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.   

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