A Moment of Zen Blog - A continuation of blog posts from ZenJen
Not a Miracle Worker
The majority of people who schedule with me are seeking relief from pain. I understand their desire to be pain free when they get off of my table. When people enter my studio in pain, I will suggest that we use Myofasical Release (MFR) versus traditional massage therapy or deep tissue. The majority of the time, people comply and allow me to do MFR. There is a lot to explain with this type of work so quite often people are not able to soak it all in - especially on the first visit. One of the points that I try to get across is that MFR work may fix things on the first visit and not require further treatment, but the reality is that it may take several treatments to fully get to the root of the issue. In some cases, we may never fully solve the issue, however, we may have been able to lessen the pain and allow one to better function through life. So, I ask you all to have patience. Don't give in if the first session doesn't magically fix the issue. If you experienced some relief MFR, there is a good chance that we can continue to see improvements with further treatments.
My husband and I have two dogs. The younger, 1 1/2 year old Golden Mix, Stryker was somewhat of an impulse thing. Our 15 year old yellow Lab, Elsi, had a few health scares and we were sure that we were not ready to be without a dog to hike with and to love. Our children grew up with Elsi so there were lots of markers throughout there life stages where Elsi was present (Show and tells, birthday parties, Christmas, family and senior photos, etc). It is hard to imagine life without her.
Two days ago, my husband was took Elsi out to survey the construction on the site for our new garage. Things seemed to be going fine, however, as she began making her way down the hill (we live in the mountains), the terrain was much steeper than it had been before due to excavating. It wasn't pretty. Later that evening, Dennis noticed her struggling to get up from the floor as well as limping/favoring her left hind leg. When I got up in the morning, it was obvious that she needed assistance to stand and really struggled with walking out to "do her business". I have done Myofascial Release (MFR) on her before with success and decided to once again give it a try. My work with her was limited due to an over jealous younger dog. I treated again mid-day. Both times, I was unable to actually treat the side and leg that needed work - though I could feel there was benefit occurring. Finally, by evening. I was able to have alone time with Elsi in order to more effectively treat her. I sent a text to our vet stating that I was using MFR on her in hopes to reduce pain and increase ROM. Her thought was that the issue was more overuse or arthritic than a hip issue. The vet's commented, "I think it will work, after all, it works well on me". It's nice to have a vet who thinks holistically.
Elsi allowed me to treat her for a good solid 15 minutes. I was able to work areas that I previously could not. She let me know when she was done. Post treatment, she immediately stood up, unaided and the best she got up all day, and walked to the door to be let out. The rest of the evening she was a different dog: more mobile, walking through the house, more engaging. Today, she seems to be back to her regular old self.
I am thankful for the knowledge of MFR work. While I conceptually understand the basis of this work, I am often surprised and mystified at the phenomenal results.
Here's to you, Elsi! May you continue to bring love and joy to our household!
Deep Tissue vs Myofascial Release
People seek massage for a variety of reasons. Historically, from my perspective, most people seek massage for relaxation and pain - and pain relief totally trumps those seeking relaxation. Clients who are in pain tend to enter my studio seeking quick relief. It is these individuals who most often request Deep Tissue Massage. In the past, I would easily appease them and get to work attacking their muscles by using deep tissue pressure. Following the session, the clients would often remark how relaxed they felt and noted a reduction in pain. However, those feelings were almost always temporary as the pain would resurface hours or days following the massage. Over time, this caused me to further process, research and experiment with light versus deep touch.
Several years ago, I was requested to do an out-call for an individual who was suffering from a severe migraine. While doing a standard technique on the neck, the client informed me that if I did not stop the deep pressure, they would throw up. Immediately, I reduced pressure while I stayed in contact. Roughly 3 minutes later, the clients experienced a warm rush (essentially a return of blood flow) and the two-day migraine was gone. Hmmm. Lesson learned. Sometimes light touch is more effective than deep pressure. In fact, I would say that nearly all of the time, light touch, applied appropriately, trumps deep tissue in reducing pain.
As I continued to explore light vs deep touch, I eventually enrolled and took a John Barnes Myofascial Release series of seminars. I won't go into everything that Barnes' teaches, but in regards to touch, light rules. Barnes' work focuses on releasing fascia. This type of work requires patient, gentle touch and light pressure. If you are a Deep Tissue fan you are going to need to trust me on this one - it works. Barnes' style of Myofascial Release is powerful and in the words of clients, is "life changing".
I guess you can see what I am building up to - if you come to my studio and request deep tissue, I may steer you in a very different direction - one that involves light touch. The choice to receive deep tissue or Myofascial Release will be yours. The deep tissue, however, will ensure you will be back on my table soon while the Myofascial Release may, in fact, correct the issue that is causing the pain.
Deep Tissue versus Myofasical Release? If I was on the table, and wanted results, the choice would be easy - Myofascial Release.