8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

8 Tips for Healing Massage Hands

Hand AcupunctureThe massage profession is hard on our hands.  Be good to your hands.  Have tools around to soothe them.  Make your hand health a priority.  Here are some tips that have healed my hands after they were sore, and several massage therapist buddies of mine use some of the same tips.

Microwavable Hot Packs

1.  Keep your hands warm  Truly.  It really helps.  Do what ever it takes to keep them warm, especially right after you last massage of the day.  When your hands start getting sore, this is the #1 helpful tip!  I use a bean bag warmer to keep my hands warm: one of those bags that you put in the microwave for 2 minutes.  It’s awesome!

2.  Ice your hands after sessions  This seems counter to “Tip 1”, but it’s helpful.  Ice forno more than 10 minutes.  I use a ziplock bag of ice and usually no longer than 3 minutes at a time.  Soon after icing, I get my hands warm again.  For example, I get my hands warm after a massage: and by “after”, I mean, after saying “bye” to your client, changing the sheets, etc.  Get your hands warm again, and then ice them for 3-10 minutes, then use the bean/rice bag to warm them up.  I do this contrast therapy several times

3.  Use a paraffin hand bath often  Another “warming” option is the paraffin bath.  I have my machine on all the time.  Dip your hand in 5 times in a row and let it stay of for 5-10 minutes.  Because I’m
the only one using my paraffin bath, I put the wax back into the machine to reuse the wax.  If you’ve just iced your hands, let them get to room temperature before dipping into the wax.

Hand Acupuncture4.  Have Acupuncture on your hands!  This really helps!  After having a cyst in my Acupuncture for Handpalm, Acupuncture got rid of it in 5 sessions.  I went 5 days in a row.  1 hour session each day.  And I took the herbs they suggested.  A hand surgeon told me that surgery wouldn’t work and that the cyst would just get bigger and massage as a career was over.  Acupuncture worked great.  I used Acupuncture again when my thumb was sore and it helped that too… in 2 sessions.

Hand Stretch with a drum stick5.  Have a hand & body stretching routine  Here are some pictures of what I do.  I have a drumstick close by to stretch my hands/forearms and to show clients how to stretch theirs.  Stretch all the w
ay up to your neck, then also your back and side.  I roll my wrists, use the drumsticks for my forearms, a doorway to stretch my pecs, and an exercise ball to stretch my back, obliques, neck and triceps.

6.  Get Chiropractic adjustments  Sometimes the pain is coming from your neck…just like we tell your clients.  When I get an adjustment, it really helps my hands.  I try to see Dr. Marrich on a regular basis.  When you find a good chiropractor, it really helps to stay “pain-free” in such a physical job as massage therapy.  Often, my wrists, elbows and clavicle all adjust.

7.  Foam Roll under your arms  This really help my arms relax.  Get the teres major, minor and your lats.  Do this by putting your arm above your head and foam rolling the area under your arms.  Email me if you need some ideas with the foam rolling. When my hands are sore, I add this to my routine to soothe them.  It’s not always the obvious areas that make the most difference.

8.  Rest  Have rest days.  Make time to recover after a certain number of massage hours.  And then really rest your hands: no opening of cans, no pushups or weight holding at the gym on your rest days.  If you go to the gym, use the “hand rest days” as days for legs & core.  Do exercises where “gripping” isn’t needed.

I have many things I do daily to take care of my hands so I can continue to do deep tissue massage.  Email me if you want to chat about ideas to help if your hands hurt. 🙂 info@athletictouch.com

Stay Positive After Serious Injury

Are you recovering from a serious injury? Try to stay positive.  Think about your body like a team:_MG_2523

  • You need all players at their best to play a great game…in this case, the “game” is you healing
  • Each player on the team has an important part in the game…or your “healing”
  • The players need to get along, no name calling or negative Nelly, no blaming (is Nelly really someone’s name?)
  • When the team communicates and gets along, amazing things can happen!

So, here are your “Team mates” in your healing process:

  • REST…like NOT moving, sitting still with your affected area above your heart…really
  • Hydration…drink until your lips aren’t dry & your pee is barely yellow
  • Breathing…deep breathing, think oxygen= recovery
  • Light stretches & movement (especially after surgery…move your low back! move your unaffected areas)
  • Good nutrition!
  • Staying positive, keeping hope… watch “feel good” movies like Rocky or “How to Train you Dragon” where you cheer for others

Staying positive is the MOST important part of this list!  It can be hard to keep hope and think that you won’t get out of this injury ever to play or compete again.  EVER.  We understand.  But…try to keep your chin up.  Remember statements like:

  • “Days injured make me grateful for the days I’m healthy!”

  • “This is a great lesson in being patient.”

  • “I’m learning to really slow down and pay attention to what’s really important.”

  • “My health is the most important resource I have.”

  • “Never give up!”

Support your body the best you can with everything you know to be good for it.  Do this in every aspect of your day including your self talk, the food you eat, the movies you watch, the rest you get.

Do each task with intension to heal: rest to heal, not just to rest.  Think of the cells getting more energy for healing while you are resting.  Think of your cells getting more oxygen when you breathe.  Forgive yourself or anything/one you need to forgive to have a clear mind so you can support your healing.

Use your thoughts to orchestrate powerful teamwork that makes healing happen.

If you need support, email us.  Find support.  Help others.  These all help.

🙂

The Best Schedule for Injury Care

Massage for injury rehabWhen clients come in with an injury that stops them from playing their sport, they usually want to know when they will be 100%.  And they usually hope you can tell them.  They want anyone to tell them.

They know their body pretty well, and they know how severe or mild their own injury is, so the answer or words they are really hoping to hear is for someone to tell them “out loud” what they are thinking to themselves.

“Oh, this is terrible.  Just terrible.  You are out for 6 weeks or 12 weeks.  Then you’ll be right back where you were before you got hurt.”

We wish it were that easy to know the future of when and/or how fast or slow someone will get back to 100%.

But it’s not that easy.  Every human body is different.  Every injury is different.  Every athlete is different and has unique styles of discipline, rest, recovery, diet, positive self-talk, etc.

Even the exact same doctor performing the exact same ACL replacement has different outcomes.  A different muscle tone before the surgery, different muscle imbalances that probably caused the ACL tear in the first place, etc, etc.

So, when helping athletes, put yourself in their shoes.  Consider their fear of NEVER playing their sport again.  Even with a simple injury, THIS is their main concern.

This is the schedule I usually try for acute injuries: (not the plan for post-surgery)

  • First Session: 1 hour in length, massage with assessment, ice, ice massage, stretches if indicated, refer to doctor if indicated.  You are looking for the specific muscle affected, how hot/swollen it is, is it even safe for you to work on them. After isolating the problem area, assess how much pressure they can handle, how strong of a contraction if any can they make, how much stretching of the area can they handle. Ice the area, and ice massage if tolerated.
  • Next Day, Day 2: 30 minutes in length, quick massage with assessment, ice massage, stretches
  • Next Day, Day 3: 30 minutes, same as yesterday
  • Two Days later, and every 2 days for 2 weeks: 30 minutes, same treatment plan using more pressure as tolerated, adding more stretching as tolerated.  If you are also a personal trainer, add strengthening as tolerated. Start assessing why the injured area is possibly out of balance.  If injury does not improve, or keeps coming back with little activity, send them to a doctor
  • 7 & 14 days after first session: 1 hour in length (in the middle of the 30 min/every other day schedule), massage with assessment, use more pressure as tolerated, ice massage, stretches and start adding opposite areas.  Always check in with the athlete about their workout schedule and how they are feeling, are they back to regular workouts? How is the pain right after the massage? When do they feel best? Worst? What are they doing themselves to help heal? You are looking for the swelling to go down, the heat in the affected area to go away, the pain to go away with pressure and then with action of that muscle, and lastly no pain with both.
  • Next twice per week @ 30 minutes or 1 @ 60 minutes, if they are still hurting, or this is a more serious injury that will take more time, pull back to 2-30 minutes or 1 60 minute session per week, depending on their availability and yours.  Be consistent & show them their progress.

Hope this helps.

 

Low Back Pain and Massage, by Jesse Byrd

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Low back pain is the 2nd leading cause to see your doctor in America

One of the most common ailments for which people seek massage is Low Back Pain.​​

Recently, a good friend hurt his back by hefting some lumber around while building a greenhouse. He wanted to build it quickly as he was racing an upcoming cold-snap. He learned something that most of Americans do at some point in their lives: lifting and twisting at the same time is not a good idea. The New York Times reported in 2012 that Low Back Pain is the second most common complaint for which people consult their doctors’ (6).​

The most important thing to learn regarding Low Back Pain (LBP), is how to prevent it. A lot of grief can be circumvented using proper lifting techniques. The Mayo Clinic has a brief, but informative, slideshow on proper lifting techniques here (4). Many people who come to see me for LBP have been lifting things that they don’t expect to cause them trouble.​

For example, one woman had been frequently reaching down to pick up her child, and then carrying him on her hip. Children are light at first, but they quickly get heavier. This client was used to just twisting, bending over and hoisting the child up. She wasn’t concerned with bending at the knees and maintaining proper spinal curvature.​

Another friend often comes to me for LBP treatment. He frequently lifts heavy things, alone, so it isn’t surprising that he gets occasional spasms. There was one instance, however, when he was simply moving wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Wet clothes are heavier than you might think, but more importantly transferring them from one machine to the other requires lifting and twisting (probably with knees locked). He may not have had any trouble doing this usually, but my friend, having previous injury to the area is more susceptible to re-injury.​

It isn’t just previous injury that predisposes someone to LBP caused by muscular strain. A number of other factors can be involved, and paying attention to them can help avoid not only low back strain, but strain elsewhere as well. These factors, called perpetuating factors, by Travell and Simons’ (p178 1.) include mechanical stresses, nutritional inadequacies, metabolic and endocrine inadequacies, psychological factors, chronic infection, and others. Questions to ask yourself and your doctor include:​

  •     Am I overusing, underusing, or misusing my muscles? Bad furniture? Bad posture, repetitive strain?​​​
  •     Am I getting adequate amounts of vitamins B and C, Iron, calcium, potassium, and trace minerals?​​​
  •     Is my thyroid functioning properly? Am I anemic?​​
  •     Am I fully addressing my stress, depression, and/or anxiety?​​
  •     Are there underlying psychological motivations for continuing to be sick?​​
  •     Am I uncomfortable asking for help? Are there secondary benefits to being in pain that I don’t want to lose?​​
  •     Do I have a chronic infection or allergies?​
  •     Am I getting adequate sleep?​

Having an awareness of these perpetuating factors, along with proper lifting techniques and body mechanics are important to preventing strain and spasms in the low back, and if strain has already occurred, will help to promote faster recovery and prevent re-injury. ​

​©Jesse W. Byrd 2013

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Jesse writes for our Athletic Touch blog monthly. Visit his page on our website here.

1. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual,  by Travell & Simons’

3. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-treat-lowerback-pain.html

4. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00004_D

5. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/pulled-back-muscle-and-lower-back-strain

6. http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/back-pain-low/overview.html

​​

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

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1 hour per month is the quick answer-for the regular NON-COMPETING person. (For competing athletes in training, this article is not for you.)

For preventative healthcare in your life, have a 1 hour massage each month, IF you don’t have any nagging pains, depression issues, injuries, recent surgeries (within 1 year). Start now and your body will thank you.  Just think…how the world would change if everyone had a massage every month!!

With chronic pain, anxiety, recent injuries or surgeries & other possible ailments, having a massage 1-2 per week —-until your issue is resolved—- is the best plan of attack.  Depending on your issue, this could take 1-12 weeks, or longer.  Try to think of this as an incredible investment into your healthcare, into your longevity, health, happiness & smart living.

After the pain or anxiety stays away for more than 1 week, then start to spread out the time between massages: 10 days, then 14 days, then 21 days, and finally 28 days between massages.  Remember to stay 14 days, 14 days, etc, until there is no pain for that entire time between sessions.  You could even call your therapist & push your appointment out a few days if you don’t feel pain yet.

It is not uncommon to need a weekly massage for a few weeks within this entire process…especially for off-season marathon runners or MMA fighters between fights, or people recovering from hip/knee replacements, for example.  Don’t give up hope!! This is not a set-back, instead, it’s a shift for your healing process and a time when your body may need just a bit more support.

Truly learning how to support your body by understanding what it needs to heal is a great gift.  Once your brain and your body are on the same team and not fighting each other, many things start to click into place.

When you have 28 days between massages PAIN FREE, there is nothing better for client or therapist!!  Even the first week without pain is very exciting.  Just remember that it can take a few weeks, but if you are consistent & gentle with yourself, miracles can happen.

Start this week!  Have a massage and de-stress.  Breathe deeper.  Feel more peace. Hope.  And most of all, Love.  Yourself.

Subtle Massage is great Right After a Car Accident

If you or someone you know has been in a recent car accident, keep in mind that light massage, Cranial Sacral Therapy or Core Synchronism treatments are VERY beneficial even moments after a car accident. If the victim is feeling fine at the moment, suggest they become proactive, and get ahead of possible whiplash symptoms that may follow if they don’t get treated.

Deeper massage techniques can come later, in a few weeks.  Even regular massage pressure can have the opposite effect, causing more pain or bruising to the car accident victim.

Subtle massage treatments are so gentle, they cannot cause any harm. These techniques work mostly with the nervous system, using very little pressure on the body so the car accident victim will feel more balanced and relaxed after one of these sessions.

These types of treatments help balance the body again, both in body and the brain. Literally, the brain can be tossed around in the skull during a car accident. Often a victim isn’t feeling pain RIGHT THEN, saying that they feel “fine”, sometimes feeling “lucky” for not having to go to the hospital. It is common for us to hear after an accident that someone “walked away without a scratch”. Though it may be true that the outside of the body was not harmed, the severe jolt to the brain, spine, spinal cord and joints can come back to bite later.

Here are some quotes from several car accident victims we have helped through the years, describing that they feel, “anxious”, “confused”, “not quite right”, “weepy”, “partial memory loss”, “out of breath”. This is common language for these victims, and many of them feel “crazy” for feeling this way, feeling that there is no reason for these symptoms to exist. These symptoms ARE Whiplash. Most of us hear the normal whiplash symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, neck pain, muscle spasms, but the more sneaky, not commonly discussed symptoms are the ones that can ruin your day.

Whiplash can creep up on people after an accident. Some uncommon symptoms of whiplash:
Anxiety, Shaking, Tremors Jaw and/or teeth pain, Sudden crying, Shortness of breath, Sudden disorientation, Partial memory loss, Apathy, Loss of appetite, Stomach pain,  many others…So, if you or someone you know is in a car accident, suggest “subtle massage techniques” for them to feel better right after the accident.