happy fascia…happy me…

A friend in need…that’s me. A friend indeed…that’s Jennifer.

Jennifer Soames of Instride Body Work has been my body’s friend for many years. She was referred to me by another friend. A good thing. Word of mouth referrals are always the best.

As a massage therapist, Jennifer brought relief to my aching muscles. Between her magic fingers and those of my chiropractor, Carrie Babcox of Issaquah Family Chiropractic, I was able to keep on…keeping on. A good thing in older age.

A few years ago Jennifer upgraded her skills to those of a Kinesis Myofascial Integration specialist. According to Wikipedia…

Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) is a form of Structural Integration (a form of alternative medicine). It involves fascial manipulation combined with movement education. KMI Structural Integration is designed to restore structural balance, ease of movement, and a feeling of ‘fitting in your skin’.

For those unfamiliar with the fascia, physical therapist John F. Barnes offers a concise description…

Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider’s web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.) A high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems, but are not diagnosed.

Today I had another appointment with Jennifer. I’ve started scheduling monthly sessions with her. Sometimes I’ve gone longer than that between visits.

Throughout the hour long session, she intermittently asked me, as she usually does, to assess how my body feels. As is usually the case, I express feelings of lengthening from head to toe, and rib cage to rib cage.

As the appointment was nearing its end, I imagined my fascia smiling. A happy face on a white, ghostly me. Floating. Carefree. Light. Airy.

Jennifer chuckled at my description. 

It’s as though my fascia has finally arrived. It’s come into its own.

No more low man on the totem pole.

No more bearing the brunt of the daily burden without so much as a nod of acknowledgment.

No more just a humble servant.

My outer shell had been peeled away to reveal the mastermind behind the human machine.

My fascia.

I was floating like a ghost…anchored for the first time…to the real me.

The good news is now that my fascia has begun to resume its original form…the one with which I was born…the bad postural habits I’ve acquired over 65 years are beginning to dissipate. My body prefers the improved me, as now afforded by my newly elasticized fascia.

…freed fascia!…free me!

………hugmamma.organ-of-form-with-150x300Photo credit – http://rolfingmidlands.co.uk/

Visit http://instridebodywork.com/ to learn more about Jennifer Soames and her healing powers. The information she offers on her website can help free your fascia…and you.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: relief…fascia release

Just returned from having a massage. Actually, it felt more like my body was stretched to the max.

Not on the rack, mind you. No, no. This is 2013, after all.

Jennifer Soames Bodywork Maple ValleyJennifer Soames of Instride Bodywork at http://www.instridebodywork.com, worked on my body’s faschia. It’s inability to perform as usual has probably been at the root of my recent health issues.

As Jennifer explained it, the faschia is like saran wrap that encases our entire skeleton, not only on the outside but throughout all the nooks and crannies as well.

Imagine then what happens when saran wrap clings to itself. Pulling it apart is difficult at best. More than likely, it’s impossible.

Tossing out useless saran wrap is one thing. We don’t have that option when our faschia becomes stuck.

Most, if not all of us, live with stuck faschia. Over time our movements become restricted. And with restriction comes discomfort which eventually dissolves into pain. Chronic pain, to be exact. And that’s what makes fibromyalgia unbearable.

Chronic pain. And the accompanying fatigue from having to move when the faschia’s constriction doesn’t allow for normal movement.

I imagine old age is hurried along by faschia that’s become stuck…everywhere.

Picture dad, once tall and erect, vital and hardy…barely able to go the distance and cranky as hell. Then there’s mom, usually bubbly, and into everyone’s business (in a good way, of course)…stuck in neutral and wondering where the day went.

Humorous to imagine. Not so funny when you’re the one suffering…for days, weeks, months, even years on end.

After one hour with Jennifer today, I could raise both arms to their full length. Rotating them at my sides in ever-widening circles, I was giddy with delight. Just a few days ago, I could barely do half-circles without feeling like my shoulders would snap.

Between massaging each arm, Jennifer would have me get up and walk around. She asked if I noticed anything different.

Heck, yeah!

The arm that had been worked on felt longer, looser. In short, it felt as though my arm had been reset. It’s as though I’d gone in to a body shop for repairs, and left with a totally new limb. By comparison the arm still needing work seemed compacted, jambed into place, unable to extend.

In the remaining minutes Jennifer massaged my neck, upper back and a bit of my lower back.

The session ended with a massage to my spine while I arched slowly forward as though I were bending over a beach ball.

I left feeling as though Jennifer had rolled me out like homemade bread dough. Under her careful kneading, my body continued to spread. I was able to rise fully, walking tall as I exited her office.

Excited with the results, I enrolled in Jennifer’s 3 session program, each one lasting an hour-and-a-half instead of the usual one hour. My first appointment is the week after Thanksgiving, and the remaining two appointments will follow one week apart. Upon completion I’m certain I will feel like a woman reborn.

I’m a staunch believer in alternative medicine…chiropractic, naturoapathy, massage therapy. Perhaps one day I’ll take on acupuncture.

Our aging bodies can’t keep doing for us without us doing for them. They need maintenance. Diet and exercise are only the beginning. Proper realignment is essential to make sure all the moving parts keep working.

We do as much for our automobiles. Why not for the “machines” we shove through the meat-grinder, day in and day out.

Folks who are non-believers, as I once was, probably feel chiropractic manipulation and therapeutic massage are money pits. My daughter convinced me otherwise. Since her body is pivotal to her career, she feels both are mandatory to her longevity as a dancer.

So it makes sense to enlist whatever help I can to keep my body in mojo mode. I’d like to do my job as a wife, mom, and whatever other “hat” I’m wearing on any given day for as long as I’m able.

My mom, a young widow with numerous mouths to feed referred to our automobile as the family’s “bread and butter.” On weekends we gathered around the Dodge to give it a wash and a wax. Keeping it in tip top shape meant my mom could keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. With the help of her trusty companion, my mom traveled to and from her job at a Catholic orphanage an hour’s drive away.

Your body is your “bread and butter.” Take care of it…and it’ll take care of you. Its as good as having a lifetime warranty.

Visit Jennifer’s website for expert information. I can only offer layman-speak. But if you’re like me and want someone you know and trust to make a referral, then…

…go get a massage…for your faschia, if possible…

…i highly recommend it!………hugmamma.

KMI back work

KMI back work (Photo credit: Dreaming in the deep south)

working out the “knots,” makes a difference

Had my second physical therapy appointment today with Pierre at Olympic Therapy. Several weeks ago, I had experienced muscle pain in the area of my neck, upper back and shoulder blades which traveled the length of my left arm, including my fingers. The tingling sensation that went along with it, and the sharp pain in my armpit, had me thinking heart attack. Needless to say I lay awake all night, wondering. By the following morning, I’d decided the chronic ache I’d been experiencing for years, had gone into overdrive. A visit to the chiropractor and the internist later that day confirmed my suspicions.

Following almost immediately upon the heels of my back problem, I caught my husband’s cold. The hacking cough I developed as a result, lasted weeks. My back, and ribs, took a beating. I decided then and there that once I was well enough, I was seeing a physical therapist. I needed deep down relief from the tightened muscles I’d lived with for years.

Many have told me that my neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles felt like a block of brick, including doctors, alternative health practitioners, my husband and my daughter. Doctors prescribed over-the-counter pain medications, as well as muscle relaxants. Chiropractors and massage therapists have given me great relief which lasted, until I returned to the daily grind of lifting, bending, twisting, slouching. But I knew the day would come when I needed physical therapy to undo all the “knots” that had accrued over my lifetime.

Pierre has allowed me to see that I needn’t live with chronic pain. In my first session last week, he evaluated the extent to which my head could turn from one side to the next. It was obvious that turning to the left met with some resistance the further I tried to move my head. Pierre taught me exercises to do there, and at home, which have loosened the tightness in that area considerably. He also recommended corrections to how I should sit at the computer, sliding forward to the edge of the seat so that the weight of my body rests on my legs. Having done as he suggested, my return visit already showed signs of improvement.

Today as I lay looking up at the ceiling, Pierre used a roller of some sort to work through the knots on the left side of my neck. I felt pressure, but no pain. He concurred when I asked if the knots were scar tissue that had amassed in the area over time. He again confirmed that he was working to release the fascia which encases the muscles. Finally, he warned me that the tiny capillaries were releasing blood, so that my neck would have red bruises for a couple of days.

When I sat upright, my vision was so clear, as if someone had inserted new eyeballs into my sockets. Pierre chuckled when I told him. But more significantly, from the time he worked on my neck until now, there is such a looseness in the area of my neck, the likes of which I’ve not felt in more than a decade. I realize, however, that more needs to be done to ensure that the healing is long-lasting, and not a temporary fix. Especially if I want to remain active, and capable of lifting, bending, twisting, but NOT slouching. I’m going to sit up straight from now on, even if it kills me!

Medical doctors are not the “be all and end all” to good health. Many of them will tell you, a little help from alternative health practitioners goes a long way toward keeping our bodies oiled and primed to enjoy quality of life. And one of my main priorities, apart from my family, is to keep my “chassis” up and running, and good to go!

you might want to do the same…hugmamma.