Why Adhesions Cause Pain And What To Do About It

Ad-whatnow?
Adhesions. You may hear your massage therapist use this word. It sounds medical, and usually comes out during your massage as an explanation for why this or that stroke hurts like crazy.

As in, “It feels like you have some adhesions in there!”

What are adhesions?
Adhesions are scar tissue that forms between muscle fibers and organs. They’re a natural result of stress on muscles or organs. They’re one of the reasons you feel stiff and sore after a heavy workout or after surgery.

Usually, however, adhesions have no symptoms at all. This is why you may come out of a massage saying “I’m feeling places I didn’t even know I had!” The adhesions were pulling on your muscle tissue, causing a stinging pain.

Most adhesions are fairly innocuous, and result as a part of normal muscle function and exertion. Most have the consistency of wet tissue paper. With repetitive stress and motion, however, they can get strong, firm, and can begin to adhere tightly to muscle fibers.

Abdominal adhesions
Abdominal adhesions are a special case, and can cause major health problems and chronic pain. Adhesions in the uterus, also called endometriosis, can even cause infertility and painful periods.

Solutions
There’s really very little that can be done for adhesions. There’s no miracle drug, and adhesions won’t even appear on x-rays, CT scans, or any kind of imaging. There’s not even a test to confirm their presence definitively, and Doctors won’t even diagnose endometriosis without surgery.

For severe cases of abdominal adhesions, laproscopic or open surgery is the primary method of diagnosis and treatment.

But there is hope outside of surgery.

Massage to the rescue!
The biggest benefit of massage for adhesions is prevention. Regular massage helps prevent adhesions from becoming so strong that they cause pain and affect your posture. The more they’re broken down with regular massage, they less likely they are to become a problem.

Keep in mind that breaking down adhesions in muscle tissue isn’t for the faint of heart or those who only want massage for relaxation and not treatment. When your massage therapist encounters adhesions in your muscle tissue, you’ll know it. Massaging adhesions causes a distinct, stinging pain you’ll feel on contact.

As the massage therapist continues the strokes, the pain will decrease. This is a good kind of pain! Still, if you want your therapist to ease into it or back off the pressure, please say so. Don’t suffer in silence.

To help manage the pain of having adhesions worked in a massage, remember to relax. Easier said than done. Relaxation takes a real conscious effort in this case, but it’s well worth it.

Breathing is also key here. Focus on your breath, and by no means should you hold your breath through the pain. Slow, deep breaths help decrease the pain and takes your focus off how much it hurts. You’re also sending more oxygen to the area in pain, which can only do it good.

Abdominal massage
The Good Life Massage offers a distinctive abdominal treatment designed specifically to ease the suffering of those who have a large number of abdominal adhesions. It consists of a series of half-hour treatments focused wholly on the abdomen. It was devised by our own Amy Gunn, LMP and is based on scientific research indicating the benefits of massage for treating endometriosis. This treatment is ideal for anyone experiencing abdominal pain that might be a result of adhesions.

Need pain relief? Book a massage now!
For general work on muscles throughout your body, any massage session will work.

For a specialized session for abdominal adhesions, be sure to select Visceral Manipulation when booking.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage.

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5 Reasons to Make Couples Massage Part of Your Next Night Out

When was the last time you went on a date? Dating, especially when you’re in a well-established relationship, can be tough to manage. You’ve heard so many of the other person’s stories. You’ve fallen into familiar patterns that, while reliable and maybe even enjoyable, have made your dating life a little repetitive and boring. What’s more, if you share a household with the other person, it’s all too easy for every-day hassles and worries to intrude on your time together.

If you’re dating someone new, the pressure is on to impress, to help the relationship progress.

These two common dating scenarios have one thing in common: STRESS.

And science has shown that stress generally isn’t fun. Not only that, but it can get in the way of intimate time with your partner.

That’s why we’d like to humbly recommend a modification to your dating routine that could make a huge difference.

Couples massage

To define our terms here, a couples massage is when two people come in for a massage together at the same time in the same room. Each of you get a custom massage from your own massage therapist in a relaxing setting.

There are several benefits to recommend this, beyond just stress relief. These are just a few:

Great value
Couples massage is a great value! Our couples session is significantly less than if you booked two separate sessions. To add even more to the value, every massage includes a free select session enhancement of your choice and a chocolate to enjoy on your way to whatever else the evening holds.

Not spontaneous
Trust us, this is a feature, not a bug. Our couples sessions require some advance planning. This shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider the sheer logistics involved: two therapists with different schedules need to both be available at the same time on the same day. This is one reason we’re one of the few massage clinics in the Seattle area that offer couples massage, and we may be the only one the area that has more than one room devoted to that kind of session.

For this reason, you’ll need to plan your session at least a day or two in advance. Even if you could do a couples massage on a whim, keep in mind that a couples massage as a surprise is not a great idea unless you’re very clear on how well your surprise will be received. People sometimes get anxious about disrobing, bodily functions, or have hang-ups about being touched in this kind of setting. Be sensitive to these possible concerns!

Note: if you wish to book a couples massage with us, we recommend calling us at

425-243-7705

Couples massages can be requested through our online booking, but the booking isn’t complete until you’ve had a phone conversation with us, so you may as well just call.

In the mood
If you’re both game, a couples massage can melt the stress out of date night right away. You’ll both be more able to relax and enjoy whatever your evening holds, and stay resilient if things do go quite to plan.

The ultimate appetizer
We recommend making the massage the first item on your itinerary for several reasons. First, you’ll both be in the same relaxed frame of mind at the beginning of the date. You’ll already be on the same page! Also, since massage increases your mind-body awareness, you’ll be able to fully enjoy whatever sensual experiences lie ahead, whether they be intimate or culinary.

Note: do not come for your massage after drinking alcohol, so you may want to save dinner or drinks for after.

So, consider making a couples massage your new date night tradition! You won’t regret it.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage.

Why Massage Feels So Good, And Why It Matters

Why Massage Feels So Good

Why does massage feel so good? Most of the time we try to defend massage on a medical basis. But what about the fact that it just feels good?

Massage has a number of well-documented medical benefits. Massage has been shown to:

  • improve sleep
  • decrease depression
  • help with headaches
  • treat soft-tissue strains and injuries
  • ease joint pain
  • mitigate digestive disorders

And many more! But one benefit of massage that often gets forgotten in the race to demonstrate its value is that it just feels so good.

Why do we distrust that something that feels good can also be good for us? The puritanical roots of American culture run deep, warning us that anything that feels good, especially when done unclothed. Out distrust of human touch makes no sense.

Therapeutic massage can enable you to live your best life, not just because of what it can do, but because of how it feels. Yes, massage does a lot of good, but why are those benefits somehow less valid than the fact that it feels good?

Focusing for the moment on the fact that massage feels so good, let’s examine for a moment why it feels so good, and why it matters.

Primal touch
From the moment we’re born, we depend on human contact. We depend on this less as we grow, but social contact and physical affection remain as necessities for human health, survival, and sanity. This has been well established by numerous studies, unfortunately often when the subjects have been deprived of human contact and touch through some terrible circumstance.

Children from over-crowded orphanages around the world don’t get the touch they need from a parent or the over-taxed staff at these facilities, and often develop severe emotional disorders as they grow, if they even survive infancy. Prisoners subjected to solitary confinement for large stretches of time come out a shadow of their former selves, manifesting debilitating mental disorders. All this for lack of simple human touch.

Touch is powerful. We’re primarily social creatures, which means as a species we depend on each other to survive. This runs deep and goes back tens of thousands, perhaps millions of years. When you receive touch from another human being, something interesting happens. The part of your brain that activates the fight-or-flight response to stress is shut down. Touch activates the Parasympathetic Nervous system, which essentially tells every cell in your body that you’re safe, and that you’re going to survive. This is true relaxation. This is true freedom from stress.

Lifetime benefits
And the effect of touch isn’t just short term. Demographic studies show that people who live in families and communities live longer, healthier, happier lives. If that’s not what our focus on wellness and health is all about, then what is it about? Touch means everything, for your whole life.

The value of touch therapy
A licensed massage therapist has the skill and sensitivity to respond to what your body needs most. If the LMT is doing their job, you’ll feel great no matter what your unique needs and conditions happen to be.

At The Good Life Massage, we strive to foster an environment where therapists can focus on the needs of the client. Most massage chains try to “pack-em-in”, leaving little-to-no transition time between clients. This makes it difficult to do detailed consults with clients about pain they’re feeling or health goals they’re working on.

At The Good Life Massage, we give our therapists between 15 and 30 minutes between sessions, which usually allows for ample time to consult with clients before and after. Nobody feels rushed out the door, and therapists can take the time to listen to their clients and offer expert advice to decrease pain and improve health over all.

Book your next massage today.

Choose the good life.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can contact him for a consultation on how content marketing can work to build your presence online and drive your business by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

Cupping Q&A With Shaila Suleman, LMT

Shaila Suleman Cupping Q&A

The Good Life Massage is proud to offer a new service you may have heard of: cupping! Cupping goes way back to ancient Egypt. It has long been known as a method of getting many of the same benefits of massage, but in a way that dramatically improves circulation. It can give you a feeling of deep relaxation and euphoria like nothing else this side of prescription pain killers, and has a host of other benefits.

We sat down with our resident expert on cupping, Shaila Suleman, LMT to ask her about this interesting and ancient practice, and how it can help you.

What is cupping?
Cupping is a form of traditional Chinese therapy, which has been used for thousands and thousands of years. It started back in Egypt.

The concept of cupping is moving and manipulating muscle tissue and scar tissue, stimulate blood flow. It’s like an opening for congestion or stagnance, or hyper-tense muscles. With massage, we do this with a push motion. Cupping is the same kind of thing, but with a pulling motion.

Cupping - GLM_Jan2018-93Is it uncomfortable or painful?
It can be to some degree, and that’s because it’s a form of therapy. Unlike massage where you’re pushing to move out, it’s pulling, so you have this pulling sensation that can kind of be uncomfortable. But there’s a way to adjust the suction so it doesn’t have to be extremely painful. You can also move the cups, which can also be painful depending on the state of the body we’re working on.

What equipment do you use and how does it work?
The kind of cups we use are plastic pump cups. We us a pump to create the suction that’s more stable and adjustable than silicon cups or glass and fire cups.

What is cupping good for?
If you’re having caral tunnel, that’s one. It’s great for TMJ. A compression in your shoulders can be helped with cupping. If you have scar tissue, you can break that apart. It’s good for removing scar tissue post-injury. Even, like, 20 years down the road, you can still work with it enough and manipulate it enough to where it dramatically decreases the size of the scar tissue. So, post injuries or post surgeries are really great.

If you’re losing a lot of weight, it’s really great, too. When you’re losing weight rapidly, your skin can’t quite keep up with your body getting smaller, because you’re losing so much weight at one time. What cupping does is it stretches the skin out, but as it’s stretched out, it tries to get back to its orignal shape. You stretch it out so the blood can move, as it comes back, it forms close to your current shape.

Is there blood?
Not in the cupping we do, no. The idea is to make an incision on the skin to draw out “bad blood” with the suction. It’s illegal to do in Washington State. Actually, it’s illegal in every state.

If I get cupping done at The Good Life Massage, what will it be like?
For the first part of the session, we’ll start with massaging. The core idea of the massage is to relax the muscles enough so that the pulling of the cups will not be as rough, whereas if you just put a cup right on top from the get-go it can be really painful. So we manipulate the muscles as much as we can, try to get the muscles as loose as we can. Once we’re able to kinda get some movement between the muscles and the tension and the adhesions, then that’s when we use the cups.

The cups start out by moving–what we call “running cups”. We move them around the spine, around the shoulders, wherever needs to be worked on. So, running cups around, and after a few minutes, after the blood starts to come up and show as redness on the skin, that’s when we start placing the cups. Once we’ve started the cupping, we’ll move them down by sections down the back or wherever else they need it. But as the cups are sitting, I can work on massaging the arms or the legs or another body part. A full body session with massage is usually around 90 minutes. If all we’re doing is cupping, 60 minutes is usually enough.

You will end up getting bruises, just because that’s where the blood is more stagnant. They’re perfectly circular. There may also be some mild bruising from the running, but those go away after a day or so.

Where will you not put a cup?
The inner thighs. That’s a really tender, painful area. There are nerves that go through there. You can work it with massage, but only with very light tension. It’s also very uncomfortable. You can do the face, but just don’t be getting your picture taken the next day. If you’re worried about dirt and exposure on your face, the few hours after are when you’re really vulnerable to get that kind of stuff inside it. You should wash your face immediately right after so there’s nothing getting clogged.

Would you recommend doing a Chocolate Fudge Face Mask afterwards?
That would be really good! Because the cupping pulls the pores open. For this reason, cupping isn’t so good for people with severe acne. If you add a Chocolate Fudge Face Mask, it’s all set to go. because it will kind of cover it and clean it out.

If you’re a bride or a groom, or anyone who’s getting their picture taken for a big event soon, what kind of gap do you need after cupping on the face or visible areas?
Probably about a week and a half. That would be the least amount of time you would want to give it.

Otherwise you’re playing with fire?
Exactly. Less than a week is cutting it too close. I know that when I have the running done on me, it takes two to three days for the redness to go away. It really depends on the body of the person.

What are some physical conditions that would keep you from getting cupping done?
Pregnancy. Cupping releases blood clots. People of advanced age are okay. They just have to keep us aware of how they’re doing during the session.

Also, if you have stage four metastasized cancer, cupping is not a good idea because cupping can move the lymph, which helps spread the cancer cells to other parts of the body.

If you have some kind of blood disorder, or if you have any doubts or concerns whatsoever, talk to your doctor before making an appointment.

What about minors?
Minors are great for cupping! We can work with kids from age three and up, but again, it’s really light, mild cupping. We can work with kids!

It’s really good for kids having digestive problems. We can do cupping on the stomach and lower back, which can be really beneficial to their digestion. If they’re having any pain, cupping can be good for that too.

 

Do you need a license to do this?
I thought you did for a long time, but I called the Department of Health and they said our state doesn’t really license cupping. You just have to be trained. I was trained and I trained the other therapists here at The Good Life Massage.

Shaila Headshot

 

Shaila Suleman is certified in cupping and is a licensed massage therapist at The Good Life Massage. You can learn more about her here.

 

 

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and Marketing Director at The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to help you build your brand with content marketing by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Massage for Better Breathing

Massage for better Breathing

Your breath could be doing so much more for you than just keeping you alive. Skeptical?

Keep reading.

Or …

Come in for a massage, and ask for work on your abdomen, chest, and lower back, then come talk to me.
Massage can be the beginning of a new realtionship with your breath. But that’s just the first step.

The source of your life
Your breathing is a more involved, complicated operation for your body to perform than you might think. The lungs certainly don’t do it all alone. A whole chorus of muscles coordinate with your lungs to keep the oxygen flowing.

Did you know? There are two different networks of muscles that help you breathe: one for exhalation, one for inhalation. These are primarily attached to your ribcage, but some also attach to your backbone. Your muscular system is massively interdependent–that is, they’re all interconnected, and what impacts one has an effect on the others.

If your muscles get tight through stress, over or under-use you may not be breathing as deeply as you could or should. Even if you don’t feel any immediate discomfort, you may not be getting as much from your breathing as you could.

One of the benefits of rigorous physical exercise is that in addition to whatever muscles you may be working in your legs, arms, or core, you’re also working those muscles that aid in your breathing. The more you use them, the stronger they grow! This is just one reason you feel so good as a cumulative effect of exercise: your breath comes in deeper and stronger, not only during your workout, but throughout your day.

What massage can do
If you’re suffering from bronchitis, don’t come in while you’re still suffering symptoms! After you’ve started to feel better, however, coming in for a massage is a great idea. All that coughing causes tension and soreness that lingers even after the coughing has stopped. Massage on the chest and abdomen will help relieve that tension and restore you to your normal breathing.

Do you suffer from asthma? In a clinical study conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine indicated that massage reduces cortisol levels in asthma sufferers, assisting in long-term improvement in breathing.

Even allergy sufferers can benefit from massage. While massage is no miracle cure for anything, massage can definitely help allergy sufferer’s cope with the symptoms and, in time, retrain the body to manage the stress of the onset of allergy symptoms.

Book your massage now, and take a good deep breath again, for the first time.

Choose the good life.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Field, T., et al. Children with asthma have improved pulmonary function with massage therapy. J Pediatr 1998 May; 132 (5): 854-8.
Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to help build your brand and reach your customers by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com.

How Massage Can Boost Your Workout

How Massage Can Give Your Workout a Boost

Massage has long been known as a great way to relax and soothe aching muscles, but the proof is in: massage is truly therapeutic to sore muscles, accelerating healing in muscle and connective tissue.

A recent study at McMaster university showed that not only did sore muscles have fewer signs of inflammation. It also showed that massaged muscles were better able to produce new mitochondria, which accelerate healing after intense exercise.

Why you hurt the next day
Muscles feel sore after an intense workout because exercise puts your body through stress–stress that can actually do some damage to muscle tissue. You’d think this would make exercise bad for you, but the theory is that exercise puts your body through relatively mild stress consistently so that it can better handle short periods of more intense physical stress from time to time. The point is, exercise is very hard on your body! This is known as micro-level fiber damage.

Although you’ve done your body some good by working out in the long term, you’ve actually done some damage in the short-term. You can reduce some of this damage and shorten your recovery time by giving your muscles a little TLC after your workouts.

Performance like you’ve never seen before
It’s not just about feeling better. Massage can help your performance and ensure an injury-free journey to the results you want.

As you put your body through the intense stress of a workout, the connective tissue can scar and gather in adhesions–stubbornly sticky masses that reduce flexibility and inflict unnecessary pain as you recover. Adhesions can also hinder your performance, throwing off your form and making it that much more difficult for your muscles to function smoothly.

Massage breaks down these adhesions, stretching the muscle fibers gently. By the time you’re back in action, not only are your muscles stronger, they’re ready to perform at an optimal level without painful adhesions holding them back.

Massage can also help you maintain your posture–a vital factor in keeping your form even and consistent. This is a particular concern in weight lifting, where form and balance can make a significant difference in results. Have you ever noticed that big bench-pressers can sometimes have a slight hunch forward? That’s because their pectoral muscles aren’t releasing the tension as easily as the opposing back muscles–both of which work together to complete that particular motion.

As they persist without stretching or getting regular massage, the effect compounds on itself. As a result, they’re over-taxing the pectorals, causing their form to suffer over time. You may not be a bench presser, or maybe weights just aren’t your thing, but this kind of imbalance can manifest in any number of activities. And you may not be fully aware of the imbalance until it results in a strange posture, uneven results in your workout, or even injury.

Regular massage after intense workouts will help keep your form consistent and allow your muscles to perform at an optimal level.

Book your next massage to coincide with your workout recovery. (Whatever you do, don’t schedule your massage BEFORE your workout! This could result in injury!)

Choose the good life!

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to help build your brand and reach your customers by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

Gratitude: The Gift You Give To Yourself

 

Gratitude

We tend to think that gratitude is a feeling that just happens to you–a reaction, like laughing at a joke. The problem with this idea is that it makes us victims of our own ability to adapt. Even if the circumstances we live in are extremely good, we may not have any awareness of it. We’re just focused on the next threat to our existence. This is a good strategy for staying alive, but it doesn’t work so well for feeling like life is worth living. We get used to how good things are, and before we know it we’re sneaking envious peeks over the fence to admire the neighbors’ grass.

Gratitude works like magic in the way it can transform the hum-drum world around you into a place of wonders: a place where miracles are happening all around you at every moment. You can see this transformation in even the most mundane and onerous aspects of modern life (including commercial air travel).

Not only does gratitude make you feel better about what you have, it can open the door to even more good things in your life.

For your health
Being grateful for your body and your health increases your body awareness. Your body may not look just the way you’d like; it’s current condition may reflect either poor choices on your part or circumstances beyond your control. But consider what an amazing mechanism your body is! Millions of years of evolutionary growth have gone into it, and before that, the very stuff you’re made of was a part of the stars in the heavens. Your body, whatever it’s condition, is a wonder to behold. Keeping these beautiful ideas in your heart and mind will do more for your happiness and health than you may realize.

In fact, studies show that people who are grateful are more likely to attend regular checkups, have fewer aches and pains, and suffer from less depression. What’s more, a default position of gratitude will help you enjoy your body more and deepen your happiness and sense of well-being, helping you feel better both mentally and physically. And who couldn’t use more of that?

So exercise! Enjoy affection and intimacy with someone you love. Get a massage from time to time to give your body a little treat.

For your relationships
A study published in Emotion in 2014 showed that saying thank you to someone you’ve just met increases the likelihood that the person you’ve thanked will establish an on-going connection with you. When the people around you feel appreciated, they tend to want to do more of the thing you thanked them for. As you continue thanking people and as gratitude becomes the default for your personal and working relationships, more and more people gather around you, offering up their best selves as you keep rewarding them with recognition and gratitude, often without even thinking twice about it.

For your soul
Are you feeling ground down all the time, defensive, victimized? Do you lash out at people who probably don’t deserve it, or feel like a slave to your own tempestuous moods? Consider cultivating more gratitude.

A 2014 University of Kentucky study showed that people who rated higher in gratitude were less likely to retaliate when given negative feedback, and showed greater empathy towards others over all.

With greater gratitude, you’ll have higher self-esteem because you’ll be able to recognize your own gifts, and so won’t feel the need to resent the achievements or accomplishments of others.

What more reasons do you need? Cultivate gratitude in your life. Treat yourself like someone you’re trying to take care of and work gratitude into your public and private life. Pray or meditate daily. See how many times you can say “thank you” to the people in your life in a given day.

Get curious about it: hat would happen if you tried it?

Choose the good life.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to develop your brand and social media strategy by contacting him at TomGunn@gmail.com