do during your break to perk up your day and keep your energy levels rising.

http://youtu.be/jIJjtklBGZE