We got a call from a competition surfer from Huntington Beach earlier this week, looking for sports massage therapy. He was practicing down at the Wedge in Newport Beach and managed to tweak a muscle in his lower back. After seeing some of the maneuvers these guys pull off, it’s easy to see how. Surfing is a demanding sport, with unique extremes. Calm, tranquil, and ‘laid-back’ one minute; rough, unpredictable, and physically demanding the next – often with little warning in between.
In addition, Surfers will spend long periods of time partially submerged in water that is substantially cooler than body temperature, which can lead to decreased blood circulation when there’s a crucial need for it – such as dropping in on a good wave. Another counter-intuitive factor is dehydration. It’s hard to think of an ocean as a desert, but that’s exactly what it is – an ocean of SALT water. With the blazing sun beating down and difficult access to drinkable water (AND the fact surfers are dripping wet which masks sweat), it’s way too easy for dehydration to go unnoticed.
Surfers know the importance of warm-ups and stretching, but are also famous for toughing-out their injuries. In this surfer’s case, a bad drop-in ended up in a strain of the quadratus lumborum (an important muscle in the lower back that helps twist the upper torso). The strain luckily wasn’t severe, but it was definitely tight. Sports massage therapy is generally not appropriate for application where a soft tissue injury is recent, Accordingly, he received a sports massage to help condition his non-injured muscles for future surfing, with a deep tissue/Swedish massage therapy modification to that quadratus lumborum to help reduce the swelling and restore range of motion.
One thing that amazes many of our clients is a massage therapist’s ability to ‘read’ the muscles of the body and find exactly where the strain is without much guidance from the client. Often times the massage therapist can see what areas of the body need careful attention merely by observing the way a client is standing, sitting, or lying. It’s also important to note that the therapist will only apply therapies that are comfortable for the client and appropriate for the condition.
Despite all the news about the federal budget and stock market troubles, we’re happy to report our mobile massage therapy is in high demand this summer! We’re very grateful for all the compliments we’ve received over the past few weeks, and that so many people get so much peace, health, and satisfaction from Tranquility Massage. Today, we’d like to share a story from the field that warmed our hearts (sorry, no summer pun intended!).
A family of 5 from northern California stayed at the Anaheim resort last week. They had their elderly father with them (VERY heartwarming to see a family make the effort to include him!), and after a day of activity at Disneyland and taking turns caring for him, they were quite exhausted – even the 13 year old. Grandpa was having problems with his legs, knees, and feet, and regularly suffered from RLS, or “restless leg syndrome” (more on RLS here) which frequently kept him up at night.
We got a call from them (we’ll get a testimonial from them soon) later in the evening and were able to get a massage therapist to their hotel within the hour. They did their homework, and asked for references before they agreed to use us, and we were able to give them enough to satisfy their concerns.
Grandpa was the happy recipient of 90 minutes of soothing geriatric massage with some deep tissue modifications for his legs and feet. He fell asleep on the massage table, and was gently led straight to bed after his massage therapy. We got a call from grandpa the following day – he said he hadn’t slept so well in weeks, and that was WITHOUT his pain medication! We spoke with his daughter to make sure he speaks with his doctor about the possibility of massage therapy as an alternative to the medications he’s taking, and will help them locate a bay-area massage therapist in the future. He is a very sweet gentleman and we were very pleased to help make him comfortable with us in Orange County.
Summer wouldn’t be complete without all the outings at the beach, theme parks, family gatherings, sports, and of course, travel. Throughout all the activities we engage in, we are absolutely dependent on our silent and obedient partners – our muscles. When you think about it, it’s amazing just how dependent we are on our muscles for wholesome, healthy living, working, and summer fun. Thats why Tranquility Massage focuses on providing muscle friendly, pain relieving massage therapy where people need it most – where they live, work, and play.
Our muscles frequently get sore after periods of intense and/or sustained physical activity, but the soreness doesn’t always have the same character. The reason involves the level of damage the muscle tissue (including cells, nerves, blood vessels, etc.) sustains from the activity.
It’s important to note that muscles are ‘damaged’ during normal day-to-day use. It’s the healing process that leads to increases in strength, endurance, range of motion, flexibility, and other life improving benefits. Therefore, some level of controlled muscular ‘damage’ can be beneficial (“controlled muscular damage” = exercise!). Massage therapy can be an effective, satisfying, and drug-free part of both the exercise and healing processes.
Muscle soreness can be generally defined in two basic categories. Muscle strains involve stiffness, swelling, bruising, and excruciating pain that is usually apparent immediately after injury, and may require a doctor’s care and/or physical therapy if severe enough. Although severe muscle strains may require a doctor’s care, massage therapy can effectively reduce pain and swelling, and may also aid in faster healing of many muscle strain (more on this in a later posting).
We’re all (hopefully) more familiar with the delayed feeling of pain and stiffness that occurs 24 to 72 hours after some form of healthy activity, known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or “DOMS”. DOMS results from micro tears in the muscle tissues sustained during elevated physical activity, and can lead many people to avoid physical activities or take liver-damaging medications, neither of which is conducive to a healthy lifestyle (by the way, ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking any medication). That dull, lingering pain you get the morning after an active day at the beach is DOMS in action. This is where massage therapy shines (checkout this article from Medicine.net on DOMS and massage).
Mobile massage therapy is perfectly suited to address the pain and stiffness of DOMS for several reasons. First, massage helps counter the discomfort of DOMS by increasing blood flow to the affected muscles and releasing muscle fiber binding and releasing toxins that inhibit healing. Second, massage therapy can actually stimulate muscle tissue growth which can help avoid future recurrences of DOMS. Third, massage does all this without using medications that only mask the underlying causes of DOMS and can lead to further muscle damage (see more about this from Scientific American here). Finally, the mobile massage therapist does it in the most convenient, comfortable, and effective environment possible.
Unfortunately, several studies have concluded there is no effective way to prevent the occurrence of DOMS, but this has been disputed. Some say stretching or cardio exercises have been effective in reducing DOMS, but results vary from person to person.
If you’re injured or in pain, driving around and waiting aren’t part of the solution. You want long term relief and you want it quick. Mobile massage therapy may be just the ticket to keep your summer from being a bummer because of DOMS.
During summertime activities, your muscles are working overtime under extreme conditions that can lead to aches, pains, and even serious injury from dehydration, muscle adhesions, and toxins stored within muscle tissue. To help avoid these summer fun-killers, start with the basics – hydrate before, during, and after physical activities. How does massage therapy fit in? Read on…
Tranquility Massage receives many calls from people who have injured themselves during casual physical efforts as well as extreme sporting – usually during colder weather when blood circulation is typically impaired. While massage therapy is ideal for preventing major muscular injuries, it may be too late after the injury has already occurred. One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury is to hydrate.
As you play hard, the cells in your muscles produce metabolic wastes that can accumulate in muscle tissue. Without sufficient water to flush away those wastes, they can accumulate within the muscle tissue itself, leading to decreased flexibility and range of motion – prime conditions for injury. To help prevent the accumulation of those wastes, drink water or your favorite sports drink (fortified with essential electrolytes such as sodium and potassium) at least 30 minutes prior to engaging in summer activities. Maintain your hydration level during your summer activity by continuing to drink to replace what you lose through metabolism and perspiration, and continue to drink afterward as your heart rate and body temperature return to normal. Always drink an amount you’re comfortable with – never more. Also, don’t forget to have a restroom nearby!
Massage therapy prior to intense physical activity actually increases flushing of these metabolic wastes from muscle tissue. The massage therapist will apply a number of massage therapies to various muscle groups that can help avoid the accumulation of these toxins. Typically, 60 to 90 minutes of full-body sports therapy massage is most beneficial for those that regularly engage in intense physical activity. However, as little as 30 minutes of deep tissue massage therapy can provide enough conditioning to be a benefit – particularly if the activity involves lots of walking and standing (think a day at a theme park).
So remember, if you’ve got a day of fun in the sun in your future, stay hydrated to help flush those toxins and keep your muscles ready for action! For the most efficient and effective (and convenient!) way to flush those toxins, give Tranquility Massage mobile massage therapists a call. We’re where you need us most!
Coming up next, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). How massage therapy can help…