I love sharing information with clients and peers, but please don't listen to a word I say. Instead, if something resonates with you? Then happily check it out, first, to see if it's right for you.
To some degree I blame all of us in the profession who have worked so hard to legitimize the therapeutics of massage for choosing the word in the first place. We will never change the connation of the word massage. I’ll skip the Sex-word references and just focus on the P-word reference: Pampering. During my six years of work with cancer patients we would sometimes see a lull in our schedule. I could not figure out why until I found out various staff members were telling people to come and get pampered. Excuse me, but if you have known any number of cancer patients in your life (I was one, too) you may have observed what I have observed: surprisingly often, these people are about doing things for others, not themselves. Telling a cancer patient to come and get pampered is a good way to lose business. I told them to tell the patients that we could help them with their pain and help alleviate the post-chemo malaise and increase their range-of-motion and speed healing after surgery. That’s when business picked back up again; we even had to add another hour to the schedule.
There is one thing that must change if we are to change the world’s perception of what I and other serious therapists do: Change the name of our profession!
Thanks to some innovative professionals in the field who made a miracle happen and hooked up with a bunch of scientists throughout the world, we are learning that Connective Tissue, not muscle, is what all of us bodyworkers of varying abilities are up to. You know that tough, transparent stuff that wraps a raw chicken breast? That’s one kind of connective tissue. Believe it or not, Connective Tissue (CT) has never really been studied appropriately, other than being labeled as an ‘envelope’ and getting dissected away and discarded. Blessedly, this is all changing, albeit slowly as science more-or-less has to go back to the drawing board and start anew.
What we have learned is that there is no place in the body that Connective Tissue does not exist and all of it is connected to itself; therefore it is the medium by which everything else is connected and communicates. Without CT, no muscle or organ or tissue of any kind could function at full capacity. Latest research suggests that even cells need it for proper development. Without the associated Connective Tissue, muscles are essentially just mechanical dummies. Remove the Connective Tissue (which includes the tendons) from a muscle and then slice through the muscle and you will feel nothing - that's primarily because the nerves end in the connective tissue. When we feel pain, it is our nerves, but also our Connective Tissue reactions telling us that there is something wrong. So, it makes sense to keep the Connective Tissue in our body healthy, right?
Not all massage therapists (or physical therapists for that matter) are aware of this new CT concept, but they will be, and hopefully soon! Then we can stop calling it massage and start calling it something like CT or Fascial Therapy (science is moving toward expanding the definition of fascia to include all forms of CT) and then you can stop tipping us and instead see us as a way to better health and healing! (You don’t tip your doctors, do you?)
For those few licensed massage therapists who have already migrated to the CT side of life and for their lucky clients, we know that CT Therapy can dramatically alter the body’s ability to self-correct, and the results are astounding in that often decades’ worth of pain can simply disappear within hours. Did you know that pain left behind from many injuries and surgeries, large and small, is often the result of supportive tissue going into contraction in order to protect the injured area? Once the injury has healed, however, the contracted tissues often get stuck into chronic contraction and remain that way eventually resulting in sticky adhesions between layers of CT and inflammation eventually resulting in pain. CT Therapy resets the contracted tissues, melts the adhesions and gives space for the inflammation to clear - and something that looks like a miracle happens: not only is the pain gone but normal movement has been restored! Perhaps some day, a pharmaceutical will be developed to "melt" adhesions, but until then, trust a bodyworker versed in CT understandings.
The above was an example of a physical injury resulting in chronic pain. The inflammation part of that story is important for it relates to many other pain conditions that we think of as disease, that are really not disease, per se, like fibromyalgia (which is now being identified as a form of arthritis, and guess what: Bones are made up of connective tissue.) Using the exact same CT Therapy, we can locate isolated areas of adhesions and inflammation (often rising up from the bones) and release them, resulting in pain relief for sufferers of numerous health maladies. One still has to address what caused the problem to begin with – which often turns out to be a combination of stress, dehydration, improper nutrition, toxic load, and over exercise – but it gives the body a chance to break the inflammation cycle which is vital to healing.
I visualize the future of CT Therapy as a respected medical profession as well as being used regularly in people’s lives as the best prevention of illness and injury. Except in cases of emergency and fast-moving disease, drug and surgical therapies, which are valid but harsh on the body, should be considered second to CT Therapy in the enlightened medicine of the very near future.
Next time you look for a massage therapist, ask them what they know about Connective Tissue. Maybe you can help my industry change-up, sooner – for the better of us all!
Solutions to everyday stress involve identifying where we are emotionally unhappy and then taking action to correct or curb the circumstances involved, and that means finding out what’s at the root of a given problem, before seeking solutions. I love this kind of problem-solving and happily share for those seeking similar unique yet ubiquitous solutions. Consequently, the topics here may vary within health, lifestyle, and work/business.
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203 W 108th St
New York, NY 10025
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Prevention, Pain Management, Pain Solutions, Rehabilitation, Special Needs, Body as Instrument (Singers, Dancers, Athletes, Brainiacs, etc.), Stress Reduction, Anti-aging, Sports, Geriatric, Prenatal, etc.
The word massage denotes Paula's Fasciae Therapy (connective tissue therapy) which integrates and innovates based on: Swedish medical massage, Neuromuscular therapy, Trigger point therapy, Acupressure, Shiatsu, various vibrational therapies: Massage cupping by machine, Tok Sen, gentle Gua sha, and BioSyntonie.
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