The Neck. Neck pain is one of the most common Massage Therapy complaints that clients come in to see me for. It's such an amazing, flexible part of the body but when it hurts...OUCH!
Tight neck muscles can lead to pain, tension, headaches, jaw pain, pain in the shoulders, upper back and even the upper chest. There are 26 muscles in the neck that help to stabilize the upper body, allow us to look up and down and from side to side, let us bend our ear towards our shoulder, allow us to swallow and talk, and help to elevate our rib cage when we breathe.
It's important to keep these muscles flexible so you can enjoy their full function and mobility!
Technology and Neck Pain
While the technology we have is amazing, it is probably the worst culprit and what brings Massage Therapy clients in to see me the most.
Straining or holding our neck muscles as we look at computer screens for work throughout the day, or tilting the head down to look at phones and other devices, puts undue stress on our neck muscles unless we take time to care for them. If you're regularly taking breaks from computer screens and your devices throughout your day as well as taking time to counter stretch the neck muscles, you may not be having issues. Unfortunately we can get drawn into the job or the conversation and forget to take those breaks.
This Neck Pain, I Just Woke Up With It
No reason that you can think of as a cause, but when you woke up this morning you experienced severe neck pain. It hurts to move it, it hurts to not move it, your head feels too heavy to hold up... Has this happened to you?
Another reason I see clients for a Neck Massage is because of Torticollis (or Wry Neck), a spasm in the neck muscle. It's likely that your neck has been tense and strained for some time but you may not have been paying attention. While you were sleeping you unknowingly moved into a position where the strain became an intense muscle spasm and because the muscle was already strained and fatigued, it's now yelling at you. Torticollis can be very painful.
How Can I Help Your Neck Pain?
Massage Therapy can help to loosen all of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, upper back and upper chest. Clients often feel some immediate pain relief and notice increased flexibility and mobility.
A form of Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release focuses on encouraging the fascia around the muscles to loosen and release. Through rolling the muscles with the fingers, and gradually massaging in more deeply. The tightness begins to let go. Not usually recommended when the muscle spasm is acute, as it often feels too aggressive and painful.
Gentler than Massage, Craniosacral Therapy will encourage the fascia that surrounds the muscles, ligaments and joints to gradually begin unwinding. As the fascia loosens the muscles have more room to move.
Through specific techniques Spinal Touch encourages good posture throughout the entire body to promote good spinal alignment. (read more about Spinal Touch here)
Hot Moist Heat
Muscles just love hot moist heat. It brings circulation to the area and can often encourage the muscles to relax. Getting into a hot bath to soak your neck and back muscles is the best way to apply this form of therapy. You can also place a damp hand towel in the microwave to heat up and place on the affected areas.
It's important to remember that your neck muscles have probably been under strain for a period of time and they are unlikely to completely loosen with just one treatment.
Let's work together to get them loose through regular therapy, some home self-care and stretches. Once loose we can create a plan to keep them that way!
You may already know which therapy is your go to for your optimal well-being, but have you tried others? Here is your opportunity!
This month Teresa will be offering mini sessions in some of the holistic therapies she shares (some, because not all services fit into a shorter time period).
~ You can add a mini session to a longer appointment that you have booked, or book just a mini session, or book up to 2 mini sessions back to back in a day.
~ You can only book a mini session for a specific therapy once during the month. Your sessions must be booked and received between October 1 and 31, 2019.
~ Mini -sessions are 25 minutes long and cost $45 (plus gst). Sorry, gift certificates can not be purchased towards or used to pay for monthly sessions.
By Email: email@example.com
By Phone: (403) 620-0561
Massage Therapy is for more than Relaxation
Summer is over and it is back to work and school, and after school activities, and raking leaves, or shoveling snow and ... Feeling overwhelmed and stressed?
A Massage Therapy session can help you to ease through the overwhelm and get you back to feeling energized and de-stressed. Plus ease out the back ache that often accompanies raking and shoveling.
Massage Helps to Relieve Stress
Stress can cause your muscles to tense, your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to rise. All of these trigger your body's natural “fight-or-flight” response which encourages the release of excess cortisol into your system. Massage therapy helps to counteract these effects while encouraging the release of "feel good" endorphins.
Decrease Anxiety and Depression
Autumn brings ever decreasing amounts of exposure to daylight due to shorter days and colder weather that keep us indoors. Less daylight affects the release of both serotonin (mood stabilizing) and dopamine (helps to uplift and to focus) in the body. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or depression, you know what a toll they can take. Massage Therapy helps to boost your mood and relieve anxiety while encouraging your body to release serotonin and dopamine.
Massage Can Help to Boost Immunity
With the beginning of school days and more time spent indoors it can be difficult to get away from the viruses that are floating about the office, home and school. Massage Therapy has a preventative effect through helping to boost the immune system.
Sleep Better After a Massage
A good night's sleep is vital to our overall health. Without good sleep we get cranky and depressed and our immune system experiences added strain. Did you know that massage therapy has been shown to improve sleep for almost everyone? The increased release in serotonin from a massage makes melatonin production easier and that is the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle.
Reduce Back and Neck Pain
As a therapist I see more clients with back and neck pain at this time of year (save final exams in June). Students are spending more time bent over the books or working on computer, the eight hour workday can leave you with neck and back pain from sitting or being on computer. Chronic strain on the muscles of the neck and upper back can create tension and pain. Massage Therapy can loosen the muscles, improve your posture and increase blood flow,giving your body much needed relief.
Fall Onto my Massage Table this Autumn
Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to actually take some positive steps forward. Seems strange as we are often encouraged to just move forward without looking back.
When life is not flowing smoothly but instead is constantly hitting bumps and boulders I feel encouraged to sit in meditation (usually off in nature somewhere), and tune into what is feeling "off" and why. In that quiet space I can often come up with not only some answers, but also what changes I need to make to shift the flow and create more balance and harmony in my world. It's similar to how I assist clients during a Reiki session to shift into a healthier balance and flow in their lives. Practicing what I preach.
Since 1995 I have owned my own business in the holistic healthcare field, and while it's been challenging I've always enjoyed that. While I'm still able to offer this for my clients and students in B.C., since moving to Calgary it's changed. My parents were both self-employed entrepreneurs as is my son. It seems to run in the blood.
And so my recent meditations have me realizing the need for taking a step backwards while also stepping forwards in serving my clients in Calgary. Changes are afoot!
After August 15th my business, Hand to Health, is what I will be working under in providing Massage Therapy and Holistic Therapies to clients. The same services and sessions in a holistic, healing environment.
I have been blessed through the past two years to have been a part of the amazing team at Atmosphere Health. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to have had it. Being only 5 minutes away at my new location, it is my intention to continue to refer clients to both Dr Paul Semadeni and Andrew Dulcamara for their Chiropractic and Acupuncture care. They are both amazing healthcare providers in their fields!
My days and hours will be the same with some flexibility to work later for those established clients who require that.
If you need to book a session outside of scheduled times please contact me. I have some options available.
A question I'm asked by clients often is why did I choose to become a Massage Therapist?
One thing that I can say for sure is that it's a choice I have never regretted, I love what I do as not only a Massage Therapist, but also sharing all of the other Holistic modalities I've trained in.
My second career, after office administration, was as an Interior Designer, a job that really nurtured my creative, artistic side. While on site during a design project I fell from a ladder and because of that fall I booked in for my first Massage session. There was no turning back.
That first Massage left me in awe of how it eased the pain, helped me to heal and moreso feeling just how connected the parts of my body were. I had to learn more!
I signed up for a weekend course "An Introduction to Massage". I was fascinated with how it felt to work with another's muscles and feel them release, to see the glow of wellbeing and peace that crossed their face as they completely relaxed. The course wasn't my first steps in incorporating holistic health practices into my life. As a young, single mother I was interested in organic, holistic nutrition and participated in meditation daily. Yoga had been an interest since my teen years.
While on the waiting list to get into Massage Therapy school, I studied Reflexology, Reiki, Fitness instruction, Aromatherapy and Colour Therapy. Loving how each of these could complement each other and the holistic wellbeing for myself, my family and others. Did I mention that I love to learn?
My journey into studying Massage Therapy seemed the next logical step on this path I was traveling and I have loved every aspect of practicing it through the past 23 years. Honestly I can't see myself ever fully retiring because of the joy I experience doing work that I love, with incredible clients.
Massage and other Holistic therapies are a continual opportunity to learn and expand my skills. Through the past 18 years my practice has turned to specializing in treating women through all the differing phases of their life journey...but that's another story for another blog, someday.
It's weird but I have a sense of gratitude for that fall from the ladder, because it led me to this amazing career!
Super thrilled to be offering sessions at this dynamic, patient focused clinic beginning Tuesday, September 5th! Check out www.atmospherehealth.ca to discover more about what is offered and about the knowledgeable and experienced healthcare staff. I look forward to seeing you soon.
How do these two things go together?
It's Simplify Your Life Week from August 1 to 7 and what a great focus as this is a topic brought up by clients regularly...more of a wish actually, that they could find a way fo make life simpler.
And really, Reiki and this goal or wish, go hand in hand. Here's why...
When receiving a Reiki session your Body, Mind and Spirit are encouraged to enter a state of deep relaxation. Usually the mind will begin to quiet it's busy, hamster wheel thoughts (for some this takes a little longer) and that is where the magic begins.
Our Soul or Spirit have so many answers to ways in which we can make life easier and simpler for ourselves, it's ego that often gets in the way of that. When the mind becomes quiet, ego is silenced and we have the amazing opportunity to listen to the messages soul/spirit have been trying to relay. The quiet time puts life into better perspective and often, spirit will assist us in finding a way to simplify life in unique and creative wasy we wouldn't have otherwise thought of.
It really can be as simple as that!
Teresa Graham, RMT is a Reiki Master and has offered both Reiki sessions and Reiki Classes for more than 20 years. Reiki is an integral part of everyday life. Learn more about Reiki sessions here
One of my passions is gardening and I like to keep up with it all summer long and into the Fall, but that takes some body selfcare to make sure that it happens. Here are some of the things I practice so that body pain doesn't grow, the garden does...
Here's the list of things I make sure I have before starting my day out in the dirt:
Water, lots of it
*Epsom Salts for the end of day
*Knee pads because as you know, gardening is hard on them
*A Chair in the shade
Be realistic about your garden goals for the day as your body can only do so much and you don't want to end up injured and on my Massage Therapy table the next day...or maybe you do!
Listen to your body as you go along and take breaks or at least check in every hour or so
Body Posture, Body Mechanics and Body Rest
Be sure to end your gardening day without back pain by remembering to bend from your knees when lifting and using long handled tools and being as close as you can to your project. Keep yourself in pelvic tilt, low back long to protect yourself
Use knee pads to spare the pressure on your joints for weeding, seeding and other on the ground garden work
Every hour or two take 5 minutes to stretch your muscles, replenish your fluids, sit down in the shade.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I certainly can't emphasize enough just how important water is for your body. Hydration plays a key role in your body's ability to function well. When gardening or participating in other outdoor activities, our body loses water through increased respiration and sweating...that needs to be replaced.
Treat Your Body With End of Day Selfcare
You've had a workout, your muscles have had a workout and it's time to rewards with some body selfcare! Muscles love hot moist heat as it increases the circulation of blood and therefore nutrients as well as encourages them to release toxins. They also love an extra dose of Magnesium after a workout and there is no faster delivery system than through the pores of the skin. So take a soak in the tub, through in a cup or two of epsom salts, pour yourself an extra glass of water and slip in. Your muscles will thank you for it
If you're still sore the next day book in for your Massage Therapy session with me in Calgary!
Whether you love your job or would rather do something else, the night of your last day off before the work week begins can be stressful when thinking about the week ahead, what needs to get done and finding the time.
My days off are Sunday and Monday and each Monday night I have a ritual, it's something I've been doing for years and it ensures that my week ahead will be smoother.
First the practical stuff...
Coffee is my get up and go juice, it's likely an addiction but really, I don't care. I really enjoy that first cup in the morning (I only allow myself 2 a day). I know that if I take the time to sit and sip then my day will go well. So on Sunday night I set up the coffee maker for the morning AND grind enough coffee for the week so that I can selfcare each morning.
I also take a wander through the fridge and cupboards and in my head figure out the meals for the week. I make sure that what is there will meet my nutrition needs and for the longer work days, will be easy to prep.
And then of course, given the work that I do, there is the nail care. Making sure that my nails are trimmed and short so that I don't knick or scratch a client's skin during their sessions this week.
There's also the mundane...checking that the clothes are clean and ready, the linen for clients session is washed and folded...
While meditation is a regular habit, I take some extra time with visualization the night before my work week begins. Lighting scented candles that I love and putting on some quiet back ground music I make myself really comfortable. This has become an invaluable practice in easing into the first day back and being in a space to give my clients the best of myself throughout the week.
What do I visualize? The work week ahead going smoothly and easily where clients receive the best care that I can give them, Sending positive energy ahead to the clinic so that as I walk into my workspace it feels really good from the get go and that will reflect upon my mood when working with clients, visualizing my days filled with clients as I do something that is my absolute passion!
And with those pictures in my mind I breathe deeply and settle into bed just a little earlier than needed with a book and a cup of tea, knowing that the week ahead will be fabulous!
What tips and tricks do you have to set your work week off right?
Do you take the time to visualize?
AND then there is our mindset...going from the confines of indoors to the spacious outdoors. Yes, even our emotions are affected by this new found liberation.
Throughout the month of June you will find a series of articles to not only prep your body and mind for the great outdoors but also how to maintain so that you can enjoy your passions throughout the summer months. On my Facebook page you'll find daily links and tips to be sure YOU are getting the most out of summer!
How are YOU getting ready for outdoor activities?