May 31, 2010

Massage in the Military

Injured soldiers find relief through massage and other "alternative therapies."

Wars have been fought since time immemorial. From simple sticks and rocks to guided missiles and uranium-tipped artillery shells, the methods civilized nations have used to annihilate one another have changed dramatically over the centuries. Despite the advances in modern warfare, the types and degrees of injury suffered in combat have remained frighteningly constant. Surprisingly, research suggests a major cause of attrition (a reduction in number or strength) among military personnel in recent wars has resulted not from injuries incurred on the battlefield, but, rather to more typical conditions such as accidents and musculoskeletal complaints.

To determine what types of painful conditions affect soldiers during wartime, researchers in the United States and Germany examined 162 soldiers engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom who were evacuated to pain treatment centers outside the theater of combat. Results of the study, published in the journal of Anesthesia & Analgesia, show that many of the injuries suffered by military personnel during conflict are indeed similar to those sustained by people in the civilian sector. Even more important, the use of alternative therapies in the treatment of pain among injured soldiers appears to be growing, with massage the most common alternative therapy used for pain relief.

May 27, 2010

Clinical Massage Therapy

Understanding, Assessing and Treating Over 70 Conditions 

It's expensive but worth it! This book outlines pathologies, injuries, expectations and complications -  plus how a massage therapist can help. One of the best additions are the guided treatment plans and self care tips! 

The Table of Contents can been reviewed HERE:

May 22, 2010

Invest in You

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about self awarenss. Self care. Self nurturing.

Massage therapists live a life where we try to help. We try to give people the space, expertise and support to be more aware about their bodies. To give them ways to heal, lengthen, breathe, ease pain, build stregnth, find new flexibility and renew themselves in ways that science is just now beginning to understand.

Often times people who place such value on helping others, forget to prioritize their own need to self nurture.

Mending Hands will be adding some posts to help keep us all thinking about creative, effective and even fun ways to Invest in You. Look for those posts coming soon!

As always - if you have an idea you want to share through Mending Hands e-mail us at

May 16, 2010

Stretching: Focus on flexibility

Inspired by an emergency road trip I had to take this week that spanned over 1,500 miles. One of the ways I kept my self together was taking time to streeeeetch!

You can stretch anytime, anywhere. Consider the benefits of stretching, such as increased flexibility and circulation. Then ready, set, stretch! - By Mayo Clinic staff

You pound out a few miles on the treadmill. You work your way through a series of strength training exercises. You even add some time on the stationary bike for good measure — and you smile with satisfaction that you made it through your workout. Nothing to do now but hit the shower.

Not so fast. Did you consider stretching those muscles that pulled you through your invigorating workout? Understand why stretching matters — and how to stretch correctly.

Benefits of stretching
Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and flex. That's why regular stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program. Consider this:

May 09, 2010

Mending Hearts

A few years ago my mother survived an Aortic Dissection.

Her Aorta (the major artery of the heart) started to separate (in a spiral - I remember a doctor saying) from my mothers heart. Emergency open heart surgery (with all the bells and whistle of helicopter transport and me getting a call at Martha Stewart saying I needed to come to my home state - Now! ) some medical miracles and a few days of hazy life later - she woke up. She knew who I was and wanted to eat a whole lot of Popsicles.

In the hospital, I saw how the nurses used body work - stretches, tapotment, effleurage to get my mom's body systems working for her again.

When she came home, she was in so much pain. He back, having been stretched due to how they manipulate the ribcage during open heart surgery, was one of the places she said she felt the most pain. We had moved my childhood bed downstairs for her recovery, I crawled in behind her and just began to rub...

She felt relief. She felt connected. And eventually, she healed.

This, is one of the main reason I am becoming a massage therapist.

I have always been a fan of massage therapy. I had felt how it had made a difference in my mind, body and spirit. Yet it was this time with my mom, the time I used my heart and my hands to give her support in healing that planted the biggest seed.

May 06, 2010

Hands Only CPR

I saw this PSA the other day and it made me think about how powerful helping hands can truly be.

May 02, 2010

Monthly Essentials: May

The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to remove nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. Lavender has the Latin name Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma which fills a room spread with lavender oil with a clean aroma.

Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourris since years.

Lavender essential oil has been traditionally used in making perfumes due to its aroma. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations are made using lavender oil. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg. Today, lavender essential oil is used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, gels, infusion, lotion, and soaps.

The various health benefits of lavender essential oil include: