MJL Therapeutic Massage

Information about massage, health and longevity.

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Using Massage to Improve Athletic Performance

Muscles follow a couple of principles it’s important to understand when training for performance. The first is the “all or none principle”. That means when a muscle fiber contracts, it contracts to its full capacity or it doesn’t contract at all. The other principle is “graded strength”. This refers to the fact that the number of muscle fibers that contract depends on the strength needed. Additional motor neurons are recruited to stimulate more fibers when more strength is needed. What that means to an athlete is, the more muscles that are relaxed and ready for contraction, the more potential energy the muscle bundle has.

Because of the all or none principle, a muscle already in a state of contraction cannot contract any more. We all know what happens when we have a muscle spasm or a cramp – that muscle becomes weak and ineffective. If a muscle is in spasm it can’t be recruited when needed. Consequently, the more muscle fibers that are in a state of relaxation between contractions the more potential strength the body has. That brings me to the role of massage in performance improvement.

Have you ever thought about why taking a nice big breath helps you relax? It’s because muscles need oxygen to relax. Massage increases circulation which brings more oxygen to muscle fibers. When a muscle is in spasm, circulation to that area is impeded. Releasing a knot or spasm brings blood flow to those muscle fibers so they can be available to later contract when called upon. Increasing circulation also clears out lactic acid and toxins that can build up in tissues during intense training and helps the body recover more quickly.

Professional athletes understand this physiology and many sports teams and individual athletes now employ massage therapists as part of their strength and conditioning team. Train like the pros and incorporate regular massage into your training program.

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One of the unique things about massage as a service is the connection – physical, mental and emotional – created between therapist and client. That connection is created through verbal communication, physical contact and focused attention. A dialog is actually established – there’s real-time 2-way feedback between client and therapist. The therapist touches the client and the client’s body responds, then the therapist reacts to that response and the dialog begins. 

Another form of connection is the simple fact of focusing all one’s attention on another person. This attention is perceived by the client, and in itself, can bring about stress relief and reduce tension. Attention combined with healing touch can be extremely powerful. Giving anyone your undivided attention is a wonderful way to say you care about them. It is also a fundamental element of effective massage therapy.

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Wonderfull to hear a man so passionate about women’s need to be free from fear! I wish more women were this passionate about their own rights.

Originally posted on Open Mind:

If you’re a man, be ashamed. We let this happen.

hannah hunt @sw4gbol May 26

#YesAllWomen because on the train a stranger and his friends made rude comments about my breasts & then apologised to my boyfriend, not me

You might already have guessed that this post is not about science, or math, or climate change. It’s about the fact that all women live in fear of sexual assault.



If you haven’t already, search Twitter for the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Read. If you have already, read some more.

I already know that #NotAllMen are sexual abusers or potential rapists. If that’s your attitude — then FUCK YOU. Because #YesAllMenAreTheProblem. Except maybe Jimmy Carter.

Don’t give me any of that “not me” crap. I am so fucking mad, I am so upset, I’m in no mood for any apologist shit.

I’m a white man — I’m even an old…

View original 574 more words

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Professional Development – Continuous Learning

I recently attended the AMTA-KY state conference and came away with a lot of great new information and renewed enthusiasm for body work. Over 200 people from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and even Georgia attended. The Board did a great job attracting nationally recognized educators Susan Salvo, Debra Korener, Gloria Coppola, and Eric Stephenson. They raised the level of the conversation and energized the group. Topics included Massage for Special Populations, Massage and Medications, Lomi Lomi, Self-Care, Lower Extremity Injury treatment, Shoulder Injury Treatment, TMJD treatment, Professional Ethics, Deep Tissue Techniques and Practice Development. It was an enjoyable and informative experience and bolstered my respect for my fellow Massage Professionals in Kentucky and the Profession overall. Please ask your LMT about his/her professional development activities. We should never stop learning and sharing our knowledge with our clients.

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Why do people resist massage?

When I hear people discussing their various pains and ailments, and ask whether they have tried massage their most common response is something like “I went to my chiropractor and that helped for a while, but now it hurts again”. Huh? Massage and chiropractic are not the same. They are different modalities practiced by different professionals. The same goes for physical therapy. The intention in massage practiced by PT’s is very different from that of a LMT.

My theory on why people get confused is because they automatically turn to modalities that their health insurer will pay for rather than modalities that work for their condition. That’s the same reason someone will subject themselves to surgery for carpal tunnel when in the majority of cases it is not effective in resolving the symptoms. Insurance will pay for surgery but not therapeutic massage by a LMT. I’m actually glad the high deductible plans are becoming more prevalent because I hope people will begin to evaluate their treatment options based on efficacy instead of insurance coverage since they will have to pay a bigger share of expensive  procedures. No more MRI’s for a sprained ankle. No more CAT scans for simple muscle tears. MD’s should start to improve their palpation and diagnostic skills and rely less on costly technology to CYA. People might begin to understand that a less invasive more gradual treatment is cheaper and more effective in the long term.

Why do you think people resist getting massage?

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Shoulder Pain – Rotator Cuff

There are many potential causes for shoulder pain, but unless you had a specific event like a car accident, sports injury or serious fall, the odds are good that a short course of massage therapy can help relieve your pain. Some initial assessment is advised to determine whether massage can be helpful and which muscles are involved.

A lot of shoulder pain arises from the muscles that make up the rotator cuff. It is made up of 4 muscles: the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis. Assessing each of these 4 muscles independently can identify the source of the problem. Three of the 4 muscles are very accessible and are easily treated with friction and gliding massage strokes along with stretching and strengthening. The subscapularis is a bit harder to reach because it attaches underneath (on the anterior side) the shoulder blade, but it’s still reachable and treatable. There are additional muscles in the upper back and chest that can contribute to shoulder pain so these should be assessed as well.

If you have shoulder pain, before you consider any invasive treatment, give 3 sessions with a therapist trained in massage for injuries a try. If you don’t see improvement in 3 sessions, you might have a more serious injury that could require more invasive treatment.

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Arm and Wrist Pain and Numbness – Carpal Tunnel?

Because of the nature of our society and working environments today, more and more people are suffering with wrist and arm pain and numbness. Often, this is diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a compression of the median nerve which passes through a structure in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. There are however, other causes which could result in the same or very similar symptoms.

If you suffer from these symptoms or have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome, try a short course of massage therapy before you pursue more invasive therapies. Nerve compression could be happening in a different nerve, farther up your arm and even into your shoulder which then manifests as arm and hand pain and tingling or numbness. With just 3-30 minute sessions with a massage therapist trained in injury work, you might start to feel relief and save yourself from having a surgery that is often not successful in relieving the symptoms. It’s worth a try!


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