Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pain Relief through Diet Changes

Today I am in very good spirit. Why? Because today I'm on a river boat cruising the beautiful Rhine river.

Although I've been just a touch homesick, I've had a wonderful time wandering through Strasbourg, France and Heidelberg, Germany. Tomorrow I'll be in Cologne. Needless to say, but the scenery has been beautiful. The food & wine? Fantastic! (Don't worry. I haven't gained too much weight. I think... ;-)

There is one thing I've discovered, though; sweet wines (like German Riesling) almost instantaneously give me a headache. And before you start judging me: No, I haven't been drinking more than a glass of it. LOL!

However, since pain management is my business, I began to wonder: Could food be affecting your pain, too? It's possible.

People with migraines often find that specific foods -- like red wine and cheeses -- trigger attacks. There's even some studies that suggest consuming fatty meats or milk may worsen the pain of inflammatory arthritis. It's something to seriously think about if you suffer from any type of chronic pain.

Pain is elusive -- it can mysteriously appear from one day to the next and you might never have thought it to be a result of something you consumed. Instead, you may have written it off to just getting older.

If you suspect your diet may be triggering your own flare ups of pain I suggest keeping a food diary for a few weeks to see whether any foods seem to increase your pain. If you think certain foods might be triggers, cut them out and see if your symptoms get better.

After a few weeks, you'll have a valuable record to share with your doctor, or with me at your next massage visit. Which, by the way, I'll start taking appointments on Monday, August 4th - and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


“Listen to your Body”

John Aaron
massage therapist | health coach

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Exercise?

exercise to ease pain
Just wanted to remind you that I will be out of town from today through August 3rd. I'll be doing a little work and a little play in Europe with another VIP client. And because you are a VIP to me too, I wanted to give you another tip for managing pain and stress while I'm gone.

That tip is: Exercise...

Yup! Stay active!

If you have had a knee injury, back, neck or shoulder strain, I know that you may feel just a bit reluctant to exercise; thinking that it could cause you more harm than good. But the opposite is true!

Strengthening the muscles that support these structures, and keeping them flexible, is the best way to prevent further injuries. Plus - exercise releases Endorphins that will help modify and reduce your pain.

Just don't be a hero, and don't overdo it when it comes to exercise. Start slowly. Do normal functional movements like walking, mild yoga, or exercise moderately with weights, and build your strength over time.

Remember: Muscle soreness after a workout is normal, but any kind of sharp, shooting, or sudden pain in the muscles or joints (especially during the act of exercise) may be a sign that something is wrong. If you experience this type of pain while exercising, I want you to stop right away and check with your doctor before resuming activity again.

“Listen to your Body”

John Aaron

Monday, July 14, 2014

First Time Massage Tips

john aaron massage for pain management
Sometimes I come across someone who doesn't quite know what it is that a massage therapist does exactly. If you are one of these folks, take a look at the following guidelines I’ve laid out to help you feel at ease and perhaps give you a better understanding of what to expect during your massage session.

Aside from the manipulation of muscle tissue, your massage experience should reach the senses of security, trust and relaxation. Actual massage technique (the touch, pressure and use of friction) are only a part of the session.

In other words, you deserve to be treated well. Your concerns should be listened to and respected.

No matter which massage therapist you see, you deserve that therapist to:


  1. Provide a safe and secure environment and carry liability insurance for you protection as well as the therapists.
  2. The therapist should have competency in human anatomy & physiology.
  3. Maintain records including continuing education, certifications and session notes.
  4. Do his or her best to secure your comfort on the massage table.
  5. Should you be too warm or cold, a therapist should adjust room temperature and/or provide you with coverings.
  6. You should be regularly asked about the comfort of the pressure and technique she or he uses during your session.
  7. You should have privacy to dress and undress, and unless you both agree otherwise, the areas of your body that are not receiving massage should be covered.
  8. You are unique and deserve an individualized approach to your session. Not some stereotypical, cookie cutter “rub down.”

To get the most out of your massage experience, you DO need to take some responsibility, too. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs with your therapist. Speak up! Remember to:


  • Tell your therapist if the pressure is too light, deep, painful or otherwise uncomfortable.
  • Update your medical information frequently with your therapist.
  • Honor your therapists’ time and call 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel.
  • Definitely cancel if you are sick or contagious.
  • Don’t forget to let your physician know that you are receiving massage therapy.
  • If you are confused or need more information you should be able to freely share your concerns with your therapist as they arise.

Not only do I specialize in massage for pain management, but I am excellent at introducing the benefits of massage to first time clients, too. Feel free to call 713-562-2474 or book your session with me online HERE. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How Does Sports Massage Improve Your Performance?

It's common knowledge that regularly stretching the muscles helps prevent injuries, but sports massage takes it one step further. Sports massage supports your training and stretching program by building healthier tissues and preventing injuries.

Using this type of massage can help you prevent muscle strains and sprains, recover from events and strenuous workouts, and heal from injuries. Before athletic events and workouts, massage prepares you by stretching, loosening, and oxygenating muscles. Between workouts and events, massage can help increase flexibility with assisted stretching and the release of chronically contracted muscles.

Massage Increases Circulation
After a sports event, massage can hep soothe soft tissues of the body, aid in repairing micro-tears to the muscles, and further help enhance circulation. When tight, bunched muscles relax and lengthen, they aren't apt to press as much on surrounding structures. As a result, when circulation is restored the flow of nutrients and natural pain-relievers to the stressed area increases. Improved circulation helps reduce fluid buildup in areas of swelling, too.

Injury Treatment Program
Sports massage focuses on using specific massage techniques to help heal recent injuries. Massage relaxes tension in areas surrounding an injury, reduces the painful buildup of fluids in swelling, and helps to improve the condition of the tissues so they can become stronger and more pliable.

Here's the caveat; massage treatment for sports injuries often works best when it is frequent and gentle, especially in the beginning. After a period of rest and a series of treatments the pain should ease, and you can resume your training program, stronger than ever.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Massage offers Headache Relief

Research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, the American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Child Neurology indicates that massage can reduce the occurrence and frequency of tension and migraine headaches. This supports the experience that many of my massage clients have had in which they tell me they have experienced a decrease in both headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

How does massage help?
Massage relaxes tense muscles and eases pressure on joints and nerves. When tension held in the muscles of the head, shoulders, and neck eases, there is less agitation to the nerves and blood vessels that supply them. Blood flow is improved and muscle spasms are often relieved.

Trigger points in the neck, head and shoulders can be another cause of pain which respond well to specific massage techniques.

These factors all add up to the relief of tension or migraine headaches.

Massage therapy often reduces the anxiety and worry that can accompany headaches, too. As overall stress eases and muscle tension that can trigger headaches lessens, headaches can be prevented as well as relieved.

Self-massage for stress and headache relief
Sometimes my schedule is completely booked. So if you can't get in to see me for a massage, try the following moves to help relieve stress and pain in the short term.


  1. Press the palms into the center of the forehead. Using a comfortable pressure, stroke across the forehead outward.
  2. Find the center line of your forehead with the first two fingers of each hand. Move the fingers about one inch horizontally to the sides of the center line. Press and release from the hairline downward.
  3. Move your fingers one inch more away from the center line, and repeat the press and release movements. Keep inching away from the center line and vary using the fingers to press into points with making small circles.
  4. Place your thumbs or index fingers at the center of your forehead, just above the eyebrows. "Draw" a line from the mid-line to the temples. Smooth the skin across the eyebrows, making small circles at temples.
  5. Trace with your fingers from the temples down to the jaw. Make small circles into the jaw.
  6. Move the fingers to the center of the forehead, and repeat the movements, again finishing at the jaw.
  7. Place the fingers near the hairline and repeat the sequence.

While this sequence might not be as ggod as having a trained professional do it for you, it does offer some relief until you can make your next massage appointment. If you'd like to know more, ask for help. I am happy to develop one or more techniques to help manage your "hot spots."