Blog Banner

Friday, July 19, 2013

CranioSacral Therapy: A Positive Therapeutic Approach to Pain Management

Craniosacral therapy is a relatively new therapy, in that it has been around much less than a hundred years, being developed in the seventies by Dr. Upledger. Utilizing small amounts of force and pressure, measured in grams, osteopathic manipulation is performed. Craniosacral therapy is built on the principles of osteopathic medicine, and specifically the work of Dr. Sutherland in the 1930s.

Using the craniosacral rhythm of the body, which is the circulation of the craniosacral fluid around the brain and spinal cord, assessments are made of the bones of the cranium and pelvis. Light pressure techniques, sometimes called releases, are performed to certain bones of the cranium and pelvic.

Very often, patients receiving craniosacral therapy are surprised by the relief of symptoms in one area which have been affected by therapy to a very different and sometimes distant area. For example, there have been patients suffering from TMJ or migraine headaches who experience an alleviation of pain symptoms after therapy at the sacrum and pelvis. Some of the principles of craniosacral work are that the body system is connected, and that often times, pain in one area can be what is known as referred pain, coming from an entirely different area.

While there are not very many studies on the effects of craniosacral therapy, the few randomized clinical trials that do exist have shown positive effects on pain in patients who received it. For example, one study published in Clinical Rehabilitation in 2011 concluded that craniosacral therapy “improved medium-term pain symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.” Anyone who knows someone with fibromyalgia will understand that it is a very difficult disorder to treat. When someone has this disorder, they are in widespread generalized pain all of the time. Craniosacral therapy can be used as an excellent adjunct to standard medical care for these patients.

Another study published in Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice concluded that craniosacral therapy can help to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. Considering the debilitating nature of migraines, this is very promising to those suffering from migraines.

These are only two of the available studies on CranioSacral Therapy, both of which had positive findings for pain relief. Further research into the effects of craniosacral therapy are certainly warranted. If you are interested in learning more about CranioSacral Therapy, or in booking a session, please visit our website by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mobile Hot Stone Therapy: An Ancient Technique for Modern Relaxation

Hot stones have been used in the healing practices of many diverse cultures. They have been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, as well as in Anma, one of the oldest Asian healing modalities.

In Anma, the hot stones were placed upon the body on the energy points, which are also known as tsubos. The hot stones are placed upon these points to stimulate them and release their energy, in much the same way as using moxibustion in shiatsu or anma. Hot stones have been used in China since ancient times. The heat of the stones, through stimulation of the tsubos, also helps the internal organs to function properly. ‘

There have been many other uses for hot stone massage over the centuries. Native American cultures as well as other indigenous cultures have used hot stones for various purposes. The stones are used in sweat lodges to adjust the temperature, and in Hawaii, healers have used hot stones in much the same way that they are used today. The stones were also wrapped in leaves from the castor plant to increase the healing power of both the stones and the leaves. The healing aromatic oils from the castor plant were released by the heat from the stones, to encourage deeper penetration and more thorough healing effects.

There are other cultures that have used hot stone therapy as a means to effect healing and to stimulate and relax the body. Suffice it to say that hot stone therapy has a long tradition of healing and relaxation among human cultures.

Mountainside On Site Massage Therapy is now offering mobile hot stone massage therapy. Our hot stone page will be up soon, but for more information on booking an appointment for hot stone massage, please click here.

Massage and Anxiety: Managing Anxiety and Dealing Better With Life

Many people today suffer from anxiety in one form or another. Sometimes it is a temporary anxiety, where they are anxious about a certain deadline that will pass, or a stressful situation at work. In rarer cases, they are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that affects their life in a more extreme way, making it hard to function and deal with others socially.

The type of anxiety that has been most studied is the type that is temporary or recurring, but is not a chronic condition requiring a diagnosis and treatment. With temporary anxiety, such as the kind engendered by a working environment, massage therapy has been shown to help significantly. In many of the studies, not only was self reported anxiety diminished, but also salivary cortisol levels were reduced, where cortisol is the stress hormone.

This is good news for people who work in high stress environments, most especially nurses and other healthcare providers who work long hours with few breaks and for many days at a time. Another small study done by the Touch Research Institute showed that massage therapy enhances alertness and brain power, as demonstrated by improved scores on math computation tests. The same study also showed that people given the massages had less anxiety, both self reported and measured by cortisol levels.

With regard to the second type of anxiety, which is more long term and can be debilitating, several studies were done on psychiatric patients who received massage therapy. These patients suffered from anxiety, depression, hostility, and lack of sleep. The results showed that even these individuals benefited from massage therapy. They had less anxiety and depression, as well as better sleep at night. Their hostility and aggression were also significantly reduced, prompting the researchers to state that “massage… may be a useful de-escalating tool for reducing stress and anxiety in acutely hospitalized psychiatric patients.”

When it comes to dealing with life and the stresses produced by it, it seems that massage therapy has been shown to be very helpful. Stress, anxiety, tension, depression, and aggression have all been studies with regard to massage, and the results are promising. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of massage therapy, please click here. If you are interested in having your own session of massage therapy at your location, please click here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mobile Massage For Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Individuals suffering from fibromyalgia have a very difficult time functioning in this world. The excessive amounts of pain that they feel, along with a brain fog from the pain, can make it very difficult to function normally. Intense widespread pain in the body, as well as fatigue and sleeping difficulties, are common for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Although this disorder does not have a known cause, there are many things that can help a person with it. Massage therapy has been shown in studies to improve the amount and quality of sleep that people can have with this disorder. Also, levels of stress hormones were reduced, and anxiety and depression were also reduced among patients.

Fibromyalgia can be a torturous disorder for some, and it is not surprising that it leads to greater levels of anxiety and depression. The inability to function can be very frustrating, as the body is unable to do what the mind want it to do. Instead, people often find that they need to just lay in bed all day. Thus, this is a population that would be prone to depression and anxiety, especially because there is no cure and many of the treatments are only marginally effective.

Based upon the studies of massage with fibromyalgia, it would also appear that the pain causing substance, known as Substance P, can also be reduced in people who receive massage therapy. Since many people with fibromyalgia find ordinary activities draining, including walking and driving, having a mobile massage at their home would probably be best for people in this population.

If you have fibromyalgia or care for someone who does, please click here to find more information about having a session of mobile massage. To find the studies referenced above, please click here.


J Clin Rheumatol. 2002 Apr;8(2):72-6. Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy. Field T, Diego M, Cullen C, Hernandez-Reif M, Sunshine W, Douglas S.

J Dermatol Sci. 2000 Feb;22(2):138-44. Firm stroking of human skin leads to vasodilatation possibly due to the release of substance P. Morhenn VB.

J Clin Rheumatol. 1996 Feb;2(1):18-22. Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Sunshine W, Field TM, Quintino O, Fierro K, Kuhn C, Burman I, Schanberg S.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stressful and Hectic Lives Benefit From Mobile Massage

One of the most common complaints we get from people in today’s modern world is that they are under enormous amounts of stress. This stress contributes to their entire life in a negative way. They are in constant pain, especially in their neck, shoulders, and lower back. They may have chronic headaches and other tension in their bodies. This is one of the main reasons why people seek out mobile massage at their own location.

One might wonder, as many of us do, what causes the body to react in this way. Why does stress build up in the body? For one thing, people today have very high stress jobs and lives. They work long hours, sometimes as many of 9 to 12 hours in a single day. Their workload is very heavy, with deadlines that loom quickly, and so much work to do before they pass that it can be a lot to deal with.

Then, there is the way the body itself reacts to stresses that is the main culprit. Stress in general causes the heart rate to rise, the stomach to tighten, the blood pressure to go up, and adrenaline to be released into the system. Constant stimulation of this “fight or flight” response, which is not really the best response to the stresses that are presented, is one of the biggest contributors to long term health problems. When this autonomic system is constantly stimulated, the parasympathetic system which balances against it eventually burns out and is unable to counteract the above problems.

One of the greatest benefits of massage therapy is the balancing effect that it has on the autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This is why one of most well known effects of massage is stress relief. Through balancing the autonomic nervous system, stress can be relieved.

When a person has more than one massage session, it can create a more balanced and relaxed atmosphere for their life. If you are experiencing stress and its many effects upon your body, mobile massage might well be worth considering. Click here to find out more information.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mobile and Chair Massage for the Elderly and Infirm

Perhaps you have never considered providing mobile massage for your elderly patients or those you give care to. It is actually a very worthwhile consideration for many reasons.

(Photo from YODCOX! on flickr)

First of all, elderly patients, especially those in assisted living and nursing home facilities, tend to be very lonely. They may go for many days or weeks without being touched in a meaningful way, either by loved ones or by the nursing staff. At most nursing homes or assisted living facilities, nurses provide the care necessary for their elderly patients, but that more often than not does not include touch of any kind.

Touch can include hugging the person, holding them around the shoulders, and other gentle types of touch. Consequently, the loneliness that many of the elderly already feel can be intensified by the fact that they are not ever touched. Mobile therapeutic massage can provide that kind of meaningful and therapeutic touch that we as humans all crave.

(Photo from quinn.anya on flickr)

As an example of the need for touch, there is a now famous study using rhesus monkeys who never received touch from anyone, compared to a control group that was given normal touch and care by their mothers or handlers. The monkeys who were not touched exhibited aggressiveness, anger, rage, and other abnormal social behaviors. This study, as well as others that have been done in recent years, have shown that touch is essential to mental and physical health in humans.

Second, many elderly patients experience pain of varying types and intensities. Many of them have tense shoulders, arms, and hands, which can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome and other conditions. They may have tension and pain in their lower backs, which is one of the most common types of pain that people experience. Mobile massage can help with both of these conditions, as well as many others. Many elderly patients suffer from pain and numbness in their extremities, which when left untreated, can become debilitating.

Third, and perhaps the most important, many elderly patients are homebound. That means they cannot travel to the spa or to a chiropractors office to get a massage. These people, perhaps more than any other population, would benefit a great deal from having mobile massage at their nursing home or assisted living facility.

There are many other benefits from massage therapy aside from pain relief, many of which can be found on our massage benefits page, by clicking here. If you are interested in scheduling a mobile massage session, you may visit our website by clicking here.