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Get Fat in Winter Time with Family and Freinds!

Most people like fall.  It is a transition from the dog days of  hot weather into  cooler months with pretty colors, but with it brings a dread of winter and colder weather to come.  However, I  appreciate winter and all that it has to bring.  My appreciation for winter comes from Chinese Medicine Philosophy which looks at all seasons as necessary stages of life.

In Chinese Medicine there is the Five Elements or Five Transitions.  Each element has an associated season and an associated organ.  Within these transitions there are also emotions.

The stages start with water which is the source of all life, and is associated with winter.   As the snow covers the frozen earth below the world is dormant and still.  As spring approaches the energy shifts from dormancy to animation.  The snow(water) has melted and has nourished the ground below and the buds start to spring up.  This is the growing stage of life.  Then summer comes when life is at it’s fullest.  All the trees and life are at their peak.  Between summer and fall is the earth cycle when everything that came before is now ripening.  Now the energy begins to shift to fall and back into dormancy.  The trees and plants fall back to the ground to nourish and give life back to the  soil.  Then winter comes again.

This might sound like a depressing Robert Frost poem,  but in this cycle is a beautiful approach to looking at how we relate to this world.   This cycle can apply to the creation of the universe and us.  The winter is in utero, when we are being nourished by our mothers, spring is birth and childhood, summer is adolescence to [...]

Ibuprofen for Headaches? No! Get a Massage

Headache Relief and Treatment with Massage Therapy

As much as  90% of adults have a headache each year.  There are 4 categories of headaches: tension headaches, vascular headaches, chemical headaches, and traction inflammatory headaches.  Tension headaches are one of  the most common and make up 90% of  headaches.  Migraines fall under vascular headaches and make up 6 – 8% of headache cases.   Chemical headaches are caused by chemical exposure and traction inflammatory headaches are the rarest and indicate a more serious problem. (Werner p. 316 – 320)

Causes of Tension Headaches

Now, don’t get me wrong, I take ibuprefen or whatever to take the edge off but if you get frequent or recurring headaches massage is the best thing for  headache relief and treatment of headaches because it addresses muscular tension. The upper back and neck muscles are the most involved muscles in tension headaches.  The most common muscles I see involved are the upper, middle and lower  trapezius, levator scapulae, splenius capitis,  rhomboids and S.C.M.  The most notable and talked about cause for tension in these muscles is of  course poor posture and forward head carriage but anything that stresses these muscles will cause tension and trigger points in these muscles.

Any activities where muscles of the shoulder and neck are used can cause trigger points and therefore cause headaches.   The trapezius,  rhomboids, and levator scapulea all retract the scapula so any motions that would bring the arm and scapula back will use these muscles (like rowing.) The upper trapezius and lower trapezius help to upwardly rotate the scapula so any motions where the arms move up will use these muscles.  The rhomboids and levator scapulae downwardly rotate the scapula so any activities where [...]

My Freakin’ Neck Hurts! Why?

Sometimes it is confusing as to why we feel tight or have pain in certain areas and you may ask ” why the hell do I have pain there?”  When dealing with chronic tension or pain it is important to eliminate as many stresors as possible and without some basic understanding of how muscles create movement that can be difficult.  Hopefully this article will help you to understand the different ways a muscle may contract and help you to use your body more efficiently.

Muscles are specialized to shorten toward their center and this is contraction. There are 3 ways a muscle will attempt to shorten toward it’s center: concentrically, eccentrically, and isometrically.

A concentric contraction is when a muscle is successful in shortening toward it’s center and when this happens then one or both of the bones the muscle attatches to will move.

An eccentric contraction is when the muscle attempts to shorten toward its center but instead lenghtens.  This happens whenthe muscle is trying to slow a movement down

An isometric contraction is when a muscle attempts to shorten toward its center and no movement happens. This would occur when holding objects.

Concentric Muscle Contractions

Muscles are like ropes or rubber bands.  If you look at the muscles and you see the lines those are the muscle fibers.  The muscle fibers are the muscles lines of pull.  So when that muscle pulls you can see which direction it would pull the joint or joints.  When the muscles runs vertical it will pull in that vertical line.  If  it runs horizontal or diagonal it will pull in that direction.  In this way you can look at any muscle and see what action it will perform if you  remember that [...]

How Massage Therapy Can Help Low Back Pain

By Matt Snow, Licensed Massage Therapist serving Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Wesport CT, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye, and White Plains NY

Who hasn’t had low back pain?  At least 80 – 90% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives and it is the number five reason why people see their doctor.  It was thought at one time that most back pain stemmed from structural problems such as herniated disc but now soft tissue disorders are considered to be the most prominent cause of low back pain.  One of the reasons low back pain is so common is because it is an area that allows for a great deal of movement but also has the responsibility to bear the weight of our upper body and absorb force from the lower body.  Not only that but it is comprised of many bones and many ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue help to provide stability for the low back.  That is why soft tissue is responsible for many low back pain conditions because they have a tremendous responsibility to help allow movement and provide stability to the spine and pelvis.

Low back pain conditions respond very well to Massage Therapy because massage can treat soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons.) Different types of soft tissue pain are:

Strain:  A muscle strain is tearing of muscle fibers and occurs when the muscle is overstretched and there are different levels of strain. A grade 1 muscle strain is damage to only a few fibers, a grade 2 strain more fibers are torn, and a grade 3 strain is when the muscle is completely torn.  A grade 3 strain is the most serious and will need surgery to reattach the [...]

Kic It Triathlon Sports Massage Event 2013

The Triathlon Sports Massage to benefit kids in crisis was great.  I met some great massge therapists and athletes and I got to massage some of the people behind the scenes who made this event happen.  Of course there were many tight hamstrings and calves and glute medius.  Makes sense with all of the extension of the hips and plantar flexion of the foot.  Great music and fun and all the staff were very friendly and helpful.