Stretching and Flexibility Go Hand in Hand

Stretching before and after exercise, as well as on a regular basis during periods of inactivity will give you better posture, and fewer aches and pains.

Stretching increases blood flow and circulation to your muscles, but it also gives your brain a boost according to wellness experts, often leaving those who stretch feeling cheerier.

Periods of inactivity such as sitting are hard on your glutes and hip flexors, so standing up to stretch can keep them limber and less prone to injury when you do exercise.

You need a healthy, flexible back for nearly every type of activity, so giving your back a good stretch can prevent injury.

One of the best benefits of stretching is better balance. Especially for older people, stretching can bring your body back into balance which can help prevent falls.

If, after stretching, you are still feeling tight, sore, or your range of motion isn’t what it should be, come in for a good neuromuscular massage. Massage reduces pain and increases range of motion.

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Raking Leaves is Great Exercise

Raking leaves is a perfect opportunity to get outside during the nice fall weather and get a little exercise.

Raking leaves is a moderate physical activity that can build upper-body and core strength.

Before you begin, a good warmup is in order. Raking uses nearly all the muscles in your body–arms, chest, shoulders, legs, and back.

Take a short walk about the yard, do a few arm circles, and stretch your legs and back.

Be sure to switch sides every now and again to prevent overuse injuries.

Don’t overfill the bags so that they become heavy to lift and move. Moving heavy bags can cause a strain on your back muscles.

If you’re stiff and sore after raking your leaves, a good neuromuscular massage may be just what you need before the next big wind leaves your yard full again.
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It’s Getting Cooler, but You Could Still be Dehydrated

Even though the temperatures are falling, you do not have to sweat profusely to become dehydrated.

Studies show that adults over the age of 50 are the most likely to become dehydrated because the ability to recognize thirst decreases, many older adults take diuretics to control blood pressure, and some people who suffer bladder control problems drink less than they should.

You know you’re not drinking enough if you suffer muscle cramps with physical activity. Adding a sports drink with sodium will help.

Suspect you’re not drinking enough if you experience altered mood, impaired memory or headaches.

The old rule still holds true, eight 8-oz glasses of water a day is where you start. You may need more if you’re physically active.
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What’s the Difference in Massage Styles?

I often get the question, “Why go to a neuromuscular massage therapist?” The answer lies mainly in the type of massage you want, and the benefit it provides.

Let’s look at a couple of specific types of massages, and what they will do for you.

Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is perhaps the most common type of massage therapy and involves long, gliding strokes over the entire body. This type of massage increases the blood flow and provides a generally, relaxing experience.

Swedish massage reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and boosts the immune system because it stimulates the number of white blood cells that fight infection.

Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is designed to ease tightness within a constricted muscle that may refer pain to another part of the body.

Cycles of isolated, increasing pressure followed by release results in an easing of pain in vulnerable areas such as the head and neck.

Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage uses greater pressure on the muscles to focus on the tissue, tendons and fascia which will help relieve chronic muscle tension.

Deep tissue massage is beneficial in lowering blood pressure and by boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

Neuromuscular Massage
Neuromuscular massage is also a deep tissue technique that focuses on restoring strength and range of motion to an area of overuse or injury.

Neuromuscular massage is not always as comfortable or relaxing as a Swedish massage, but the after effects are.

Neuromuscular massage is a targeted therapy to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, persistent neck or back pain, and issues of overuse such as carpel tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow or shoulder and rotator cuff pain from golf or baseball.

My practice is neuromuscular massage although I can employ any of the above techniques. I use massage techniques to restore your muscles and the joints they control to a full range of motion without pain.

Massage Relieves Upper Back Pain

While lower back pain is the number one complaint to massage and physical therapists, upper back pain can be equally aggravating. Many describe the feeling they have in their upper backs like having a brick between their shoulder blades.

This is because the muscles surrounding the spine in that area have become so tight that even crossing the arms over the chest can be painful.
Massage will target the small muscles surrounding the spine first, and then address the larger muscles out toward the shoulder blades to get rid of the brick, relieve pain and restore range of motion.
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Massage Can Lessen the Pain of Whiplash Injuries

Car accidents are the most common cause of neck sprains, commonly called whiplash injuries. Although neck fracture must be ruled out first, massage is one of the most effective ways to lessen the pain of the immediate injury and prevent the injury from becoming a chronic neck problem.

In addition to the major muscles of the neck, whiplash injuries can also cause injury to the muscles at the base of the skull, out along the tops and sides of the shoulder, and down the back along the shoulder blade.
Massage will lessen the stiffness of a neck injury initially. Once the superficial muscles are relaxed and blood flow is restored to the area, massage can help reduce any compression or adhesions to the deeper muscles which will lessen pain and restore mobility to the neck.
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If You Run or Bike and Have Knee Pain …

If you have pain on the outside of your knee and you run or bike, you could have iliotibial band syndrome or IT Band Syndrom for short. It is caused by overuse and is common in athletes who run or bike long distances. Most of the time, it manifests as pain at the outside of the knee, but the problem could be anywhere along the IT Band which runs from the hip to the knee. Neuromuscular massage can get to the root of the problem, thereby relieving the pain.
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