Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shin Splints: A Pain in The Leg!

After last night's soccer game, your daughter complained that her shins hurt, so you iced her legs before she went to bed. Her legs felt fine after a good night's sleep and you sent her off to school this morning with a kiss and soccer practice clothes in her backpack. Now she's calling and saying that her legs hurt again.

Could it be something more than simple pain?

Shin splints are a common injury among athletes - especially runners, sprinters, figure skaters, and gymnasts.

The term "shin splints" refers to pain felt in the shinbone or tibia (the large bone in the front of your lower leg) after an athlete has run or "pounded the ground" for a period of time. This force of impact can sometimes cause the muscles around the tibia to tighten, pull, or become inflamed, which leads to pain. Shin splints often respond well to home treatment, but if the pain continues, it's a good idea to have a medical professional check it out just to be sure it's not a stress fracture in your shinbone or another serious condition.

Symptoms of Shin Splints

The most common symptoms of shin splints include:

  • Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner part of your leg
  • Mild swelling
  • Pain that worsens when you run or participate in other weight-bearing exercise
  • Discomfort in your lower leg that lingers even after you've stopped exercising

These symptoms are most likely to occur after you've been running downhill, on a slanted or tilted surface, or engaging in sports like basketball or tennis that require frequent starts and stops. You may also experience shin splints if you're running in worn out footwear, which offer less support for your feet.

Along with treating the pain of shin splints with ice, rest and elevation, you may consider the benefits of massage to improve healing times and reduce muscular adhesions that may lead to muscular imbalance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Massage Reduces Cortisol: The Stress Hormone

massage reduces stress
It's true. Massage can help reduce stress, and boosts well-being. Research demonstrates these benefits.

Therapeutic massage has been used for stress and pain relief around the world throughout the ages. As long ago as the 5th century Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote, "the physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly also in rubbing."

Modern research, such as studies by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, have demonstrated that massage is extraordinary in its ability to reduce the effects of stress and promote well-being.

Therapeutic massage has become well known as one of the best ways to deal with the overload of stress so common in today's world.

Although stress is inevitable and can be overwhelming at times, it can also inspire us to do our best, but when we experience an overload of stress for too long, our ability to respond with grace and balance may be challenged.

Therapeutic massage can give you a break from the buildup of stress and trigger the "relaxation response," a natural function of the nervous system that reverses the effects of excess stress. It can provide relief from chronic headaches, reduce anxiety, and promote more restful sleep, all conditions associated with an overload of stress.

Improves circulation, promotes healing
One of the key benefits of therapeutic massage is improved circulation. Good circulation is essential to bring oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues and remove irritating waste products. This, in turn, can help decrease inflammation and pain from injuries or overdoing it at work or play. Massage also increases circulation to the joints, improving their function and mobility.

Increases awareness of mind and body
Massage therapy can help increase awareness and sensitivity to the body's signals. As you get to know your body with massage you may be better able to listen to your need to take breaks at work or stretch after exercising. Increased awareness may even inspire you to spend more time doing the things you love, like painting, gardening or hiking.

Respond to stress with grace and balance; book your massage today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Massage Erases Pain

Your body aches and you can’t wait to get to your next massage appointment to help alleviate the pain. You absolutely know how much better you will feel after getting your massage. But, have you ever wondered how it works? Well, there’s much more to it, but I’ve managed to condense it into small easy to understand bullet points


  • Massage stimulates the release of natural pain-relievers such as endorphins. 
  • Massage stretches tight muscles and sends messages to the nervous system to relax. 
  • Massage not only increases circulation, but flushes irritating waste products and floods tight muscles with healing oxygen and nutrients. Combined with stress relief, improved circulation may be enough in itself to help you relax and allow the pain to recede as you let go.
  • Massage releases trigger points. These are highly irritable spots that feel like lumps or knots, which send uncomfortable sensations to other parts of the body. 
  • Massage softens contracted muscles and their connective tissue coverings, called fascia. As a result, tension and spasms are often relieved. 
  • I tend to vary my application of massage to suit the needs of my client. Using certain massage techniques help heal recent injuries and minimize the discomforts of old, poorly-healed ones. Massage does this by: (1) relaxing tension in areas surrounding an injury, (2) reducing the painful buildup of fluids in swelling, and (3) helping to improve the condition of the tissues so that they are both stronger and more pliable.
  • Massage helps you regain energy and restore normal movement. Feeling good will make you want to exercise, regaining your most important means for maintaining good circulation. 
  • Massage can improve your sleep, helps your body heal and rejuvenates you for the next day's challenges. 
  • Massage helps you perceive and "listen" to your pain, which is, after all, a vital signal from our nervous system that we sit up and pay attention. 
  • Sometimes the perception of pain is changed when receiving the skilled and focused touch of massage. 

Without even trying, you may find you allow the new, pleasurable input of massage to take precedence over the painful sensations, at least temporarily.

Follow-up massage in times of stress can also help keep old pain from flaring up. So if you haven’t seen me in a while - Remember to schedule that next massage!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Recipe Rx: Cranberry Flax Muffins

Did you know that cranberries protect brain cells from free-radical damage that impairs cognitive and motor functions? Well, recent studies seem to support the notion that cranberry consumption can actually improve function in age-related declines in working memory, reference memory, balance and coordination.

In fact, when it comes to preserving brain function, cranberries are so powerful they can even reduce impairment following a stroke! In a 2003 study, researchers discovered that by exposing neurons to a concentration of cranberry extract, there was a 50 percent reduction in brain cell death.


So take the following recipe prescription to heart (and mind)! It makes a great breakfast or mid-day snack and is not only healthy for your brain, but it’s good for your heart and waistline, too!
Ingredients
• 1 cup flaxseeds 250 mL
• 1 cup each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour 250 mL
• 1 cup natural bran 250 mL
• 1 tbsp baking powder 15 mL
• 1 tsp each baking soda and cinnamon 5 mL
• 1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 375 mL
• 1 cup packed brown sugar 250 mL
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil 75 mL
• 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries 375 mL
Preparation
Set aside 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the flaxseeds. In food processor or clean coffee grinder, finely grind remaining flaxseeds; transfer to large bowl. Add all-purpose and whole wheat flours, natural bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; whisk to combine.

In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, sugar and oil; pour over dry ingredients. Sprinkle with cranberries; stir just until combined.

Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups; sprinkle with reserved flaxseeds. Bake in center of 375°F (190°C) oven until tops are firm to the touch, 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes; transfer to rack and let cool completely.

Servings: Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information per muffin:
calories 338, protein 8 g, total fat 12 g (Sat. fat 1 g), carbohydrates 54 g, fiber 7 g, cholesterol 32 mg, sodium 315 mg. % RDI: calcium 12%, iron 25%, vitamin A 2%, vitamin C 5%, folate 29%

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.