Category Archives: Flagstaff Arizona massage

Forward Heads = Funky Necks…and more.

by Erik Dalton Ph.D., Certified Advanced Rolfer®

founder of Freedom From Pain Institute™

“For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head
on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.”   Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3

It’s not uncommon to have clients walk into your office sporting a 12 pound head that’s migrated three inches forward of their shoulders. You know prior to palpation that their cervical extensors (semispinalis, splenii, longissimus and upper traps) are in a losing battle attempting to isometrically restrain 42 pounds against the unrelenting force of gravity (Figure 1).  Rene Cailliet M.D., former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California wrote:

  • Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment
  • Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation. Proper rib lifting action by the hyoids and anterior scalenes is essential for complete aeration of the lungs (Fig 2 Hyoids /ant scalenes).
  • The entire gastrointestinal system (particularly the large intestine) may become agitated from FHP resulting in sluggish bowel peristaltic function and evacuation.
  • Cailliet also states: “Most attempts to correct posture are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. All are important, but, head position takes precedence over all others. The body follows the head. Therefore, the entire body is best aligned by first restoring proper functional alignment to the head”. (13) 1
The effects of poor posture go far beyond just looking awkward. In fact, the January, 2004 issue of the American Journal of Pain Management reported on the relationship of poor posture and chronic pain conditions including low back pain, neck related headaches, and stress-related illnesses. “The extra pressure imposed on the neck from poor posture flattens the normal cervical curve resulting in abnormal strain on muscles, ligaments, fascia and bones.”2 Research presented at the 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, (2009) stated; “Over time poor posture results in pain, muscle aches, tension and headache and can lead to long term complications such as osteoarthritis. Forward head carriage may promote accelerated aging of intervertebral joints resulting in degenerative joint disease.”3 (Fig.3).  It appears posture impacts and modulates all bodily functions from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the many conditions influenced by faulty posture.
“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine” Dr. Roger Sperry,
(Nobel Prize Recipient for Brain Research)

Additionally, Dr Roger Sperry demonstrated that 90% of the brain’s energy output is used in relating the physical body to gravity. Only 10% has to do with thinking, metabolism, and healing.4 Consequently, a FHP will cause the brain to rob energy from thinking, metabolism, and immune function to deal with abnormal gravity/posture relationships and processing. The March 2000 Mayo Clinic Health Letter expounded on Sperry’s findings by reporting that prolonged FHP also leads to “myospasm, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.”

Degenerative neck pain goes hand-in-hand with balance problems especially in the elderly. Sensitive cervical spine mechanoreceptors govern the body’s ability to balance and must be perfectly coordinated with the inner ear’s vestibular balance system to stabilize equilibrium in both static posture and gait. Keeping the eyes looking forward is a basic life-preserving reflex, and as such, dominates nearly all other postural considerations. Proprioceptive signals from the first 4 cervical vertebrae are a major source of stimuli for regulating the body’s pain-controlling chemicals (endorphins). FHP dramatically reduces endorphin production by limiting the cervical spine’s range of motion. Inadequate endorphin production up-regulates the central nervous system causing non painful sensations to be experienced as pain. Figure 4 shows a couple of good mobilization techniques to restore joint-play to upper cervical fixated facets.

English philosopher Bertrand Russell once stated, “A physical system expresses its energy through function”.  Any loss of function sets off reactions within the body’s open, dynamic system which manifests as structural abnormalities…and vice-versa. When treating functional problems such as loss of joint play, therapists must look beyond the symptoms and the artificial dividing of the body into systems and treat the whole.

1. Cailliet R, Gross L, Rejuvenation Strategy. New York, Doubleday and Co. 1987
2.  American Journal of Pain Management, January 2008, 4:36-39
3 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, September 2-6, 2009.
4. Sperry, R. W. (1988) Roger Sperry’s brain research. Bulletin of The Theosophy Science Study Group 26
(3-4), 27-28

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Filed under Arizona Massage CEU, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Forward Heads, Myoskeletal Alignment, newsletters

Americans report more stress than last year, turning to massage for relief. Doctors strongly recommending & encouraging massage.

As stress rates increase, more people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation, according to the 12th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®). The survey found that 59 percent of Americans are more stressed this year than last year, and stress and relaxation are the top reasons Americans received their last massage. These survey results are announced in advance of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October 19-25.

“People continue to seek massage because it provides multiple therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, at an affordable price,” says M.K. Brennan, RN, AMTA president. “Massage therapy has not only been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but it can also relieve stress symptoms like chronic migraines and high blood pressure.”

Thirty-six percent of Americans received massage for stress reduction and relaxation in the last five years, compared with just 22 percent last year. Additionally, 38 percent of Americans say they have considered regular massage to manage stress

The state of the economy has been a major stress trigger for Americans this past year. Forty-five percent of Americans say they are greatly stressed by the current economic situation, or other factors. Younger Americans and women have felt particularly affected by the economy. Fifty-five percent of those ages 25-34 say they are greatly stressed by the economic situation, and 51 percent of females agree.
Age and income impact massage therapy perceptions and usage

Young Americans and those in lower income groups are the most likely to consider massage for stress. Fifty percent of 18-24 year olds and forty-six percent of those making less than $25,000 a year say they would considered massage to manage stress.

While lower income and young Americans are more likely to seek massage for stress, people with higher incomes are more likely to discuss massage therapy with their doctors. This year, 16 percent of those making $50,000 a year or more, discussed massage with their physicians, which is nearly twice as many as those making between $25,000 and $35,000. And more than half (57 percent) of those who talked to their doctor about massage reported that their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage.

“As perceptions regarding the multiple benefits of massage evolve, it’s interesting to note that some of its most prevalent evangelists are doctors,” said Brennan. “This trend will continue as more doctors refer patients to massage therapists and see how it can help their patients recover from injuries, alleviate pain and ease stress.”

Despite recommendations from doctors, massage therapy is not always covered in health insurance plans. Sixty percent of Americans reported that they would like to see massage covered by their insurance plans.

Source: American Massage Therapy Association

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Snowstorm 2010

I have heard from many clients about the back pain, neck and shoulder they are having from the enormous amounts of snow that fell in Norther Arizona.  It seems as if many folks still have a lot of work to do to clean up.  Use caution.  Give yourself plenty of time to do the jobs.  Take breaks and drink plenty of water.  Wishing you all the best.  We’ll see you on the table.

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Filed under body mechanics, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Flagstaff pain relief, Myoskeletal Alignment, neck pain, shoveling

Snowbowl Discounts

Bring your AZ Snowbowl lift ticket or season pass into Stay Tuned Therapeutics in 2010 and receive a 15% discount on any massage & bodywork service we offer.

  • Myoskeletal Alignment
  • Flexibility/MET Sessions
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Sports massage
  • Recovery massage

Typical rates are $75.00 per hour treatment, this offer brings the rates down to $63.75 per hour.  Mention this posting and bring in your lift ticket or season pass for special discount. Until then enjoy the snow and ride safe!

Call Geoffrey at 928-699-1999Call before you want to get in for best chance of scheduling!

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Hamstring Adhesions

As noted by Erik Dalton, PhD., in his Volume IV Myoskeletal Alignment DVD set, a common dysfunction with the hamstring muscle group is ‘fascial bag adhesions’, rather than contracture, or chronic shortening in the hamstrings.

A few simple techniques can be administered by soft tissue therapists to help separate these fascial adhesions between bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus, additionally creating room for the sciatic nerve to slide around.  Your soft tissue therapist may ask for movement, by way of your muscular contraction, to enhance the central nervous system perception of the ‘new’ resting length in the tissue, as we now know, connective tissue is highly innervated.

Here are a few examples of Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques used at Stay Tuned Therapeutics to bring relief to tired, achy, bagged up hamstrings…

Shorten...Seperate. Internal & external rotation of fibula may be helpful.

By ‘shortening’ the tissue, we take tension out of the distal attachment of bicep femoris, allowing the therapist to sink to the restrictive barrier.  Recall gastrocnemius runs deep to hamstring attachments.

Broad palmar pressure may reduce protective muscle guarding.

As your therapist ‘pins’ into the tissue, external rotation of the femur helps separate the medial fibers of  semimembranosus and semitendinosus from bicep femoris.  The short head of the bicep femoris is often exquisitely tender and caution must be taken here.

Shorten...Pin...

Shortening the hamstrings group once again, providing movement re-educates the tissue.  As the therapist drops the leg down toward the table, they may introduce gliding strokes up the thigh, or maintain a solid pin hand to really lengthen and separate the fascial adhesions.  In some schools of thought, this may increase contactability of the tissue.  Imagine that, if it is not bound to its neighbor,muscle may have increased function?  But I have no proof, that’s just what I hear from clients.

Lengthen. Just feel 'good'.

This video features some of the hamstring techniques.  Not just for ‘runners’.

Stay Tuned…..

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Fresh Feet for Flagstaff Homeless.

When you do well upon others, it makes you feel well, and it comes full circle.

From now until Dec. 30th, 2009 when you donate a pair of shoes, boots, or technical fabric socks at Stay Tuned Therapeutics, you will receive $15.00 credit and a homeless man, woman or child gets a pair of shoes, boots or socks for the holidays.

Drop off location is Stay Tuned Therapeutics, 403 West Birch Ave., Flagstaff, AZ. 86001  Between 10 am and 5 pm, Monday-Friday.

Shoes/boots (any kind-any size) must be in decent shape, as winter is upon us.  PLEASE bring some socks, this is what is most needed as of 12-18-09.

We are in discussion at this time with Flagstaff Shelter Service on how best to distribute the shoes and boots, along with a 15 minute foot massage, to those in need.  We are setting up a mid day time therapy session with other community therapists……update to follow!

This is our gift to the Flagstaff community this holiday season, please help us out, and it will come back to you full circle.  Please call 928-699-1999 for more information and to get involved.

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Winter Aches & Pains Pt. 2

Hip ABduction Test

In part one of this discussion I introduced a common injury that may present in a clinical setting.  Injury, weakness (inhibition) or tightness (facilitation) of the adductor group of the thigh.  I’d like to now introduce you to a test that may be administered by the clinician or as a take home assessment of recruitment and compensation patterns in hip abduction.

In a side lying position I simply ask the client to raise a straight leg toward to ceiling.  In doing so glute med and min should “fire” at approximately the same time, lifting the leg straight laterally, toward the ceiling.  In the presence of inhibition of glute med., min., and potential facilitation of the adductor group, there may be a variety of substitution patterns.  Normal range of motion should be at least 45 degrees of abduction (toward the ceiling).   Try this on yourself and see what you find.

Lie on your side, raise top leg toward the ceiling.

Compensation patterns that may present are as follows:

Tight Adductors = ROM below 45 degrees abduction.

Piriformis Facilitation = External rotation of femur, evident by the toes pointing toward the ceiling.

Tensor Fasciae Lata Facilitation = The hip will come into flexion, draw the thigh anterior (toward the front).  Also may be seen that the trunk twist posterior (back) still creating hip flexion.

Quadratus Lumborum Facilitation = In an attempt to raise the leg, the hip will hike toward the shoulder, creating a slight side bend in the low back.

Any of these conditions may create or add to low back and hip pain, and may be a contributing factor in dysfunction of the rest of the kinetic chain.  Try this test, and let me know what you find.  In future installments we will look at what you find, and discuss treatment options from a clinical standpoint, and what you can do at home in self treatment.

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Winter Aches and Pains, Pt.1

Winter is upon us.  With the changing of the seasons there come change in the body.  A variety of muscles, that may have been in some state of hibernation, are called upon to get us through the new conditions, when the air gets cold, the snow falls and the stressors of the holidays build.  Without proper preparation and awareness, it may be easy to become fatigued and possibly injured.  Let’s discuss a few of the common concerns we see at Stay Tuned Therapeutics.

Leg, Groin and Pubic Bone pain.

Weakness or tightness in the adductor muscle group of the thigh may play a major role in the development of groin “pulls”, SI joint dysfunction, pubic bone pain, medial knee pain, etc.  Stabilizing the legs under our body in the slick conditions after a new snow fall is one of the responsibilities of the adductors.

The attachments (origin) coming from the periosteum of the pubic and ischium bones of the pelvis are common locations of strain.  Commonly noted in athletics where there is a forceful abduction during an internal rotation and adduction movement, such as soccer, we can imagine the reverse to be true as well when slipping on unstable surface such as ice. Hip adductor injuries occur most commonly when there is a forced push-off (side-to-side motion). High forces occur in the adductor tendons when the athlete must shift direction suddenly in the opposite direction. As a result, the adductor muscles contract to generate opposing forces.  We have all taken a bit of a slip, during running, walking to the car, lift line etc., leg shoots out, and we suddenly contract our adductors forcefully to bring the leg back under us.  This opposing action is a major cause for injury.

In the next entry we will look at, strength, flexibility and balance, in an attempt to prevent hip/groin injury in the winter season.  Also, we will also look at other common injuries and stressors as the holidays grow near.  Stay Tuned.

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Elbow, Forearm and Wrist Pain Exercises

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Boosting the Immune System with Steam Therapy

Traditionally, the benefits of steaming include increased energy, decreased incidence of infections, and fewer colds and flus. Many regular steam or sauna bathers have experienced that a good long sweat bath at the early onset of a cold or flu can help ward off the disease before it manifests as actual symptoms.

How does steam work?

The heat from a Steamy Wonder™ treatment raises your core body temperature, inducing an artificial fever. During a fever, the production of white blood cells is increased, as is the rate of their release into the blood stream. White blood cells are the primary agents of the immune system. As the generation of antibodies speeds up, so does the production of interferon, an anti-viral protein. In this manner, your body’s immune system is strengthened as it works to combat the fever.

At the same time, sweating helps eliminate toxins and waste products from the body. After detoxification, your immune system has less “housecleaning” to do and can focus on protecting your body from more serious health threats. produced by sweating, overall health and resistance to diseases is increased.

Scientific Research:

Mayo Clinic researcher, Dr. Wakim, cites findings that the number of white blood cells increased by an average of 58% during an artificially induced fever.

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