Archives for category: Personal

The Chinese five element system is an ancient way of looking at the human body, human personalities, the environment and much more. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water are viewed as the primary natural elements.

Below is a simple chart to give you an idea of natural cycles that the body and the emotions evolves through, during various phases in a twelve month period. Understanding how to approach the body’s phases with foods, herbs, essential oils, supplementation and lifestyle can lead to a more balanced healthier state of being.
5elements-e1433120865602

The Five Phases of the Seasons
SEASON
ORGAN
BODY SIGNALS
BODY CUES
Summer
FIRE ENERGY
Small Intestines
Heart
Over excitable
Can’t Relax
Self-Pity
Chronic Tension
High Blood Pressure
Chest Aching
Ache Between Shoulders
Red Complexion

Late Summer
SOIL ENERGY
Waning Energy
Spleen
Pancreas
Stomach
Mood Swings
Jealousy
Overly Sensitive
Anxious
Erratic Energy Levels
Binging on Sweets
Self-Pity
Belching

Fall
METAL ENERGY
Contraction Energy
Lungs
Large Intestines
Melancholy
Disinterested
Depression
Weary
Fatigue
Pale Complexion
Intestinal Issues
Sinuses/Phlegm

Winter
Water Energy
Quiet Energy
Kidneys
Bladder
Sexual Organs
Overwhelmed
Timid
Insecure
Fear
Frequent Pale Urine
Or Scant Dark Urine
Often Feel Cold
Lower back Ache

Spring
Wood/Tree Energy
Ascending Energy
Liver
Gallbladder
Anger
Domineering
Frustrated
Sensitive
Headaches
Irritated Eyes
Often Overeat
Restless 11am-2pm

Reference: Maria Low A.O., Steven Acuff, The Self-Healing Cookbook: Whole Foods to Balance Body, Mind & Moods by Kristina Turner, Ultimate Balance: Infusing the Vibrational Energy of Essential Oils into Chakras, Meridians and Organs

The natural cycles of the body and the emotions evolve seasonally through the year Being able to understand and approach the body’s phases with foods, herbs, essential oils, supplementation and lifestyle can lead to a healthier life.

Products to Help Balance the Five Seasons These Products can be found in my online shop. (Password JALMT) Always check with your physician or personal health provider to ensure these products are safe for you.

Heart/Small Intestine Support

Spleen/Pancreas/Stomach Support

Lungs/Large Intestine Support

Kidneys/Bladder/Sexual Organs

Liver/Gallbladder

 

A couple of days ago, I awoke in a panic with this on my mind and have been simmering on it trying to figure out a way to share this very important information with my clients and colleagues.

How many times have my clients forgotten to tell me what medicines they are taking? OMG a million times over! And this is so very important not only for their health but for mine! Some medicines are contraindicated for massage because while taking it, harm can come to the individual who is on those drugs. Some medicines are contraindicated because while taking it, the massage can be negated rather quickly. Some medicines are contraindicated because they are topical and can cross over to the therapist. Yes, I said that!

I have on my intake form What medicines are you taking for a reason. I have to be able to determine how and where I can work on you. I don’t just rub bodies.

Additionally, I have on my intake the direct question of Are you taking any topical medicines? This is doubly important!

I’m not sure why, but many people feel that if it is a cream or gel, it isn’t really a medicine. That is so not true! Just because it fades into your skin almost immediately does not mean it is not still working, or able to be transmitted to someone who touches that area. ESPECIALLY if that person is doing a bit more than just rubbing it and is actually reactivating the agent using oils and creams and friction!

A few years ago a colleague was having medical issues. She found out that she was overdosing on female hormones because a client she was seeing multiple times a week was using a topical version of the same thing she was taking. When my colleague found out she was ODing somehow I asked her if any of her clients were on hormones and taking them topically. We surveyed and got our answer.

I immediately changed my intake forms to include that.

Fast forward.

How many of you know a man with low testosterone? How much more prevalent is the advertisement of drugs for low T? How many people believe that talking about anything in that region is taboo and should be avoided at all costs? How many people are embarrassed about why they might have to take any kind of drug? If they are hiding it from their spouse or significant other, do you think maybe they might “forget” to put that on their intake massage when they are “just going for a bit of relaxation in a massage?” Absolutely!

Testosterone gel is rubbed onto the body (the insert I saw suggested the pectoral muscles, shoulders or belly) daily. How many male shoulders and pecs do you think I work on? Um every client male or female that comes in to see me gets worked on there! Female hormones are generally rubbed onto the hips or belly, and I work on just about every hip that comes into my office too .. male or female. Bellies I do work on, but not as often.

It clearly says on the package that females are NOT to touch treated areas. In fact some say women are not to touch the treated areas for at least 6 hours. And if so to wash hands thoroughly with alcohol. Others say it is never safe for a female to touch  a treated area and that a shirt should be worn during intercourse. Massage isn’t intercourse, but I’m doing quite a bit of touching.

I would say that massage is much more intense than mere touch.

OK … that’s just the hormones….

I’ve heard stories of clients coming in with pain patches who thought they were not working only to have the therapist have to stop the session because her tongue went numb from all the pain meds on the person’s body. That’s from patches not even creams! Who would have thought? Needless to say, because of this, I will not work on anyone who has a pain patch. Sorry, I don’t need a dose of pain meds. I need to be able to feel what I am doing to work on my clients.

OK … so what about other topicals?

Many people take topical steroids for different issues. Those are also able to be transferred to others. I don’t need steroids either, but thanks!

How many people out there forget that supplements are drugs? How many people forget that topical are drugs? How many people out there think that massage therapist just don’t need to know the medicines they are taking and don’t fill out the intake completely?

Please, I’m begging you. Be honest with your therapists! It’s not just about being able to take care of you the way we need to. It is about being able to take care of all of our clients and also ourselves. Please fill out your intake forms completely. Please be honest. We aren’t asking just to be nosy.

If you are coming in to get a massage and you are taking topicals, IF IT IS POSSIBLE … please apply in an area that I will not be working on. If your low back is hurting, I’ll need to work on your hips. If your neck and upper back are hurting, I’ll need to work on your shoulders and pecs. Bellies are generally safe unless I’m doing abdominal work of course. If it is not possible to put in a different area, maybe try to apply AFTER your appointment instead of before. If that is not possible, we therapists, understand! But we, as therapists will need to work around that area. And if you choose to deliberately withhold that information from us just so you can get an awesome massage, please know OUR health is quite literally at stake in that decision.

Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we’ll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.

You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they’re your own or simply the kids next door. Here are three places to start:

Ask different questions

Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like “How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?”

And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. “How old are you now?” and “How’s school?”

So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you’re hanging out with kids.

  • If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
  • If you could, what type of animal would you be?
  • If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
  • If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be?
  • If you could put frosting on any food in the world what would it be?
  • If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
  • If someone wrote an article about you in your school’s newspaper, what would you want them to say?

Exercise together

We can use the word ‘exercise’ loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun.

Play the kids your favorite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Bust out some old-school jumping jacks or a jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.

Massage each other

Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavor. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere.  Watch this video together, and practice massaging other. and incorporating stories.

Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, anytime massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.

There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favorite kid’s life!

Get a Professional Massage together!

Really! Couples massages don’t have to be romantic. I work on Parent/Kid couples all the time. It is especially great for those special birthdays! You still get the choices (at least in my office) of:

1. Kid can remain dressed in bathing suit for comfort or disrobe to their comfort level.
2. Couples massage with two therapists present
Both of ya getting a massage at the same time side by side, in the same room
3. Couples massage with one therapist present
One of you getting a massage while the other enjoys a relaxing foot bath or just observes from the chair in the corner.

With this time of couples massage, the idea is to introduce massage to the kids at a young age, educating them on positive touch and bringing awareness to how wonderful their body can be in a safe and trusted environment. It can be as extravagant (cucumbers on the eyes and warm moist towels) or as simple as you want it to be. SIDENOTE: State of Alabama recognizes the Legal Medical Age of consent to be 14. Young, I know. But at that age, they can choose to have a parent present or not. Children younger than that, it is my policy to require that a parent be present at all times. This is for the benefit of the child as well as to allow a parent to intercede if necessary. Juvenile massage time does not mean free babysitter so the parent can go run an errand, Sorry, and sorry it has to be said.

It’s not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We’d all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn’t wake you up by sitting on your windpipe.

But for every article I see about self care, I roll my eyes at least 12 times and think “Who can afford that?”  And sure, I would love to have an afternoon to myself and a bucket of fried chicken, and a cookie dough chaser. But that’s not particularly healthy.
gift8So I’m a fan of realistic self care. That is, activities that aren’t expensive, don’t involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time. Here’s a list of my favorites

Meditate, the easy way

If you’re the kind of person who can’t sleep during the day, napping can be  more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online, my favorites are at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center website.   

Walk and a picnic

Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn’t need to be far, doesn’t need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a glade or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You’ve just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time. Go, you!

Read a book

When was the last time you read for pleasure. Even if you can’t get to your library, there are plenty of Free ebooks on Amazon, and your local library probably may have a free online borrowing program. Or reread some of your favorite books from childhood if you have them hanging around.

Learn something

If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don’t feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby.  Check out Coursera, MIT or Harvard to start. (But there are PLENTY of sources for free online classes, do your own searching, too!)        

Draw

Bust out a piece for paper and draw something. Even if you don’t have fancy pencils or crayons or markers, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are plenty of free coloring pages you can download and print out.

Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp)

Remember letters? On real paper? It’s becoming a lost art, which is kinda sad. it used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical.

If you feel totally lost and don’t know where to start, here’s a site to help you out.

Geocaching! (Pre-PokemonGo-Style)

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are plenty of free apps to help you learn geocaching and get started. My family’s favorite is Geocaching.com.  

YouTube Karaoke

For nearly every song out there, there’s a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. For reals. Crank it up and let ‘er rip. You’re a stress-free superstar now.

Play cards

Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire.

Foot bath

You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some salt into big bowl of warm water. Put a foot in there. Scrub it a bit with a washcloth. It feels good, the warmth is calming (or use cool water if it’s a zillion degrees where you’re at), and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take ‘em out.

Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops’ll do. No big whoop.

When you’re ready, dry that foot off and slather with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. (Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don’t slip, ok?)

And when all else fails: Nap

Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and hunker down for a proper sleep.
There. You don’t have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well! But if you just want to spend money on yourself, you could always book a massage. 😉 

I’ve come up with 19 potential injuries that can happen due to playing Pokemon Go. While some are due to repetitive actions that are common in the tech world, some are due to people not paying attention, people suddenly getting active after being mostly sedentary, and others just from being active in and of itself. I’m not saying you are going to get all of these or even if you are going to get any of these, but it’s good to be aware of things that massage therapy can either prevent, or assist in healing in the long run.

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: This is the girl using cell phoneswelling inside a narrow “tunnel” formed by bone and ligament in the wrist. The tunnel surrounds nerves that conduct sensory and motor impulses to and from the hand, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.
  2. Cubital tunnel syndrome: Similar to Carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms include numbness and tingling in the ring and small finger and soreness in the inside of the elbow or forearm.
  3. Tenis Elbow: This is actually tendinitis or swelling of the tendons that causes pain in the elbow and arm and is caused by repetitive movements.
  4. Texting Thumb: This can be either trigger thumb, the constriction of a flexor tendon in the thumb caused by repetitive gripping motions with symptoms that include a painful popping or snapping when the thumb bends and straightens; sometimes the thumb even becomes locked in a curled position. Or it could also be something as simple as arthritis of the joint where the thumb joins the wrist.
  5. iPad/iPhone Hand: This is caused by holding a device in the same position and repeating the same motions over and over again, this type of repetitive strain injury sometimes must be fixed with surgery due to the damage done to tendons, ligaments or muscles.
  6. Photosensitive seizures: Many games and devices contain certain light flashing patterns that can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
  7. Computer Vision Syndrome: These are eye problems that result from prolonged digital device use(computers and any other back lit screen). Most commonly, people experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
  8. Palmar hydradenitis: This is the the formation of painful lesions on the palms of the hand from holding a device for extended periods of time with a tight grip.
  9. Bible Bump: Also known as ganglion cyst, this is a swelling or lump in the wrist resulting from jelly-like substance that has leaked from a joint or tendon sheath. It is called a Bible Bump because of the history of banging it with the largest flattest object in the house to make it go away, and that was usually the family Bible.
  10. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is a condition characterized by dry, swollen hands and loss of muscle control; consistently painful, it is usually caused by acute injury.
  11. Tendinitis: This can occur anywhere in the body, it is a tearing and inflammation of tendons connecting bones to muscles.
  12. Shin Splints: Your shins have to bear up to 6 times your weight while you exercise, so foot-pounding activities like walking can cause problems for the muscles and surrounding tissues and create inflammation. The strain and leg pain results from strong calves pulling repeatedly on weaker muscles near the shin.
  13. Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fascia is the band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to the ball of your foot. When this dual-purpose shock absorber and arch support is strained, small tears develop and the tissue stiffens as a protective response, causing foot pain.
  14. Bunions: A bunion develops when the bones in the joint on the outer side of the big or little toe become misaligned, forming a painful swelling. Walkers with flat feet, low arches, or arthritis may be more apt to develop bunions.
  15. Low Back Pain: Walking doesn’t usually cause lower-back pain, but the repetitive movement can make an existing lower-back injury worse.
  16. Morton’s Neuroma: If tissue surrounding a nerve near the base of the toes thickens, it can cause tingling, numbness, or pain that radiates to surrounding areas. It may feel as though you’re treading on a marble.
  17. Bursitis: Although there are many potential causes of hip pain, it’s common for the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the hip joint to become inflamed with repetitive stress. People with one leg slightly longer than the other are more susceptible to this kind of hip pain. Too much walking without building up to it can also be a cause.
  18. Runner’s Knee: Every time your shoe strikes the ground, your knee feels it. Eventually, your kneecap may start to rub against your femur (the bone that connects your knee to your hip), causing cartilage damage and tendinitis.
  19. Stress Fracture: Tenderness or pain when you press on a specific spot on your foot or lower leg, you may have a stress fracture—a tiny crack in a bone. Most common in the lower leg, they happen when your leg muscles become overloaded from repetitive stress because the shock is absorbed by the bone, rather than the muscle. This can occur if you ignore a shin splint, for instance, because the continued strain on muscles and tissues will eventually shift to the bone.

And these don’t even begin to address the issues of not watching where you are going, not paying attention and stepping in a hole to twist and ankle, tripping over something, running into something, or walking into an unsafe area.

Please be responsible, pay attention, and if you do end up with an injury that can be addressed by massage, give me a shout, I’ll be glad to let you hunt pokemon around my office between sessions. 😛

In the United States Body Shaming is so prevalent we are almost oblivious to it. It starts in school elementary school and doesn’t seem to stop. This year, EveryBODY deserves a massage week is this week and I felt it necessary to relay the importance of EveryBODY getting a massage despite what they may look like! bodyshaming

I have a daughter who already complains of being FAT! And She’s not … she has a nice little figure for her age. Healthy in all ways!

So I plead with you, regardless if it is your child, your parent, your sibling, your spouse, your friend or even yourself. Just SAY NO to Body Shaming.

In the massage industry, we therapists see all kinds of bodies. Fat, Skinny, Tall, Short, Hairy, Bald, Scarred, Pristine, Tattooed and any number of other differences! As a massage therapist (at least for me), we see muscle and fascia, adhesions, and the way bodies move. Honestly more often than not, as I work my eyes are closed and my fingers are doing the seeing.

Please don’t be afraid of being too big to get a massage. I’m not going to look at your fat. My table holds a LOT of weight, and I actually have extensions on my table to make it wider. I have yet to have a client book that was too large for my table. muscle fascia

Please don’t be afraid of being too skinny to get a massage. Despite being “skin and bones” skinny people really do have muscle too and it needs attention just like anyone else.

Please don’t be afraid of being too tall. It’s ok if your feet hang off the table for a bit, and I can make some adjustments to ensure your comfort.

Please don’t be afraid of being too short. If I can work on an infant, I can work on you!

Please don’t be afraid of being too frail and weak to get a massage. I have techniques that are less invasive and are of the lightest of touch so that you too can enjoy a nice hour of relaxation.

Don’t want to get undressed? That’s ok too! I can work around clothing and still work to relieve your stress.

Forget to shave? Let me just say that the woman who didn’t shave all winter has NOTHING on the hairiest of men I’ve worked on, and not shaving doesn’t bother me.

Too hairy? Bah! I can work with that. I have plenty of hairy men who leave feeling like they are floating on a cloud after having their knots reigned in.

Embarrassed by a bad tattoo? Chances are I won’t notice it and if I do, I won’t mention it unless you do.

Have a bad scar? Not a problem! Did you know I’m if not the only, then at the very least one of the first Scar Release Therapists in Alabama? I may not be able to make it go away, but if you want me to work on it, I can at least try to help it be more functional, less painful, less annoying and less obvious. If you don’t want me to work on it, I’m not going to judge you over it.

As a massage therapist it is my intent to ensure that every BODY on my table is treated like the King or Queen they are. That my hands show compassion, empathy and love the only way they can by doing the best they can with the massage.

When I say that my office is a judgement free zone, I mean it on every level! Every body tells a story of the life it has lived long past and recently. Every BODY is perfect for the soul that owns it. Love your Body It’s the only one you will have!

Step into my office and allow me the chance to help you find peace and melt your stress away. Take a moment to enjoy the subtle fragrance of delicate layers of essential oils used in previous sessions. Nothing overpowering, only a hint a healthy aromatherapy.

Allow the dimness of the room to quiet the brightness of stress in your life and the coziness of my office to embrace you in an affectionate hug that lets you know “It is OK to let go of everything that is hindering you”. You can just make out the hum of an air filter drowning out other noise behind the soft music in the background. The music is melodic and dreamlike encouraging you to give in to the rhythms with your breath and heartbeat which seem to slow down and match the gentle pulse.

Tell me what is bothering you and let me work my magic. Maybe it is pain, or maybe it is inability to move the way you used to. Maybe it is emotional or mental, and not just physical. Whatever it is, know that it is ok to let it go, even if it is just for the time you are in my office. This is an office of sacred safe space. No judgement here. No stress. No anxiety. Only peace, tranquility, quiet, slowness.

For just a brief moment, I leave you in peace to soak it all in and to remove yourself from the everyday bustle of life. In the corner is a chair, a hanger, and a shelf for you to place your belongings. As you prepare yourself for your massage, please remember to remove all things that will hinder you from receiving the highest and most beneficial treatment that will allow your body to heal on all levels. This includes clothing and jewelry as well as thoughts. Take a moment to unplug, turn off the ringer on your phone. In this hour there is nothing that is so important that it can not wait for just a little while. Allow yourself to fully enjoy this time for the moment of healing it can be. You deserve this moment. You need this moment.

Carefully, tuck yourself onto the freshly cleaned, cloud-like linens embracing the massage table, allow the sheets and blankets to enclose your body and settle in around you. The gentle warmth of the table entices you into a state of relaxation before I even make my way into the room. You lay face down with your head supported in the soft memory foam face-cradle that allows you to breathe freely, anticipating the massage to come.

Stay tuned for part 2!
Until then feel free to book a non-virtual massage today!

OMG, if I could count on one hand how many people’s primary complaint is neck and shoulder pain, I wouldn’t have a job! Seriously, I can just about guarantee anyone walking into my office is going to have a complaint of EITHER Neck & Shoulder pain or Low Back Pain if not both.

People with neck and shoulder issues often have their pain return before their next massage appointment. Work, play and children all make demands on the body. A dull ache can quickly turn into a burning pain especially while folding laundry, doing yard work, playing on the computer or any of the other million things you do.

What can you do between professional massage appointments to take the edge off neck and shoulder pain? Here are some ideas.

Take a Break

Take short breaks as often as you can if you sit at a computer all day. Move your shoulders around and s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Ideally you can get up and move around a bit. But even if you’re chained to the desk, you can rock out a little Deskercise to stay loose.

Get the kids into it

Have a short yoga break together! There are plenty of videos made especially for kids, and the moves are just as beneficial for adults. Bonus: got a little one averse to naptime? Try the lying-down postures here and maybe you’ll get a short break.

Heat it

Just 10-15 minutes of heat on your shoulders can make a huge difference in how your tissue moves and feels. You don’t need a fancy heating pad, you can make one at home pretty easily. Check out this DIY tutorial.

Self-massage

Try it, you might be surprised how much it helps! It’s not complicated, just grab a tennis ball, a lacrosse ball, or even a red rubber ball and check out these techniques.

Choose the right pillow

superb_new_PILLOW_SILO_775_jjYou spend about one third of your time in bed, be sure it’s cozy for your neck. Side-sleepers have different needs than belly-sleepers. The right pillow at night can help you all day. I have a limited supply (FOUR) of Bed Boss Superb Pillows at the office. I like them because they are #1 shredded memory foam, so they keep their shape, but offer support too. #2 have a cooling gel insert so my head doesn’t sweat at night. #3 It’s just right for shaping it myself regardless of how I’m sleeping. They retail for $70 but the ones I have I’m selling for only $40. But once they are gone, they are gone. 

A few minutes of self care every day, little changes, can make a huge difference in how you feel. See you at your next appointment! Book your appointment online today! 

I tell my clients time after time to listen to their body. One way to listen to your body is through Bodywork and Exercise. What does that mean? How do you listen to your body?
screaming back large.png
It means you have to be aware of what your body is telling you. Do you need to stretch a little more? Do you need more water? Did you overdo it? Are you imbalanced on one side of your body? Regular Exercise and Bodywork both can keep you in tune with your body. Ever ask … “How’d you know I was hurting there?” or “I didn’t even know I was hurting there until you worked on it!” This is because of that disconnect between what is happening in the body and what the brain accepts as reality. My working on that area helps to bring that area to the forefront that your brain can know what’s going on there.
The following was written by by Ruth Werner
You have to give us credit: as a culture, Americans are incredibly interested in getting fit. We invest every year in new diets, exercise programs, and supplements for weight loss and improved energy. Low-range estimates suggest that Americans spend about $2.6 billion each year on gym memberships alone.
We also tend to pitch full speed into any given commitment. If we’re going to get fit, by golly, we’re going to do it now, regardless of how long it took us to get into our current state. We don’t do things by half measures, and moderation is not in our nature. So how do we keep ourselves injury-free while honoring our commitment to exercise and get healthy?

Does It Have to Be All or Nothing?
We all know that starting an exercise program doesn’t actually mean we’ll finish it. When we throw ourselves into an ambitious new routine, we are likely to overdo it and get hurt. Then, we get discouraged, and may give up entirely, only to start the cycle over in another year or so.
Overdoing things in the gym or on the sports field seems to appeal to our competitive spirit–especially when we’re surrounded by others who all seem to be doing better than we are. Combine this kind of human drive with poorly trained athletic trainers who give bad advice about form, pacing, and effort, and we have a recipe for potential problems.
Exercise is only effective when it occurs without injury. Any new exercise program requires some caution, even if it is comparatively easygoing. And more challenging programs are safest and most successful when new participants build up their activity levels carefully and receive excellent guidance about form.

When It Goes Wrong
We accrue musculoskeletal and fascial injuries throughout our entire lifespans. In the best circumstances, they heal well, with a minimum of internal scar tissue, and function returns to practically normal levels. When things are ideal, that sprained ankle you got playing soccer at age 12 doesn’t affect your ability to walk in your 30s. The lumbar strain you got from picking up the heavy laundry basket 15 years ago resolved well, so at 62, it won’t hinder your golf game. We are able to adapt to minor injuries, and we learn how not to exacerbate them.
But when we introduce a new exercise program, especially if that exercise program is more demanding, or demanding in different ways than we have experienced before, we risk the flaring up of old injuries. Scar tissue does not have the weight-bearing capacity of healthy muscle or connective tissue. This is when that old sprained ankle may make itself known, and that weakness in your back will definitely have opinions about your new routine. Sometimes you might feel like your new commitment to fitness was not the best idea.

Injuries Can Happen Any Time
CrossFit is one program that gets a lot of attention because of its reputation for being especially demanding. But any type of exercise can lead to injury if correct form is not observed. Zumba, Jazzercise, and other dance-like programs bring a risk of foot and leg injuries, including sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures, because the risk for twisting at the knee is so high.
If you aren’t paying close attention to your own limits, even yoga can be a source of soft-tissue injury: delayed soreness, problems at the neck and sacroiliac joints, or other injuries. One massage therapist reported seeing several injuries related to a prolonged yoga headstand, probably in a student who was not ready for this challenge.

How Can Massage Help?
Massage can help you deal with pain or soreness from your exercise regimen and can also help shorten recovery periods so you can train more efficiently. Although massage therapists are not primary care providers, and cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe specific treatments, your therapist may be able to offer excellent advice for dealing with a fitness-related injury. He or she may also have suggestions about warm-ups, cool-downs, and postexercise stretching, or be able to point you to an appropriate coach or other professional for specific exercise needs and to help prevent future injury.
The incidence of exercise-related injury has a lot to do with people not paying attention to their own needs. One of the many things massage therapy offers to people who want to become healthier and more fit is the chance to become more aware of your own body in a powerfully positive way. Increased body awareness and self-appreciation may be the best tools for helping you increase activity levels without hurting yourself. In this way, you can reach your goals with power and joy, rather than with pain and injury.

Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and a continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology(Lippincott Williams + Wilkins, 2013).