“Oh My Aching Neck!”

As any LMT will tell you, the most requested area to massage is the neck and shoulders. Without a doubt you feel tension or pain there too. Because this is by far the most requested area to receive work I thought it would be helpful to address this issue with a series on neck and shoulder issues, discussing posture and ergonomics, and what we can do to help alleviate some of it. Let’s start  out this series by discussing posture. Continue reading

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Mother’s Day is Close! What Have You Gotten Her?

mommom

So sorry if I haven’t been super active on the website in the past week. Having a wedding can tend to have the effect of a black hole on your time. But, my sweet mother also had a stroke on Tuesday and I’ve been spending my days with her in the hospital and talking to doctors about her care. Good news is she is recovering well and they anticipate a full recovery! Continue reading

Calendar Update

We are finally having our wedding! Please make a note of these dates below as days that I will be unavailable for massage therapy. I am more than happy to see clients before or after these dates.

We are very appreciative of those of you who have sent your congratulations and well-wishes. Thank and we will see you after April 28!

Closed for massage therapy on:
April 24-27
May 2-5

Do you Yelp?

If you’re anything like me you use Yelp to find ratings on just about everything from hair cuts to housing. And what is the first thing we look for? Either how close it is to home or how many stars they have in their recommendations. And just like kindergarten, the more gold stars, the better!

Well, it’s true that people use Yelp to find their massage therapists too. Head on over to Yelp and take a peek at the page. I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave comments here, but if you’ve had a massage with me you can even leave feedback on Yelp so those little stars add up. Thanks so much and click below for a direct link to the Beth Cruz, LMT, Yelp page!

Click here to Yelp about Beth Cruz, LMT

No Excuses For Knee Pain

During my fitness regimen to do a total body overhaul for the wedding I’ve noticed that many people avoid many different exercises because of knee pain. I believe we should all be free from pain and obstacles in search of better health! And believe me I know that there are definitely some cases that require physical therapy or surgery (i.e. a torn meniscus or ligament etc.), but most cases of knee pain are entirely able to be relieved at home through proper exercise and stretching.  Great news for you and your wallet, right? And as a past sufferer of knee pain and swelling I know these methods work. So here are the three factors I have found to be major contributors of general knee pain:

– overused and extremely tight quadriceps and calf muscles (anterior and posterior knee pain)
– underdeveloped and weak quadriceps and calf muscles (anterior knee pain)
– IT band syndrome aggravation (lateral knee pain)

So how can you know which category best describes you? First of all know this: YOU and only YOU know yourself and your body best. So listen to it! One of the many tools I use as a massage therapist is palpation. Palpation just means observing through touch. Feel your quads (front of your thigh), your calf muscles and the side of you knee and thigh. Do any of these muscles feel tight or ropey? If so, this is a good indicator that you need to stretch! At the end of this post are diagrams of basic stretches for each muscle group. If you don’t feel tightness but softness then that is probably a good indicator you should build muscle. This doesn’t mean you will turn into a beefcake but remember this:

Strong muscles also strengthen and support your joints and bones — so stay strong!

Now, if you feel tightness or pain on the side of your thigh or knee, this could be an indicator of IT band syndrome. You can stretch the origins of this connective tissue (glutes and hip flexors) to try to relieve tension but most likely you will need the help of a trained massage therapist to help get your IT band un-adhered from your muscle. Another technique to help is rolling. You can use a foam roller or muscle roller. Lay on your side on the roller and very slowly roll your thigh across the roller. It will likely be very sore and tender so work slowly, breathe, and listen to your body.

So remember, knee pain doesn’t have to keep you down. Do those lunges, squats, etc. Run that mile! Climb those stairs! Try out these stretches and strengthen those legs. And, if you have questions I am happy to answer them or find you a qualified individual who can. Stay happy and healthy!

calf-stretch

Standing Calf Stretch: keep knees and toes straight

iliotibial-band-anatomy-and-it-band-foam-roller-exercise

IT Band and Roller

quad stretch

Standing Quad Stretch: Keep knee close to your other leg and push your hips slightly forward

Pinterest and Massage?? YES!

As many of you may already know Pinterest is a great website for getting inspiration, organizing projects, finding new recipes, helpful tips and more. But, an article recently showed that Pinterest is receiving more traffic than Yahoo! So….why not take advantage of it so you can learn how to be a healthier and happier you? Below I’m posting the link to my “Massage: More Than Just a Luxury” Pinterest board!

There you can find helpful tips for home care, fun infographics, updates from the website, cute and funny pictures, and holiday events/giveaways, etc.! So head on over to Pinterest then come back and tell me what your favorite pin is and what you’d like to see more of! Happy pinning!

Massage: More Than Just a Luxury Pin Board

Wishing you joy and health,

Beth Cruz, LMT, NCBTMB certified

Happy National Massage Therapy Awareness Week!

Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful but Happy National Massage Therapy Awareness Week! This is the one week of the year where I have the opportunity to let know you more about the profession that I love and benefits you so much! Take a moment to explore the Resources & Research page.

Also be sure to look at this Consumer Survey done by the American Massage Therapy Association! Below is a summary of the information they collected. You can view all of the information here:

  • 75 percent claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the past 12 months was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related
  • 50 percent who have ever had a massage, received it for medical reasons including soreness, stiffness or spasms; to relieve or manage stress; for prevention or to improve quality of life; injury recovery; to keep fit or healthy/wellness and to control headaches or migraines
  • 50 percent said their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage
  • 89 percent believe massage can be effective in reducing pain
  • 87 percent recognize massage can be beneficial to health and wellness
  • 44 percent say medical benefits would motivate them to have a massage

Choosing the Best Type of Massage for You!

As you may or may not know, the world of massage is constantly growing and gaining new methods of practice. In the world of massage therapy we call these methods “modalities”. A single therapist can practice multiple modalities and use different techniques from each one during a single session. With all the technical words and jargon floating around, some of it gets misinterpreted (i.e. deep tissue massage does not necessarily mean hard pressure). So, how do you know which type of massage is best for you?

Below we will discuss just a few of the more common modalities of massage therapy. If you are interested in more specific modalities please feel free to comment on this post and I will send you links of how to learn more.

Swedish

When people think of massage this is usually the type of massage they think of. This includes long, sweeping strokes as well as varying pressure and “kneading” motions. Because of the nature of the strokes, this type of massage encourages good circulation of blood and lymph. This type of massage can be very healing and relaxing. What most people consider deep tissue massage is Swedish techniques used with a much firmer pressure.

Deep Tissue

This type of massage does not necessarily mean there is a great deal of pressure applied. Deep tissue describes how your therapist works with soft tissues. In this case, the therapist will be working deep within the muscle belly; working through fibers to create increased range of motion (flexibility) and decrease muscle spasms.

Deep Tissue Friction

This modality is particularly beneficial for those who have had recent injuries or surgeries. Once an incision or acute inflammation has healed, deep tissue friction may be applied. The objective of DTF is to create a more functional scar by breaking up scar tissue and helping the collagen fibers form in a more organized fashion. By doing this a person can gain greater ease of movement, less visible scars, and increased circulation, which is vital for an area to regain good functionality.

Pregnancy Massage

Many women find relief from aches, pains and low back issues with massage during pregnancy. The body goes through many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy and massage can be an immense comfort during the transition into motherhood. Typically, massage is not performed until the 2nd trimester. And, if you have any complicating factors (i.e. diabetes, pre-eclampsia, positive Homan’s sign, etc.) a note is usually required from your OB stating that you are safe to receive massage therapy. This type of massage is able to be modified in many ways to allow for the comfort of mother and baby.

Thai Massage

Typically, the client and therapist are both clothed in loose clothing and working on mats on the floor. Thai techniques can also be incorporated into table massage as well though. Thai massage can also be known as a type of assisted yoga with focus on deep stretching and breathing to encourage the flow of “prana” or life energy. Thai massage can be both relaxing and invigorating!

Reflexology

Reflexology is based upon the theory that there are reflexes in the ends of energy channels in the body (i.e. the hands and feet. And sometimes the ears) that have reflexes which correspond to organs within the body. By applying pressure and stimulating these organs reflexology creates balance.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) or Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points are spots within a tight muscle that are tender when pressed and can cause pain in other regions than the area being directly pressed (therapists called this referred pain). There are different types of trigger points that have many different causes (physical, emotional and chemical factors). Neuromuscular techniques can be both gentle and aggressive in treating trigger points, but all encourage the muscle to relax and bring blood back to an area where it was restricted before.

Fresh food, friends and chair massage!

Incredible and exciting news folks! I will now be providing chair massage at the Grant Park farmers market in Sunday’s!! Come say hey, grab some coffee and donuts, get your groceries, see friends and come rel-a-a-a-x at the Cafe of Life tent! See you all there!!

-Beth Cruz, LMT, NCMT

Would You Like to Get $10 off a 60 Minute Massage?

Would you like to get $10 off a 60 minute massage?? Who wouldn’t! Offer starts now through July 23rd. All you have to do is go by our beautiful new workspace (see previous post!!) and tell us about our new animal friend in the front yard. Don’t give away the secret; be sure to tell us in person or when you schedule your appointment. Spots are filling up fast so go see the space then call 404-917-4992 today!!