For many people, joint pain and muscle stiffness are a daily nuisance. Joints in the hands, wrists and feet get stiff and sometimes painful to move. Sometimes it’s hard to get up out of a chair or button a shirt. Or you might have a nagging lower back ache, or that shoulder that just won’t relax. The good news is that relief may come from something you may have never considered–massage.
Feet are complex, with 1/4 of the bones in your body located there (26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments). Women tend to have 4 times more foot problems (thanks, largely, from walking in high heeled shoes).
Speaking of walking, it is the best exercise for your feet, and we walk a lot. The average person will walk around 115,000 miles in a lifetime. That’s about 8-10,000 steps a day. It’s no wonder that 75% of Americans will experience foot problems at least once in their life.
The wonders and benefits of foot massage
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”
Gastrocnemius translates to “stomach of leg”. It’s that bulge in your calf located in the back part of your lower leg. It runs from just above your knee to your heel crossing two joints (knee and ankle), ending in the calcaneal tendon (Achilles Tendon).
The technical function of the “gastroc”, along with it’s partner calf muscle the soleus, is plantar flexion–movement of the foot that flexes foot or toes downward the sole) and flexing the leg at the knee joint.
Because we use the gastroc muscle every time we walk, run, stand or jump, it’s working all the time. It’s also prone to tears, strains and inflammation. And, of course, muscle spasms commonly known as “cramps”.
Many factors can cause a cramp. Dehydration, overuse, poor conditioning, muscle fatigue, low levels of potassium, sodium and carbs to name a few.
Insomnia isn’t an illness but a symptom. To find the best way to fix your sleep problems, you have to look for the underlying causes. If your insomnia is chronic, you should start with a trip to your physician to eliminate any actual medical conditions. If there’s no pathology that’s keeping you awake, you can try natural methods like herbs, vitamins and minerals, aromatherapy, regular planned exercise and stress management courses. But the best option yet may be massage.
For many, sleeplessness comes from physical issues like muscle pain, arm or hand numbness, neck or back pain, spasms and cramps and restless leg syndrome. For others, it’s difficult to quiet the mind and release the day’s stress. That’s where massage comes in – helping both physical issues and relaxing and de-stressing you to the point where sleep comes easier. Hundreds of our clients have reported better sleep resulting from their time with us.