Category Archives: Self Care

Side-lying Massage for the Shoulder

A couple weekends ago I attended a side-lying and para-spinal class taught by Brian Utting. Before taking this call I was some what intimidated by side-techniques mostly because of The class came during a time where majority of my current clients were coming to me for shoulder pain. While majority of side-lying techniques are utilized for expectant mothers, massage while lying on the side offers an advantage to the shoulder girdle the typical face up/face down position does not.
Before taking this class I was intimidated by the idea of asking a client to roll on their side for a couple reasons. Properly draping a client so that they feel comfortable takes practice and when I applied the techniques it was difficult to judge pressure and keep consistent. After leaving Brian’s class I had all the confidence to bring these new techniques into my practice.

The biggest advantages of side-lying for shoulder pain are:

1. The ability to take the shoulder into full range of motion.

Because the shoulder isshoulder_ff made up of three bones the collar bone, scapula and humerus side-lying facilitates taking the shoulder in front, behind, above and to the side of the body.

2. Access to the arm pit and rib cage is greater.

3. The client becomes extremely comfortable on the table allowing them to relax and receive the work. (Majority of  my clients sleep on their side and once they are bolstered with a pillow between the arm and legs they are really able to let go of tension and stress.)

As I’ve been using these new techniques clients receive the shoulder  in a deeper way while they remain relaxed on their side with the support of pillows.  Not only is side-lying great for shoulder work, but it also feels great on the neck, low back and muscles along the spine.

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Websitebillingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebookfacebook.com/billingsmassage/

 

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Identifying Pain with the Comparative Pain Scale

What is pain to you? How do you experience pain? What does pain feel like? Where is your pain on a scale of 1-10. Almost every patient in the ER has been asked this, and questions like these can be very difficult for massage clients to answer during an interview.

Let’s face it, pain is subjective. Have you ever heard someone say ‘I have a high pain tolerance’? I hear it all the time in the treatment room and this can make it very difficult to gauge the client based on what level of pain they are experiencing.
Thankfully, there are pain scale’s out there to help client and therapist better communicate pain.

Some of my favorites are the funny meme pain scales with the Lego faces or the funny looking stick figures. They make me laugh, but when it comes to my client’s pain I’m not laughing and neither are they.

lego pain scale

The most effective pain scale I like to use is one an instructor in massage school gave to me, and was very useful when working with my Case Study client called the  Comparative Pain Scale. The scale is broken down so the client has context to which they can relate the experience they are having. For example: minor, moderate or severe pain if 1-10 is too broad. If numbers are easy for you then the descriptive word associated with a number is helpful ex. 3=tolerable, 6=intense or 9=unbearable. Further the scale lists descriptions you can compare you’re current experience to.

Understanding the client’s pain isn’t the only reason why therapists use a pain scale. As I was working with my case study client in research class, the number the client gave to me before and after the treatment was used as measurable data. Something that is very difficult to gather in massage therapy because so much is subjective. This information is very valuable down the road when I look back at your SOAP charts (a post about SOAP charting and why massage therapists chart will be linked here). It’s one of the ways we can track a client’s progress over time. So if I seem real pushy about where you are on the pain scale and insist a number, please remember it’s because achieving measurable results really matters to me.

The comparative pain scale is printed and laminated in my office for clients to use as a tool together in understanding pain, for specific techniques and has been proven useful in gaining results in my massage practice.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Websitebillingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebookfacebook.com/billingsmassage/

 

Enjoy Balance and Aging with Massage Therapy

Falls are the primary cause of accidental death in persons older than 65 years of age, often resulting in hip fractures, decreased mobility and independence, and increased morbidity. Age-related factors may include modification of the nervous and muscular system function with resulting changes in mobility, gait, and strength. These factors, along with disease and the increased use of medications that tend to come with aging, combine to make falls in this population a serious healthcare issue.

footbalanceWhen the muscles in charge of proper posture become more rigid and flexed our center of gravity moves farther forward and postural instability increases. Massage therapy has proven to produce short-term improvements in balance, neurological, and cardiovascular measures in older persons. A cost effective treatment in comparison to the billions of dollars in annual medical costs for persons who fall.

A single 60- minute, full-body massage therapy treatment was shown to have a stabilizing effect on measures of balance and physiological factors related to stability in older adults. As massage therapy has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety and improve mental state, these factors may also have a positive influence on balance. With massage therapy, proper exercise and nutrition you can greatly decrease your risk of falling and enjoy aging!

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/

Restorative Yoga @ BalanceDiet Billings

Yoga is one of my favorite complementary forms of exercise I love to suggest to massage clients. What I like most about yoga is that it offers many different styles just like massage offers different modalities. Like Swedish, Deep Tissue or Trigger Point yoga has Vinyasa, Flow or Restorative (and much more) so you’re sure to find a perfect fit for you!

Recently, BalanceDiet Billings began offering yoga videos for members to try together or alone in their fitness room through The Yoga Collective. A website with a library of yoga videos for every level of yogi to try.

I recently fell in love with restorative yoga through a client who came to me describing shoulder pain that was causing her to lose sleep and back off using weights in the upper body. She explained how she wasn’t able to do yoga either, which she was really enjoying.

After her massage treatment and some relief I offered to dig around in The Yoga Collective for some videos that don’t require your body to feel the deepest stretch with each pose. That’s when I found Gentle Yoga (20 minutes) and Relax and Restore (30 minutes) which left me feeling like I did yoga and had a massage all at the same time!

I began with GY and finished with RR yoga for a total of 50 minutes. I found I could take my time and stay longer in a certain pose if needed. The RR poses offered enough of a stretch to release muscle groups but supported my body the whole time through the use of blocks and multiple blankets. The perfect way to self massage the body!

This type of yoga is great for those who have difficulty with balance (check out Sierra’s Balance class on Tuesday), shoulder impingement, hip displacement or low weight bearing on any area of the spine. If you’re a beginner at yoga this is a great way to ease into level 1+ videos.

yogaprops
Yoga accessories: blocks, blankets, straps.

Check out BalanceDiet Billing’s Group fitness class schedule here to see the other classes they have to offer.

Please, let me know if you try out these yoga videos and what you think! Both videos have been added to favorites for quick and easy access. Stop by to see me in the massage room if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment!

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Contact or booking: Office: (406) 652-9142 Cell:(406) 780-0535

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/