Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Austin Rolfing: Deep Tissue Massage

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

It doesn’t get any deeper than at my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX.  There are many different forms of massage, but predominantly the intent for a massage therapist that practices deep tissue massage is going to be to try and work with muscle tissue.  They will mostly likely work slowly with their hands, forearms, or even tools directly on the muscles to try and get them to release or lengthen.  They will probably be attempting to “break up or eliminate” scar tissue and hydrate the muscle tissue.  Which is a bit of a misnomer by the way as you cannot eliminate scar tissue with manual therapy, what you can do is make it less fibrous and more flexible.  Working on the muscles will in deed help hydrate them as well as help move toxins out of the muscle tissue and nutrients in, all of which are good things.

 

Is your deep tissue massage therapist asking themselves why?  Why is the muscle overly contracted, why is the tissue not hydrated.  Is the muscle just trying to protect an injury to a joint; if so, relaxing/lengthening the muscle could be detrimental because there is now no protection to a joint that is compromised.  Is the muscle contracted because of poor posture and body habits throughout the day; if so, the poor habits need to be examined and changed.  These are just a small sample of some of the questions I ask myself when someone comes in to my office.

 

If you looking for a deep tissue massage in Austin, you might consider Rolfing.  My primary goal is to bring better balance to all of the tissues in your body and improve your overall alignment so that you can move with more ease and without pain.  At my Rolfing practice I am not limited to working with just muscle tissue (although I am an expert at that as well), but also tendons and the tissue they connect to around the bones called the periosteum.  I have extensive training and experience working with entrapped arteries, pinched nerves, ligaments, biomechanics, viscera (organs), and how the bones articulate with each other.  I also work with your functional nervous system.  You will only be fixing some of the issues if you receive a deep tissue massage that only works on the muscles, as your muscles are only doing what the nerves tell them to do.  I can test your nervous system and get the muscles to start responding appropriately as well as lengthen the muscle tissue if need be.

 

Deep tissue massage can definitely hurt good.  However, at my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX you’ll be getting someone that is looking at and understands the larger picture of how all of your body’s tissues work together.  As necessary, I’ll work even deeper than the muscles, to the tissues that they attach to and even further down the chain.

Austin Rolfing: Pulled Muscles

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A pulled muscle is when you over-stretch muscle fibers past their normal working length.  Sometimes, if the muscle fibers are stretched too far, there can be tearing of the muscle fibers.  Often the pulled muscle will keep you out of your sport from anywhere between 2 – 6 weeks pending on the severity of the pull and the quality of your recovery program.

Ok, so how can Rolfing help with pulled muscles? Often, the tendency is to think that the reason the muscle was pulled in the first place was because it was too short.  So, stretching it should lengthen it and problem goes away right?  Well, not so much.  Let’s assume for a moment that the pulled muscle is your hamstring.  What if the opposing muscle (ie your quadriceps) is too short, which pulls your pelvis in to an anterior tilt.  Your hamstrings are attached to the back of your pelvis; so, if your pelvis is being pulled into an anterior tilt, then the hamstring is being pulled too long.  In this scenario, if you try to lengthen the hamstring, you are only exacerbating the issue.   In fact, you would want to lengthen the quads which allows your pelvis to sit in a more neutral position and takes the excess strain off of the hamstring.  You would then want to strengthen the hamstring to bring tensional balance back to the system.

Why were your quads too short in the first place?  This is something we would discuss in your Rolfing sessions to get an idea of how you are using your body, as your body is only responding to how you are using it.  We would take a look at how you sit throughout the day and your workout regimen to see if your muscle groups are getting balanced workloads.  If there is an imbalance in your system, it’s important to do an evaluation to see how you are contributing to it with how you are living your life.

Another reason you can get a pulled muscle is if your “wiring” is off.  When we are toddlers, crawling around the house we establish our “wiring” by moving opposite arm and leg to propel yourself forward.  Occasionally, we can have an injury or a poor habit that will disturb the sequence of when muscles are supposed to fire or relax (ie. our wiring).  You’ll then have muscles that are not firing when they are supposed to and they don’t have the capacity to contract to keep them from overstretching and you get a muscle pull.

Hydration can also be a key factor.  Without proper hydration, your soft tissue won’t have the proper elasticity to lengthen as much as it is capable.  Here’s a simple test to find out if you are dehydrated: Pinch the skin directly behind any knuckle on your hand. The skin should flatten out right away when you release it. If the skin you pinched stays pinched for more than a second, you are dehydrated.

  • 6 Signs of temporary dehydration: It only takes 2% dehydration for athletic performance and mental alertness to decline. Look for these 6 symptoms:
    • Hot, red, skin with no sweat *
    • Confusion *
    • Thirst
    • Dry, chapped lips
    • Salty, white residue around lips
    • Fatigue

There are many ways you can get a muscle pull.  At my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX we’ll do a thorough examination of your body mechanics, movement patterns as well as talk about body usage to get a better idea of the true source of the issue.  We’ll then talk about and execute a treatment plan.

Austin Rolfer: Shoulder Pain

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Shoulder pain is one of the number one reasons people come to see me at My Rolfing office here in Austin, TX.  People have pain on the front of their shoulder, the back of their shoulder, deep in the glenohumeral joint, and along the border of the scapula just to name a few places.  Often there is no pain when the arm is at their side, but pain comes when they lift their arm above their head or try to reach behind their back.

The shoulder is an incredibly complicated structure.  There are tons of soft tissue structures pulling at it from many different angles and if just one is injured or not doing its job it can affect the tensional balance of the whole structure.  Then you’ve got muscles trying to do the job of other muscles and they get overworked.

Another issue you can run into is that nerves can get compressed when the shoulder tensions are off.  There are quite a few nerves that come out of the neck that send branches down into the arm to communicate with the arm structures.  The nerves weave in between soft tissue structures that are in close proximity to one another.  When tensions are off around the shoulder angles of the tissues change and the spaces that the nerves run through can get compressed and bruise or injure the nerve.   Suddenly, you’ve got pain.

So you’ve got pain, now what do you do about it?  1st off, make sure and continue to use your arm and shoulder.  There can be a tendency to stop using a joint if it hurts.  This makes sense on the surface level, except you’re doing more harm than good.  You’ll lose flexibility and decrease blood flow to the affected area which mitigates your body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the damaged area and move out toxic tissue.   Staying mobile is important.

At my Rolfing practice I look at shoulder pain from as many possible angles that I can.  Are there nerves that are compressed?  Are there muscles that are not doing their job?  Are the ligaments too tight and not elastic enough?  Are there arteries that are being compressed?  Is this an issue where the client has a poor work set up or are they too repetitive in their motions?  These are just a few of the questions that I look at when addressing shoulder pain.  All of which I can address with my work.  I work to bring balance back to the tissues throughout the shoulder so that they are all doing their job and are mobile enough to adapt to the stresses you put upon them every day.  I work to free up compressed nerves and arteries so that they can do their job.  Lastly, I work to educate the client on better ways to move and work to make sure the shoulder stays healthy and pain free in the future.

Click Here for a short video that demonstrates one of my favorite exercises to do for keeping shoulder mobility.

Austin Rolfing: Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

At my Rolfing practice in Austin, Texas I have a lot of clients coming in who think they might have carpel tunnel syndrome.  In fact, I have yet to have a single client who has had carpel tunnel syndrome.  A large majority of people get numbness or tingling in their fingers and have heard that that is a symptom of carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) and assume that’s what they must have without doing any research.  Let’s take a look at what carpel tunnel syndrome really is.

 

Wikipedia defines CTS as, “an entrapment median neuropathy, causing paresthesia, pain, numbness, and other symptoms in the distribution of the median nerve due to its compression at the wrist in the carpal tunnel”.  The median nerve is one of 3 main nerves that send and receive information in your arms.  It originates from a grouping of the nerves in the neck, called the brachial plexus, dives under your collar bone (clavicle) and extends all the way down into your fingertips.  Entrapment median neuropathy simply means that the median nerve is being pinched or compressed and it’s causing disease or damage to the nerve itself.  The carpal tunnel is as you guessed it, a tunnel that passes through your carpal (wrist) bones.

 

CTS is often thought to be caused by repetitive motion at work but in fact has many origins including lipomas, obesity, oral contraceptives, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, and trauma.  The symptoms usually include numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, in particular the index, middle fingers, and radial half of the ring fingers (on the palm side of the hand).

 

To date, all of the clients that come to my Rolfing practice in Austin end up complaining of nerve numbness or tingling in fingers or place of the hand that are fed by nerves other than the median nerve.  Therefore, they probably have a nerve entrapment issue, but not of the median nerve through the carpal tunnel.  More often than not, the entrapment is happening further up the arm as the nerves weave their way in between muscles and ligaments or even as they dive under the collar bone on their way from the neck (which in fact is the most common place for entrapment).

 

As a Rolfer in Austin treating “carpal tunnel syndrome” like symptoms, I’ll look at your whole body to find out where the source of the issue is and not just chase where the symptoms are showing up.  Most of my training following the Rolf institute has been on working with nerve pathology & entrapment issues and how to resolve them non-surgically.   And, on the rare occasion that I can’t help I am in constant contact with a great team of medical professionals (both western and eastern philosophies) around the Austin area that can help you get rid of your pain.

Austin Rolfing: Rolfing After Pain Symptoms Go Away

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

You’ve been seeing me for Rolfing sessions and we’ve gotten rid of your pain, so you’re done seeing me right?  Well, maybe not.  Just because you’re not feeling any pain currently doesn’t mean that your body is functioning in a healthy way.  That kind of thinking is like saying that you are perfectly healthy just because you don’t have a cold.  There might be something lurking just underneath your awareness that is causing long term damage to your body.  Something might be off such a small amount that there is no pain involved, but if left unchecked and unresolved over time will wear down your tissue and turn up as serious pain down the road.

 

Part of what makes Rolfing unique is that I’m treating the entire body, not just the area of the body that hurts.  Every part of your body is connected some way or another, so something going on in your foot can cause symptoms to show up in your neck and head.  If we get the pain to go away in your neck and head but never address what’s going on in your feet, your symptoms will eventually come back because we’ve never address the core of the issue.

 

You could also have misalignments or unbalanced areas in your body that don’t cause you pain right now but will do so down the road.  The unbalanced tissue might have absolutely nothing to do with the issue you came to see me for and might not have any symptoms showing up.  However, if we don’t bring the tissue back into balance pain is likely to show up later in your life.

 

Ultimately, I started My Rolfing Practice in Austin, TX because the work is effective at getting people out of pain.  But I want those changes to be permanent.  So, it’s imperative that we bring better alignment back to the entire body and not just chase pain symptoms.  Doing so will help ensure that not only will your current symptoms go away, but you can sidestep future aches and pains as well.  Effectively, keeping your body feeling young and supple.

 

Austin Rolfing: Compensation

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The fact that your body compensates is incredibly important.  If it didn’t compensate every time you got a new injury you’d have a hard time getting much done in your life.  Whenever you hurt or damage tissue in your body, that tissue often times can’t perform its normal function as efficiently as it normally can.  So, instead of your body just giving up and telling you to just lie down while the tissue is repaired it finds someone else to do the job while it repairs itself.  Adjacent muscles work harder, bones rotate to adjust to the change in bio-mechanics, ligaments & nerves stretch as necessary and soon enough you’re off on your way again.

 

The damaged tissue does repair itself while it gets the vacation from working.  This all sounds like a great plan, except somewhere along the way we run into a problem.  Your body isn’t so great at knowing that it can let go of the compensation.  You see, you’ve created a new pattern.  Your body is essentially lazy and is always trying to find the most efficient way to do any task.  It WANTS to save energy.  So you’ve created a new pattern and your body has had time to get good at this new pattern and wants to stick with it.  If you try to change that pattern it’s going to take WORK, and the body inherently doesn’t want to work harder.  So what’s the problem with that you say?  Well, this new pattern isn’t how your body was designed to function.  You’ve got muscles doing jobs they weren’t designed to do and you’ve got bones moving in directions that they weren’t supposed to be moving.  If your alignment is off on your car, your tires wear down faster.  If you don’t have the proper alignment and balance around your joints and through your body, things wear down faster.  Your body can handle the changes over a short period of time, but over an extended period of time things will wear down.

 

In My Rolfing Practice in Austin, TX, I evaluate your entire structure.  I look at all of the compensations that are going on in your body to get an idea of where the original source of the issue is coming from, which is most often nowhere near where you feel the pain.  Rolfing is set up to manipulate your soft tissue (fascia, nerves, organs, muscles, etc.) to bring better alignment and proper mechanics back to your body so that it functions at its optimal capacity and the pain goes away.  In short, Rolfing is very effective and undoing years of abuse to your body and the resulting compensation patterns.

 

To learn more about what to expect during a Rolfing session, please Click Here.

Austin Rolfing: Holistic Approach

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Online dictionaries define Holism as, “the treatment of any subject as a whole integrated system, esp., in medicine, the consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of a disease”. I take this concept seriously while working with clients in my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX.

A large portion of clients that come to see me come because they have pain showing up somewhere in their body and want me to help them get rid of it. One thing that’s always important to point out is that nobody ever heals your body for you. They help facilitate your body being in a healthier place so that it can heal itself.

Pain can be a pretty funny thing. Pain is pretty reliable at telling you that something is wrong somewhere in the body. But it’s often not a very good indicator of where the source of the issue is. I often find that the source of the issue is not only not where the client feels the pain but is often not even close to the real culprit. Pain can show up in your low back because of a toe injury that is forcing you to limp (even just slightly). Pain can show up in your neck because of an old fall onto your tailbone that is just slightly changing your alignment, which in turn forces the rest of your spine to compensate. You can develop bunions because of organs in your abdomen that are adhered to tissue that they’re not supposed to be adhered to. The list can go on and on and almost every scenario involves multiple parts of the body that need to be addressed in order to completely get better.

Rolfing is designed not only to look at the complete body to see where changes can be made, but also how the client is using their body/mind in their everyday life in ways that might be contributing to their discomfort. Taking a holistic approach to the healing process helps ensure that the client sees results that are permanent and not just temporary. To learn more about how my Rolfing practice in Austin addresses your body in a holistic manner, Click Here.

Austin Rolfing: Back Pain

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Back pain is the bane of our existence, at least temporarily, in so many of our lives. A quick search on Google had multiple sites estimating that 80% of the entire population will have back pain at some point in their lives. So, pretty much every one of us will be affected by it personally or will know someone close to us who is/was effected by back pain.

One of the problems with treating back pain is that it can come from so many possible sources. Just to name a few, it can come from: a tilted pelvis from sitting too much, pinched nerves from a herniated disk from lifting with poor form, pinched nerves from an aggravated organ that sits on a nerve, lack of core strength creating general fatigue, too much tension up your back-line kinetic chain, the list can go on and on.

As a Certified Rolfer© in Austin, TX I treat back pain on a daily basis with great results. Of course, one of the main keys to getting rid of back pain is to figure out where it’s coming from. I look at the client’s entire structure top to bottom, front to back to determine if there alignment or how they move is contributing to the pain. By reviewing how the client moves and feels, I can see whether it’s a core strength issue and give them simple exercises to do or refer them on to a physical therapist if the case is too severe. I review the general location and condition of the digestive system to see if any of the organs could be irritating the nerves that are tied into the back. I can also help free peripheral nerves that might have possibly become entrapped in the tissue around them and are spasming or not firing as they are designed to do.

In general, back pain is very fixable (more often than not without surgery). If there is any part of the work that we can’t handle in my office, I have a wonderful team of highly qualified professionals that I work with in Austin that I can refer you to. For more information on how Rolfing can help you, please visit This Site.