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 How well do you understand how pain works? Answer these questions and find out. We'll publish the answers after the pain education class this Saturday.

 

Chronic pain is epidemic. It is estimated that 25% of American adults live with chronic pain and the costs in terms of medical expense and lost productivity run into billions of dollars every year. It is impossible to calculate the cost in terms effect on the quality of so many people's lives. 

 Registration is now open for the Massage for Couples classes. The first class will be held at the Forest Park Community College campus on Saturday, February 15, 2014. This "Valentine's Day" class often fills up quickly, so be sure and register today if you want to get into that class! Class sizes are limited.

 I had a couple of interesting conversations today that made me think about confirmation bias. Someone raised the question: 

How can you be certain you are not operating out of confirmation bias?

This is an excellent question and one that we should never stop asking ourselves. 

 A reader asked the following question:

How do you describe Craniosacral Therapy to a client who has never experienced it before and how do you promote it?

Sometimes an individual who has read one of my articles or stumbled across this blog is interested in reading more. I'm listing here the entries that I think are the most useful or the most representative.

When people say, “I have TMJ,” they usually mean that they have temporomandibular joint dysfunction, a condition that can cause jaw pain that can be difficult to treat. Chewing may be painful and it can lead to headaches and neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.

These are notes from a presentation given at the Skeptical Society of St. Louis Skepticamp on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Links to some of the resources and studies mentioned during the presentation, as well as additional links that may be of interest, are provided for those who would like to look at them.

 

 

"Did you hear about the study of the MRIs and herniated discs?" It was 1995, I was working at St. Mary's Hospital, and one of my fellow massage therapists had news about a surprising piece of research. In those days before the internet it was difficult for us to get information about studies of interest to us massage therapists. A juicy tidbit like this was cause for excitement.

 If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

There are many modalities in the field of manual therapy. All of them sometimes work yet many of their explanations contradict each other. 

Anxiety and depression are common yet serious disorders.  Massage therapy may help.

A massage therapist recently asked the question, "Who was your mentor and what did you learn from them?" Immediately, a particular individual came to mind and I began to think of how I would answer that question. Then I thought of the first massage therapist I considered to be a mentor. And then the second one.

The SomaSimple forums are one of the best resources available for any manual therapist working with clients with chronic pain. However, massage therapists who find their way to the SomaSimple site are often overwhelmed at first by the enormity of the material, intimidated by the level of discussion, and confused about where to start.

Massage is older than humans. Monkeys will often groom another monkey when it becomes agitated. Nit-picking among primates is not just a matter of hygiene, it's a manner of soothing and bonding. All mammals engage in some sort of stroking of one another. Tigers lick their cubs, rats lick their pups. We are biologically wired to respond to touch, to stroking. Massage has been with us since we humans became human, since before we had language. It comes naturally to us.

We take its benefit for granted. We know, from direct experience, that it feels good. 

On Monday, May 6, Kathryn Merrow interviewed me for 30 minutes for Massage Talk Radio. We had a lot of fun. She asked about how I got into massage, about my training and experience, and how I've evolved to incorporate the various things I've learned over the years into my practice.

If I could make only one recommendation to individuals living with chronic pain, it would be to read the book Explain Pain by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley.

 The new True Runner store in Brentwood Plaza recently hosted an after-hours Ladies' Night and Massage St. Louis was there! It was a great event, with about 80 women of all ages in attendance.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about having my own independent practice is that I'm able to take time with my clients. Most of the time I have to stay within the bounds of a schedule or my day would be unmanageable. However, I'm able to control my schedule so that I don't have to feel rushed.

Graded exposure can be a useful technique for persons living with chronic pain. Graded exposure is a method of finding movement that is pain-free and building on that. The idea is to break the brain's association between a particular movement and pain.

Got back pain? Call us!

Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Everyone knows someone who suffers from back pain and most Americans will suffer from it some time in their life.  In spite of its prevalence, successful treatment of low back pain remains elusive.

Until now, I have not published guest articles nor have I published articles unrelated to massage therapy. However, I recently read a paper on gay men, addiction, and post traumatic stress disorder that presented an idea so important that I strongly felt it should be more widely read.

 

Registration for the Massage for Couples Classes for February 16 and February 23, 2013, opens today.

Have you ever wanted to do massage at home with your partner but didn't know where to start? Do you try doing massage but tire quickly? Are you wondering how to please your partner, who keeps asking for "harder," without hurting yourself? If so, you may want to take the Massage for Couples class at Forest Park Community College offered twice a semester.

In January, 2013, we moved into a new office. We're now a mile west of the old location (at Clayton and Hanley) in what some folks will recognize as the old Hans Weimann building. This attractive two-story red brick building is easy to recognize by the white cupola on top.

What is Science?

 

It seems like an easy enough question, yet many massage therapists seem to misunderstand exactly what is meant by the term. Why do I say that? Well, consider a common comment from massage therapists who are not particularly science-minded:

"Science doesn't know everything!"

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