Did you know that engaging in activities that involve repetitive flexing and extending of knees can cause iliotibial band syndrome? Well, studies show that walking long distances, cycling and athletics, among others are some of the contributing factors. As a nurse, physical therapist, fitness coach or yoga instructor, you will always encounter clients with IT band injuries. According to experts, incorporating massage therapy with conventional treatment is one of the best approaches to manage IT band syndrome.
What Is IT Band Syndrome?
The IT band is a thick connective tissue that originates from the pelvic bone and extends laterally to the shinbone. The fibrous band works with hip muscles to stabilize lateral movements of the hip and knee. However, overworking the connective tissue with activities that require repetitive knee flexion and extension causes IT band syndrome. The overuse movements create friction between the band and the lateral femoral epicondyle, thus, causing discomfort when exercising, or moving. Signs and symptoms of IT band syndrome include:
- Patient reports feeling an irritating pain along the lateral side of the hip and the femoral epicondyle during motion.
- There is notable inflammation and swelling on the outer part of the knee.
- Slight pain is felt at the beginning of an exercise and increases with intensity as the activity progresses.
- Pain in the gluteal region caused by overstretching gluteus muscles.
- Experiencing a popping pain that results from the rubbing of IT band against your knee during movement.
- Tenderness on the lateral femoral and tibia epicondyles upon palpation
Diagnosing the IT Band Syndrome
Despite causing knee pain, iliotibial band syndrome is not the only cause of knee discomfort. Before making your diagnosis, ensure you take a history of the client’s complaints and their daily activities. Usually, the iliotibial band syndrome affects people who engage in activities that put a constant strain on the knees. A client who reports being a runner, bicyclist, hiker or athlete might be a candidate of iliotibial band syndrome.
After taking the history, the next essential step is to conduct a comprehensive physical assessment to determine the precise effected location. You can use some tests such as Noble’s test to assess for pain in the lateral femoral condyle. Additionally, using an Ober’s test will assist you in examining the IT band for tightness. A comprehensive physical examination will give you an insight on areas that need massage therapy; to determine the appropriate techniques for myofascial release.
Managing IT Band Contracture Syndrome with Massage Therapy
As a professional health worker, ensure that massage therapy is in your to-do interventions for iliotibial band syndrome. Offering a massage along with traditional treatment has proved to be effective in enhancing recovery from the IT band syndrome. Below are the benefits of massaging your patients:
- Relieve Lateral Leg Pain
In most cases, it’s a nagging pain resulting from IT band overuse that forces patients to seek professional intervention. Performing myofascial release massage on the lateral side of the effected leg relaxes the fibrous band and muscles from tension — thus alleviating the pain.
- Promote Healing
Nowadays, unique massage techniques aim to not only relieve pain but also to promote tissue healing. Addressing trigger points and hypertonicities of the leg muscles enhances blood circulation. Improved tissue perfusion allows delivery of oxygen and nutrients to enhance the healing of the injured tissues.
- Restore flexibility and Improve Mobility
A patient who is suffering from IT band syndrome often complains of inability to move comfortably. Massage therapy resolves muscle stiffness and tenderness, therefore refining motion and flexibility. Therefore, after several sessions, your patient will be able to resume daily activities with ease.
- Improve Posture
When the pain is intense, most people adopt bad postures in response to the discomfort. As a massage therapist, you are equipped with unique skills to resolve tension and inflammation of the effected regions. The relaxation and flexibility of the leg enable the patients to assume their normal and healthy posture.
- Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
Besides enhancing physical fitness, massage treatment helps to relieve the body from stress. Reduced anxiety in patients with IT band syndrome promotes healing and improves their emotional well-being.
What is the prognosis of Iliotibial Band Syndrome?
Typically, if you utilize the right treatment modalities, the prognosis of IT band friction syndrome is excellent. For optimum results, it is crucial to use a multifaceted approach when treating patients. Whether you are a nurse, physical therapist, or a fitness coach, integrating massage therapy with conventional treatment will yield a positive outcome.
Ultimately, adding massage therapy to your healthcare profession not only improves healthcare delivery to your clients but also makes you indispensable. Want to learn more about managing IT band syndrome with massage therapy? Contact our Seattle massage therapy schools today to discuss your massage career and educational options in Seattle, Tacoma, or Bellingham.
I addition you can also contact our partner massage therapy school; Seattle Clinical Massage School for information about a massage therapy career in Seattle, Washington.
An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear is an injury impacting major ligaments in the knee. It is a key concern for many sports enthusiasts because such ACL tears occur mostly during sports activities that involve jumping, landing, sudden stops, or changes in direction.
Examples of such sports include football, basketball, soccer, or downhill skiing. Also, these ruptures are more common in women than in men because of the difference in anatomy.
Once you sustain an ACL injury, you might require surgery, but that depends on factors like your activity level and severity of damage. With advancements in the field of reconstruction surgery, athletes can benefit from hamstring grafts, patellar tendon graft along with allografts. These prove effective in restoring both function and strength to the injured knee.
Even so, the ability of an athlete to go back to an active lifestyle successfully/full recovery after ACL reconstruction depends on the absence of three prevalent complications.
- Quadriceps weakness
- Flexion contracture (of the muscle group)
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)
Many physicians will use the patellofemoral pain syndrome as a “catch-all” diagnosis for the myriad of symptoms associated with anterior knee pain, especially after ACL reconstruction.
Signs and Symptoms of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture
Once you sustain the injury, you will hear a popping sound from your knee. Other common symptoms include:
- Pain and swelling
- Loss of full range motion
- Discomfort when walking
- Joint tenderness
- Inability to bear leg weight even with minimal pain
- Feeling of instability
Several movements can cause an anterior cruciate ligament tear. These include:
- Slowing down during a run
- Incorrectly landing from a jump
- Rapidly changing direction
- Stopping suddenly
- Direct contact or collision like during a tackle
- When a knee is twisted or bent backward
While sport accidents are the most common causes of ACL injuries, you can sustain an ACL tear from missing a step in a staircase, falling off a ladder, or being in a car accident.
There are several risk factors for an ACL injury, and they include:
- Active involvement in sports like football, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, and downhill skiing
- Using defective sport equipment like ski bindings
- Wearing ill-fitting sportswear
- Having a history of an ACL tear
Outcome and treatment
When you experience an ACL injury, you might not be able to walk correctly. An ACL injury causes a partial or complete tear of tissue and is usually very painful. Once you visit a doctor, they will recommend treatment based on the severity of the injury. Treatment options include first aid, medications, physical therapy, or surgery.
Massage Therapy for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
One aspect of physical therapy for ACL is massage. Therapeutic massage therapy has the following benefits:
- Reduce pain and swelling (inflammation)
- Increase blood circulation and joint mobility
- Accelerate the healing process
- Lower the aggregation of scar tissue forming around the site of the injury
During a therapeutic massage, therapists target surrounding muscles, joints, or other specific structures to reduce strain. And once you’ve achieved success in ensuring they’re relaxed, a physician can then start restoring them to their proper alignment and flexibility.
Massage therapy is considered a safe and effective complementary treatment for many muscle and joint problems—including ACL. The type of massage and the number of sessions you will require will depend on your injury. At the end of all of your sessions, you will have regained full range of motion without any pain.
While massage therapy is effective in treating ACL, it must be done correctly for maximum results. Ensure you get your massage therapy from a professional therapist. If you would like to learn more about massage therapy or attend massage school, call us today. Also contact the Northwest Academy admissions department for any massage related questions.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a medical condition where one or more discs in the back lose strength. Despite the name, degenerative disc disease isn’t technically a disease but a progressive condition that worsens over time due to wear and tear, or injury.
The discs in your back are situated in between the vertebrae of the spine and act as cushions and shock absorbers. They help you stand up straight and move through everyday motions, such as bending over or twisting around. As people age, DDD can worsen and cause mild to extreme pain that can interfere with your everyday activities.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Some of the most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain that:
- Primarily affects the lower back
- Could extend to legs and buttocks
- Stretches from neck to arms
- Can be worse from sitting
- Worsens after bending or twisting
- Comes and goes in a few days or extends to several months
People with DDD might exhibit less pain after walking or exercise. Additionally, DDD can cause weakened leg muscles and numbness in your arms or legs.
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
DDD is primarily caused by natural wear and tear of spinal discs. Over time, discs tend to dry out and lose their support and function, leading to pain and other symptoms. DDD can start developing in your 30s or 40s and progressively worsen as you age. However, the condition can also be caused by overuse from sports or repetitive activities, or injury. Once a disc is damaged, it can’t repair itself.
Age is the major risk factor for degenerative disc disease. The discs in between the vertebrae often shrink down and lose their cushiony support as people age. Almost every adult above the age of 60 has some form of disc degeneration. However, not all cases cause pain.
Long-term repetitive activities that place a lot of pressure on certain discs can also increase your risk. Other risk factors include car accidents, overweight or obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Diagnosis of DDD
An MRI can help detect degenerative disc disease. Your doctor may recommend this type of imaging test based on a physical exam or an investigation into your symptoms and health history. Imaging tests can reveal damaged discs and help rule out other triggers of pain. When you receive a diagnosis of DDD, it does not mean that you’re disabled or headed for a downward spiral of spinal degeneration. In fact, DDD is often a part of the natural aging process that we all go through at some point in life. And the good news is that you can mitigate the associated pain through a variety of treatment solutions, including massage therapy.
Massage Therapy Treatment for DDD
From a Massage Therapy point of view, the approach in treating DDD is to strike a balance between reducing muscle tension and enhancing traction (decompressing the targeted vertebral segments). Finding a “green zone” of treatment is critical since the spasms that occur through the neck or low back happen because the body is trying to protect that area. By applying slow, repetitive, methodical massage between soft tissue and joint mobilization (spinal decompression), massage therapy can help relieve pain and allow you to move easier and execute strengthening exercises efficiently.
Massage therapy generally helps in these three ways:
- Increasing Blood Flow and Circulation: Proper blood circulation ensures that critical nutrients flow back fully to the strained muscles and tissues. This makes the muscles/tissues stronger, helping relieve the strain coming from the degenerating discs.
- Decreasing Tension: The muscles can become tense as they struggle to compensate for the weakening discs. When these muscles are manipulated during the massage, they become relaxed, which improves the range of motion and flexibility.
- Increasing the “feel good” chemical: Massage therapy releases Endorphins, a mood-enhancing chemical that is released in the brain. This “feel good” chemical helps in reducing pain and enhancing recovery.
Without treatment or therapy, DDD can gradually progress and cause more adverse symptoms. While surgery is a treatment option, other less invasive treatments such as massage therapy have been found to be just as helpful yet less costly. A clinical study involving a 66-year-old female patient with cervical degenerative disc disease in her lateral left facet joint recorded impressive outcomes. The patient was experiencing symptoms of severe neck pain accompanied by restricted cervical range of motion. She also exhibited radicular left shoulder and arm pain. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of therapeutic massage on the patient’s symptoms and impairments of cervical DDD.
After multiple treatment sessions, the patient’s symptoms had decreased and cervical ROM had moderately improved. There was also a reduction in reported pain and an improvement in functional daily activities. This is an indication that massage therapy is a favorable treatment intervention for DDD symptoms.
Massage can help improve the symptoms associated with Degenerative Disc Disease for a prolonged duration of time as long as you continue to follow the maintenance schedule that your Massage Therapist lays out. Massage therapy typically reduces muscle strain, improves flexibility, and mitigates pain. However, you can achieve the best results by working in conjunction with other health care professionals. Keep open communication between your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure the best treatment.
5 Tips to Starting a New Exercise Routine
If you are in the health industry, you appreciate the value of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Key among this is regular exercise. Regular spring exercises, in particular, ensure that the body remains motivated and fit for the season. There is no substitute for the feeling of being fit and in control. Even though the rewards are enviable, achieving them takes a lot of time, effort and patience – particularly during the early stages. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with these virtues. So, how do you poise yourself to have the best possible start to a new exercise routine?
The best way to go about it is to develop a plan that gets you moving gradually but surely. Remember that the body will experience unfamiliar and strenuous tensions and contractions. Therefore, it is important that the plan accommodates a recuperation procedure such as massage therapy. The following tips will ease you into your new exercise routine.
- Start from a low point and make gradual increments
A cautious start with slow progression will ensure that you do not over-strain the body leading to injury or excessive fatigue during spring exercises. Walking for several minutes is a great option to start and you can also incorporate it as part of your warm-up.
- Set uninterrupted timelines
You have to schedule your workout sessions to achieve maximum impact. Having regular timelines when you exercise creates a healthy loop that allows the body to recover and be ready for the next set of spring exercises. Failure to allocate a specific time will also leave you procrastinating – and we know how that ends.
- Have fun
Enjoying the exercise sessions ensures that your mind gets livened up and the workouts don’t feel like a chore. Ideally, join a group that encourages you or engage a personal trainer that optimizes your sessions. If you love music then select a playlist that you consider lively to keep you going.
- Eat healthily
It is great to accompany the exercises with a balanced diet. Start switching from junks to wholesome foods gradually. This will enable you to reach your objectives much quicker.
- Stay hydrated
Water should be available all through the time as you work out. You should hydrate frequently to replace the water your body will be losing through sweating.
Healthy living is a hot lifestyle trend. People are continually looking for ways to stay fit and healthy. Massage therapy is therefore a big opportunity – particularly in helping ease people into spring exercises. If you wish to incorporate additional training to your resume, massage therapy is the way to go. Not only is it fulfilling to help people achieve healthy living, it is also a marketable course that will boost your resume. At Northwest Academy will learn anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, massage theories and practices, pathology, first aid and CPR that will equip you to be a massage therapist. Contact us today for more details.
Scoliosis is a condition that millions of Americans are familiar with. You may have already worked with patients who suffer from pain, discomfort, and stiffness due to scoliosis. This condition is particularly detrimental to children, who may struggle with weak muscles, back pain, and fatigue from long periods of standing upright.
Luckily, massage therapy can be used to help treat scoliosis in children. A pediatric massage involves manipulating soft tissues with the aim of relieving tension and improving blood flow to affected regions. When done correctly, the symptoms of scoliosis in children can be significantly reduced.
Understanding Scoliosis in children
Scoliosis is a condition where the spinal cord curvature is increased more than usual. The spine typically has a mild curve as it runs across your back. However, patients with scoliosis have a spinal cord that resembles a C or an S shape.
Congenital scoliosis (in children) typically occurs during birth and affects children as they continue to grow. The severity of this condition will vary from one patient to another. Some spinal curvatures are barely noticeable, while others can even cause a deformity in the spine.
Some risk factors of scoliosis include birth defects, infections, cerebral palsy, or genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome. Adding pediatric massage therapy skills to your current knowledge base will help you provide adequate relief to scoliosis patients.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
Scoliosis in children manifests itself in many different ways. It can begin to develop in the womb due to the incorrect division of vertebrae, or vertebrae that don’t fully grow during early stages. Diagnosis may be done soon after birth- or even later on when the child is 10-15 years old.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
Chronic back pain
An incorrectly tilted spine and pelvis
Fatigue from standing upright
Benefits of Massage therapy
Pediatric massage therapy is a useful technique that can treat scoliosis in children. For example, effleurage massage techniques target the soft tissues and warm them up for adjustment. Through repeated strokes along the length of a child’s spinal cord, the muscles can relax and ease pain, stiffness, or tension.
Massage therapy also uses a combination of lubricants to soften the muscles and increase blood circulation to affected areas. Children with scoliosis can enjoy significant relief from symptoms and live a healthy life with timely massage therapy sessions.
Massage therapy techniques you can learn in massage school
If you wish to advance your knowledge and skills in massage therapy for scoliosis, attending massage school is an excellent way to get started. With these advanced skills under your belt, you’ll be able to provide timely pediatric massage therapy to children who’ve been affected by this condition.
Is your career in the health industry? Do you want to join a career that will enable you to promote healthy lifestyles? If this is the case, going to Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school may be the best option for you. Clinical massage therapy is an effective form of treatment of different kinds of ailments, diseases, and injuries. As a clinical massage therapist, you will use specific techniques that will ease muscle pain, reduce stress, and contribute to the overall wellness of your clients.
5 Benefits of Attending a Seattle Clinical Massage Therapy School
- Graduate with the essential skills: Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school involves a lot of hands-on training. The qualified instructors will train you in anatomy, musculature, and other massage therapy techniques. After graduating, you will have the needed practical experience to work in clinics, hospitals, and spas.
- You will become licensed: Most states require that massage therapists be licensed. For you to obtain your massage therapist license, you have to first complete a certification or degree program at a recognized Seattle clinical massage therapy school and obtain the necessary massage therapy experience. One of the main reasons why massage therapy has become a respected profession is due to the strict requirements that massage therapists have to meet.
- Qualified and licensed massage therapists are in high demand: The value of licensed massage therapists is now widely recognized. This has led to job growth in this industry; in fact, the BLS has predicted that it will experience a job growth of 26 percent more than the average. This means that it has a faster growth rate than the nursing profession which is at 15 percent. There are always new massage therapist jobs being created in places such as office buildings and nursing homes.
- It takes a short time to become a licensed clinical massage therapist: When most people think of starting a new career, they imagine spending two or four years in college. However, a typical training program at Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school takes between seven months and one year to complete. Training programs are designed to equip you with skills, safety precautions, and techniques you will need to enter the employment field. Therefore, if you desire to switch careers, the short massage therapy training programs are a real plus.
- Flexible class schedules: If you’re thinking about switching careers or enhancing your career with additional training, your busy work schedule and personal life may prevent you from achieving your goals. Fortunately, Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage therapy school can tailor a training program that can fit your lifestyle and schedule.
Take the Next Step to Become a Massage Therapist
Now that you know the several benefits of attending a Seattle clinical massage therapy school, enroll for a massage therapist course at Northwest Academy. You will learn anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, massage theories and practices, pathology, first aid and CPR that will prepare you for a massage therapist career. For more information contact an admissions assistant today.
Let’s talk about a difficult condition called scleroderma. Massage therapy might not be among the resources you’d think of in addressing the patient’s challenges with this condition, but you’d be surprised. For a wide variety of conditions, massage therapy becomes a versatile tool for healthcare professionals who add it to their repertoire.
When you study the body from a massage therapy perspective, you also gain insight and ideas for your work as a yoga instructor, fitness professional, or other roles where you’re concerned with your clients’ physical wellbeing. It’s both a whole-body and localized treatment. Here’s how it helps with scleroderma when carefully used.
Scleroderma and its Stages
Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition which, like many such conditions, affects women much more frequently than it does men. It causes hardening of the body’s tissues, either locally or throughout the body’s systems, producing a thick feeling to the skin and other stiffness and internal damage.
The progression of a client’s scleroderma is an important factor in considering massage treatment. As damage to the body continues, its surface hardens and loses vitality and eventually internal organs can be affected. Massage therapy may not be advisable or may be of limited use during later stages of the disease.
The Advantages of Skilled Massage Therapists
Multimodal treatment, mixing massage therapy with treatment by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers, can help a patient’s body to respond better to treatment in general. If you have one of these backgrounds, you can augment your clinical skills in a significant way by learning massage therapy. For example, it can help increase blood circulation and possibly delay the onset and worsening of symptoms.
Because there are many specialized massage techniques with varying effects on the body, a carefully designed massage program can be offered to clients to address medical concerns. Where deep tissue massage may help with some aspects of a condition, your skill and tactile sensitivity as a massage therapist can help you use a gentler approach, similar to that used for fibromyalgia.
Using the Unique Qualities of Massage to Help Scleroderma Patients
Medical guidance is essential when you are working with a client who is diagnosed with scleroderma. Depending on the type and extent of a client’s condition, deep tissue massage techniques may be somewhat useful, but attention to circulation and joint function, breath and relaxation may be more productive approaches.
You can provide gentle, repetitive touch to help capillary flow and relaxation, while breathwork and assisted joint movement can help the body stay resilient. Myofascial (muscle) techniques can conflict with the hardening of the body’s surfaces, and generally you should avoid this type of approach.
Patient Engagement Makes a Difference
Massage therapy training helps you understand the body from a client’s perspective. In addition to being a caring presence in each person’s life, you learn how to constructively use touch to assist bodies in healing from disease and maintaining health. The power of one human caring for another in a safe, structured setting allows one of the most basic human needs to be addressed — that of touch.
As an autoimmune disease, scleroderma is a complex condition and patients may feel at a loss in dealing with it. From nurses to fitness coaches, when people help us with our physical well being, it’s usually with a minimum of hands-on connection and mostly verbal. When you, as a massage therapist, address specific physical challenges which the client is experiencing, you also address the patient as a whole, helping her to develop an inner strength to deal with her life’s challenges.
To learn more about how massage therapy can be beneficial for Scleroderma contact our Seattle student massage clinic
Massage Therapy Job Outlook – A career in massage therapy gives you the power to relieve pain and promote health while earning a good income. Nationally, the field is expected to continue growing at an accelerate rate through the year 2024.
For massage therapy Seattle and its tech-heavy culture make a perfect match. If you are thinking about a career in massage therapy Seattle is one of the best places in the country.
Washington State Requirements
Massage therapists are regulated by the Washington State Department of Health, Board of Massage. To maintain an active license, therapists must meet the following requirements.
Applicants must complete an approved training program that includes:
- 130 hours anatomy and physiology
- 40 hours kinesiology instruction
- 50 hours pathology
- 265 hours theory and practice, including technique
- 55 hours clinical and business practices
- Red Cross first aid certification
- CPR certification
- 4 hours HIV/AIDS discussion
Those who received training out-of-state or who are licensed in another location may not meet Washington state education requirements. To verify previous experience, a verification form must be completed by the jurisdiction or school where your credentials were gained.
All applicants must successfully complete the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) or Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) examination.
After completing the training program and testing, therapists must submit all necessary paperwork to the Board of Massage, along with any applicable fees. Once your application information is verified, you will receive your Washington state massage therapy license.
Massage therapy licenses expire on the holder’s birthday every year. They can be renewed up to 90 days in advance.
Every two years, practitioners must complete 24 hours of continuing education credits. These must include:
- 8+ hours direct massage skills training
- 4+ hours professional ethics, communication, or review of state laws and regulations
- 2 hours review of professional roles and boundaries
Massage Therapy Seattle Area Employment Outlook
For those practicing massage therapy Seattle has a variety of job opportunities in different industries.
- Personal care services, such as in-home aid
- Working with other health practitioners as part of a team
- Amusement and recreation, such as spas and high-end hotels
- Hospitals and long-term rehabilitation care
Massage Therapy Job Outlook for Washington is great in general. For a successful career in massage therapy Seattle is a great place to set up a freelance operation. For mobile massage therapy Seattle is the perfect place to create your own career by making office visits.
- When it comes to pay for those practicing massage therapy Seattle is one of the best paying locations in the country. Seattle area therapists command an impressive hourly mean wage of $26.89, well above the national average of $19.17.
- Washington has the 4th highest demand for massage therapists in the country. The state also consistently posts high employment rates for those in the field.
- Massage therapy positions in Washington are expected to increase by 41.3% in the next 8 years. The demand for new massage talent will soon cause a shortage of qualified applicants. This could drive wages up in the future, making the area even more attractive for knowledgeable bodywork professionals.
When practicing massage therapy Seattle offers opportunity and variety. Enjoy a fulfilling and profitable career as a respected health professional. When it comes to massage therapy Seattle is the best place in the country to learn, practice, and live.
For questions relating to the Massage Therapy Job Outlook in Washington State contact our admission department today!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in every 4 American deaths is directly related to heart disease. Conditions like coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and other cardiovascular ailments kill over 600,000 people each year.
Massage therapy offers clients with cardiovascular issues many benefits that can help them improve their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack.
What Contributes to Cardiovascular Disease?
There are three major factors that contribute to the development of heart disease.
These conditions are caused by structural abnormalities present at the time of birth.
- Viral infections
Myocarditis is damage to the heart due to certain viruses.
- Lifestyle Choices
Daily habits are currently the biggest contributor to heart disease.
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Chronic stress
How Stress and Pain Affect the Heart
When a person experiences a painful or stressful event, the brain releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals prepare the body to fight or run away from dangerous situations. The body responds by tensing muscles, shortening the breath, and increasing the heart rate.
This response, however, is only supposed to be short-term. Too much of these hormones can fatigue the body, especially the cardiovascular system. Without relief, long-term stress or chronic pain will weaken the heart muscle. Combined with less-than-healthy lifestyle choices, these factors can lead to heart disease.
How Massage Supports Cardiovascular Health
Massage therapy helps patients with cardiac issues address some of the factors that may be contributing to their condition. In conjunction with doctor-prescribed protocols, massage also helps patients manage some of the side effects of treatment.
- Induce states of physical and mental relaxation, which can help alleviate the effects of chronic stress and anxiety on the whole body.
- Loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow, which improves overall circulation and decreases the chances of stroke-causing clots.
- Alleviate chronic pain, which helps interrupt the brain’s “fight or flight” response.
- Reduce anxiety before or after surgical procedures.
Some common side effects from traditional drug therapies used to treat heart disease can be treated effectively with massage.
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
While massage is generally safe and effective, there are some cautions to keep in mind when working with cardiac patients.
- Those on blood thinning drugs should avoid vigorous or deep tissue techniques, as these can cause bruising, inflammation, or tissue damage.
- Massage is not recommended for those with low blood pressure.
- Patients with a history of blood clots should avoid Swedish techniques.
- Therapists should avoid manipulating the area around pacemakers, stents, or other implanted devices.
- Patients with signs of congestive heart failure should start with short massages, and slowly work up to longer sessions, as tolerated.
Recent studies also who that consistent massage therapy can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. High blood pressure and rate are major factors in heart attack risk.
Patients who combine traditional medical treatments with massage techniques experience an increase in energy, physical relaxation, and mental focus. This can help them recover faster from surgical procedures, or avoid major cardiovascular events.
Over 30% of the American population has some form of scoliosis. You may have already helped clients who suffer from this condition in your regular bodywork or therapy practice. While traditional treatments vary, massage therapy is a safe addition to any client’s treatment plan.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition of the spine. It causes the spine to curve left or right into a distinctive “S” or “C” shape. The spine compresses. This compression throws off the patient’s balance, and can contribute to a variety of health complications.
- Sore, painful muscles
- Difficult, stiff movement
- Hunch back
- Lung and heart problems
- Muscle weakness
If left untreated, the spine will continue to curve. This can lead to nerve, joint, and ligaments damage, as well as permanent disability.
What Causes Scoliosis?
Most scoliosis cases are classified as idiopathic. That means there is no known cause.
For about 20% of cases, doctors can point to a definite root condition. These cases are classified as structural or non-structural.
Structural scoliosis causes the spine to bend into a rigid curve that cannot be corrected. It is caused by underlying conditions like
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Birth defects
- Marfan’s or Down Syndrome, or similar genetic disorders
The spine of a patient suffering from non-structural scoliosis works normally. The characteristic curve is caused by injury, weakness, or illness of surrounding body parts. When the cause is treated, non-structural scoliosis generally disappears.
Scoliosis can also be developed while still in the womb. Congenital damage to growing vertebrae can cause the spine to curve, not divide properly, or not grow completely. Some patients with congenital scoliosis are not diagnosed until they are between the ages of 10 and 15. During this time, many children go through several growth spurts, which makes structural malformations more noticeable.
Degenerative scoliosis is caused by the wearing of joints and discs in adults. Their damaged joints cause the surrounding muscles to strain, which leads to a curved spine.
Massage Therapy for Scoliosis Patients
While scoliosis massage cannot correct curved or twisted bones, including the spine, it can help clients reduce pain and increase mobility.
- Massage relaxes muscles that are pulled out of place by shifted bone structures, which can significantly calm tight, uncomfortable sensations.
- Deep tissue techniques increase blood circulation and break up scar tissues, which makes it easier for patients to move freely.
- Patients who receive massage prior to chiropractic or neuromuscular therapies report better results from these treatments.
- Massage is known to soothe the mind as well as the body. A decrease in mental stress is linked to a better ability to deal with chronic pain issues.
Early and regular scoliosis massage therapy, in conjunction with standard medical treatments like exercise and the use of a brace, can help scoliosis patients avoid complicated surgeries.
There is no cure for scoliosis. However, it is highly manageable. The goal of treatment is to reduce the progression of spine curvature, reduce discomfort, and restore or improve mobility. Scoliosis Massage therapy can help your client achieve these goals more quickly than with standard treatments alone.