by Monica Miller
The balance and movement of our bodies is effected by the condition of our feet. Our feet also respond to the condition of our bodies, as well as the rigorous motions we put ourselves through during exercise, driving, and standing for long periods.
Keeping the blood circulation and lymph system moving, as well as toning the structure of the feet are important aspects of Massage Therapy.
Relaxation and better movement are keys to our well being. Massage of the feet and lower legs can bring relief from physical stress. Foot Massage with focus on the “reflex points” is a perfect tool for this.
Reflexology has been termed “compression massage” and targets specific points on the feet. These points are thought to be connected by a network of nerves that lead to organs, muscles and glands of the body.
Reflexology can break up crystalline deposits formed at the nerve endings and can result in better functioning. The stimulation of these subcutaneous (beneath the skin) receptors can remove blockages and add to your vitality and balance.
The Vagus Nerve, the 10th Cranial Nerve, is now receiving well deserved serious scrutiny. It is aptly called the “wandering nerve” as it begins in the Medulla Oblongata section of the brain and branches behind the ears, down the throat, around the heart and lungs, reaches digestive organs and then into the pelvis.
The Vagus Nerve, being a bi-directional pathway of the nervous system, delivers information from the organs to the brain and also sends information from the brain to those organs of the body. Because of its long reach throughout the body it understandably seems to have important influence on how we feel and the functioning of our entire system.
“Dermatone” is an area of skin on the human body to which a nerve brings sensation. The dermatome of the Vagus Nerve is inside the ear canal. Its positioning around the ears, jaws and throat allows us to see the implications of the stress many of us hold in these areas and how this tightening can hinder the functioning of the Vagus Nerve. Because of the bidirectional activity, the tightening of the body can also be a response to nerve input. The cyclical, interwoven cause and effect of stress (from the body to the brain and the brain to the body) is inseparable. It is believed that disturbances in the gut can affect the “tone” or functioning of the Vagus Nerve, and the reverse seems also to be true.
Breathing, focused massage, reflexology and other relaxation techniques tend to calm and create proper, healthy tone of the Vagus Nerve as well as the nervous system in general.
Based on this information and some experimental sessions on others as well as myself, I have created two new Sessions in my HeartSong Bodywork practice specifically geared toward Calming the Vagus Nerve.
Calming the Vagus Nerve – 30 minute Session includes focused Massage for the scalp, ear & jaw, neck & throat, and particular points on the feet.
Calming the Vagus Nerve – 60 minute Session includes the massage techniques of the 30 minute Session, plus Energy Balancing for endocrine glands, such as the adrenals, thyroid & pituitary.
Monica Miller, HeartSong Bodywork
There are many reasons why an individual might search out a Massage Therapist. These reasons can include recovery from an injury or surgery – especially affecting a joint or extremity, muscle tightness that is limiting the body’s functionality and causing pain and stiffness. Others are prompted to find relief from anxiety, general stress and fatigue, or to seek maximum tone and flexibility for their bodies.
Those of us that specialize in the energetic and emotional component with clients know that as the body releases its built up tension, the emotions and the energy begin to flow and more of a balance is reached. Emotions are held in the body and can create constriction if not allowed to flow through (the process of feeling the emotion and then letting it flow out). We practitioners experience this when we ourselves are clients as we delve into our process of healing and balancing through breathing and letting go as we are worked upon, allowing not only the excess energy of being caregivers, but also that of our own personal physical and emotional tendencies. If we feel overwhelmed by our daily activities, we might begin to hold our shoulders up or closer to our bodies. As we relax those shoulders during a massage session, we can briefly release the need to protect ourselves that way – and learn new ways. Each time we do this we are creating a new pattern within ourselves and how we hold our bodies.
Massage is a great way to allow healing on all levels, if needed. Or if you simply want some time for yourself.
I offer a safe place for clients to relax and feel nurtured. I enjoy being of service in that way.
My thoughts on
Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy.
I am still piecing together information from articles, my previous class, and info from related websites giving information on Fibromyalgia. As with most conditions, there are theories based on scientific studies and people’s experiences.
It seems clear that because of physical trauma/injury or emotional trauma (or sustained trauma of either kind) changes occur in the nervous system, hormonal system and in the chemical/nutritional supply that feeds the function of muscular contraction and release, the release/relaxation part of this process being inhibited – creating stiffness and inflammation.
These reactions can lead to changes in pain sensitivity, hormonal balance, and posture – especially upper back and neck posture, contributing to the forward tilt of the head. Anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression are often involved. Emotional, physical & energetic responses are interwoven, each facet bringing its own sensations into the mix.
I believe, like with any type of balancing or healing we do in our lives, starting with one aspect (physical or emotional, for example) may be the key for one individual. Another person may be able to combine approaches utilizing methods effecting shifts “across the board”.
Some sources promote the use of Swedish Massage for Fibromyalgia and related conditions, while others affirm that a structured and more specific system of massage with a delegated number of session and breaks in between certain numbers of sessions to be most beneficial.
It is said that gentle massage can be soothing and bring the benefits that massage is known for: increase of circulation, relaxation of muscle fibers, movement of lumph fluid, but that attention should be paid to the days when clients have “fibro flare ups” and are more sensitive to touch.
As with the general population, those with Fibromyalgia who are new to Massage Therapy may experience a little more fatigue or pain after the first few sessions, as the body is releasing buildups of chemicals such as calcium, increasing oxygen in the system, and stimulating more proper muscle states.
I will be writing more on this.
A few links: