Ask the Massage Therapist

I'm excited to announce the first of a series of brief videos that will introduce the principles and practice of Russian massage.

About a month ago, I shared some of my thoughts about energy work from the point of view of an evidence-based massage therapist. To my surprise, that blog article got quite a bit of attention and sparked some fascinating conversations.

When Will Stewart, owner of 3-D Optimal Performance, asked to interview me, I was surprised and honored. Will recently began a series of webradio interviews with many of the "heavy hitters" in the field of manual and movement therapies and neuroscience.

While low back pain may be one of the most common complaints seen by doctors, neck and upper back/shoulder pain is the most common complaint seen in my office. So many people spend their days sitting in front of a computer, head forward and motionless for hours at a time, it seems inevitable that eventually the neck and upper back are going to begin to  protest.

A colleague on a private forum asked the following questions in response to some thoughts I posted yesterday. In particular, he wondered about the description of an experience I had with a client. His question:

The past year has seen a mental growth spurt for this therapist. After years of feeling isolated as an evidence-based massage therapist, I found an online community of MTs and related professionals with similar interests.

Most people find massage to be a very pleasant and relaxing experience. When scientists began to study massage and documented that levels of stress hormones were lower after massage, both clients and massage therapists alike were happy to have physiological evidence of their experience.

[A simpler article, written for clients, can be found here.]

For a number of years I've followed the research of Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. They've been doing research on touch therapy since 1992 and have been pioneers in the field of massage therapy research in the United States. One of the markers they use in their studies is cortisol, a stress hormone that can be measured in blood, saliva, and urine.

The other day I wrote an article, directed at massage therapists, about massage and lactic acid.  However, for some clients it might be too much information, as they say, and may not answer the client's question, "What does this mean for me?"

[Please note: a simpler article on this topic, written for clients, can be found here.]

Lactic acid has been blamed for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for decades. Physiologists once believed this to be true. However, it has been known at least since the 1960s that lactic acid is not responsible for DOMS.

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