Stress has a way of changing posture. As stress begins to tighten one’s body, shoulders begin to roll forward, the chin lifts and the neck moves forward. This happens to all of us as the everyday pressures of life close in around us. In the world of psychology the term for this posture is armoring.
Think of a person sitting at a typing station. This person is not sitting erect, but leaning slightly forward. Her elbows are not hanging by her side but are just forward of her body. As her fingers dance across the keyboard she not only has to hold her forearms up, but has to hold her elbows forward. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the muscles of her upper back as well as her lower back.
There are two muscles that are punished the most by stress. We call these muscles the stress muscles. However, their medical name is Levator Scapula. These two muscles connect at the upper bones of the neck called the Cervical Vertebrae and connect to the shoulder blade, known as the Scapula. When we are stressed our shoulders lift putting pressure on our neck. This pressure creates headaches and neck and shoulder pain. The final result of this posturing is pressure on the Medial Nerve which eventually becomes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This condition is easily addressed by massage and three or four visits usually alleviate this stress.How often should you get a massage? Probably once a week, if you have never had a massage before.
As the shoulders lift, the vertebrae of the spine are pulled close together, which puts pressure on the disk between the vertebrae. As the disk is crushed by this pressure it widens and puts pressure on the nerves that exit the Central Nervous System at these openings. As the nerves are impinged, everything in the body begins to shut down and we enjoy a lower level of energy. Life becomes harder.
From our point of view, stress is the fundamental cause of most illness. The Ancient Chinese said that disease was caused by congestion and wellness was the result of circulation. This was written six thousand years ago and it seems they were correct.
For those of you who have never experienced a professional massage, perhaps now is the time to give one a try. All you have to lose is stress and discomfort.
Pain is caused by lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen can be caused by a myriad of possibilities. Some of the causes are a blow, a cut or a strain. One of the obvious causes of pain is the flu, as we go through this period of discomfort, we ache all over. As our body becomes hot with fever, our muscle fibers begin to stick together, inhibiting circulation, which causes lack of oxygen. When we recover from the flu it is necessary to address these muscle fibers or they will remain stuck together. Dehydration is the catalyst that accelerates the aging process.
When muscle fibers are stuck together, fluid is no longer able to pass between these fibers, causing lack of circulation. Lack of circulation causes lack of oxygen and in turn lack of oxygen causes pain. There is a secret to creating an environment within your body that makes pain less likely. This is a secret that you have probably had passed down to you by your grandparents and your parents too. This secret is to drink eight to ten 8 ounce glasses of water every day.
Our bodies are comprised of seventy percent water and when this level of liquid drops we enter a state of dehydration. Without water it is impossible to enjoy adequate circulation and we live in a constant state of pain. For those of you who have never experienced a professional massage, we would recommend that now is a good time for your first session. Drink lots of water, get lots of massage and live a pain free life.
Before we can intelligently discuss headaches, it is imperative that we understand what type of headache we are addressing. There are three types of headaches. First, there are tension headaches, which account for over fifty percent of all primary health care providers’ visits. Second, there are sinus headaches, which are attributed to allergies and the flu. Third, and the most serious of all headaches, migraine headaches.
There are as many reasons to experience tension headaches as there are personalities and lifestyles. Whether the cause is emotional or physical the result is the same, throbbing temples and mental discomfort. We are certainly not at our creative best when our head hurts. Massage addresses tension headaches by relaxing the neck and shoulders. As we relax, we soften our muscles and headaches disappear. These are the easiest headaches for us to address.
Sinus headaches are best addressed by face massage. As the sinus cavities become relaxed, the fluids that are trapped in these spaces release and begin to flow, allowing us to drain and cleanse the sinuses. This is a slow process and usually takes a few massage sessions. There are simple techniques that any experienced massage professional can teach you to allow you to release these cavities yourself. Between massages, you will find relief with a few minutes of self-massage done on a regular basis.
Migraine headaches can be caused by either impingement of the nerves in the neck or by chemical imbalances. Massage can address the impinged nerve problem by releasing the Levator Scapula Muscles. It is often necessary to address either the left or right Levator muscle for several hours to achieve complete relief. Be sure to ask your massage professional if they have had experience eliminating migraine headaches. You will probably need to shop around a bit to find a massage professional who is willing to work just one muscle for two hours at a time.
Headaches cripple our ability to function optimally and are probably the most common form of what could be called discomfort. Now is a good time to allow a massage professional the opportunity to rid you of your headache discomfort naturally.