Over time, gravity and bad habits can take their toll on your body and try to declare victory over the structural muscles that keep our bones and muscles aligned. The result is poor posture.
Classic signs of poor posture include rounded shoulders, a jutted chin, a pot belly, bent knees when standing or walking, back pain, muscle fatigue, and headaches. While we can’t fight gravity, we can take control of posture and do things the help keep muscles strong and your body trained for better posture.
1 Know what good posture looks like. Check yourself out in a mirror. Good posture while standing is a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in, feet forward, your hips and knees in a neutral position. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle, you’re good!
2 Sit up straight. Your mom was right. Use a chair that offers lower back support and sit all the way back against the back of the chair. Keep both feet on the ground or footrest. Adjust the height so your arms are flexed at 75-90 degrees at the elbow. Use this technique when driving, too! Continue reading “Six Ways to Improve Your Posture”
Your sciatic nerve is the longest and widest in the human body. It starts in your lower back near the base of your spine and branches run through your buttocks and down each leg. This important nerve supplies almost all the skin of the leg, muscles of the back of your thigh and leg and foot.
As it weaves it’s way through your lower anatomy, it actually passes just under your piriformis muscle and through an opening in your pelvis. When it reaches the leg, it travels down the back of your leg, behind the adductor magnus muscle and ends at your foot.
There was a time when a relaxing, therapeutic massage was only available in a spa and the massage experience targeted only women. Massage therapy is now a mainstream, fast-growing, $10 billion industry. More men than ever are understanding and taking advantage of the benefits of massage. A lot more. The number of men reporting that they received at least one professional massage is growing 20% year-over-year (AMTA study). Here are some reasons why…
1. Massage is more available: There are now more than 300,000 licensed, practicing massage therapists in the US and they’re working everywhere–from chiropractic offices, to spas, on cruise ships, in massage chain stores, at sporting events, in gyms, and at stand-alone clinics. It has become much easier to find a massage.
2. Sports massage: While some men seek massage only for relaxation, others seek massage for rehabilitation or regular maintenance because they are active in sports, the gym, or just have sore muscles. Sports massage is for men and women, but sometimes men just feel better selecting “sports” from a menu. Sports massage techniques are more widely taught to therapists now, too, so expertise in meeting the unique needs of active men (and women) are better met.
3. Therapeutic targeting: Like women, many men have a specific muscle issue – a tight calf, a tennis elbow, aching lower back. These issues are perfectly matched to the expertise of a trained therapeutic massage therapist. More men are coming to massage locations for work on a specific muscle group or pain these days, and it’s paying off. Continue reading “Why More Men Seek Therapeutic Massage”
Your “Quads” (quadriceps) are actually a muscle group. They’re not just one muscle, but four muscles, each contributing to the extension of your knee joint and the flexing of your hip. The quad muscles are crucial in running, squatting and jumping.
The quads are anatomically located in the anterior (front) compartment of the thigh. The quad muscle group is made of up of three large muscles: vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the smaller rectus femorus. Vastus lateralis is on the outside of the thigh, medialis on the inside, rectus femoris is on top, and intermedius is in the center hidden below the rectus femoris.
The quadricep muscles originate at the ilium (upper part of your hip bone) and femur (thighbone) and come together in a tendon around your patella (kneecap) and then attach to your tibia (shinbone).
Did you know optimism combats stress? That’s right, having a positive attitude actually reduces stressors in your life. You worry less. You believe that things are going to work out and stress less about the small things. Positive thinking also helps stop “negative self-talk”–those little voices telling you to expect the worst. This is all a conscious decision. And positive thinking positively works.
For thousands of years, massage recipients have known that therapeutic massage reduces stress and people who get regular massage are generally much happier. It turns out that there is evidence that massage also helps you have a more positive outlook on life and helps you cope better with the things that make you stressed.
Massage calms the mind
Massage can help you feel better about yourself and the relaxation can help with focus after your session. Anyone who has had a relaxing massage knows that when you finish, you feel peaceful and even a little “foggy”. This “fogginess” is a true sign that for the time you were on the table you experienced “physical ease” which your body carries over into emotional ease. And while your mind and all your thoughts were focused on the quiet stillness of relaxation, your stress melted away.
Welcome to the craziness of Silicon Valley. We live in a place where everyone knows what it’s like to have a career that’s “more than a job, less than a life”. We are surrounded by high tech workers, and most of us work, or have worked, in high tech at some time in the last 20 years. It’s hustle, bustle, high pressure work. It’s rewarding, yes, but it can take its toll on our physical well-being.
All this high tech work, and the high tech devices we use every day, can cause physical stress on wrists, necks, shoulders, and eyeballs. It’s also likely shortening attention spans and potentially weakening personal relationships. The heavy stress that comes with a high-reward job can also cause us to lose focus.
Your running shoes provide cushioning, shock absorption and stability and over time, like any other often used item, they wear out.
As a general rule, running shoes last about 300-400 miles, while walking shoes last around 500.
You can also examine the shoes for wear patterns. It turns out that you don’t use the treads on the bottom of the shoes to determine whether to replace them, nor does the fact that they’re dirty mean you need to replace them. Instead, examine the midsole area.
Your biceps (biceps brachii) are one of the most used muscles in your body. The muscles are also the target of many fitness training programs. It’s no wonder that overuse, strain, or trauma in these muscles is common.
Where’s the bicep?
Your biceps are muscles on the front part of your upper arm, extending between your elbow and shoulder. They have a “short head” and “long head”, meaning the muscle itself has two parts that work together as a single muscle. The biceps attach to your shoulder joint in two places and the other end of the bicep connects to your forearm bones (radius and ulna). Biceps flex your forearms at the elbow and also assist with twisting the forearm (supination).
The biceps can ache for many reasons, the most common is overuse. That’s when you attempt to lift something that’s too much for the muscle, or you do too many reps on your curls, or overdo the pull ups. In some cases, the over stretching can cause micro tears in muscle fibers or related tendons and cause a strain. Pain and swelling typically come with a strain.
Muscle strain happens when the tiny fibers that make up muscle and/or tendon begin to tear, mostly due to overextension or unnatural movements. These small tears can happen during normal daily activities, during sports, when lifting things, or while performing routine or repetitive tasks. They typically happen as a result of overuse, inadequate rest breaks during intensive training or sporting activities, or through over stretching or excessive muscle contraction.
A sprain, by comparison, is a stretch or tear of a ligament (the connective tissue that joins one bone to another). Sprains typically happen when you land on an outstretched arm, jump and land on the side of your feet, or run on an uneven surface.
As massage therapists, we see lots of neck, shoulder and upper back issues–many of which can be worsened by incorrect sleep posture. That favorite pillow that keeps you company each night may actually be adding to your misery.
The average pillow has a lifespan of a little less than 1 year, and there are more reasons than you might imagine why you should replace your pillows right now!
1 Pillows lose their fluff. Whether you have foam or feathers, the internal structure of a pillow degrades over time. The pillow becomes flat and needs constant fluffing to keep support. A flat pillow can contribute to sleep apnea, snoring, headaches, back pain, neck cramps and poor posture.
2 Pillows get gross. Even if you have a zippered pillow cover, your pillow picks up all sort of non-hygienic things over time. Just like changing out your toothbrush (you DO change your toothbrush periodically, right?), your pillow can become a breeding ground for some really nasty bacteria. Continue reading “Three Reasons to Replace Your Pillow”
Your knees are among the largest joints in your body and are under intense weight-bearing strain and used daily–no wonder they hurt sometimes.
The knee joint joins your thigh bone (femur) and your shin bone (tibia). The fibula bone runs alongside the tibia and, along with the kneecap (patella), make up the rest of the bones in the knee. Two c-shaped pieces of cartilage, the medial and lateral menisci, act as shock absorbers between femur and tibia.
The knee joint is the most complex in the body. It’s a “condylar” joint, meaning it has two protrusions on the femur (called condyles) and the the tibia has two grooves which enable them to roll and slide against each others. Because of it’s unique structure, it’s also a hinge joint.
Lavender is a flowering plant that grows natively in the Mediterranean, but can now be found in the US, Australia and most of Europe. It’s a shub with a woody stalk and small light blue or purple flowers.
The fragrance is found in air fresheners, lotions, body washes, potpourris, perfumes and just about everything that’s scented. The essential oils in lavender are great for many things, from reducing stress and anxiety, to curbing post-op pain.
It can also help you sleep. When essential oils are inhaled, the compounds will relax you and promote calmness, which helps you sleep more easily. While it’s not a cure for insomnia, lavender can certainly help. SVMTG sells 100% pure essential oils like lavender and special aromatherapy diffusers to make sure the essence stays where you want it. Try it and rest!
Go ahead and admit it. There are precious few minutes when you aren’t looking at or responding to a post, email, text, photo or ping on your smartphone or tablet. All this contact has revolutionized business and communication and caused exponential growth in personal and social networks. It’s also caused physical damage.
Smart device users everywhere are suddenly experiencing soreness, from tension in thumbs and sore fingers from texting to neck spasms from hunching over tiny screens, to wrist pain from constantly grasping the device.