Special Conditions

Cancer

We know that 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. And, massage therapy is becoming more and more recognized for being beneficial in the care and recovery of the cancer patient/survivor. But, medical doctors don’t often think of massage as an effective method for pain relief after cancer treatment. It wasn’t until I was invited to speak to a group of breast cancer survivors that I knew that I absolutely had to offer the services of Light Hand to these folks. One after another, the women described how they were grateful to be on the other side of their surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. But, they were still experiencing a great deal of pain from the scars, lymphatic congestion and neuropathy which deeply affected their quality of life. Often, cancer survivors are left with a debilitating “all over” body pain that doctors cannot explain and seem at a loss to treat via medical means outside of prescription opioids. Here at Light Hand, we have had a great deal of success in returning the client to a pain free life after cancer. Massage can soften and restore the flexibility of scar tissues and adhesions left after surgery which ends the constant tight pulling sensation on surrounding muscles and skin. We perform lymphatic drainage massage not only to prevent lymph edema, but also to flush deeper congestion which can lead to neuropathy and pain in the extremities. Additionally, lymphatic massage can support and revitalize the immune system. Additionally, studies show that massage can help to ease depression and insomnia often associated with cancer treatment and recove

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed today. Many people have the operation on both wrists and sometimes more than once. Neuro Muscular Therapy and deep tissue medical massage can be very effective in releasing the impingement of the median nerve. Our therapists relax and stretch the muscles and fascia from the wrist all the way up the arm to where the brachial plexus (nerve bundle) exits the spine in the neck. Circulatory and Lymphatic Drainage Massage massage are performed to flush out inflammation and restore blood flow as the forearms are often congested and dense in these conditions. Gua Sha can also be very useful in this treatment. Clients usually find that this non-invasive treatment is successful and long lasting.

Children and Teens

 

We are not suggesting that children need regular massage sessions. But, quite often, the stresses and injuries of our early years go untreated. This can lead to the chronic pain of our later years when, it is possible, they could have been treated easily at the time. Heavy book bags and poor posture over long hours of study may cause your child back pain. Sports injuries and simple falls can lead to joint problems, headaches and conditions of the back and neck. When left to heal unaided, the body will create scar tissue, adhesions and tension patterns that build over time. Many times our adult clients tell us they know that a childhood injury caused their present day pain. You, as a parent, can help your child be healthy and pain free for years to come. The therapists at Light Hand have a great deal of experience performing gentle, focused massage and bodywork for young family members. Parents are encouraged to be present in the treatment room so they are fully engaged and informed of the work.

Fibromyalgia

Did you know that if you break the word Fibromyalgia down to its root, it translates as fibro=muscle and myalgia=pain? Muscle pain! And, doctors call it a “disease” with no known cause or cure. More and more people (mostly women) are being given this diagnosis without delivering much hope of relief. “Pain management” is usually achieved with numerous prescription opioid drugs. Natural health practitioners see fibromyalgia as one of the growing number of modern day stress syndromes caused by a combination of mental/emotional stress, processed foods and poor diet, inactivity, and systemic inflammation. Each individual has a unique mix of challenges, but overwhelmingly, everyone with fibromyalgia has an accumulation of inflammation in the muscles causing pain, fatigue and dysfunction. The therapists at Light Hand understand the need for gentle, but effective clinical massage. Many of these clients are getting a great deal of treatment and may have financial concerns as well as fears of being “over treated”. We perform Lymphatic Drainage techniques to flush the inflammation from the muscles which reduces pain immediately and increases blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to the tissues. Cupping and Gua Sha are often utilized with great results. We believe this authentically improves the health of the muscles as well as the immunes system. We can also recommend Nutritional Counseling, supplements, meditation and exercise that will support the treatments you are receiving from us as well as other health care practitioners. Our goal at Light Hand is to assist you in becoming authentically healthy and pain free for your lifetime.

 

Headaches/Migraines

Headaches and migraines are pain syndromes that are often treated as purely neurological issues, and the muscular aspect is ignored. We find that when the muscles in the neck become tight due to poor posture, stress or accidents, they pull on the bones of the neck and the head which in turn compress nerve and brain tissue. Tension around the skull causes a lack of cranial fluid flow or a build-up of fluid in the head which can irritate the brain tissue and adds to pain. All of these factors contribute to headaches and migraines especially in the case of head injuries or whiplash. Additionally, in our region, seasonal allergy flare ups and sinus congestion can be factors. Through Neuro Muscular Therapy, much of the muscular tension on the skull and spine can be released. A more advanced technique called Cranial Sacral Therapy gently balances the bones of the skull and frees the flow of fluid around the brain, from the sinuses and down the spine. Clinical massage and bodywork may be effective when medical treatment has not worked or in addition to the client’s medical treatments. At Light Hand, we have seen hundreds of clients become headache and migraine free after a moderate course of treatment.

 

Idiopathic Chronic Pain

Idiopathic is a term we hear more and more often when doctors cannot find a medical cause for someone’s very real pain. Defined as relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown, it can be extremely frightening to a client when they have received this “non” diagnosis. Many people fear that there may be an undiscovered disease lurking in their body. Doctors often suggest depression or stress may be the cause. But, this is where natural therapies can be of use. Stress, poor diet and inactivity can lead to deep and ongoing pain and dysfunction in the body. Systemic inflammation is often a defining feature of these conditions. Swedish and Circulatory Massage is usually where we begin treatment with Lymphatic Drainage following quickly. Cranial Sacral Therapy can be soothing and balancing to the nervous system. Nutritional Counseling, meditation and lifestyle changes can create real and lasting improvement if the client is motivated and fully involved. Natural therapies and clinical massage can only be effective if the client is willing to do the work as well. This is not a quick fix, but our therapists are trained at assisting clients in taking the steps that make the change that matters.

 

Neuropathy

Pain, tingling and numbness in an area of the body, often the extremities, are the defining features of this medical diagnosis. Neuropathy can be caused by a disease (diabetes), radiation treatments, chemotherapy, vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, or unknown causes (idiopathic). Strictly translated, the word neuropathy means “dead” nerves. However, it is generally accepted that the nerves are dysfunctional due to medication or unhealthy conditions. We have seen incidence on this diagnosis on the increase in recent years. And, the therapists at Light Hand have an excellent track record in treating this condition with substantial if not total improvement of symptoms. We find that often the extremities have become congested and dense with inflammation. This build-up of metabolic waste and fluid impinges nerves, reduces blood flow and negatively affects muscle function. Lymphatic Drainage and Gua Sha techniques are very useful in breaking up the congestion and increasing circulation. Additionally, old muscle tension patterns, often in place long before the primary condition, add to tension and blockage. The therapist can assess and treat this via deep tissue massage methods. Nutritional Counseling, exercise and stretching are also found to be beneficial.

Plantarfasciitis

Pain and inflammation at the heel and along the bottom of the foot can be excruciating and debilitating. Treating this pain syndrome locally (only the bottom of the foot) ignores the myo-fascial link between the plantarfascia, the calf muscles, the hamstrings and all the muscles and the nerves of the pelvis. Light Hand therapists utilize knowledge of the physiologic patterns and expert deep tissue therapies like Neuro-Muscular and Muscle Energy Technique to release muscle/fascial tension and bring the whole complex into balance and ease. Lymphatic Drainage and Gua Sha assist in flushing chronic inflammation that is deeply held in these large muscle groups.

Pre and Post Natal Massage

Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. At Light Hand, we use a pregnancy body cushion on the table so the client can lay in the prone (face down) position. Many women are delighted to be able to let the abdomen gently hang down, relieving the constant pull on the low back. As with all of our massage, the therapist will use a Light Touch and Deep Focus while observing the special needs and contraindications of pre and post natal treatment. Swedish and Profound Circulatory Massage relax muscle tension/pain while gently improving lymphatic and blood circulation. This addresses many physical issues commonly experienced by pregnant women associated with skeletal and circulatory changes due to hormonal shifts. Many pregnant women suffer from edema (swelling in the joints and often the legs) caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the growing uterus. Swedish and Lymphatic massage effectively flush the excess fluid and waste products out of the tissues and increase healthy circulation. Sciatica and low back pain are often experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus presses on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The growth of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by flushing out the inflammatory fluid and releasing the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have found a significant reduction in sciatic nerve and low back muscular pain during pregnancy through massage. Studies show women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) were reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). Further research suggests these improvements in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight.

Women who have recently experienced bleeding, pre-term contractions, or have any of the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:

-High risk pregnancy
-Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
-Previous pre-term labor -Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
-Recently gave birth
-Restless Legs – This is often a mild form of Neuropathy (see above).

Rotator Cuff Injuries

We meet so many people who have had debilitating shoulder pain or have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury that suffer with constant chronic pain for months and sometimes years. If you have been told you need surgery on your rotator cuff, it is important that you get educated about what is going on in your body. Did you know that the rotator cuff is actually 4 muscles that work together to allow your arm to move in the shoulder joint? Many people mistakenly think that the rotator cuff is a bony structure. When one or more of these muscles or, even, muscles associated with the upper back, neck or arm becomes injured, there may be muscle spasm or even small tears in the muscle fibers. Very soon those muscles will tighten up to protect the joint and inflammation will set in. This leads to pain and reduced range of motion in the joint. Neuro Muscular Therapy and Muscle Energy Techniques are very effective and efficient way of releasing muscle spasm and/or atrophy and restoring balance in all of the muscles related to shoulder movement. Range of Motion and Stretching can help to re-establish full use of the joint in day to day activities as well as sports. If you have been told you need surgery on your rotator cuff, at least consider trying medical massage therapy first. You may prevent or forestall that surgery.

Sciatica

Often described as a moderate to “searing” pain in the buttock and running down the back of the leg, sciatica can be incredibly painful syndrome that can come and go over months and years. People who sit for long periods or do a lot of lifting are particularly prone to this condition. As therapists, we know that the psoas muscle, which is the main “core” muscle, becomes shortened when sitting and becomes strained when lifting. This muscle oversees the health and balance of the hips, glutes and pelvis. A very important job! When this large and vital area is out of balance, all the muscles begin to struggle when we stand and walk. In response, all the muscles tighten up in an effort to stabilize the hips and pelvis. In particular, the hip rotators, including the piriformis, which sit right on top of the sciatic nerve (which is the size of your thumb!) become contracted and inflamed. In turn, the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, causing pain to shoot down the length of the nerve, sometimes all the way to the foot. Light Hand therapists work expertly to address the psoas and hip rotators and bring balance back to the hips and pelvis using Neuro Muscular Therapy and Muscle Energy Techniques. Lymphatic Drainage is important to flush out inflammation, increase circulation and bring much needed pain relief. Postural analysis and stretching help our clients to become more aware of habits leading to the condition and preventing re-occurrences in the future.

Sports Injuries

If you play sports regularly, you have probably experienced an injury sometime in the past. These are fairly easy to address the sooner you get treatment. However, quite often, athletes have chronic injuries that plague them for years, flaring up and then going dormant for a while, but, always keeping you from playing your hardest and best. The therapists at Light Hand are well trained to not only treat recent injuries and get you back on the court or field ASAP, but we are very skilled at getting to the source of ongoing pain and healing it. Some of these pain syndromes include plantar fasciitis, tennis or golf elbow, knee pain, and rotator cuff injuries. See more about Sports Massage here.

 

Women's Issues

Massage may not be the first thing you think of when dealing with issues in the female reproductive organs or breasts. But these organs depend on good circulation, release of waste products and balance in their placement in the body for optimal function, ease, and health. Clinical massage assists in all of these needs. Menstrual cramps are often caused by fluid congestion and muscle tension in the uterus and surrounding tissues. Basic massage will help the muscles of the low back to release. But, the Lymphatic Drainage Massage performed at Light Hand will also address the build-up of fluid in the uterus, ovaries, inguinal (groin) lymph nodes and the whole lower abdomen. Metabolic waste removal is increased in the entire abdomen which creates a lightness and ease of circulation in the uterus and lower belly. Prolapsed uterus and bladder can be caused by suspensory ligaments that have become slack due to age, injury, or pregnancy, and the organ sinks into the pelvic floor. It will become inflamed due to lack of circulation. A skilled and knowledgeable therapist can lift the organ into place, tonify the tissues and ligaments, flush out inflammation, and re-establish circulation. The factors listed above can also lead to painful intercourse which we have had great success in treating as well. (Yes! It’s true.) Lymphatic congestion is also the main contributing factor in tender and fibrocystic breasts which makes sense because breast tissue is made up of a large amount of lymph nodes and supporting structures. Compressing the breasts into bras everyday causes congestion and a lack of circulation. Over the years, the congested lymph fluid and nodes become sticky and harden. This can lead to pain and ultimately disease. Lymph drainage massage can soften the material, return it to a fluid state and flush it back in to the lymph system for removal. This enables the breasts to stay soft, pain free and healthy. If you have been experiencing any of these syndromes or symptoms, please call and talk to us. We may be able to help with our focused and non-aggressive approach.