Wellness Hacks

Unlock the potential of wellness with these hard fought for hacks.

Getting straight to the point, here are a few wellness hacks that can get quick results with the following issues. Naturally, the longer road of wellness, as laid out in our combat of wellness section, will take time and more importantly, continually building habits over short-term sprints or unhealthy “solutions.”

As mentioned elsewhere, nothing on this website may be construed as advice and as always we recommend people act based on their own research.

The Energetic Theory Of Muscle Release

The Secret Behind Pain

This concept is important to understand before you can understand some of the other wellness hacks on this page. Clearly, massage therapy is not the only specialist that looks at pain. In fact, it's best to first check with your doctor for chronic pain that you may have, especially pain on any surface of your body that doesn't seem to get worse when you press it. After your doctor has examined your chronic pain, is then safest for a massage therapist and chiropractor to take a deeper look.

The points that our muscles attach to our bones were never meant for chronic tension which will usually lead to inflammation in that area is the body tries to heal itself but when that fails, and it often does, the now chronic inflammation will then weaken our tendons and ligaments that hold our tight muscles in place… making their job harder and harder over time and possibly requiring calcification as a last ditch effort to solve the pain... Which seems to lead to countless medications and specialists that can only hope to "maintain the symptoms of aging” and building cases facing acceptance and hopelessness of their pathology, as well as a lack of faith in the entirety of western medicine.

Despite physical therapist doing their best to make videos and resources to help people learn how to fight pain with motion, this is largely one of the most overlooked sources of healing in our world. The second most, massage therapy, is not necessarily because of unsupported profit motives, but because there are simply too few massage therapists were expert enough to create lasting difference in singular appointments. When the average person hears “you’re going to need 3 to 4 appointments per week for six weeks, and hopefully your pathology should improve”- it makes the entire profession of massage therapy look weak.

As a practical example, many FedEx workers suffer from back pain and their doctors recommend they change careers, prescribed opioids and eventually recommend surgery. But if we take a deeper look, we see a different picture and a better solution we’ve largely missed. As a physical therapist will tell you, the reason our muscles were becoming hypertonic and chronically painful was because they simply weren't strong enough for the abuse that life needed to lay upon them. To me, that means that the focus should be on making those muscles stronger than that which life demanded of them.

The secret behind pain, then, largely becomes due to the fact of lack of corrective exercise and motion, which also happens to be the only common denominator between people that have lived the longest across our world. Many of us fear the potential of getting hurt out there in the world when the truth is that lack of motion causes far more pain, through atrophy, that begins to overload our healthcare system with chronic pathologies. Critics may say this leads to far more income yet economists can point to a phenomena that as we get better at something, more and more people will seek out that thing. And as a healthcare system becomes more and more effective by partnering with massage therapy, then more and more people come out of the woodwork’s as our society slowly increases its blueprint at which it calls homeostasis, or healthy.

I’ve worked on several FedEx workers who, after receiving effective massage to deal with the built up scar tissue that they had, found themselves better able to focus on deadlifts, lower back work and back work, as guided by their physical therapists, and soon found they no longer had back pain. Two of which got their doctors okay to cancel scheduled surgeries.

(Back pain from large breasts)

As another example, women with large breasts often have serious back pain, and usually to the point that affects their ability to work and succeed in life. Following the same principle, we know that they have some postural back work to do. A large number of pregnant mothers will also experience serious back pain during pregnancy, do to the increased weight to their front. They may also find it beneficial to build up their postural muscles and back muscles ahead of time, and work very carefully with their doctor and physical therapist as they naturally will have to ease off of any arduous work and instead focus on gentle toning or water work, if anything.

Pain then is not something that we have to live with, but just like stress, is nothing more than a check engine light. While staying in communication with our doctors, pain is simply a cry from our body that attention is needed. We may think we don't have the energy or the time… without realizing the vast quantities of time that we’re already losing from lack of focus, energy and that chronic reminder that things are not all right with us which, arguably, could also become a small factor in some of our costly inactivity or decisions in error.

From now on, should you notice any pain in your body, find out how to exercise it, gently challenge it. Which leads us to...

Migraines / Headaches

There is a host of potential causes for migraines and headaches that Western doctors should first check for. Then, a very large percentage of this pain may be caused by our neck muscles that have become too tight from stress or lack of exercise/atrophy.

A simpler exercise a physical therapist taught me is essentially lying on the bed sideways with our head off of it and gently moving it in circles, then lying on our back and stomach. Basically on each side of our body to gently work and strengthen our neck muscles. But these exercises will be naturally hard to do without seeing an effective massage therapist who uses steam towels and precision hot stones. The reason is that because of all of the fascia that interweaves throughout our muscles can get tight and without first warming it up, along with our muscles, then it will be hard-pressed to make any permanent gains as ones pathology them quickly become "something you live with."

For some, neck exercises alone will not be enough to free them entirely, but at the very least it will greatly help to lower their pain levels. The problem with our culture is that we too often will look for singular cures for complex problems… and I hope this website helps you better put those puzzle pieces together.

100% of the clients that have come to us presenting with migraines and headaches found 90% reductions of their pain within a few appointments potentially due to our work on hypertonic neck and back muscles.

Joint Pain

As with the secret of pain, after checking with our doctors, a very common reason is that the muscles have become hypertonic and generally need a physical therapy regimen. Water exercise has shown to be very effective and gentle for those trying to recover from joint pain, till they can go for walks and run again. Water exercise in general, is one of the most effective exercises we can do.

The scope of practice of massage therapy ends at our tendons and ligaments as they are still considered “soft tissue” and thus is naturally no massage known that can cure joint pain. Yet after working with her doctor and a physical therapist of self researched gentle exercise plan, there is actually an effective thing we can add into the mix.

The Hack:

While our muscles and bones appear to be vastly different, they react the same way to stimulus and sedation. When we lift weight, not only do our muscles get stronger but so do the attachment sites to our bones, and eventually the bones themselves. When we become stricken in bed, our muscles and bones will atrophy over time and get weaker. The only difference is that bones are much slower to grow in strength and generally slower to decrease in strength due to inactivity.

Some basketball players will work on getting a six pack by dropping a basketball onto their stomach from a higher and higher point. They know that a strike to our muscles causes flexion and contraction. In this way, some martial artists make their body stronger by practicing getting hit with greater and greater force until they are no longer affected by most attacks.

This is now where the science of tapotement comes from. Gently striking an of the area of the body rhythmically will generally help it tone up. Which is also why many effective massages will end off with a little bit of gentle tapotement to help counteract some of the loosening work they did overtime while locking in the gains. Yet if tapotement is done for more than 40 seconds to a minute, it has been shown to relax the area.

What we are aiming for is not the feeling of more pain but a gentle tap to the joint that’s weakened, done in a rhythm and evenly all around for we don’t want to have one part of our joint stronger than the others, as that can also lead to injury. People going to the gym, and using correct technique, will find that their joints will hurt as their muscles get stronger far faster than their bones. This same technique can help them, as well as effective massage therapy after workouts to greatly improve healing and recovery. Research on massage therapy’s ability to help with recovery is currently les than enthusiastic unless done 2-6 hours after the exercise. Much of them also obsess over blood flow when that should be no more than a side benefit of massage. Additionally, effleurage, or surface focused techniques will include blood flow to the skin and could lessen gains. I would also argue that only hot towels and precision hot stones with abundant essential oils can lead to the best recovery and gains- but am currently trying to put a clinical trial together.

Wrists & Ankles

As for wrists and ankles, I learned this hack accidentally from a hand surgeon in Manhattan, New York. He happened to be taking the same class with me at the Swedish Institute. He said the most important part of recovery from his work was various hand and strengthening exercises that had all kinds of fancy names, but he admitted that the simplest and cheapest of them was the most effective. Which was simply getting a bucket of rice large enough for your hands and feet. Buying 20 to 30 pounds of white rice from the closest discount store, washing it out and letting it fully dry before putting it in and gently putting ones hands or feet inside and ONLY to the point of slight challenge and NEVER to the point of pain, and then gently move them around. Opening and closing ones hands, forming a fist and moving in circles etc. He also believed firmly that those same exercises could have prevented the surgery in many cases.

His advice has been crucial in helping my clients avoid carpal tunnel surgery, among others as approved by their doctors.

Aging Skin

I had a middle-aged client with skin of an 80-year-old, where it took on an extremely plasticky look to it and pressing it, literally looked like a plastic bag was sinking to that spot. He had been seeing a dermatologist for some time and asked if I had any ideas that could help. I remorselessly said no.

We did a standard full body massage where I regularly use fairly large amounts of peppermint and lavender essential oil, covering his body with it in the process. The next day he said he could swear his skin was a little bit better. The next week, for the sake of experimentation, I asked him if he wanted to try applying that mixture of essential oils to his body morning and night. He was really excited and diligently did so.

NOTE: Just an extra word of caution to anyone out there with uncontrolled high blood pressure as peppermint essential oil is known to temporarily increase blood flow before decreasing it with relaxation. Please consult with your doctor as much as possible.

I was randomly updated with complaints of how hard his bathtub was to clean, due to the essential oils acidic and clingy nature. And when I saw him again two weeks later his skin looked like mine.

I think it would be highly interesting to put together a small clinical trial for people with similar skin conditions as above, overseen by the doctors and controlled by experts. As well as having a control group that receives fake essential oils. And see if those results can be reproduced.

Veiny Neck

As we age, our neck muscles become more and more prominent, especially for women who get neck/platysma surgery and tightening. I know of no surgery to help with the slightly awkward look of more prominent muscles. But if you read the ‘secret behind pain’ above, you can probably already guess what could be effective. You may recognize the goal should at least be helping those muscles become stronger and less hypertonic through massage therapy and physical therapy or corrective exercises.

And we believe very strongly that our style of massage can go a long way to achieving that end.

Plantar Fasciitis

As with all physical ailments, one should first see their doctor and physical therapist. It is our experience, just like the ‘secret of pain’ tells us above, the majority of this pain is potentially from a lack of strength of our arch and will take exercises, as laid out in the joint pain section above, in addition to effective massage therapy to truly heal it. In addition to the various ergonomic and arch supporting shoes doctors recommend.

I hope some of these hats are helpful and recognize there is a very large body of other pathologies not covered in this page, but most likely do not have quick actions but are part of a larger approach that our company generally does its best to help with.

Never give up on your pain, never surrender to depression and continue to fight, day by day, to become the best you that you can be.

More to come!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels