FAQ, Massage

Does Massage remove Lactic Acid?

A client recently asked: “Massage removes lactic acid, doesn’t it?” This gave me pause. While it was thought to be true a decade ago, it is now considered to be unequivocally false. At that time it was also touted that massage removes toxins. It turns out that wasn’t accurate either. 


Twenty years ago there was very little research or science around why massage does what it does and why it might be good for a person. Thankfully, research and science have come a long way in proving what many have known all along — therapeutic touch is good for health!

For more information on lactic acid read this article from Scientific American. It explains how lactic acid is part of a chemical reaction involved with anaerobic activity. Along these same lines it has been determined that lactic acid has nothing to do with delayed onset muscle soreness caused by exercise. 


What does cause delayed onset muscle soreness? When muscles are exercised beyond their normal load they experience micro-tears. These tears incite inflammation. The good news is that studies show that massage helps reduce the inflammation associated with second-day muscle soreness.

This article from WebMD describes exercise related muscle soreness. Of note, this article specifically recommends massage to cope with it.In review, what does massage actually do? With the proper techniques applied it can accomplish the following:

  • Lengthen shortened muscles
  • Erase scar tissue
  • Loosen fascia
  • Stop muscle spasms
  • Work out trigger points
  • Move Qi, or universal life energy
  • Sedate the nervous system
  • Decrease cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Increase oxytocin (feel good hormone)
  • Move lymph
  • Increase range of motion
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Most importantly — Make you feel good in your body

I call that an impressive list!

Massage, Shiatsu

Abdominal Massage

Do you have indigestion, constipation or menstrual issues?  What about scars from a C-section?  What about that uneasy feeling in your abdomen when you are feeling anxious? Did you know that the Practical Healer has extensive training and experience working with these issues?

Benefits of Abdominal Massage

Relieve Constipation:

In a nutshell we get things MOVING.  The goal is to stimulate peristalses of the large and small intestines and get everything stuck in there unstuck. Also there are acupressure points in the tummy that are relieving.

Rest and Digest

We are also stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This system is also known as rest and digest.  We are getting your body to wind down and relax so that the body has a chance to heal itself. A gentle tummy rub is very soothing.  I will often have you breath into my hands as this is also very relaxing.

Menstrual Cramps:

Also caused by muscles spasms in the lower portion of your abdomen. We are getting those to calm down with specific Ampuku techniques.  Some of the work is done very gently on the skin over the area where the Uterus is.

Low Back Pain

What’s on the front side of the back; the stomach.  Sometimes we actually need to access the low back through the stomach in order to get the qi moving in the low back.  In particular this is how to access the Iliopsoas muscle group.

Abdominal Scars:

One of my favorite workshops I ever did was on erasing scars with Marjorie Brooks. This is especially important after abdominal surgeries like those involved with C-Sections and Fibroids. Scar tissue can actually spread and go deeper, below the surface.  These little fibers grab onto muscle tissue and organs and sometimes cause other pesky problem down the road, not to mention plain old discomfort.

Post-Partum:

The goal is to help everything under the surface to settle back into place.  The baby and placenta push the organs every which way in order to have enough room to grow.  We also want to aid the uterus in contracting back down to its normal size. Not to mention help heal the separation of the rectus abdominis.

massage 3

How it is done:

If I am doing a Shiatsu it is easy.  I just lift up your shirt use a little of my essential oil creme.  If doing a Swedish Massage I have a draping method to keep the breasts covered while exposing the tummy as seen in the above picture.

I do some nice gentle circles over the whole abdomen.  This is very calming and stimulates the digestive system.  Then I will use pressure and do a pattern in a clockwise direction.  You will probably hear some gurgles.  The pressure can be fairly light or go deep depending on need.  Then I will press specific points for specific conditions.  Sometimes I will just hold my hands

These techniques take about 4-10 minutes of your appointment depending on need.

In the case of C-Section scars or other scars it will take more.

Most of my clients choose 75 or 90 minute sessions so that we can cover everything including abdomin.

Training:

When I went to  Shiatsu school I learned three different styles of abdominal massage.  Later I went deeper into the topic with a workshop on Chi Nei Tsang-an esoteric style of abdominal work from Asia. If that wasn’t enough, I learned Western Abdominal Massage in the Swedish Massage Program at Centerpoint.  Also, I have taken a workshop on scar tissue massage which is particularly important when working with C-Section scars. I have practiced these a lot on myself.   I can personally testify that I have cured my own menstrual cramps with Shiatsu.

Essential Oils and Abdominal Massage

I pair abdominal massage techniques with an essential oil creme blend that I created myself.  Essential oils included in that blend are Cardamom, Ginger, Laurel, and Peppermint.  I will use this creme blend when working on your abdomen.

Also available as a roll-on for $10.00.