Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Season Greetings

Sorry that I haven't written for awhile! It's been kind of hectic lately since my calendar was filled up with lods of clients and great happenings. I just love this time of the year when (the loooong November is finally over)  I can start preparations for Christmas. Since Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Here are some remarkable and important things about my Christmas time as a Southern Girl with a Nordic Soul:

  • I got to spend Thanksgiving in Savannah, GA, at a sunshine and with one of my best friend and her family. She will be starting to do same kind of treatments than I do in Florida in the near future. She just needs to finish her school to get licensed and then there is two of us! 
  • Past couple of weeks the weather has been the best! Yes, I do wish white Christmas, but not here. Let it snow in Finland, it is very much needed there.
  • http://jouluradio.fi .That is a radio station which only plays Christmas carols 24/7 the whole December. All in Finnish!
  • I have been in 2 awesome concerts and there is one more to come! The first two were special since my daughter was performing. 
  • We are going to have Pikkujoulu (=Little Christmas) with my best girls and their families this Saturday! Pikkujoulu is celebration with your friends or collegues before the real Christmas, that is more a family thing. I get to bake Finnish goodies & pastries and serve some glögi!
  • I can make my own traditions. My front yard has a plenty of lights and even a figure and my daughter thinks I've gotten crazy. I'd never ever done that in Finland. We have also had Christmas tree decorated for almost two weeks at this point, even though I know that is's supposed to do only at Christmas Eve morning (or the evening before that) in my original way. 
  • This year is super-special since my dear and oldest friend (we have 42 years of history) is arriving to Charlotte in 5 days, 23 hours and 17 minutes... who's counting?
  • Santa will come to our house on Christmas Eve! No climbing in chimney, but ring the doorbell and we'll be singing him before he hands out the gifts (if we have been good enough to get any).
I am so much looking for the New Year! Meanwhile I wish that You can enjoy your life, meet some family and eat good food and prepare Yourself: 2016 will be the best year so far. I am so happy to meet new challenges with all of You. I am on holiday pretty much 12/21-1/3.

Season Greetings!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Our Feet

Those of you who already know me, also know that I like feet. Not just my own, but also my clients. That´s simply because everything starts there. Feet are like a basement of a house and you sure want to have a firm, healthy and stable base to built your house on.

Here is some facts (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/picture-of-the-feet):

The feet are flexible structures of bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues that let us stand upright and perform activities like walking, running, and jumping. The feet are divided into three sections:
  • The forefoot contains the five toes (phalanges) and the five longer bones (metatarsals).
  • The midfoot is a pyramid-like collection of bones that form the arches of the feet. These include the three cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone, and the navicular bone.
  • The hindfoot forms the heel and ankle. The talus bone supports the leg bones (tibia and fibula), forming the ankle. The calcaneus (heel bone) is the largest bone in the foot.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments run along the surfaces of the feet, allowing the complex movements needed for motion and balance. The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscle and is essential for running, jumping, and standing on the toes.

 My job is to make sure that each and every one of those joints are movable, muscles and soft tissues are flexible and there is no ischemia. What does that mean?

In my treatment I will check all the joints between each parts of toes, toes and metatarsals, between metatarsals, between cuneiform and cuboid, between cuboid and navicular etc, you get the picture. Sometimes the muscles and tendons are so tight that the first session goes on more superficial (soft tissues) work, since a big part of the picture are muscles of the shins (peroneals, tibialisis, soleus and gastrocnemius) and only in the second session we can try to move those ligaments to open the joints.

Opening the joints is essential because we want all the nervous tissue be free of any kind of impingement and discomfort. Is it painful? Definitely no, if it's done in a right way. When I am opening your joints, it happens with time and you probably don't even feel it. If we have more stubborn foot, I might ask you to flex and extend your ankle, so that you are always in charge of the movement. That is if I have a slightest idea that my work would give you any pain.

Why you want your feet to be flexible? Because that is how they are meant to be to keep you going. If we wouldn't need the flexibility all those joints give us, we wouldn't have that many joints in our feet!

Most of you have also heard about Reflexology, that addresses all the pressure points at the souls of the feet to help in a huge variety of issues. And yes, I do some reflexology, but that is not my specialty or the field where I am in my most comfort zone. In my believe, you can't get all the benefits of reflexology if you feet lack blood, are swollen or immovable. If the signal from the brain (like keep your feet warm) can't reach the feet, how can the signal from the feet (reflexology) make it's way to a different parts of the body? At least the reflexology session is much more helpful to you if your feet are healthy.

Okay, I will not start to explain about how an imbalance in one ankle affect to the knees and hips etc. You can read about that in my other blog posts (About Posture, More about Soft Tissues) . But what I want to tell you, is that I am able to help you so many issues with your feet: plantar fasciitis, bunions(!), rheumatoid arthritis to a certain point, achilles tendon issues, edema, calluses(!), corns, heal spurs, fallen arches, mallet toes and claw toes (depending on situation) and sometimes even in Morton's neuroma. My treatment is helpful also in cold feet or even peripheral artery disease and peripheral neuropathy if it is supervised by a medical doctor.

Unfortunately I can not help you, if you have gout, fraction, any kind of infection or osteoarthritis or osteoporosis (unless your doctor is working with us). I also need to know and be prepared, if you have warts, athlete's foot or any other kind of fungal infection.

And if you don't have anything special going on with your feet, just come and relax. I know some relaxation techniques that make you sleep in my table.

Loving your feet is healthy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

What are those soft tissues I keep talking about?

  Ok, let’s take a second try. Blogger was so kind and throw away all my hard work yesterday. I am going to try to explain what I mean about all the soft tissues I keep talking about. Like you already know, I am a licensed massage therapist and as so, I feel blessed to work in a field I truly love and am passionate about. But I am also something more. Or should I say, that I am trained in a two different ways.

Originally my massage therapist's studies are from Finland, where it takes 10 months to complete your studies and get your license. We were taught pretty much the same techniques than here in NC, but our qualification system differs quite a bit. On the other hand the muscles and joints are the same where ever you are learning your basics, so I feel pretty confident about knowing my muscles. Well, at least I have learned them (and passed my exams) twice; once in Latin and second time in English. (And by the way all the 650+ muscles also have a name in Finnish).

But my true passion is that functional and structural bodywork in which I completed 3 year program while working with my clients. We were taught to see the big picture and in my education it was crucial to see the differences between the body's left and right side, rotation in your skeleton and leg length discrepancy (pretty often caused by rotation in hip bones). We were challenged to analyze different ways to stabilize the body and see how dysfunction in joint or a problem in a  range of motion will affect to another joint. I am also able to see and feel adhesion not only in a muscle, but also in a ligament and analyze its function to the whole kinetic chain.

Pictures are about ankles; here flexion.
That being said, I pretty often start by treating your ankle, even if you make your appointment to treat pain in your neck. That is because if your left ankle (‘s joints) isn’t functioning properly, that definitely affects to your (left) knee. And if you have trouble in your knee, your body will compensate it all its best ways to keep pain away and that brings you (most probably) some trouble in the opposite hip, which tries to ease up left knee’s job. And finally, if your hips’ muscular balance is off, your spine compensates the situation and you might end up having neck issues. Sounds easy enough, right? But no, it is not that easy or predictable every time, but that’s pretty much how it goes.

This is the way my special training in Finland taught me to see your body, and I am unable to see it any other ways. I can (and I am) use many different techniques and modalities, but my inner self always wants to figure out this chain of functional and structural alignments, and try to bring your left and right side as even as they can in their current situation be. So, I work with your tendons (they attach your muscles to the bones) and ligaments (they attach bone to bone where is no muscle) as much as with your muscles. My work is always gentle, so stretching the tendon is not painful, and we’ll do it together with a client’s own movement.

But our body is not only muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, but as I have recently learned, we have to pay so much more attention to our lymphatic system, since it is one of our cleaning processes and has everything to do with our immune system too. Lymph has its special ways and directions to run around our body, but unfortunately it doesn’t have its own designated pump (like the hearth is the pump for blood circulation). Our lymph needs movement to keep functioning properly and in many cases we (yes, I am looking at my own mirror right here and now) are sitting too much and not being active enough. The best lymph pump is to get up and walk/get up and down to your toes/run. So again, if you come to see me with that neck pain and I figure out that your lymph isn’t functioning as well as it should be, we’ll go back to your feet and start our pain relieving process from there. Just be prepared, that I could suggest you something completely different that you think you need, and so we’ll make you a customized treatment plan.

But it is always up to you. Or actually, let’s just ask your nervous system what it wants to have done. This is probably the biggest difference between Kata’s Way and deep tissue/trigger point massage (and I can do both): I don’t want to give you any pain! (And actually, no therapy, not trigger point therapy nor deep tissue massage should ever, ever, be painful.) In Kata’s Way we go as deep to your tissues than your tissues allow. So simple! If I try to press too hard, your nervous system gets activated in a nanosecond, and do you think that hyperactive nervous system will allow us to relieve any pain? Then, if you ask me to go deeper, I will tell your brains to be quiet, since I’m working with the body and not with your brains. And I say it with all my love.
And here's the extension (of one) of  the ankle joint.

Now, don’t get me wrong; my treatment will be effective and deep, sometimes even a bit uncomfortable, but if you really want some deep deep tissue work, maybe I am just wasting your time (and you are wasting money). But if you have some specific issues (tennis/golf/shoulder tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sciatica etc.) or you just feel that something is off, please come to see me and we’ll figure out together, if my style and my skills can help you.

Your body is an amazing system and it knows how to heal itself. You just need to know how to listen. I am pretty good at listening your body, so please bring your body to me and let’s figure it out together. I am here to learn new ways to help you relieve your pain and bring your body to its balance.   

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Do you like it here?

That is the second question people ask me and it's kind of easy (yes), but also difficult to answer. I have lived in Charlotte over 3 years now, and it's not a long time to settle in. I know that there is people, who have relocated several times in their lives and they know how to mingle in in a new place. I'm not one of those.

I have lived all my life in Finland and moved only to go to college (60 miles from my home town) and after graduation started my family at my college city. And I was perfectly happy there! I never planned to move abroad and it was a huge adjustment for me. So, yes, I love living in Charlotte, but it's not that simple.

In three years here, I've accomplished a lot. I'm working, my daughter will graduate from high school next spring, we bought our own house... So we are going to stay and that is great. I have found a bunch of great friends here and I am happy just the way things are.

But: when I'm enjoying my time with girlfriends here, I miss my Finnish friends. I love Thanksgiving, but desperately miss First of May and Midsummer celebration. I enjoy warm weather, but would do almost everything to get to (original Finnish) sauna now and then. I'm used to the landscape here, but it's not my comfortable landscape and there is forest like in Finland here. And the birds sing in the wrong language!

And yet, I would not want to go back at the moment and that makes me sad: I feel like I'm betraying my roots when I'm loving my life here. And I know it's kind of stupid, but I just always need to be sad for a moment before I can truly be happy here.i know it sound weird. And it takes a lot of energy to feel so sad and so happy at the same time.

So next time you ask me how do I like it here in Charlotte, all of the above run through my brains before I can give you an answer. But my answer is: YES, I love it here and wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Our Posture

I want to write a bit about our way of living at today's world. We are constantly sitting in our car, by our desk, with our laptop, iPhone, iPad and finally in the evening we are taking a peaceful moment by TV (Netflix, Amazon, streaming...) sitting again. Our kids are developing their thumbs and necks functional for only to look at those electrical devices. Is this the way it's suppose to be and are our bodies ready for this evolution?
incorrect sitting posture correct sitting posture
Which one you prefer: the spine that looks like reverse C or old-fashioned S?

Healthy Habits: Let&#39;s talk about <b>Posture</b>!Healthy and flexible spine has it's natural curvature  and still we all are individuals. To keep your posture best possible for you acquires some work. Yes, to keep upright position today's world needs active moving, stretching, strengthening and many times also some help from professionals.Our lifestyle makes us hunch over and rounds the shoulders too much inwards and we have to do something about it. Every day!

Many of my clients ask me one the most important questions: what kind of chair I should have? If I new the answer, I would be making and selling chairs!

What do I mean by that? I want to pinpoint a few important things that I have learned during my training and working in the health field.

1. No matter how good your chair is, if you sit on it too much, you'll eventually get some problems. Our bodies are made for moving, not sitting a long periods of time.

2. There is no optimal car seat. Even if you don't have too short or too long legs or arms or your back is made for that particular brand's seat, you are using your right leg more than left one (yes, even if you have a manual shifts in your car) and that puts an imbalance to your hips.

3. Movement is the only way to activate your lymphatic system. There is no socks, no devise, no massage that can do it for you! Yes, we need to use some help to enhance lymph here and there, but we need to move (walk, run, stretch, jump...) to keep our tissues in good nutrition. You need to do the job yourself. I'd love to do it for you, but I can't!

4. If (well, when) we have developed some structural issues, usually I call it an imbalance between left and right, stretching, moving or strengthening isn't necessarily enough. Because our bodies tend to strengthen already strong muscles and stretch already flexible ones. That is your bodies job and our body doesn't do anything wrong. Our body just wants to be economic. Just like you want to keep sitting.

5. If you have any kind of structural issues, they need to be resolved for you to feel energetic, active and balanced. We have to re-educate the muscles to move optimally. We have to stretch the tensed muscles, then strengthen them, not in the opposite order. Your yoga classes will help you way better, if you can use your muscles, tendons, ligaments and other structures balanced and optimized way.

My way of balancing the knee (quadriceps).
6. Balanced and optimized movement is always individual! Unlocking the locked tissues will help you to get the best movement out of you. I can do the unlocking and re-balancing with you, but I can't make you move. Only you can do that. And you need that movement.

Follow my blog to learn more specific instructions and come to meetme. I'll help you understand your body's functions and your individual structure! That's also the way we move in my Stretching class. That is Kata's Way™.

 P.S. A healthy posture requires training your body to stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that put the least amount of strain on supportive muscles and ligaments. Your backbone is composed of 33 vertically stacked bones, called vertebrae, that are cushioned by discs. You may think those disks and spinal fluid would be enough to protect your spinal cord and nerves. However, it is your posture that best protects your spine and the rest of your body from injury.

Monday, September 21, 2015

About our Workshops

Before I get to write more about my way of treating specific issues and relieving your pain, I need to introduce some of our great workshops at Ballantyne Chiropractic Wellness. We have a great community here in south of Charlotte to learn about and prevent health issues.

We had a great information about Breast Health last Wednesday and we will repeat this workshop THIS WEDNESDAY (9/23) @6.30! Our specialist Gaye Walden from Holistic Breast Health 
visited with a great massage therapist Effie Hall and together these ladies introduced the variety of preventive care you can help yourself in taking care of your breasts. We live a world of environmental toxicity and our lymphatic system is struggling to keep up eliminating all thebad stuff in our bodies. You can make a difference if you take control of your life and your habits. We are here to help you and in our office we offer not just structural and functional bodywork but also infrared sauna -sessions and whole body vibration therapy; all an excellent treatments to help lymphatic flow!

Our office also utilizes Alpha Stim -therapy, which is FDA proved treatment for anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain. Alpha Stim therapy is a painless way to improve your health without medication and the effects are cumulative. For this treatment you need to consult Dr. Snipes. 

Our own Dr. Snipes will also talk about how to help yourself when you feel the first symptoms of cold or flu and you just can't afford to stay in bed. Survival Toolkit for cold and flu season -workshop is scheduled Tuesday 9/29 @7pm! Postponed to WED 10/7 @12!

And don't forget our weekly Stretching Workhops Wednesdays @11! We will stretch and activate all those muscle that are not used to be stretched. Our concentration is always in the best available posture and finding an upright position without pain. And that, my friends, starts from the feet and ankles. 

We are looking forward meeting you soon!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Stretching Workshops

You may have already noticed, that we at Ballantyne Chiropractic Wellness are always thinking what is best for our clients. One thing we really are passionate about, is helping our clients to help themselves. That means not that we just keep learning new things all the time, nor even that we treat our clients the best possible way when they enter our office, we also want to educate them and give all of you the chance to learn new ways of keeping your health in mind every day.

So, we decided to organize weekly Stretching Workshops to help you to take care of you!

This is me TRYING to abduct my toes.
Each Workshop lasts approximately 45 minutes and is free to our clients ($5 for others). We always begin with awakening of feet and spine by doing 15 minutes gentle movement to warm up and continue to learn good stretching techniques variably either on lower or upper part of the body. We'll set the goal for every session in the beginning of workshop, so please bring your specific issues to the discussion! Our main goal will be restoring the good and healthy posture both in standing (walking) up and in seated position. This is the reason, why we always do work with flexibility of spine (from sacrum bone up to neck).

Stretching Workshop is open for everybody and mainly lead by Kata, but in some cases or special issues we will be getting some instructions from Dr. Snipes.

Please bring your own water (or you may purchase some) and wear comfortable clothing. You don't need your own yoga mat nor shoes; we prefer opening the muscles on souls of the feet and moving barefooted (unless you have plantar fasciitis or other tendinitis with pain).

You (and your friends) are very Welcome to join us Wednesdays at 11 am! After the workshop we will always have some time to discuss your specific issues

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What do I do in my bodywork?

One of the goals in this blog is (to learn if in/at or some other preposition is correct) to tell you what I do when I'm treating my clients. My way of treatment includes (among other things) massaging, lymphatic work, stretching both tendons and ligaments and 'freeing' joints to their full range of motion (only if that's possible without causing any pain).

It is sometimes hard to describe what I exactly do, so let me start with telling what I will try to achive with my treatment.

My main (only) goal is to find a ways for you to be free of pain. Many times we can not achieve this goal with one session, but most of the times at 5-8 session (that means if you do your part of the job). If you are still in pain after 5 sessions, I probably am not a good fit for you and you need to see other specialist.

But I will promise you that you'll be feeling more and more balanced, refreshened and energetic after every treatment! Sometimes (well, most of the time) I won't let you take a nap while I'm working WITH you, since our goal is to achieve a gentle change in your body's kinesic pattern in a long run, not just relaxiation for the moment (that'll be an extra gift).

My goal is to make you feel better by balancing your physical body. Many times this includes bringing your more upright position while sitting. So, search for an optimal posture is definitely one of our main goals. Always and for everybody (including me). 

I want to write this down one more time: we are here to find a balance! From my point of view I'm talking about relieving tension, braking adhesions and even releasing trigger points in your physical body, but for you it can mean something different. It is always completely up to you how much you inform me about your goals, but I will do my best to synchronize my goals with your (body)s.

Just remember that I am forever curious to find out the possibly hidden reasons for physical imbalances and by balancing the physical, to give you some tools to do the rest.

Balanced is Painless and painless body wants to keep moving! Let me help you. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Who I work with and where?

As I mentioned, I work at Ballantyne Chiropractic Wellness with Dr. Cheri Snipes, who is not only an awesome chipractic doctor, but specialized in balanced nutrition. In a chiropractic field her specialty is Neuropathy and relieving pain it causes. My studies about structural balancing of feet and feet reflexology can really bring a great addition to her cold laser and electro stim -treatments and we have helped our clients to get faster pain relief and  bring back joint flexibility to ankle joints. You can read more about Dr. Snipes here: Ballantyne Chiropractic Wellness.  Facebook/Ballantyne Chiropractic Wellness.

Our office (I'll load some pictures in a near future (they're at my daughter's camera at the moment) is located at Ballantyne Village, which is a great place to hang in the evenings, have lunch, enjoy a good cup of coffee or go shopping. My favourite place (beside our office) is 3H Shoppes, where you can find everything local! There will be some changes and new openings at The Village in the near future! Stay tuned on Ballantyne Village.  Facebook/Ballantyne Village.

If you have never visited out second floor office (we are located right above Burger21), go find a door next from Savvy&co and take a lift to 2nd floor. A great moment to drop by, is to join our Stretching Workshops that are starting at the beginning of September every Wednesday @11am! It is only $5 for a 45 minute session concentrating to an area(s) that needs some stretching. The program varies every week and you can make suggestions in the beginning of each class. I wish to meet you there!

P.S. Find me at Facebook by the name KataH LMBT#13976

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First post

Huh. This is quite a milestone. My first blog in English. I feel a bit scared but also exited at the same time. I have wanted to do this for awhile now, but I always convinced myself that I can't write in E good enough. Well, I just decided that yes I can, so here we go.

There is a lot of configures and details to do and picture to take, but keep in mind that main thing in this blog are the posts. I will try my best to open up the way I work and philosophy behind my training. I am still a massage therapist, but as those who know me, know that there is so much more in my way of treating my clients in this painless, effective, intuitive but extremely logical way.

I love what I do and I want to do what I love. It's that simple!

You are very welcome to tag along!