8 Tips For The Best Massage!

Here are some tips for those of you who may be confused about the etiquette during a massage and what can help make the experience amazing:

1. Let your preferences be known to the massage therapist: Preferred pressure, injuries or tender spots need to be addressed before the massage starts. If when you are receiving a massage, there is too much pressure it is not a good thing. Too much pressure will make your body feel “sore” and can become an injury. Pain is not part of a normal massage even though a lot of people especially athletes think it needs to hurt to get results.

2. Don’t show up late: Normally, it is good to arrive 5-10 minutes early if you can. This will allow you to go to the restroom or address anything you may need beforehand. Arriving late will cut the massage time short in order to accommodate the next client.

3. Understand that a 60 minute massage doesn’t always mean body work is for exactly an hour: There is prep time and changing time in the 60 minute time slot. Sometimes if there is not a person following you, you may get 60 minutes of body work but normally a 60 minute massage means around 50 minutes of tissue work and the rest is prep time.
Making sure there are clean linens and a clean and available space is also part of the experience.

4. Turn off your cell phone. Getting a call while on the table will tense up your muscles and make it harder for the massage therapist. It disrupts the flow of the massage if your phone is going off frequently. If you need to keep it on in case of a family emergency or work emergency then let someone know and it is always a good idea to have it high enough so you can hear but low enough so that it is not startling to the system.

5. Good Hygiene: Please be relatively clean when coming in for a massage.Feet, hair, skin should be clean so that it is not spread on the rest of the body.

6. No artificial fragrances: Scents are hard to get out of a small room and can irritate someone who has allergies. No scent is the best way to go.

7. No sexual innuendoes please: Massage therapists are professional and want to help you with any anatomical and physical issues you have helping you heal and relax. Joking about sex or flirting will make them uncomfortable and they have every right to stop the massage and still have you pay in full for their time. No professional body worker wants to be referred to as a sex worker.

8.Tips are customary: Tips show that you are satisfied with the work that is done and most massage therapists get paid only a fraction of what the charge is based on the cost of space, laundry and supplies. The customary tips are 15 to 20 percent on each visit.

What Does “Muscle Memory” Mean?

Every athlete has heard the term “muscle memory”. What is meant by that? Do your muscles remember? Well, not exactly.

Our brains are what tells the muscles what to do and how to behave. When our brain has been shown a repetitive function it will remember and quickly pull up that action in its memory bank.

Throwing a ball, watching a sport live or on television, shooting a basket, bowling, golfing and many other sports or activity all become “muscle memory” after watching or performing these activities repetitively.

The part of the brain that helps this along are the bottom portion of the brain called the Cerebellum and the medial portion of the temporal lobe which is located right above the ears.

As you may have noticed with most activities, at first things come to you slowly. You may feel awkward, uncoordinated or off balance. Performing the activity several more times you may find it much easier. Soon, it is much easier and may not even take much effort at all anymore.

We all have experienced this, we just didn’t label it…well, until now…(smile emoticon).

So basically the nervous system and the muscular system talk to each other. Pretty cool huh?

Remember that your nervous system learns and repairs. Motor skills can be learned and that is why after severe injuries, patients can learn to walk, dance, grip again even when many medical professionals say it can not be done.

 

9 Foods That Can Help You Replenish After A Workout

After a workout, these foods will help you recover quicker and regain your energy.

1. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt opposed to just regular yogurt packs two times as much protein and has less sugar it also has 1/2 the amount of salt that normal yogurts have.  Yogurt is a great source for calcium which helps keep the structure of your bones strong.

2. Eggs: One egg contains around 7 grams of protein.  This is used highly by body builders.  Eggs also have vitamin E and A making it a staple food for bodybuilders. Eggs also contain several nutrients such as vitamins E which is a great antioxidant and helps your nervous system and vitamin A which helps with vision, immune function and skin health.

3. Bananas:  Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which helps reduce cramping after your workout. Bananas also are wonderful for your digestive system and are a great fiber source. Banana is a sugar but it is realatively low on the glycemic index.

4. Fruit salad: Combinations of fruits provide the vitamins and fibers necessary for the growth and repair of muscles after a workout.

5. Avacodo smoothie (add whey): Avocado is a good source of good fat.  One cup of avocados contains about 22 grams of fat, which makes up 82% of the calories contained in the fruit. Fats can be bad for you but WHFoods.com notes that the intake of fat with carotenoids helps in the overall absorption of the plant pigment.  This is actually healthy!  It also has high dietary fiber content, and when paired with whey in a smoothie, helps you gain energy after a hard workout.

6. Blueberries: This amazing fruit provides you with loads of antioxidants needed to combat the free radicals that can cause so much harm including cancer.

7. Kiwi:  Kiwi has an enzyme called “actinidin” to help in fast digestion.  Potassium is in kiwi along with vitamin C which helps boost your immunity.  It is also rich in vitamin E, but has a low glycemic index.

8. Hummus:  Hummus is a great source of protein and you can eat it with carrots or celery giving you back your energy and getting the fiber you need for digestion.

9. Coconut water: This can increase your electrolyte intake along with necessary minerals you may have sweat out.  It also contains bioactive enzymes which help with digestion and B-complex vitamins that help replenish the body.

Bad Posture Effects Your Mind As Well As Your Body

I remember my mom always on me about sitting up straight on my chair and not looking down when I was walking.  I thought this was just because it didn’t look good so I listened.  However many people don’t listen and work 8+ hours at a computer with bad postural habits.

Slouching is bad for you. It’s bad not only for your physical health because your spinal muscles send messages back to the brain and these are altered with misalignments, but also for your emotional well being as well.

Sitting with your computer eye level instead of looking down is helpful.  Sitting to standing desks help but you still need to be conscious of how you are standing and how you are sitting.

Poor posture may not get you right away but in time it can cause back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, breathing limitations, arthritic joints, digestive problems and mood disturbances. It can also create a bad impression when interviewing for a job, meeting new people and other people’s impressions of you when watching you move about.

Researchers have shown that poor posture can even leave you vulnerable to street crime. Many years ago it was shown in a study where women who walked sluggishly with head and eyes on the ground were much more likely to be mugged than those who walked briskly and purposely with head pointed forward and looking alert.

We have gravity pushing on our body at all times.  If not aligned properly certain muscles will have to work harder than others to keep us upright. This leads to muscle exhaustion and discomfort.

In a study performed on 110 students at SFU in San Francisco.  50% of the students were told to walk slumped and the others were told to skip while walking down the hall, the skippers had a lot more energy throughout the day.

Any repetitive or prolonged position “trains” the body’s muscles and tendons to shorten or lengthen.  This puts a lot of stress on your joints and can reshape them until they are retrained again.   Just as walking in high heels can shorten the plantar fascia and achilles tendon,  slouching while sitting  for hours or standing will eventually lead to permanently rounded shoulders and upper back which I am sure if you live in Slicon Valley, you see a lot of.

Although early humans spent most of their waking hours walking, running and standing, today in developed countries, 75 percent of work is performed while sitting.  Then after work, people either take work home and are on the computer or watch television seated so more hours with slouching.  The more you live a sedentary life, the easier it is to have body discomfort.

“Text neck,” a term coined by a Florida chiropractor, Dean L. Fishman, is a repetitive stress injury resulting from hours spent with the head positioned forward and down while using electronic devices. This leads to tight muscles in the back of the neck and upper back. People who lean forward while sitting may be inclined to clench their jaws and tighten their facial muscles, causing headache and TMJ.

Leaning forward or slouching can also reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent (this may be why there is a rise in C-paps).  This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, according to Dr. Rene Cailliet, a pioneer in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

Additionally, slouching or sitting in a rounded position compresses the abdominal organs putting stress on them and decreasing normal digestion and bowel function.

Improving posture requires a conscious effort and often strengthening and flexibility exercises to correct muscular imbalances, according to Nick Sinfield, a British physiotherapist. For example, exercises that strengthen the core, buttocks muscles and back extensors help correct a slouching posture, he said.

So, in conclusion, the habits your mom instilled in you as a child can be helpful to your body and mind.

5 Signs of Magnesium Deficiencies

Magnesium deficiency is not often talked about and people do not understand when they are lacking the electrolyte.  Magnesium is important for brain, cardia, and muscle function.  Here are 5 warning signs that you may not be aware of.

1. Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus): This is a high pitched sound or what is known as “ringing in the ears”.   Hearing loss may also occur.  There have been several studies showing how magnesium is correlated with the ear function.  For instance, the Mayo Clinic did a study and found that people with hearing loss can restore it within 3 months of taking sufficient levels of magnesium.

 

2. Muscle cramping or tremors:  Magnesium allows the muscle to relax.  If you don’t have enough, the muscle will continue to contract leading to cramping.  Pregnant women during label are often given a magnesium oxide drip to ease the contraction pain during labor.

3. Depression: Evidence shows that low magnesium levels are linked with depression.  A study performed in a Croatian psychiatric facility found that people with suicidal tendencies had low level of magnesium.  Taking magnesium instead of an antidepressant is great because there are no side effects.

 

4. Abnormal Heart Function: Since magnesium is great for muscle function, the cardiac muscle is no exception.  Low levels of magnesium can result in arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).  Arrhythmia can lead to heart attack or stroke.

5. Kidney Stones: Many people believe that kidney stones are caused by an excess of calcium, but in fact it is a lack of magnesium. Magnesium prevents calcium oxalate formations which are what the stones are primarily made of.

If you have these symptoms, it may be a good idea to eat a diet with okra, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, almonds, soy or black beans, cashews and spinach.  These are foods high in magnesium.

What Are Muscle “Knots” and How Should They Be Treated?

This is in response to an article I just read in the NY Times.

According to an article in the NY Times regarding muscle knots,  “no one knows definitively what muscle knots are made of.”

This article states that experts believe knots, are “specific areas of contraction within the muscle fiber,” (Rob Grieve, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England).

Mr. Grieve’s research results state that “the knots seem to develop when a muscle tenses repeatedly “and “are normally not caused by a specific, traumatic event,” “but by muscle overuse or faulty biomechanics.” (This is also known as slouching).

Mr. Grieve’s statement is something that I and many of my colleagues disagree with.  Knots have shown in several studies to be scar tissue and adhesions.  Knots can be caused by trauma, muscle overworking and strains. Over time these adhesions prevent muscles from contracting and stretching to their potential leading to discomfort and immobility. -Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article continues to state that “scientists from Australia and the United States pointed out that muscle knots rarely show up on scans, leaving researchers with “no scientific basis” for believing that knotted muscle fibers make us sore. Instead, the researchers contend, the soreness is likely neural, involving the brain and irritated nerve endings”.

Yes, the nerves are irritated along with the muscle fibers.  Doctors can feel such fibers and of course any soreness that is felt in the body is ALWAYS a nerve.  That is our sensory mechanism in our body!  Muscles move, they don’t send pain signals.  Nerves do!  That is why Chiropractors study them and understand how the brain, spinal cord and nerves work so that we can eliminate the cause of discomfort. – Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article goes on to say “Regardless of the possible cause, most therapists feel that the best treatment for purported muscle knots is to vigorously massage the sore spot or use a small, hard ball (such as those used for lacrosse) or a foam roller”.  – Well I do agree with that!  Finally!

Suggestions of injections were mentioned, but this is only a bandaid for the problem.  The pain will go away but continued usage of a body part that is injured will only lead to a long term problem that will not go away unless the CAUSE is treated.  Chiropractors find that cause and treat it allowing the body to heal without putting needles through your skin.  I think that is so much better than going and getting a shot every 3 months.

Chiropractors deal with sports injuries, car accidents and postural issues daily.  We can help people recover from muscle injuries and keep them functioning properly leading to a high quality of life.

What is Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome?

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an uncommon, exercise-induced neuromuscular condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes even disability in affected muscles of your legs or arms.

Anyone can develop chronic exertional compartment syndrome, but it’s more common in athletes who participate in sports that involve repetitive movements, such as running, fast walking, biking and swimming. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is sometimes called chronic compartment syndrome or exercise-induced compartment syndrome.

Symptoms:

The pain and other symptoms associated with chronic exertional compartment syndrome may be characterized by:

1. Aching, burning or cramping pain in the affected limb — usually the lower leg, but sometimes the thigh, upper arm, forearm or hand

2. Tightness in the affected limb

3. Numbness or tingling in the affected limb

4. Weakness of the affected limb

5. Foot drop, in severe cases, if nerves in your legs are affected

6. Occasionally, swelling or bulging as a result of a muscle hernia

Pain typically happens soon after you start exercising the affected limb, gets progressively worse for as long as you exercise, stops 15 to 30 minutes after the affected limb comes to rest and over time, may begin to persist longer after exercise, possibly lingering for a day or two.

Taking a complete break from exercise may relieve your symptoms, but usually once you take up running again, your symptoms usually come back unless you continue to stretch and do keep up to date with your rehabilitative exercises.

If you experience unusual pain, swelling, weakness, loss of sensation, or soreness related to exercise or sports activities, talk to your doctor because these symptoms may be associated with conditions that require emergency medical treatment. Don’t try to exercise through the pain, as that may lead to permanent muscle or nerve damage — and jeopardize continued participation in your favorite sports.

Sometimes chronic exertional compartment syndrome is mistaken for shin splints. If you think you have shin splints but they don’t get better with self-care, talk to your doctor.

What are the causes?

Your arms and legs have several groupings, or compartments, of muscles, blood vessels and nerves. Each of these compartments is encased by a thick layer of connective tissue called fascia (FASH-ee-uh), which supports the compartments and holds the tissues within each compartment in place. The fascia is inelastic, which means it has little ability to stretch.

In chronic exertional compartment syndrome, exercise or even repetitive muscle contraction causes the tissue pressure within a compartment to increase to an abnormally high level. But because the fascia can’t stretch, the tissues in that compartment aren’t able to expand sufficiently under the increased pressure. Imagine shaking up a soda bottle but leaving the cap on — an enormous amount of pressure builds up.

As the pressure builds up within one of your muscle compartments, with no outlet for release, nerves and blood vessels are compressed. Blood flow may then decrease, causing tissues to get inadequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood, a condition known as ischemia (is-KE-me-uh). Nerves and muscles may sustain damage.

Experts aren’t sure why exercise or muscle contraction creates this excessive pressure in some people, leading to chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Some experts suggest that biomechanics — how you move, such as landing styles when you jog — may have a role. Other causes may include having enlarged muscles, an especially thick or inelastic fascia, or high pressure within your veins (venous hypertension).

In chronic exertional compartment syndrome, exercise or even repetitive muscle contraction causes the tissue pressure within a compartment to increase to an abnormally high level. But because the fascia can’t stretch, the tissues in that compartment aren’t able to expand sufficiently under the increased pressure. Imagine shaking up a soda bottle but leaving the cap on — an enormous amount of pressure builds up.

As the pressure builds up within one of your muscle compartments, with no outlet for release, nerves and blood vessels are compressed. Blood flow may then decrease, causing tissues to get inadequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood, a condition known as ischemia (is-KE-me-uh). Nerves and muscles may sustain damage.

Experts aren’t sure why exercise or muscle contraction creates this excessive pressure in some people, leading to chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Some experts suggest that biomechanics — how you move, such as landing styles when you jog — may have a role. Other causes may include having enlarged muscles, an especially thick or inelastic fascia, or high presse within your veins (venous hypertension).

What are the risk factors?

The condition is most common in athletes under 40, although people of any age can develop chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

People most at risk of developing chronic exertional compartment syndrome are those who engage in exercise that involves repetitive motions or activity. Young female athletes may be at particular risk, for reasons unknown.

Risk factors include engaging in such sports, exercises and activities as:

  • Running
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Biking
  • Tennis
  • Gymnastics

Overuse of your muscles or overtraining — that is, working out too intensely or too frequently — also can raise your risk of chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome isn’t a life-threatening condition and usually doesn’t cause any lasting or permanent damage if you seek appropriate treatment. However, if you continue to exercise despite pain, the repeated increases in compartment pressure can lead to muscle, nerve and blood vessel damage. As a result, you may develop permanent numbness or weakness in affected muscles.

Perhaps the biggest complication of untreated chronic exertional compartment syndrome is its impact on participation in your favorite sports — the pain may prevent you from being active.


Don’t try to exercise through your pain. Limit your physical activities to those that don’t cause pain. For example, if running bothers your legs, you may be able to swim. Use ice or take omega 3s until you can see your doctor and make sure this is NOT an emergency.

The following basic sports and fitness guidelines can help protect your health and safety during exercise:

  • Warm up before starting exercise.
  • Cool down when you’re done exercising.
  • Stop if you’re in pain.
  • Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program if you have any health issues.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Engage in a variety of physical activities.

Sections of this article are published on http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-exertional-compartment-syndrome/DS00789

Erb’s Palsy In New Born Babies

Erb’s palsy occurs when there is an injury to the cervical nerve roots, C5 and C6 (Brachial Plexus).  It commonly occurs due birth injury in a baby during difficult labor. Tugging and pulling on the infant’s head during birth pulls on the nerves and can severely damage the nerves coming from the neck going down to the hand.  It can also occur in adults due to bike accidents or fall when the shoulder is pulled downward and the head is tilted.

Erbs palsy involves the deltoid muscle, which helps in lifting the arm upwards and other shoulder muscles that help with rotating the arms.  It is also known as “waiters tip deformity” because the arm is straight down the side of the body with the palm of the hand pointing up as if a waiter is asking a bribe or tip from someone.

Surgery is sometimes performed but in many cases, new borns can get a slight  adjustment to the neck by a Chiropractor to help lessen the stretching of the nerves.  When these nerves start to relax they can regenerate and normal movement can be restored.

Watching TV Can Be Hazardous To Your Health!

 

A study by researchers in Australia found that watching television may be hazardous to your health.

The report, published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, says that every hour of television, after the age of 25, shortens the viewer’s life expectancy by 22 minutes. Adults who watch six hours a day may be cutting almost five years off their lives.

If the data are confirmed and show “a causal association, TV viewing is a public health problem comparable in size to established behavioral risk factors,” the researchers wrote.

The big problem with television watching, the researchers say, is its sedentary nature. People do not tend to watch television while working out. They do it from the sofa and often times are eating when doing so.

The data were adjusted to reflect differences in the subjects’ age, waist circumference, alcohol intake and other factors.

Is there a difference with different programming? Is reality television more or less lethal than the news, for example? If I spend my time watching “Jersey Shore,” am I more likely to die of cancer or some other disease?

Some television Incites violence but so do other types of entertainment.  Example: Two British men were sentenced to four years in prison each after being found guilty of inciting violence via Facebook.  Facebook live has shown people killing and taping individuals overdose on Heroin without calling 911.

“We may wonder why Western leaders, on the one hand, tend to indiscriminately accuse other nations of monitoring, but on the other take for granted their steps to monitor and control the Internet,” Xinhua said. “For the benefit of the general public, proper Web monitoring is legitimate and necessary.”

We are guessing the British measures will stop short of the approach in China, where a Google search for, say, “Tiananmen Square protests” is likely to result in a so-called 404 error. Still, the sentences handed down to the would-be Facebook rioters suggest that a considered response is not the order of the day.

Reading a book, engaging in an activity is better for your health and gives you more of a sense of accomplishment.  Don’t waste your brain cells watching mindless television for hours on end.

References: In an article entitled: Hazards Lurk Between TV and Sofa by Eric Pfanner: Published in New York Times: August 21, 2011

What to do about your High Foot Arch

How does this happen?

High arches can be genetic or in most cases can be caused by wearing improper shoes and/or imbalances of leg muscles.  Muscle imbalance can arch the foot.  This puts additional pressure under the big toe and toes begin to curl and become “claw toes”.  If the toes are curled, it changes the way we walk and stand. We begin putting added pressure on the heel of the foot and because of this, some muscles weaken and others become stronger.  We also tend to land on the outside of the foot, which can lead to twisted ankles and sprains.

A high arch foot may develop because the posterior tibialis muscle next to your shin becomes strong, but the muscle on the outside of the leg (peroneus brevis) remains weak.   This moves the foot in a position that adds strain to the arch and forefoot.  It is important to stretch the strong muscle and strengthen the weak one.    Making sure the foot moves properly is imperative.   There are 26 bones in the feet and they all have joints.  These joints can be moved with gentle guidance allowing your foot to be in a better position and relieve the stress on the big toe.

So how can we help?

We can teach you how to strengthen the proper muscles of your leg and relax strong muscles to keep a balance in your feet.  We also keep your foot moving properly with gentle adjusting and soft tissue work. We can also make custom orthotics, which may be necessary to keep your foot in proper position and prevent twisting and pulling on your leg muscles.