Serratus Anterior: The Big Swing Muscle

serratus anteriorYour serratus anterior muscles quietly work with other torso muscles to lengthen the reach of the arm by wrapping the scapula forward toward the chest. It’s the muscle we use when we rotate our arms upward, for example, when lifting or reaching for items over our heads. The power of a boxer’s punch and extend of reach also come from the serrates anterior assisting with your scapula protracting and retracting. Serratus stabilizes positioning of the arm and shoulder too, and that’s why it’s a target for yoga poses like turbo dog, downward facing dog at the wall, handstands, forearm balances, dolphin and wheel.

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Massage and a Better Life

Evidence suggests that massage and other relaxation therapies can have a substantial impact on the quality of your life. Study after study in patients with everything from breast cancer to arthritis, sports injuries, heart conditions, depression, and learning disorders cite real and positive benefits to receiving regular massage.

In both male and female patients with significant illnesses or traumatic injury, the reduction of stress and relaxation of muscles helps speed recover by reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and increasing the efficiency of blood flow.

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Over Forty? Top 5 Reasons for a Massage

massage after 40Many say that your forties and beyond are the best years of your life.  Typically, you’re more settled and are reaching the “prime” of you work and personal life. You also being to get more sore, or have to work a bit harder to control your weight, or have to pay attention to annoying physical and psychological issues that just weren’t around when you were a spry 20. Never fear, though, massage is here, and it’s more popular than ever. More than 60% of women and 40% of men have had a massage in the last two years, and the numbers are rising quickly. More people over forty access massage therapy than access chiropractic or physical therapy services.

Check out these five common-sense reasons to schedule a massage now if you’re over forty:

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Wellness Check Up

It’s good to stop and take a look at yourself now and then. In addition to the good things in life, we all get a few challenges. Sometimes you get injured. Sometimes you become ill. Sometimes your work, your family and your relationships cause you stress. Sometimes your muscles ache. And sometimes, you are just tired and need a break from your insane schedule. There’s a growing base of research that suggests that regular massage can have a profound positive effect on most of the challenges you face.

Take a look at this list of common wellness issues and check any and all that apply to you, then check the list below to see how you can more toward more wellness:

___ I am under stress from a relationship, from work, or just life in general.

___ I am very active and sometimes experience aches and pains

___ I am not as active as I should be and sometimes experience stiffness and soreness

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Relax in Five Minutes

While a day away at a high-end spa is a great way to relax, most of us don’t have that kind of time, or that much cash. Luckily, there are some very simple things you can do that won’t break the bank and take less than 5 minutes of your time.

  1. Grab a good tune. Music really does soothe the savage beast–and monster headaches and stress as well. Listening to, or singing along with a favorite tune can make melt away stress. Try some “spa music” to transport yourself to immediate relaxation–especially before bedtime.
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Reduce Chronic Pain

Pain affects every facet of daily life, our work, our attitude, our relationships, and our outlook on our future. For some, controlling pain with medications results in unpleasant side effects. Americans are reaching out in record numbers to find the best options for pain relief without the unpredictability traditional medicine. The CDC reports that the top four reasons adults used traditional medicines were to treat pain including back pain or problems, neck pain or problems, joint pain or stiffness/other joint condition, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

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Teen Stress Is Real

Teens are anxious about a lot of things in their lives and, like adults, they need an outlet for stress. If we don’t suggest some options, they’ll likely experiment for themselves, sometimes with unexpected and undesirable consequences.

How pronounced is stress in teens? A survey by the APA (August 2013) showed more than 64% of the teens surveyed experienced moderate or extreme stress in the last month. About 13% of teens say they experienced extreme stress levels. Compare that to the  21% of adults reporting extreme stress levels and it’s easy to draw the conclusion that teens are following in their parents footsteps on the way toward a future of chronic stress and the chronic illness that often follows.

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Dermoneuromodulation: Beyond Muscles and Joints

Dermoneuromodulation (DNM) is an innovative manual therapy technique for addressing pain and movement impediment, born from an understanding of modern neurophysiology. Dermo refers to the skin, neuro refers to the nervous system, and modulation means change. In other words, using the skin to affect the nervous system to produce change. This method of handling the body is intelligent in that it places a high significance on how our bodies are organized in receiving, discerning, and evaluating information and also on which system is most responsible for orchestrating change. DNM recognizes the role of our nervous system, targets the vast array of touch-receptors in the skin (about 6 yards of nerve receptors per square inch of skin), and uses a specific type of input conducive to working with the brain to make changes.

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Common Massage Therapy Terms Demystified

massage therapy termsWhether you’re new to massage or just exploring the benefits, you’ve probably heard lots of terms used by therapists and in advertisements for services. Like any profession, massage therapy has it’s own vocabulary (jargon). Here’s a quick dictionary of ten common terms to help you understand some of them. “

  1. Deep Tissue. Releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue, not because the therapist necessarily uses firmer pressure.
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Baseball and Tommy John Surgery

tommy john surgeryIt seems that Major League Baseball elbows are wearing out more frequently nowadays. And more athletes are experiencing the need for Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UCLR aka Tommy John) surgery. The procedure, named after the LA Dodgers pitcher who first had the surgery in 1974, while still relatively rare, is experiencing a resurgence.

According to, Tommy John surgeries have nearly doubled over the past three seasons. It’s not just the pros, either. Elbow injuries to youth league players are increasing as well. The American Sports Medicine Institutes suggested that “In many cases, injury leading to Tommy John surgery … began while they were adolescent amateurs.” Continue reading “Baseball and Tommy John Surgery”