Self Massage Tools - Do They Help or Hurt?

So many tools, so little time! 

We are in an era where tools for myofascial release abound. There are so many choices, that it can become confusing as to what tool to use for what issue and how often, how much and....  The confusion can go on and on. Let's try to unpack some of this to make it easier to understand.
First of all it is important to understand what the purpose of these tools are for. Muscles build up tension from such stressors as exercise, poor posture, work and lifestyle habits and even from emotional stress. Have you ever been in terrible traffic for a long amount of time and found yourself reaching for your neck to give it a rub because it feels tight? Tightness that stress has caused initiates the body to respond by sending more fascia to the muscles in the area that is feeling stressed. Fascia is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue that encloses muscles and organs in the body. When extra is needed, it is produced with a stickiness to it, so that it will adhere to t…

Facial Contouring, Lymphatic Drainage & Lomilomi Massage... Meet Jessica!

We are super excited to introduce Jessica to our team. She has been practicing massage therapy since 1996. Her career began after graduating from Pacific Beach School of Healing Arts in San Diego. Her travels took her to New York City where she was trained in Shiatsu, Lymphatic Drainage and advanced Swedish techniques. She was awarded an associates from the Swedish Institute in 2004. Career highlights have ranged from working at Colombia Presbyterian Hospital as a massage therapist where she helped the most in need to working at 5 star spas such as the Four Seasons and Silk Day Spa in Manhattan.

As with all our therapists at Massage Extraordinaire she specializes in Sports Massage and Deep Tissue techniques, but in addition brings some new therapies such as Lomilomi Massage, Lymphatic Drainage Massage and she is certified as a Facial Contouring Massage Therapist.
Lomilomi is a Hawaiian massage technique that is considered one of the oldest and most powerful forms of healing with a ric…

Arnica... Not just another pretty flower!

Arnica is an amazing little flower!
 This flower is a part of the Daisy family and can be used to reduce inflammation, decrease pain and help bruises heal quicker. A tube of Arnica cream can be purchased at many health and drug stores and is also found in several different muscle-rub products that athletes like to use when they are having pain. By itself, Arnica cream doesn't have a scent, but often it is added to products that do.  Menthol, peppermint and other helpful ingredients that are considered to have strong scent by some, are often added to pain relieving gels and creams because they are very helpful in reducing pain.
If you are sensitive to strong menthol type scents, be aware.

Here are a couple products that we like to use and few key ingredients that they contain:
Biofreeze Menthol - Cold therapy to numb painBoswellia - A plant product that also helps fight inflammationArnica - Helps with inflammation & pain Biofreeze use to be challenging to find, but now it is almo…

Fascia's Role in Stiffness, Tightness & Pain

What is Fascia?
Fascia is the connective tissue that literally holds the entire body together. Imagine a whole roasting chicken that you would find at your grocery store. If you were to pull up on the skin of the chicken, you would see a substance that is attached underneath the skin and also to the muscle beneath it. It is clear, thin and sticky. This is the fascia.
How the fascia becomes damaged  and what happens when the fascia is damaged

Plantar fasciitis: Plantar, being the bottom of the foot and fasciitis (any word with "itis" at the end of it, means that something is inflamed and irritated). Put those two together and you have a recipe for very uncomfortable pain that can often takes weeks or months to rehabilitate. If you have ever experienced plantar fasciitis, you have unfortunately become acquainted with damaged fascia. This is just one common example of how the fascia can play a role in contributing to our various aches and pains. 
What to do?
There are many differen…

Be aware of what your body is telling you and listen to it!

There is no such thing as too many massages to be had but, considering that most of us don't have an endless supply of time or money, figuring out a massage plan is important. First of all focus in on what your desired result is. Are you recovering from a surgery or an injury? Have you been having chronic pain from a possible pinched nerve or have you been just completely stressed out and need to relax? Maybe none of the above applies and you are simply wanting to know often you should get a massage to help prevent any of these problems from happening in the first place. Read on to explore various reasons for getting massages and how often it is reasonable that you should find yourself on a massage table to obtain your desired results.
Injury/Surgery: Injury rehab is one of our specialties!  What happens when you are injured or have surgery is that scar tissue will develop in that area. More scar tissue develops than is necessary for the injured area. This impedes movement and can…

Not to be sexist, but men aren't as flexible!

There are exceptions to almost any rule, but in general males tends to be less flexible than females. Well, at least their bodies tend to be. Some of the reasons are scientific, such as the structure of the body and hormones as stated by many studies including a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2010.  Other reasons are more anecdotal. Most men that I have worked with, including many professional athletes, admit that they do not stretch as much as they know they should. Also, many more women than men enjoy types of exercise regiments that incorporate stretching such as yoga. What ever the reasons, we need to loosen up our men! 

Flexibility. It's a wonderful word. The opposite would be rigidity and most of us aren't fans of that. I'm not only referring to muscles, but considering we are a massage establishment, the focus of this blog will be on muscle flexibility. 

The importance of muscle flexibility lies in the improved range of motion.…

Cramps! Help

Muscle Cramps Are The Worst!😬
 Some people experience cramping while on their bikes trying to finish a ride. Some will be assaulted with the pain towards the end of a marathon with the finishing banner just in sight. Others experience this piercing pain when they're trying to dose off to sleep.  Being a cyclist, I have participated in many cycling events and have seen riders on the side of the road, grabbing their hamstring, writhing in pain. Being a massage therapist I have seen calf cramps, foot cramps, side cramps, even little toe cramps while trying to give someone a relaxing, therapeutic or a sports massage. There are many ways and times that people will be overcome with cramping, but one thing is for sure, it's awful! Often massage therapists are asked about causes and remedies of this agonizing muscle phenomena. There are many different reasons why muscles cramp, but often it is due to dehydration, muscle fatigue and/or overall imbalance of electrolytes. "Eat a ban…