Diana's Blog

Massage and Relief of Muscular Pain

January 24th, 2013 ( 0 )

“The Quebec Task force on Spinal Disorders (1987) reported that massage therapy may be the most frequently used therapy for musculoskeletal  disorders and makes particular reference to its usefulness in controlling pain. From the intuitive rubbing of a painful injury to the sophisticated application of massage therapy in the treatment of intractable chronic pain, the effectiveness of massage in pain control is widely recognized.

There are three principle ways in which massage may be expected to relieve pain:  It may act directly on the source of the pain to alleviate nociceptive stimulation; it may act centrally to alter the processing of nociceptive input; or it may affect the conduction of pain impulses in the peripheral nerves.”

A nociceptor is a peripheral nerve organ or mechanism for the reception and transmission of painful  or injurious stimuli. In other words, it is a detector and transmitter of pain impulses.

“Muscle pain can arise from sustained muscle contraction due to decreased blood flow produced by compression of blood vessels within the muscle. Thus the pain associated with sustained muscle contractions is ischemic pain, and can be part of a pain-contraction cycle.”

Ischemic refers to the condition of insufficient blood supply.

“According to Jacobs (1960), the therapeutic effect of massage therapy in such syndromes is concerned with breaking the pain-contraction cycle and thus eliminating the source of pain.

This can be accomplished via the improved circulation that results from mechanical pressure on venous and lymphatic channels, possibly assisted by release of vasodilators like histamine and by reflex dilation of vessels through stimulation of the cutaneous afferents mediating touch and pressure.

Relaxation of the contracted or spastic muscle may result from stimulation of proprioceptors in the muscle, tendon and fascia by stretching and compressive movements.”

Proprioceptors are structures found in muscles, tendons and fascia which detect muscle length and relative position in space and assist in maintaining equilibrium. They are important in informing the organism of excessive tension and other information, so adjustments can be made.

“It is also possible that the effectiveness of massage therapy in treating the trigger points that develop and produce referred pain following injury may also be partly explained in terms of interrupting the pain-contraction cycle.”

This information is taken from “A Physician’s Guide to Therapeutic Massage” by Dr. John Yates, Ph.D.

Tasty Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing

June 6th, 2011 ( 0 )

1-2 stalks celery, chopped coarsely

1/2 medium onion, chopped coarsely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup olive oil

3/4 cup tahini

2 TBS tamari

In blender, buzz vegetables together with lemon juice to a paste.

Add rest of ingredients and blend to a smooth consistency. I like to add paprika, kelp powder and a little cayenne powder for extra pizzaz and antioxidants.

Use with anything…as a dip for raw vegetables, over greens, for a bean or pasta salad…nourishing and delicious. You may want to adjust the proportion of lemon juice to tahini to suit your taste. Tahini can be a little cloying, but this proportion works well for me. Keep refrigerated.

What to Expect in a Lymphatic Drainage Treatment

January 26th, 2011 ( 0 )

Good question!  When you come in for an initial treatment, after the intake questionnaire and interview, I explain a bit about how the lymphatic system works, what happens during the treatment, and how the treatment affects the lymphatic system.  Then, I leave the room while you remove most of your clothes and settle yourself under the covers on the massage table.  (A treatment can also be given fully or partially clothed, if preferred.)

The treatment itself is calming and deeply relaxing to receive. The technique involves a very gentle, subtle pressure of the practitioner’s fingers and hands. The skin, and the lymph vessels in the skin, are gently moved in the direction of the set of nodes to which that area drains. Then the hands are lifted off the skin to allow the lymph vessels to fill up again.  This is done in sync with the very slow rhythm of the lymphatic system, which is significantly slower than the faster rhythm of the circulatory system.

Normally, the main nodal areas of the body are addressed during a treatment: cervical, axial (underarms), abdominal, groin and the nodes of the legs. The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and the lymphatic fluid, or lymph. Every part of the body is “drained”, or served, by the lymphatic system. The interstitial fluid which bathes the cells enters the lymphatic capillaries,  the smallest, microscopic vessels of the lymphatic system, and begins the journey through the system. At that point, the fluid is referred to as “lymph”.

Eventually, the lymph reaches a set of nodes, where the sorting and filtering process begins.  Antigens are detected and attacked by the various kinds of white blood cells  which reside and multiply there. After leaving the nodes, the fluid rejoins the circulatory system via main veins near the heart, and the kidneys and liver filter out the waste and it is excreted from the body. Thus, the lymphatic system serves the functions of activating the immune system and cleaning the tissues of the body, to safeguard your health.

After a treatment, it is recommended to relax for the rest of the day and to eat lightly, to allow the lymphatic system to continue concentrating on processing the extra “lymph load” generated by the treatment.

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy-post surgical

January 23rd, 2011 ( 0 )

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy, LDT, is potentially beneficial for the reduction of post surgical edema (swelling in the tissues), pain and bruising.  The gentle, noninvasive aspect of LDT makes it a bodywork of choice to assist in the healing process. It facilitates the body’s tissue cleansing and repair by increasing the uptake of interstitial fluid by the lymphatic capillaries, and the solids dissolved in these fluids, and delivering them to the lymph nodes.  There, the nodes function as filters, removing dead blood cells, tissue and other byproducts of the inflammatory process, allowing the tissues to be cleansed and to regenerate. White blood cells clustered in the lymph nodes are activated and attack infected material. The liver and kidneys then filter this material and excrete it from the body.

The LDT therapist uses a gentle, rhythmic motion  to move the lymph in the direction of the local nodes which serve the various “lymphatic territories” of the body.  This rhythmic motion stimulates the lymphatic muscles which spiral around the lymphatic vessels, to increase their efficiency. The gentle “dragging motion” also pulls on the vessels’ anchoring filaments, which increases the diameter of their openings, and allows more fluid to enter the vessels, thus increasing the overall volume of lymph that the body processes.  A treatment can increase the volume of fluid taken into the lymphatic system and processed 3-4 times over a 24 hour period.

The treatment is relaxing to receive, as it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the “relaxation and healing” aspect of the autonomic nervous system- in opposition to the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the “fight or flight” reflexes.

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