Monday, May 21, 2012

Sports, Fitness, & Rehabilitation Clients

How does these types of clients range from individuals involved in physical rehabilitation requiring exercise programs, including cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory rehabilitation, and physical therapy for orthopedic injury; persons incorporating exercise as part of a comprehensive fitness and wellness program, including weight management; and recreational and competitive athletes, both amateur and professional. For those of you that work with them, how do you use therapeutic massage to serve this population?

The sports, fitness, and rehabilitation community is using massage at an increased rate, however, there are many misconceptions, inaccurate information, and even dangerous methods being taught and practiced as sports massage. More commonly are complaints from those who have received ineffective massage that was not worth the time and money. This is unacceptable. There is a professional responsibility to provide safe and effective massage care for all populations.

What can you do as a massage therapist and maybe even client to provide and receive effective massage?


Research and be informed as best you can. Learning is lifelong as a therapist and an as a consumer, and not just a client of massage. Whether it be the car you drive (the insurance you buy), your home, your or your childrens school, the food you eat, the personal products you use, etc, etc.

Research has exposed many myths about massage and components of sports training.  As a massage therapist, especially when working with any client who has excessive demand on their bodies, it is absolutely essential that lifelong learning is a priority as is remaining current with the research evidence.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vascular or Tension Headache

Which type of headache do most of your clients encounter?
Headache is a common symptom with a multitude of causes. Headaches can be caused by stress, muscle tension, chemical imbalance, disordered breathing syndromes, nutritional disruption, side effects from medication, vascular dysfunction, sinus disorders, tumors and many more internal and external influences. 
  • Vascular type - or fluid pressure with pain experienced as throbbing from the inside of the head out usually classified as migraine although migraine is only one type of vascular headache. 
  • Tension type- soft tissue shortening typically called muscle tension headache although as we will learn that headache is more complicated than a short muscle.  This headache is experienced as a squeezing on the outside of the head.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I have been involved in a variety of massage related discussions.  One of the most interesting is the linkedin discussion about core competencies for massage and a base line definition of massage.

I also taught a class in New Mexico where students were asking  a lot of excellent questions that really got me thinking.     I was at the Fascia Congress in Vancuver which stimulated thinking.  I am always working on textbooks which make me think.  All this thinking may have been productive. 

Massage can be defined as the manual application of mechanical forces to the body.  The body is anatomy and physiology.  Manual means-  involving the hands.  Mechanical forces are a push or a pull. So massage uses hands to push or pull on the body.  Why would we do this?  For the results of course! Click this link to read about mechanical force application and cancer treatment

So what are the results?  Here is where I think we do get confused.  For example, is myofascial release a method or a result?  I think it is a result.  Is lymphatic drainage a method or a result? I think it is a result.  Is stretching a method or a result? I think it is a method that pulls to create a result.  Is pain management a method or a result- a result of course.  What about sports massage? Is it a method? Result?  Or is it an adaptation based on unique needs of a client?  What about oncology massage, prenatal massage, geriatric massage and so forth?   What about NMT-neuromuscular therapy?  Method or result. Think about trigger points- method or result- or maybe a condition addressed by a method to achieve a result.    Why is there a tendency to present a result from massage as a method that appears to differentiate itself from massage?   What do you think?