One kind of massage therapy that I offer which many of you may not be aware of is scar tissue therapy. We all have scars. Scar tissue is the result of your body trying to heal itself quickly, so any time we injure ourselves, scar tissue can build up even if we don't see it or are not aware of it. The larger the injury, the more scar tissue builds up. In this blog post, I will talk about what scar tissue is and how massage therapy can be used to help.
What is Scar Tissue?
As I said above, scar tissue is the result of the body trying to heal itself quickly. Let's use the analogy of a brick wall. In order to build a wall, first the bricks and mortar must be created. Once you have those, you begin by laying down some mortar and placing the bricks evenly along it. You are careful to line them up properly and apply more mortar between each brick and the next, and you smooth the mortar out making sure that it isn't sloppy. When you are finished, you have a strong wall that looks pretty nice. Your body is constantly renewing itself. Old cells die and are replaced by new ones. This happens over time and your body can make sure that all of the cells are well formed and lined up properly
Lately I have been thinking about aging and how it is viewed in our society. Somewhere along the line, we began to fear aging so much that we spend billions of dollars every year trying to find a way around it. People buy creams, inject themselves with poison, get surgery, cover gray hair, and many other things in an attempt to try to stall the aging process or turn back time. The fact is that we can't turn back time. From the time the sperm meets the egg and we become a zygote, then an embryo, then a fetus, and a baby, we are moving forward. Even in utero we are aging, and we continue aging for the rest of our lives. When did that come a bad thing?
I was recently giving a lecture about the reproductive system to my (adult) students, and we were discussing menopause. I said that it is something that all women go through, and one of my students asked if there was any way to prevent it. The only way to prevent menopause is to die young. The thing is, we shouldn't look at menopause or aging with fear or disgust. Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. Wrinkles and gray hair can be beautiful. When did we start fearing the crone?
Usually when October comes around, we are inundated with pink merchandise. This year I have seen much less than in years past, which makes me happy. It isn't that I don't think breast cancer is an important issue, I do, it is that buying a bunch of pink stuff doesn't help anyone.
A good deal of pink merchandise merely states that it will "raise awareness" of breast cancer. What that generally means is "we don't actually use proceeds for anything cancer related, but if you use it people will see it and become aware." The thing is, we already know breast cancer is there. As cancers go, it is one of the most known and most talked about. There are plenty of other cancers out there that don't get any attention and have much smaller survival rates. Instead of wearing your pink shirt to say "Hey! Breast cancer is a thing and I don't like it!", why not make up some shirts that tell people about possible causes and encourage screenings?
Even if the sign next to that pink merchandise says that a portion of the proceeds go to cancer research, it is no guarantee that any of your money will actually go toward cancer research. If you have fallen prey to the pink scheme, fear not. There is no shame in doing something with good intentions even if you have been misled. The point of this post is to share some things you can do (or not do) to actually help with the breast (and other) cancer cause in some way.
Back in January, I wrote this post about the differences between deep tissue vs. deep pressure massage. Todays post takes that topic and expands it beyond massage therapy. The topic in question is that of pain.
Pain is not normal. It should not be a normal part of your day and you shouldn't feel pain during activity or rest. Pain is our body's way of letting us know that something is wrong. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to believe that pain means we are getting something done. We are bombarded by phrases like "No pain, no gain", or "Pain is good, extreme pain is extremely good", and fitness videos and infomercials encourage us to work until we "feel the burn", and then sometimes work even harder. I'm not sure when we took such a wrong turn in our thinking, but I am constantly working to change the perception that pain is a normal part of life.
This month's aromatherapy post is all about clary sage. Clary sage isn't one of the more popular essential oils, and many people have never heard of it, but it has myriad benefits making it a great oil to have on hand. Clary sage is often considered to be a women's oil because a number of its benefits assist in things like hormone balance, and relieving pain associated with menstruation and childbirth.
Upon first glance, clary sage looks very similar to lavender, but it is actually a member of the salvia, or sage, family. You can tell the difference by looking at the leaves which much more closely resemble the sage leaves that you may find in smudge bundles or for cooking with. The aroma is also very different than that of a lavender flower. Clary sage is not the sweetest smelling herb, being much more bitter and earthy than the lavender that it looks similar to.
I used to be very competitive. Far too competitive most would say. People didn't want to play games with me because I would get mean about it. I was a sore loser, and a sore winner, so afterward I was always either gloating or pouting. This hard truth about myself was brought to my attention many years ago, and I began to make strides to change how I responded to actual or perceived competition.
Today I had a lovely conversation with a client about having a competitive nature, and that got me thinking about my own journey and how I learned to be competitive in a healthy way.
This week's blog topic was requested by one of my lovely clients. The other day, she asked me why we get stiff. She has started to notice that she is experiencing muscle and joint stiffness, particularly in the morning that goes away as she moves throughout the day and wants to know the reason behind it.
So, why do we get stiff? Good question. There are actually several causes for muscle and joint stiffness, particularly as we get older. Let's begin by taking a look at what happens to our joints as we get older, as well as other common causal factors, and some ways to prevent stiffness.
For this month's edition of the aromatherapy series, we will be talking about the uses and benefits of lemongrass. Lemongrass is a plant that you may or may not be aware of. It is very easy to grow and it has myriad benefits both in cooking and natural health. Lemongrass is in fact, a variety of grass. It enjoys warm climates and plenty of sunlight. You can easily grow lemongrass from stalks you find at the grocery store or farmer's market. Simply place the stalks in a jar with an inch or two of water and leave them there until they begin to sprout roots. Make sure to change out the water every couple of days or so. When you begin to see new leaves grow, your lemongrass is ready to be transplanted to a pot or the ground.
Lemongrass is a very popular component in many asian style dishes, but can also be used medicinally, or as a powerful cleaner. Before getting started, it is important to note that care should be exercised when using lemongrass oil when pregnant because of it's ability to stimulate blood flow. It should also always be diluted in a carrier oil before being used topically to avoid a rash.
There is a certain conversation that I have had several times lately with both clients and other practitioners about ovarian cysts. I have met several people who talk about "having to be" on birth control pills because they have ovarian cysts, but wanting to become pregnant. Many years ago, I was also told that I must be on hormonal birth control in order to treat and prevent ovarian cysts. Many of us are told that it is the only option, and are pressured or guilted into being on the pill.
The last time I saw a midwife, I was once again forced to defend my decision not to be on birth control. I was told that it was my decision, but by declining, I was going against medical advice. She also threw out the word "cancer" to try to scare me into it, when really, while hormonal birth control may help to prevent ovarian cancer, it is not enough to warrant being on it simply for that reason, especially if you are not at high risk in the first place. Luckily, I know better than to give in to that kind of guilt or pressure, but far too many women don't realize that they have the choice. What's more, birth control is not the only answer. What happens when you want to have a baby? Are you just out of luck? That doesn't seem right at all. I have spoken to several women lately who are confused and feel like they have no options. The truth is that you do have options. You DO NOT have to be on hormonal birth control pills to deal with ovarian cysts. Whether you want to have a baby, or just prefer not to be on birth control pills because of the harm they cause to your body (that's a whole other blog post), there are plenty of options out there if you know where to look. Before we get started, it is important to note that I am not a doctor. This post is designed to provide some suggestions for natural methods of dealing with ovarian cysts and should not replace medical care. If you have an emergency, please call your doctor or 911. Use these suggestions at your own discretion, and ask your doctor if there could be any potential harms for you.
Let's face it. For most of us, bra shopping is not fun. There are actually very few women who can walk into an average bra or department store, and find their perfect bra. For the lucky ones who have an "average" band size with a cup size that certain companies have deemed to be "correct", the options are endless. But for far too many of us, the sizes that we are told we should be don't correspond with the size we actually are.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.