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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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

 

 

 

 

How to Help When Things Get Real

how to help when things get real

There’s been much made in the news about terrible things happening around the world, and rightly so. Families are displaced by wars, genocide goes unchecked in Asia and the middle east, and natural disasters cripple entire societies. When disasters like this strike, aid is organized, charities and religious groups scramble to the rescue.

But what about the smaller tragedies, those disasters that feel enormous and earth-shaking only to that one person or that handful of people you’re close to? The loss of a spouse through death or divorce, incarceration, separation from children, death of a loved one, violent crime, or even the loss of health or employment? Mental health problems can be simultaneously shaming and debilitating, with stigma driving the sufferers and their loved ones deeper into isolation.

When these things happen to someone you know, it’s hard to know what to do or what to say. The best most of us can do is politely offer help (knowing they won’t want to impose by actually asking us for anything), try to “be there” for them (whatever that means). We wish we could do more. We mean well. But we feel paralyzed by fear of doing the wrong thing, of maybe making things worse.

You can do something. It won’t change their life or make everything okay, but it also won’t be impossible for you to do, an they really will feel their burden being lightened, even if only a little. What follows are some suggestions to consider when someone you know has been through something traumatic or devastating.

All of these suggestions are just that, and you should use your own judgement to tailor these ideas to the circumstances.

Dancing hotdog
Give Hallmark the day off. Nobody really buys the schmalzy messages in overpriced gift-cards, anyway. But you’d be surprised what good a little laughter can do.

Send them something funny, something that might draw out a smile–a dancing hotdog GIF, a link to a cat video. But whatever you send, make it personal and private. Use a text message, Instagram, Facebook, whichever platform you prefer. Send one every day, or at least a few times a week. It lets them know you’re thinking about them without getting all sappy about it, and without drawing any possibly unwanted attention to their misfortune.

Logistics
Treat them to some food. Sure, it’s cliché to bring a casserole to the doorstep. But clichés are clichés for a reason. Someone who’s going through something terrible may struggle to do the basics. Modulate your strategy to suit how close you are to the person, but it might be greatly appreciated if you can help with the small stuff.

Have a load of groceries or toiletries delivered to their home.

An Uber gift card, or a parking garage membership can make all the difference, especially when someone is facing frequent hospital trips or have some other crisis that’s making transportation more complicated for them. Even if all you got them was a small pre-paid gas card, the gesture could make a big difference.

It’s easier than ever to send care packages to cover the little necessities of life. It’s both a thoughtful gesture that lets the person know they’re not alone while also relieving some of their troubles.

Shut up
Try to resist the urge to offer advice or be the shoulder to cry on, be someone to vent/rage to, be the one to offer advice. Numbness is a defense strategy that shouldn’t be trifled with, and might result in the person pushing you away–possibly even violently.

Besides, this isn’t about you and your role, or how you see yourself. Make it about them and what they need. Make yourself available and be ready to respond to their needs without needing to be asked, and without drawing attention to the generosity of your offer. Just be present and responsive to what they need.

Be present in every sense and just listen to them. It’s amazing what people say when you just sit quietly and let them express whatever they need to say at their own pace. This is harder than it sounds, so bring some imaginary duct tape to put over your mouth.

Thoughts and Prayers
Now this one kind of is about you. Pray about them. Think about them. You can tell them you’re sending them thoughts and prayers if you want to, but don’t just say it. It’s better to do it and not say it, than to say it and not do it.

Pondering their difficult situation will increase your compassion for them in a deep and genuine way. You’ll be more emotionally responsive to their needs. Side benefit: exercising your compassion in this way could even make you a better person long-term.

Life is hard, as you’ve probably figured out by now. No matter how immaculate our own choices may be, bad things will happen, even to you. If you’re paying attention to the needs of those you love, and are attentive, that builds you crucial social capital–a social savings account of sorts. You’ll build your network of emergency responders of your own, and make you better prepared to survive the encounter when death knocks on your door.

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.