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Prenatal Massage in NYC - A Guide to a Peaceful Pregnancy

Prenatal Massage: A Guide to a Peaceful Pregnancy

Ruth Anselm, Senior LMT, explains what prenatal massage is & why it helps. Read below to find out how we can help you have a smooth pregnancy.

Pregnancy is accompanied by thousands of emotional and physical changes. Even the “easiest” and “best” ones come with an array of challenges. An effective prenatal massage therapist can help with these challenges, both throughout your three trimesters and after pregnancy. In decades past, most women were advised to avoid massage during the first trimester. Medical studies have since found that as long as you are healthy, massage during the first trimester is totally okay!

Whether you’re looking for a massage therapist in midtown or downtown NYC, you’ll want to make sure you are seeing a massage therapist who has experience with pre and postnatal massage. One who can help set some of your concerns at ease. There are a tremendous number of things that newly pregnant women are told they “should” and “must” do or not do. These messages can be overwhelming 🙂 A great prenatal massage therapist makes sure that you feel listened to, comfortable, and that lines of communication are open.  

From Finding Out to a New Family: What happens along the way? 

The following is a loose guideline on what to expect and when you’ll likely experience it. As well as how to find massage therapy in the New York area to help.  

1st Trimester/Prenatal Massage: “It’s positive!” to “This is really happening!”

This is the first 12 to14 weeks where women tend to feel exhaustion, mild to severe nausea, hormonal fluctuations, headaches and constipation. During this time prenatal massage is helpful for treating headaches and for managing stress levels. However, if you have a high risk pregnancy, massage is not recommended during the first trimester. If nausea is severe you likely won’t be interested in massage or able to travel to it. 

If you’re feeling well, though, this is a great time to start getting into a regular routine of self care. This includes prenatal massage therapy! Keeping yourself as relaxed as possible is very important throughout the entire pregnancy to create a happy home environment for the baby that they will want to stay and grow in. 

2nd Trimester: Mama’s got a whole new body.

Somewhere between 13 and 27 weeks you will start to notice your belly growing. Physically, things start changing very quickly during this time. Many suggest this is the time you will feel your best. It is also when prenatal massage starts becoming more essential for maintaining maximum comfort. 

You may have already started experiencing Round Ligament Pain. This is normal (it’s a sharper pain around the groin and front of the hip area). Unfortunately not much can be done for this except making minor adjustments on your own when standing up. It is, however, a foreshadowing of what many women begin to experience around weeks 20-30. 

Your hips start to widen relatively fast to support your growing belly. A typical complaint may be a deep ache in the outer hips and/or low back and often feels constant! The muscles supporting this area tend to go into spasm in response to the expansion. They benefit greatly from detailed and specific massage to release them. 

Leg cramps are another common issue. They can wake you up in the night suddenly or just be an ongoing tight area. There are some specific points around the ankles and feet that should be avoided. A trained prenatal massage therapist will know about them. Work in the hips and upper legs can help with blood flow to the lower leg. More gentle work can be done in the lower legs to help relieve cramping. 

3rd Trimester: Please give up your seat to the elderly, disabled, and PREGNANT LADY!

This is 28 weeks up to the time you give birth. At this point your body is likely dying for a prenatal massage! Although you’re getting so close, the last 10-12 weeks can feel longer than the rest of the pregnancy combined. You have trouble with shoes and stairs… and SLEEP. 

Sleep is vital and the most important thing you can give yourself is rest. Getting comfortable is what it is all about now. Having a date with yourself and your massage therapist may only bring temporary relief, but often leads to the best sleep you get all week later that evening! The strain on your body tends to be pretty substantial. Some women notice it just in their legs and hips. Others in their neck and jaw, any and all parts of the back, and many times the feet. You name it, we’ve heard and seen it in our prenatal massage clients. 

You never know how your body will respond to pregnancy and it’s always unique to the individual. Working to create as much ease in the areas of discomfort can make more room for the baby to find a comfortable position. Anytime more room is made, that little child is going to find it and take it. If muscles are relatively relaxed it helps with efficiency in the body when moving with that extra weight. Later it helps with the labor!

4th Trimester/Postnatal Massage: Your baby is here! 

Hopefully you have had few to no complications. It is recommended to wait for clearance from the doctor before getting postnatal massage after having a baby. Opinions range anywhere from just a few days to 6 weeks after giving birth. The latter being for women who deliver via C-Section. 

The benefits to having a postnatal massage are: 

  • Providing stress relief by decreasing cortisol levels 
  • Increasing blood and oxygen circulation to help with the healing process
  • Reducing muscle cramps
  • Smoothing scar tissue in cases of cesarean
  • Preventing postpartum depression 
  • Teaching at home techniques to help with the flow of breastmilk
  • Preventing blocked ducts in cases of breast-feeding mothers 

One of the things that happens the most after having a baby is that women tend to forget all about their own self care since they now have someone else to prioritize. What is vital to remember is if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be in very great shape to take care of the ones you love. You might be able to for a little while, but when fatigue sets in, you will really start to notice. Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your little one 🙂 

At Bodyworks DW we Specialize in Prenatal Massage & Postnatal Massage

We offer postnatal and prenatal massage in the New York area, in Midtown and the Financial District. Would you like to schedule a professional prenatal massage with a qualified massage therapist to support you and your little one today? It’s never too late to take care of yourself no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in. Book it and you’ll see what we mean 🙂 

Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our prenatal massage Midtown or prenatal massage Fidi studios!

Neck Pain. The Real Issue May be Below the Knee...

Working Below the Knee May Help Your Neck Pain

Rachel Simhon, LMT and featured therapist of the month tells us why working below the knee can relieve neck pain. Don’t believe it? Take a look yourself!

Why did you get into massage therapy?

My background as a yoga and Pilates instructor specializing in pain management and injury rehabilitation inspired me to pursue a career in massage therapy. I’ve always been a very hands-on movement instructor. Manual therapy felt like a natural extension of the sort of work I was already doing. I also very much experience the world around me through touch! It made sense to take a step further, seeking formal training in a modality where I could focus on that. Keep reading to learn about the connection between your neck pain and everything below the knee!

Most common pain your clients experience?

The most common pain issue clients report to me is neck pain & shoulder pain. However when clients are on the table, everywhere below the knee frequently seems to be the most aggravated. This isn’t a coincidence. I often find a relationship between forward head carriage and tension in the calf muscles. I always do a thorough movement assessment at the beginning of an appointment. This helps me to see how the client is and isn’t able to move.

Then we may also do some manual muscle testing to investigate where a dysfunctional relationship might exist. I then work to release tension in areas below the knees like the calves that can have an effect on the position of someone’s pelvis. Consequently, it’ll have an effect on their overall standing posture and gait. 

I love working below the knee most of all because so often clients will not notice any issue yet focused work there can yield such dramatic results. After release of these areas below the knee I give clients homework to help activate underactive neck muscles. This paired with breathing exercises will help decrease resting tension in the diaphragm. Often times tension in the diaphragm will place stress on the accessory breathing muscles located on the neck.

What is Medical Massage? - Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

What is Medical Massage Therapy?

Rachel Simhon, LMT & August’s therapist of the month answers the question, “What exactly is Medical Massage and how it can help me?” Take a look!

Very often our clients point out that the massage we give you at Bodyworks DW is very different than what you experience at a spa. This is because we provide customized, therapeutic work that falls under the classification of medical massage therapy

According to Article 155, Section 7801 of New York State Law, “The practice of the profession of massage therapy is defined as engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the human body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and vibrating with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation.”

Obviously, this is quite a broad definition. It covers a whole host of massage and bodywork modalities. So what is medical massage? 

How Is Medical Massage Different than Spa Massage?

A licensed massage therapist (LMT) is the professional performing the work in both the spa and medical massage settings. To date, there is no extra certification required in New York State to perform medical massage therapy above and beyond a New York State license to practice massage therapy. However, there’s plenty of post-licensure training and mentoring available for therapists who want to focus more on medical massage. The key distinction between spa massage and medical massage lies in the intention of the work. 

What is a Spa Massage?

The intention of a spa massage is generally relaxation, but can also be any sort of non-specified self-care. The spa massage experience prioritizes feeling good in the moment. A spa will often have additional comforts such as robes and aromatherapy in order to heighten the customer experience of pampering. This can have very wonderful results in overall mood, and feel very relaxing. However, the results usually don’t last very long. 

What is Medical Massage Therapy?

Alternately, NYC medical massage therapists focus on helping to manage a medical condition for the long term. We practice outcome-based massage therapy. This can include improving functionality after an injury, relieving pain, or managing a chronic condition such as arthritis or MS. As a result, many of our clients at Bodyworks DW have been referred to us for medical massage by a physician, surgeon, and/or physical therapist.

Medical massage therapy can sometimes feel uncomfortable at points during your session, but that’s often the trade-off. It may not feel as relaxing, in session, as a spa massage. But the results can last much longer. When it’s performed in a series of sessions that build on each other, many conditions can be improved or eliminated for the long term.  

What can medical massage help with? 

  • Physical pain from muscle tension around the spine and major joints of the body 
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Torticollis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Work-related or repetitive stress injuries
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Sports injuries
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Pain from arthritis 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Scar tissue from trauma and surgeries

At a medical massage session, you can expect a thorough intake. Your therapist will ask you questions. Their intention is to understand what your goals for getting a massage are. With my own clients, I generally lead with “How can I help you today?” The most important details you can provide have to do with the timeline or history of your current concerns. 

Your History is Unique…Your Massage Should be Unique too

A client’s timeline helps us establish if particular issues are acute or chronic. This is important for knowing which techniques would be most appropriate. It also helps in getting a better idea of how many sessions you might need to achieve your desired outcome. 

For example, neck pain that came on suddenly and for the first time two days ago after taking a long standardized test is different than neck pain that has come and gone for the last five years after whiplash from a car accident. During a medical massage, your therapist might also ask questions about your lifestyle. A ballet dancer will have vastly different priorities than an attorney who sits for 12 hours a day at their desk.

Assessment and Planning for the Session

After speaking with you, your therapist will make an assessment of your posture and alignment. This involves you simply standing up so that the therapist can visually establish the location of certain landmarks. For instance, looking at the position of the head in relation to the ribcage and pelvis. It can also include assessment of how certain joints move in relation to each other. 

We may ask you to bend forward and backward, side to side, and rotate in both directions. This helps determine whether or not you have movement available in all three planes. And what your range of motion in those planes is. Sometimes we’ll ask you to walk across the waiting room so that we can observe how you move during walking or running. Or we’ll perform manual muscle testing to assess the strength and function of certain muscles. And of course, every therapist will use their hands to palpate areas of the body to develop a plan of where to focus the work during the session. 

Addressing the Root of Your Issue

The assessment is important so that we don’t simply get stuck rubbing the areas that hurt like at a spa massage session. We want to address the actual root causes of your complaints. Many of you are often surprised to find your low back pain relieved by work on your hips. Or your elbow pain improved by focusing on your neck. While a spa massage might evenly divide time between both left and right sides of the body and front/back, medical massage is an individualized session based on your specific issues. 

Your medical massage therapy session may skip areas of your body, or feel quite asymmetrical. Frequently, pain is caused by asymmetrical posture. So an asymmetrical, customized session is often needed to bring you into balance. 

What Happens After Your Medical Massage?

At the end of a medical massage session you and your therapist will have an outtake discussion together to evaluate how to meet your goals. And to discuss specific follow-up recommendations for you. This may include how many follow up sessions you might need and how long you should wait between sessions. In addition, we’ll suggest exercises or lifestyle changes you can implement between sessions. These will help your body accept changes initiated during the session. And give you the tools to keep pain in check going forward. 

Not all conditions improve with medical massage alone. So we may refer you to another wellness provider such as a pilates instructor, physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, orthopedist, etc. We have a wide network of colleagues that we and our clients have raved about. Everyone we refer to has been vetted for excellence in their field. 

Our own staff has a wide array of skill sets. We might also suggest that you work with one of our colleagues in-house. Especially if we feel like they might be able to help you more quickly. We invite you to think of medical massage as part of a healthy lifestyle!

At Bodyworks DW we Specialize in Medical Massage

We offer medical massage in the New York area in Midtown and the Financial District. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with a qualified massage therapist in midtown Manhattan or in the Financial District? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown or medical massage Fidi studios!

What does a Massage Therapist do? Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

What does a Massage Therapist do?

Meghan Krupka, LMT at Bodyworks DW, writes about what your friendly neighborhood massage therapist is working on to improve their work when they aren’t working on you:) Read below!

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of your massage therapist is like? Certainly, a majority of our time is spent interacting with and treating you, our clients. In addition, a good massage therapist will also be spending time improving their craft. Staying up to date on current research, and working on your treatment plans!

Holistic healthcare practices have gained significant traction over the last decade. The role of the massage therapist in healthcare is now accepted and integrated into the mainstream. Studies have shown that massage therapy improves a person’s well-being, whether that be physical, mental, or both. Given its growing presence, we believe it is important for you to know a bit more about it. And about how the person who shows up when you search for “a good massage therapist near me” spends their time 🙂 

The main event: massage therapy session

The primary job of a massage therapist is to work with and treat you in a session. We use touch and manual manipulation, also commonly called manual therapy. This affects muscles and their surrounding tissues. Clients may come to a massage therapist for a wide range of reasons. Relaxation, pain relief, injury management, stress relief, general wellness. The therapist aims to relieve pain, assist in healing injuries, provide additional bodily circulation, relieve stress and increase relaxation. 

Let’s say you have made an appointment with a massage therapist in New York and have arrived at the studio. Your therapist will greet you, and take some time to review your medical history, daily routines & activities. As well as any recent or “out-of-the-norm” events such as injuries. You can also expect an experienced massage therapist to check out your posture and how you move. All of this information allows your therapist to carefully create a plan to best address your pain and chief complaints. Even if you are simply coming in for a maintenance massage, general well-being, or relaxation, you can still expect all the above so we can provide you with an optimal session. 

Additional Evaluation Techniques Your Massage Therapist May Use

Depending on the reason for your appointment, your massage therapist may use additional testing techniques to evaluate your condition. These may involve modalities such as kinesiology which tests your relative muscle strength and function. Or looking at specific joints’ range of motion and tissue quality. These all help us to further determine which techniques to use. And which rehabilitative exercises or homework we may want to send you home with so you can continue to reap benefits. 

After talking and evaluating, your massage therapist will lay out your treatment plan for you for today’s session and likely for follow up sessions. More often than not, multiple sessions will be needed to fully address your concerns. And for your body to accept and integrate changes. While we are the experts with anatomical knowledge and training, we always want to make sure you agree with and will be comfortable with our proposed approach before we start the massage. 

Once the session is complete, your massage therapist will discuss with you how you feel and ask if you notice any improvements. They will also take another look at your posture or re-evaluate muscle and joint conditions to see what’s changed. And they will go over 1-3 at home exercises they think might be beneficial for you in between sessions. 

Developing your treatment plan and course of action

Many times during a session, your therapist will find areas on you needing attention that weren’t initially included in the original plan for the massage. This is normal. As current aches and pains lessen, the older underlying roots of it may come to the surface. These can be addressed in future sessions. 

Consider making a commitment to stick with it and work through these seemingly unrelated areas of the body. It will make a huge difference in whether or not your present pains stay away for the long term or come back later. 

We may also discuss your treatment plan with other healthcare professionals you are working with–orthopedists, physical therapists, chiropractors, etc. Or even amongst our own colleagues. This is especially common if you are dealing with chronic pain, a recent surgery or a new injury. This communication is critical to ensuring we are creating the best treatment plan for you and that our work is complementing other beneficial modalities. 

For most conditions, plan on 3-6 massage sessions with two weeks or less between sessions. We’ve found that this is the average range of sessions it will take to both have you feel better in the short term and to keep that feeling for the long term. 

Staying up to date on research and continuing education

Massage therapists in New York are required to complete a certain number of continuing education units every three years. These additional educational units or certifications help keep us up to date. They also offer the opportunity to learn new modalities. And to talk with other professionals about common conditions we see in clients. 

Keeping up with the newest research is also the duty of a good massage therapist. Comprehensive research studies on massage therapy are currently somewhat limited but are growing quickly. We also read literature and research from other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists. Being able to communicate with and understand these other professions is important. And it helps to promote massage therapy as a legitimate and beneficial form of care. 

Reviewing research also can go hand-in-hand with crafting your treatment plan. If we come across a promising study that looks at clients with similar conditions, we may be inclined to incorporate a component from the study to benefit you as well. 

More than just hands-on

We know that being on the massage table is what you look forward to the most 🙂 We, as licensed massage therapists, do a lot behind the scenes to make sure your massage is as effective as possible. As a highly dynamic and unique structure, the body presents infinite areas for us to study and learn about. We spend a fair amount of our time outside the studio on learning and reviewing cases. So that we can make the most of the time we have with you on the table. 

At Bodyworks DW, we offer both pain management massage therapy and maintenance massage therapy.  If you see a Bodyworks DW massage therapist in Midtown NYC or the Financial District you can be confident of receiving the highest quality care. Would you like to schedule a professional massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our massage Midtown or massage Fidi studios!

The Benefits of Sports Massage: NYC Client Experiences

The Benefits of Sports Massage: NYC Client Experiences

Germain Phanord, LMT at Bodyworks DW, writes about the immense benefits of getting a medical sports massage at Bodyworks DW. Read below!

Germain Phanord

Benefits of Sports Massage: NYC Client Stories

New Yorkers are a special breed. We pound it out at the office, then pound it out at the gym. Or yoga studio, pool, court, field, etc. Sports massage in New York helps reduce your pain by improving circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body. And especially to sites of current or former injuries that have restricted blood flow (ischemia). This assists your body in removing metabolites and other toxins. 

Your heavily exercised muscles lose their capacity to relax over time. Which requires more of your effort and energy when moving. The lack ability for muscles relax is linked to soreness, and predisposes you to injuries. Especially muscle pulls and tears! 

A regular routine of sports massage therapy is very effective in combating these effects.

Sports massage frees your muscles to move your joints more openly and efficiently. It also introduces new sensory information into your system. A system that is normally locked into its own patterns. 

There are many benefits of sports massage. It can help you recover from injury and prevent new injuries. It helps make your complex human machine perform optimally with less pain in any activities. Running  faster, jumping higher, and hitting balls harder all with greater endurance are just some of the benefits of sports massage. 

There is such a thing as “too deep” 

At the studio we see lots of common injuries like stiff necks, rotator cuff injuries, runner’s knees, and Achilles tendinitis. During your massage, you may find some of the work uncomfortable. It may even have painful moments, depending on your threshold and how tight your muscles are. Keep in mind this discomfort should always be bearable. 

If you have to tense up just to handle it, that’s not actually going to give you a better result. The best work is done at a level that is slightly uncomfortable and you can breathe through it and keep your muscles relaxed. It is not uncommon to find that your muscles ache for a day or two after a sports massage. Keeping well hydrated and mobile will help this pass quickly. You’ll feel more freedom of movement after and see better performance than before! 

Benefits of Sports Massage and Example Client Results

Recovering from ACL and Shoulder Surgeries

We recently worked on client who was recovering from ACL surgery on his right knee. And also had surgery to repair a tear in his left pectoral major. These injuries came from a bad fall while he was skiing. This client is dealing with a lot of scar tissue from the surgeries. He had less range of motion in both areas and was starting to feel the effects of these restrictions throughout his body. 

Within 3 sessions he regained much more range of motion. And experiences less pain in movement. With continued sessions, he’ll be able to integrate the changes to each surgery site and find a new level of balance and performance.

Treating Runner’s Knee

Another client of ours had runners knee. He was in a lot of discomfort. This client was running 6 times per week with only one day of recovery. He is also in his mid 40’s and has been running since he was 19 years old. 

We suggested he cut down slightly on the running and mix in other forms of exercise that do not involve a lot of pounding on his knees. During treatment, we worked below and above to help release all of the muscles connected to the knee. After three sessions the client was able to get results he was looking for and is now able to run again, pain free!  

Saying Goodbye to Lower Back Pain and Shoulder Tightness

A third client of ours came in complaining of lower back pain and shoulder tightness. After evaluating his patterns, we found out that he works a desk job and then power lifts after work about 4 times per week. The pain in both areas began a week before the massage. He said that when he sits for long periods of time his lower back starts to hurt. 

We focused the first massage on the muscles of his back, hips, shoulders and neck. Then we did work a bit on his legs, ankles, and feet. Our third session focused on his trunk, shoulders and arms down to the wrist. By his fourth session his pain issues went away! We advised mixing in some movement workouts into his routine such as a yoga class once a week, and substituting a cardio workout with one of his power lift workouts. Giving the body a variety of exercise allows it time to heal from the heavy workouts and come back to the next lifts stronger than ever. 

Where Can I get a Great Sports Massage Near Me? 

At Bodyworks, sports massage is a modality used often with our clients. We regularly work on mild to serious injuries and chronic pain patterns. Stiff necks, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff issues, clients recovering from ACL surgery, hip injuries, Achilles tendonitis plantar fasciitis, wrist injuries…. You name it, and we’ve got your back 🙂 Literally! 

We offer sports massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional sports massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown or medical massage Fidi studios!

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How to Take the Benefits of Medical Massage Home with You

How to Take the Benefits of Medical Massage Home with You

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about how you can take the benefits of your medical massage home with you. Stay ahead of your pain!

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Medical massage in New York with a NYC licensed massage therapist should be a regular and valuable part of your self care routine. Let’s face it...New Yorkers are not known for doing things gently. We work long hours, slam weights at the gym, and then maybe hit back to back yoga classes. And while this additive approach to health does have it’s benefits, it’s not restorative and our bodies need time to heal. Here are some of our best at home and at work practices for taking the benefits your medical massage home with you! 

A great medical massage helps to relax both your muscles and your nervous system. It gives your brain time to switch out of your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight!). And engages your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) in a way that has benefits for long after the massage. 

In a perfect world we would all get massages every other day and feel fantastic 🙂 Given the reality of time and money this is simply not going to happen. However, there are plenty of practices you can take on to extend the great results of your massage between sessions. These will assist you in feeling great, allow you to go longer between massages, and help keep you from getting injured. 

Restorative practices to take the benefits of medical massage home with you

Lying Down with Your Feet up on a Chair

This is the number 1 homework assignment we give to all of our stressed out massage clients! It’s super easy, and it’s a great excuse to chill out a bit every day. We spend so much time sitting, our muscles get locked up in a sitting position. Which helps us sit, but is terrible for just about everything else we try to do. 

Lying down with you lower legs on a chair puts us in the same position as sitting but without needing to hold ourselves up in gravity. It passively shortens our psoas muscle (main hip flexor), quads, hamstrings, and calves. When you shorten a muscle but don’t make it do any work it gets to completely relax. It usually takes 4-5 minutes for your nervous system to chill enough to truly let go of your muscles. We recommend doing this for 5-8 minutes every night before bed to help you get a really good night's sleep!

All of our clients who have taken this practice on notice really huge results in about 2-3 weeks. Decreased low back pain or tension, better sleep, easier mood. Check out this video to see what it looks like and give it a try!

Contrast Hydrotherapy

Contrast hydrotherapy is a great way to take the benefits of medical massage home with you. It involves alternating applications of heat and cold to an area (or your whole body). The heat opens up blood vessels and tissues and relaxes the nervous system. The cold constricts the blood vessels and tissues and excites the nervous system. Alternating back and forth between them creates a pumping system for the area. This draws out damages such as bruising and brings in new blood with nutrients. The contrast creates a greater therapeutic result than either heat or cold alone. 

Local contrast hydrotherapy for acute conditions anywhere on the body

  1. Apply a heat pack to the area for 5 minutes
  2. Apply an ice pack or rub an ice cube into the area for 1 minute
  3. Repeat this 3 times, ending on ice

Local contrast hydrotherapy for carpal tunnel syndrome or ankle sprains

  1. Get two washbasins large enough to be able to place your whole forearm or feet into
  2. Fill one with hot water (as hot as you can stand)
  3. Fill the other with cold water (as cold as you can stand)
  4. Dunk you whole forearms into the hot basin so that the water is above the elbow (or your whole foot so that the water is above the ankle)
  5. Hold for 5 minutes
  6. Dunk area into the cold basin for 1 minute
  7. Repeat 3 times, ending on cold

Whole body contrast hydrotherapy for general health

  1. At the end of a shower, turn down the hot water and make it as cold as you can stand it
  2. Hold under the cold water for 30-60 seconds
  3. Turn the hot back on and hold under the hot water for 2-3 minutes
  4. Repeat 3 times, ending on cold (unless you shower before bed in which case end on hot to help you sleep) 

Here are some great heat and ice packs to try:

 

Stretching

Incorporate a basic stretching routine when you first wake up into your daily practice. And also a post workout cool down stretching routine. Guess what? The old school stretch as much as possible as suffer the pain as long as you can method we all associate with stretching doesn’t actually help much. Newer methods such as activated-isolated stretching and PNF stretching are much more effective. 

We recommend you change your mindset about stretching. Most of us think of stretching as about how flexible you are. We think of it as a surefire way to get blood moving through your body and to areas that might be restricted. Blood carries with it all the things your body uses to heal itself. These are David's two favorite books on different types of stretching:

You can learn owner David Weintraub’s daily morning stretch routine, as well as a bunch of other stretches and self care tips here:

Working on Form and Posture

Getting a great medical massage in Midtown or our Financial District studios involves a bit more that just what happens on the table. Our therapists are trained to look at your posture and movements for imbalances. We craft a table session to help balance these out, but we also always give easy homework practices to work on in between massages. 

The more aware you are of how your body moves the easier moving will become. Practicing simple form corrections while you are walking, sitting, standing, or exercising will make a big impact on how you feel. Since each of our bodies are unique, these corrections need to be given with thought and care by someone who has experience. Listening to the wrong directions in a group class can lead to injury for someone who doesn’t need that particular correction. For instance, some people in a yoga class could benefit from the direction to tuck your tailbone. However, if you are someone who is already tucked, listening to this may lead to lower back pain. 

Due to this, we aren’t going to give any specifics here as they will just be wrong for some of you. If you are working with an experienced massage therapist, pilates instructor, or Alexander Technique practitioner on a one-to-one basis make sure they give you 1-3 simple corrections to work on until you next session. Then give yourself a reminder in your phone to check in with these daily. 

At Bodyworks DW we always give practices to extend the benefits of your medical massage

When you work with one of our trained massage therapists, we aren’t going to just stick you on the table and give you a routine massage. We analyze your posture, and listen to you history and symptoms during a thorough intake. Then we craft a customized medical massage for you. In addition, we create an overall plan including a series of massage sessions with specific homework practices to help you in between. Our goal is to help you to not need us anymore 🙂 

Of course once you are out of constant pain you can come in for maintenance massage therapy to keep you pain and injury free. 

We offer medical massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown or medical massage Fidi studios!

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Tightness in Your Chest & How it Affects Your Back

LMT, Michael Terra Discusses Tightness in Your Chest & How it’s Affecting Your Back

Michael Terra, LMT at Bodyworks DW, is July's therapist of the month!

Read his interview below where he discusses how common it is for him to see people with upper back pain and the effectiveness of releasing the chest muscles to help the back. 

Michael Terra

Most common pain issue you see?

The most common issue I've seen in my clients has been upper back pain. Generally because of bad posture at a demanding desk job.

How do you work to correct this?

For those having issues with upper back pain from habitually poor posture, they can do at home stretches to the chest and strengthen the back. In terms of the work done on the table, the most effective treatment for upper back pain is working on opening up the muscles in the chest. This, however, will have a poor effect if we don't address the discomfort they are feeling in the back. So the first session will likely be on the back, getting into the kinks they feel. I can confidently say it's never something that gets fixed in 1 session. This treatment can range from 2 to 5 sessions depending on the willingness of the client to do their part at home.

Why are the abdominals one of your favorite areas to work?

My clients will back me up on this but one of my favorite places to work on is the psoas. It is a very memorable experience for first timers, and a muscle that when released brings a lot of relief for many people suffering from lower or upper back pain.

Favorite massage therapy success story?

One of my favorite experiences I had was with a client who is a mother of three kids under 13 with a full time job. She came in with excruciating and debilitating low back pain that radiated down the leg. This client had been managing it well with chiropractic and physical therapy for 2 years. 2 weeks prior to our first session it got bad. When she came in, she was limping and hunched over from the pain. She was looking for anything that could help.

At the end of the session, she left my table (still slightly limping) standing up straight and with a lot less pain. The best part was when she came in again a week later for a follow up, she came RUNNING to give me a big hug. She was no longer limping or hunched over or with lower or upper back pain. I now see her monthly for maintenance work. She is so relieved she can live her life in peace now.

What inspired you to become a Medical Massage Therapist?

Massage was something that followed me throughout my life. When I was a kid, my mother used to rub my feet, and I used to rub hers.

In college (during my Bachelor's in Mathematics) I was part of a Latin Dance team that met every single day for 4 hours a day for 9 months. Every now and then we'd take breaks and get together in a massage circle. Everyone always wanted to get in front of me. Some even asked me for private sessions. I did it but I told them that I had no idea what I was doing. Still, they requested that I work on their upper back pain 🙂

After college I had gotten an unfulfilling job and was thinking about a career change. My mother at the time had gone through a pretty serious accident that left her without the ability to use one of her legs, and a ton of muscular pain as a result. I had decided I wanted to do something where I could help her and landed on massage. I have loved every moment of this decision so far. I'm gladly helping her with her pain to this date.

Book an Appointment with Michael Terra!

How Often Should I Get a Massage?

How Often Should I Get a Massage?

Meghan Krupka, LMT at Bodyworks DW, writes about how often to get a massage at Bodyworks DW!

Meghan Krupka Licensed Massage Therapist at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

In the often hectic & stressful environment that is NYC, having a self-care plan or routine in place is key. A good self care plan can greatly aid in reducing the physical and mental effects of this stress. Deciding to integrate massage therapy into your self-care routine often begs the question: how often should I come in for a massage? There is no one-size fits all answer, but here are some general guidelines depending on your lifestyle and health. Hopefully, these will help you determine an effective frequency to keep you pain free!

General Recommendations: How Often Should I Get a Massage?

First rule: Don't wait for a crisis! Start adding massage therapy to your routine before you get injured. You'll need to come far less often and also vastly improve your ability to prevent future injury.

For any actual pain symptoms we recommend a series of massage therapy sessions with no more than 2 weeks between sessions. Depending on the severity of your pain and the causes the series will be anywhere from 3-8 sessions.

Once you are no longer experiencing pain, you can switch to a maintenance cycle of massage sessions. This is important to keep the pain from coming back. For people who work highly stressful jobs or work out hard regularly, we recommend a maintenance massage every 2-4 weeks. For the rest of you, a maintenance massage every 6-12 weeks usually does the trick of keeping you pain free!

When my job has me sitting at a desk for long hours

With a desk job over time your body starts accepting your sitting postures as your go to posture. Your body adjusts your muscles, nervous system, and fascia to make sitting easier to hold. This can be problematic when you go to do something more active. Like a run or yoga class. Or even something simple such as carrying groceries home. Or getting a heavy object down from a shelf. The long term build up of desk tension in the sitting position often leads to injuries.

Combatting the postural habits caused by sitting at a desk can be effectively managed with a series of weekly or biweekly massage therapy sessions.

A series of 3-8 massages with less than 2 weeks between them is usually enough. It will make a huge difference in your posture. And get you out of the chronic pain cycle. After you are pain free look at the general guidelines above for how often to get a maintenance massage.

A good massage therapist near you should also be able to provide you with corrective cues, exercises, other self-care practices. By practicing these you can lower the number of massage sessions you’ll need overall in the series. And you’ll be able to maintain your pain free life with fewer maintenance massage sessions too!

Getting massage therapy to help recover from surgery

Depending on the severity of your surgery, we recommend massage therapy once every few weeks. This assumes that you are also working with a physical therapist 1-3 times a week. Massage therapy sessions for these cases will help to reduce pain and hopefully reduce the need for pain medication. It will also improve overall circulation, minimize the effects of scar tissue and promote lymph drainage if there is swelling.

Asking your doctor about whether massage therapy is a good treatment option for your particular surgery recovery is also recommended. While massage can help with recovery from many types of surgeries, it can be contraindicated for certain ones. Or particular massage modalities may be better suited for your specific case. Having all health professionals involved and on-board will result in a more effective, comprehensive and seamless transition back to normal activity. Once you are able to return to your favorite and daily activities, massage session frequency can be reduced to a maintenance cycle.

However, sometimes insurance will stop covering physical therapy sessions despite the fact that you are still experiencing pain. If this happens, we recommend continuing massage therapy sessions once a week or at most every other week until you are pain free.

For chronic pain or stress due to autoimmune disorders?

Chronic autoimmune symptoms can range from disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, migraines, depression and insomnia…and many, many more. These conditions often cause debilitating effects that can disrupt your lifestyle. To manage these and work through them, it is recommended to work with a massage therapist every 2-4 weeks. Some conditions that are more serious or are still new for the client may even benefit from weekly or twice weekly massage sessions.

Massage therapy can help support you and keep your chronic symptoms under control. In conjunction with eating an anti-inflammatory diet, regular light exercise, it may also help lower dosages of any medications you are taking.

Have you been experiencing one or more of these conditions, or have been diagnosed with one? it is important to keep an open and ongoing dialogue with your therapist as well as all other involved health care professionals. Figuring out what works and what does not is critical to getting you to a point with fewer episodes and/or flare-ups.

When I have an active lifestyle

For the more casual athlete, gym-goer and workout warrior, sports massage session frequency can range from once a week to once a month. It is largely dependent on how often you are working out and playing sports. And the intensity at which you do these activities. For the average person trying to stay active and in good shape and health, once a month is usually a solid rule of thumb. If you compete in an activity or have periods of higher intensity training, increasing sessions to twice a month is always an option. On the more extreme end of the spectrum, professional athletes may require massage therapy multiple times a week. This helps to maintain their performance and to reduce their risk of injury.

Keep your training schedule in mind when you come in for a session. If you have a big event or intense training session within 24 hours, getting a focused deep tissue massage might not be the best option. Great massage therapists will instead craft a lighter session to complement your training and get you ready and primed for your big event.

Massage Therapy is cumulative...consistency is key!

Having consistently spaced massage therapy sessions at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy will allow you to get the most mileage out of your body. So you can minimize stress and pain and maximize recovery. The effects of massage therapy are cumulative. Your body thrives with consistency when it comes to taking care of it and each session builds upon the last. This is one of the reasons why we encourage booking your next appointment or two after you’ve finished a current one. This helps keep you accountable to yourself when it comes to taking your self care time seriously.

Bodyworks DW therapists want to get you to the point of “maintenance” massage. This means that our therapists have gotten you to a stable point with minimal to no current injuries, and no major pain. We ultimately want your massage sessions to be relaxing and therapeutic tune-ups that will keep your body injury and pain free for the long run.

We offer both pain management massage therapy and maintenance massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our massage Midtown or massage Fidi studios!

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Top 5 Reasons to get a Medical Massage in Midtown

Top 5 Reasons to get a Medical Massage in Midtown

Evana Class, Senior LMT at Bodyworks DW, writes about why you should receive a medical massage in Midtown with Bodyworks DW!

Evana Class

Bodyworks DW has always focused on the effectiveness medical massage for pain relief. We look for the root causes of your pain, taking care to learn why the pain/discomfort is there. This helps both us and you work together to your continuing a healthy lifestyle. Medical massage in Midtown and Fidi is not just for those of you who are injured or reviving form surgery. It can be a great tool for preventing pain and for preparing for a big event. That 100 meter race, marathon, or that redeye 10 hour flight!

Reason #1: We have the same fantastic qualified massage therapists in Midtown as in Fidi

Each massage therapist in midtown also works in our Financial District Location. Every massage therapist takes part in regular advanced trainings with owner David Weintraub. And combined these trainings with their own talents and skills to create unforgettable medical massage experiences.

Each therapist is dedicated to improving their knowledge to meet the needs of many different kinds of clients. Our large team gives you the flexibility to find the therapist that feels like the best fit for you.

There is also great communication among the team. If you have to change therapists due to a schedule conflict, you’ll be well taken care of by anyone on our team. Our massage therapists share notes with each other, do regular research, and ask advice when they feel like they have hit a roadblock. The entire team is dedicated to finding what treatments will work best for your pain. We work collaboratively to be the most helpful to you.

This has lead to a substantial growth, since our happy clients send us their friends and family to work with. Our FiDi location is often fully booked on any given day. Especially during the popular post-work and weekend times. Which is the main reason we chose to create Bodyworks DW Midtown, so we can help more of you 🙂  

Reason #2: Our Midtown Studio is Super Accessible!  

Whether you live or work nearby or take public transportation, Midtown is very convenient. We're just a short walk away from Penn Station! There are many subway lines through this major hub. The 1, 2, 3 red lines will take you right into Penn Station. You can also easily get to us from the A, C, E, (blue line). You live in Queens? Take a quick ride on the 7 train to Hudson Yards, walk about ten minutes to our studio and get ready for a fantastic massage. We got you covered!

Coming from Westchester or Connecticut? You can leave the car and take Metro North to Grand Central Station. It'll take you about 15-20 minutes to get from Grand Central to our studio. Lots of our clients make a stop here after work before heading back North. It’s great place to take a break from the office or after work before the long commute home!  

For those of you working or living in midtown or anywhere North of 14th street, Bodyworks DW Midtown is available for your best medical massage in New York!

Reason #3: Sometimes plans change and you can’t keep your Fidi appointment

Things don’t always go according to schedule. You may get called into a meeting the day before your fidi appointment and just can’t get out of it. If your therapist works in midtown as well, check their schedule there. It’s likely they will have an opening sooner in Midtown than in Fidi to reschedule. And despite the fact that they seem far apart, midtown is only 15 minutes away from Fidi on the A train.

Sometimes plans change the other way around and you find yourself with a free afternoon or evening. That’s a great time to come in for a session! Midtown has more same day and last minute appointments available than FiDi so don’t forget to check those.

Reason #4: Good Eats!

After a great medical massage in midtown treat yourself to some food! Here are our suggestions. All approved by Bodyworks DW 😬 

Try out the delicious Casa Nonna (“Grandmother’s House” in Italian), just one block north of our space on 38th St in between 8th and 9th ave. This spacious and beautiful restaurant will knock your socks off with their authentic flavoring that speak to true Italian cuisine.

Italian isn't your thing? What about burgers? If you're intrigued by the thought of a patty placed inside a sliced bread roll or bun, you MUST go to Black Iron Burger. It was voted NYC's No. 1 burger joint three years in a row by Zagat. What more can I say? This dreamy spot can be found on 38th st. in between 7th and 8th ave. Enjoy!

If you're looking for a snack, try out Boqueria on 40th st. in between 7th and 8th ave. Their Spanish tapas are to die for! Really beautifully made food that you can share or eat by yourself.

Reason #5: Local attractions (if you are visiting from out of town or simply never bothered)

Do you have some free time to explore? There are some big local sights within blocks of our studio.

Experience the newest interactive sculpture in Hudson Yards! Check out Vessel, made by Thomas Heatherwick before heading home after your massage. It's quite extraordinary.

While you're at it, keep your eyes out for a hidden art gallery called The Kaufman Arcade which presents work by local artists as part of the Garment District’s public art program. Anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to go!

The Garment District is a super fun place to walk around. The district's art program makes a point to commission both local and world class artists to create site-specific art installations outside. You'll find these pockets of artwork anywhere between 36th & 42nd St. and 7th & 8th Ave.

Visit the salad bowl of the World, The United Nations, learn about keeping nations at Peace, promoting human rights and bettering the development of other countries. This is on the east side of Midtown, but definitely worth the walk or bus ride!

The Chrysler Building, an amazing art deco skyscraper built in 1930 was once the world’s tallest. Check out the art deco detailing throughout and get your inner Great Gatsby on! 

We offer medical massage in Midtown from 12 pm to 9:30 pm. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown studio!

Therapeutic Deep Tissue Massage Techniques for Back Pain

Best Therapeutic Deep Tissue Massage Techniques for Back Pain in New York

Meghan Krupka, LMT, staff massage therapist at Bodyworks DW, writes about the most effective kinds of therapeutic techniques for back pain.

Meghan Krupka

One of the most common requests of massage therapy clients is back pain massage. Deep tissue massage techniques can be life savers! Our spine protects and houses a large part of our central nervous system. When trauma or dysfunction happens to your body, it is going to want to protect this region first. One way that your body does this is by sending pain signals to the area. The pain is meant as a signal to rest and heal. Unfortunately, with our busy lives, we tend to ignore this signal. 

The other way that your body protects itself is by “splinting” (contracting) the muscles surrounding your spine. While this can help with an immediate injury, it can exacerbate chronic back pain and tightness.  Back pain massage is a holistic approach to rectify this dysfunction. Therapists communicate to the nervous and muscular systems that the original injury has healed. When the brain processes that it doesn't need to protect anymore it lets your back muscles go. The splinting is no longer necessary.  

Great massage therapists employ many different deep tissue massage techniques. Back pain can be the result of a wide variety of neuromuscular issues and responses to trauma. Therefore, the approach for each client case is unique. Crafting an effective massage requires an understanding of how each technique is going to affect your specific body. Each technique has a specific intention and also produces a different sensation and result. Massage therapists frequently combine techniques to achieve an overall result that includes reduction in pain, tightness, and restriction!

Check out these products that can help relieve your back pain between massages:

Deep tissue massage techniques are most effective for long term back pain relief

Deep tissue massage is a higher intensity group of techniques. To be clear, deep tissue massage techniques should not be used to beat up your body and cause you unbearable pain! The name deep tissue massage indicates that the techniques are going to produce more intense feelings for you. This is due to the higher applied pressure and greater specificity of this pressure. The sensations should always be bearable to be effective. You should be able to breath through the intensity and not flinch or tighten other muscles. The techniques discussed below all fall under the larger umbrella of deep tissue massage.

Here are some of the main effective deep tissue massage techniques for back pain:

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release techniques involve slow strokes aimed at impacting the body’s “fascial layer.” This is a layer of connective tissues that lie between your visible skin layer and your muscles. It connects and weaves throughout our entire muscular system, including tendons and ligaments. Furthermore, at a microscopic level, fascia is the “glue” that connects all of your body’s cells together.

This deep tissue massage technique uses slow and sustained pressure to open up the fascia. For most of you, this will reduce your pain and feelings of restrictions. Fascial release has the ability to restore lost range of motion. Myofascial release is performed either without lubricant or with much smaller amounts than Swedish massage. As a result, your therapist to be able to move very slowly, stretching the tissues apart. 

The most commonly targeted muscles in the back for this technique are the spinal erectors and the quadratus lumborum. Gluteal and posterior upper leg muscles can also contribute to back pain. In addition, anterior muscles such as abdominals, psoas, diaphragm, and pectorals are major players in back pain. They can all be massaged very effectively with myofascial release.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy is the most specific deep tissue massage technique. It uses only the area of a finger or thumb tip to apply pressure. Trigger points are considered tender areas in your soft tissue. They cause referred pain to other areas of the body. They are colloquially called “knots.” In reality there aren’t actual knots in muscles. Rather trigger points are highly contracted areas—sort of like a tiny cramp. These points can generate very unpleasant sensations.

With trigger point therapy, the points are pressed and held for a sustained time. Pressure on the trigger point can often increase the referred pain for a short period. Then the knots release and the pain goes away. Properly addressing trigger points can result in reduced pain and restriction. Trigger points in your sacral area, thoracolumbar fascia, gluteal muscles and posterior upper leg muscles contribute to back pain. By “calming these down” immense relief can be obtained.

Cross-Fiber Friction

Cross-fiber friction is a technique of rubbing a muscles perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers. Issues such as tears, breaks, sprains, strains and other types of damage can affect muscles fibers, tendons and ligaments. When something like this happens, scar tissue forms. Scar tissue, unlike normal, healthy tissue, has collagen fibers that are not neatly arranged and aligned. The aim of this deep tissue massage technique is to help make this jumble of collagen fibers a little less messy. Additionally, it promotes circulation and reduces hypertonicity (the feeling of tightness). Cross-fiber friction can also reduce muscle spasms that occur. It helps tell the central nervous system it no longer needs to relay sensations of pain to the area.

This technique is frequently employed for targeting the spinal erector muscles running right along your vertebrae. These muscles are relatively thin, taut bands so cross-fiber friction works well because of the narrow perpendicular distance.

Muscle Stripping

Muscle stripping is a deep tissue massage technique which is applied along the length of a muscle. We move in the direction that the muscle fibers are oriented. Sometimes, this technique is also called longitudinal friction. Muscle stripping is ideal when the primary intention is to elongate muscle fibers. Particularly within a more concentrated area. Pressure can be adjusted by using forearm, fingers, thumb or elbow.

Similarly to cross-fiber friction, the spinal erectors are a commonly chosen area of the back to apply muscle stripping to. It is also easily applied to wider back muscles since the direction of pressure is with grain of the muscle fibers,. A good example would be the quadratus lumborum. Or other potentially involved muscles like the glutes or quads.

Pin and Stretch  

The pin and stretch technique involves “pinning” down a portion of a muscle while simultaneously moving the rest of the muscle away from the pinned area. The intention of this deep tissue massage technique is to provide a deep stretch to the portion of muscle belly that lies between the pinned point and the attachment that is being moved. It allows a therapist to apply a more intense stretching sensation to a particular region of a muscle. 

This technique can be either active or passive. When active, you will be contracting the targeted muscle and moving the attachment point. You will follow the therapist’s direction while moving a part of your body. When passive, the therapist will move your body for you. The main difference will be that the active approach requires you to engage their own muscles. This will be more intense and less relaxing. However, it will also have a greater effect on reprogramming your nervous system. The passive approach is less intense and more relaxing.  

How Bodyworks DW uses all of these deep tissue massage techniques in back pain massage in Midtown and Fidi

A great massage therapist needs to have a solid arsenal of techniques and tools to be able to create an effective and thorough treatment plan. At Bodyworks DW, we have regular advanced trainings for all of our massage therapists. These trainings are designed to improve each therapist’s skills in assessing the primary sources/reasons for your pain. Our therapists come prepared with a toolbox full of the best deep tissue massage techniques. 

Back pain is a prevalent issue addressed by massage therapists for many of you. Each of your massage needs and cases are unique. Therefore, each of our treatments are uniquely customized to you. Your Bodyworks DW massage therapist will carefully consider your symptoms, history, routine and movement patterns. Then they determine how to provide the most effective treatment. We are dedicated to finding what will work best for you. So that you can get back to moving more freely and without pain or discomfort. We offer back pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our back pain massage Midtown or back pain massage Fidi studios!

Abdominal Restrictions causing disconnects in your body?

LMT, Ruth Anselm talks about Fascial Restrictions in your Abdominals

Ruth Anselm, Senior LMT at Bodyworks DW, is our therapist of the month for June!

Read her interview below where she explains how fascial restrictions in the abdominals cause disconnects in your body & her reasons for becoming a medical massage therapist. 

Ruth Anselm

Most common pain issue you see?

Neck into shoulders + upper back, for sure. Although, you'd be surprised how many people need work done on their abdominals. 

How do you work to correct this issue in the abdominals?

Asking questions helps me determine what area needs addressing first. Also, knowing the quality of your pain is important in understanding the likely causes of your pattern. It helps me decide how best to help! For many of you with shoulder and neck pain, the areas that need work are in the front of the body. Working on areas such as the pectorals/chest, abdominals + diaphragm, muscles of the front of the neck, jaw, and the scalp can help immensely. However, the actual area of your pain will always get some needed direct attention too 🙂

The "homework" I give depends on the individual. Some folks need to DO LESS! For those clients, I'll offer a restorative yoga pose to open the chest. I'll also ask them to incorporate more things into their week that make them feel relaxed. This includes taking walks in nature, baths, etcetera.  Other clients need to actively stretch areas after warming up or add a little more blood flowing throughout the week. Taking more frequent breaks from desk work to roll shoulders, glance upward and breathe also go a long way!

Why are the abdominals one of your favorite areas to work?

Fascial restrictions in abdominals often disconnect upper body from lower body. For those who don't know, fascia is a sheet of connective tissue covering or binding together body structures (such as muscles). Most clients are surprised with the effectiveness of this work and will comment that they haven’t ever had it done... and didn’t realize they needed it.

Working the abdominal muscles and fascia can clue someone into how the upper & lower half of the body are connected. For many clients, they are often thought of as two separate areas that don’t affect one another. For instance, when abdominals are worked in relation to the front of the hips, it can lead to a fresher understanding of their body as a whole. To deepen this understanding, a therapist can work the abdominals and the front of the hips at the same time. The client can actually feel how one is pulling the other. For many who experience a “slouchy posture” the disconnect is from rib cage to abdominals. By opening up that relationship the client is able to feel more room for breath and ease in the chest. It's amazing how everything is interconnected.

What inspired you to become a Medical Massage Therapist?

A few things inspired me to become a medical massage therapist. One of them being my own pain from injuries sustained from years of being an athlete/dancer. Another being the developing of pain management techniques learned through years of studying yoga. I also experimented quite a bit with rolling on balls and rollers to get relief. The criteria I had for selecting massage therapy as my next move were taking all my knowledge of the body and experience and directing it in one place. The desire being to impact others in a positive way and make it a career versus a job.

Want to experiment with rolling on balls and foam rollers? Here's our suggestions on what to get:

Favorite massage therapy success story?

I had a client who experienced chronic pain since childhood. She had discomfort breathing, intense jaw pain, and an inability to sit or stand comfortably. Thankfully, we made incredible progress after a major shift in our first session! The intense jaw pain disappeared entirely, and the client gained the ability to sit cross legged as well as stand feeling even. The oldest of issues has taken repeated, regular sessions to help release the holding patterns that have crept in. This client's pain is under control & the work we've done has allowed great relief in activities of daily living.

The awareness and attention about the body that the client has gained is the most helpful and sustainable aspect of treatment. It helps them keep track and check in, noticing and changing patterns that contribute to the pain.

Book an Appointment with Ruth!

Medical Massage in New York by Alexon Santos LMT staff massage therapist at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Medical Massage in New York at Bodyworks DW

Alexon Santos, LMT, staff massage therapist at Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of medical massage at Bodyworks DW

Alexon Santos LMT - staff massage therapist at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Medical massage therapy is massage offered for the purpose of a therapeutic benefit

All professional massage therapies have some therapeutic value. Medical massage is different because its ultimate goal is providing a therapeutic treatment, not just relaxation. This treatment takes different forms. Goals can vary considerably between different clients. Having a massage therapist with strong training in medical massage in New York is something you can count on. It's part of every licensed massage therapists' 1000+ hours of training during school. 

Medical massage is often recommended by another health professional. And is performed as part of a larger treatment plan. For example, your physical therapist may refer you for massage therapy. Medical massage can loosen your muscles, improve muscle tone, increase flexibility, and increase range of motion.

Qualified and licensed professionals are required for the best treatment

Licensed massage therapists use their extensive knowledge of physiology and anatomy to design sessions to be effective. Most professionally licensed massage therapists will tailor the sessions to the needs of each patient.

First you and your massage therapist will first sit down for a brief intake interview. During the intake you will get to discuss your affected areas and symptoms. In addition they will ask about your medical history. Then they will perform a general postural assessment. The first session will be structured to meet your needs and be part of a plan for future sessions. The goal is to find the fastest and least resource (time and money) consuming way to relieve your symptoms.

If you are looking for medical massage in New York, our massage therapists have more training than most other states. The average massage therapist in the United States has about 600 hours of training. In New York, massage therapists are required to have 1,000+ hours of training in order to be licensed. This includes many hours of medical massage training. Medical massage in New York can be done well by any practitioner with a New York State license.

In other states, you’ll want to research whether your massage therapist has post school training in medical massage to be sure they are qualified to work on your specific condition.  

There are many issues that medical massage can be effective in treating

Injury Treatment and Prevention

Medical massage accelerates the healing process of freshly injured tissues by stimulating blood circulation to the area. This decreases swelling and helps to relieve the pain from new injuries. It also allow you to heal more quickly. This is true for Injuries caused by impact, overuse during sports or work, bad posture and body imbalances. Or simply by poor physical conditioning.

When it comes to injuries, massage therapy helps with all of the following:

  • Loosening muscles
  • Improving muscle tone
  • Increasing flexibility (range of motion)
  • Reducing adhesions
  • Preventing the formation of new scar tissue
  • Stretching old scar tissue to reduce its impact

Massage is important to accelerate the recovery process. Most common injuries can be treated in a medical massage studio. Including low back pain, neck pain, sprained ankles, sciatic symptoms, shin splints, tennis and golfer elbow, rotator cuff tears, and many others.

Pre Surgery Preparation & Post Surgery Recovery

Medical massage in the pre- and post-surgical period contributes to the success of the surgical intervention. It also shortens how much time recovery takes. Medical massage in the preoperative period helps prepare the body to better handle surgery. Massage stimulates lymphatic and blood circulation. This improves tissue oxygenation and decongests lymphatic pathways. Both outcomes will help you heal, lessen edema, and lessen pain after surgery.  

Medical massage helps in the tonicity of muscles and elimination of toxic waste to the body. Massage can also help break up any scar tissue and keep the muscles flexible so less scar tissue will develop at the surgical site. The increased range of motion and movement allows more blood to flow to the surgical site which allows for faster healing.

Treatment of Chronic Conditions

Medical massage can be very helpful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. When combined with traditional medical treatments, medical massage can improve quality of life for patients.  Massage assists in relieving pains, lowering anxiety and depression, improving blood pressure, lessening stiffness in joints, and many other benefits.

Massage is certainly not a cure for these conditions. In fact, for most autoimmune conditions there is no traditional medical cure. Medical treatment usually consists of immunosuppressive medications that help to lower symptoms. These need to be taken regularly for maintenance. Regular massage therapy along with these medications can help you feel even better.

For any autoimmune disease, you should consult with your healthcare provider to see if massage is recommended.  Among cases of autoimmune diseases, medical massage has achieved great results in treatments of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus and many others.

Prenatal Massage

Medical massage can be a good option for anyone who’s preparing to be a parent. Massage during pregnancy is a therapeutic type of bodywork focusing on the needs of the parent-to-be. It helps to prepare your body to go through the changes of gestation.

Massage during gestation, has remarkable effects. It causes the endocrine system to inhibit production of stress hormones. It also promotes the release of calming hormones. During gestation many people experience lower back pain, sciatica, sore feet, and labored breathing. In late pregnancy the uterus rests on the muscles of the pelvic floor and the lower back. Massage therapy can help release muscle tension and reducing inflammation on the nerves. It is especially helpful in lessening aches and pains during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

Doctors used to advise not getting massage therapy during the 1st trimester. Studies have shown that this older advice was not warranted. There is a large body of science showing that massage during the 1st trimester is perfectly safe in most cases. If you are having abnormal medical conditions during the 1st trimester that are requiring bed rest, then avoid massage. Otherwise, there is no reason not to enjoy the benefits of medical massage during your entire term!

Medical Massage in Midtown and Fidi At Bodyworks DW

At Bodyworks DW, our medical massage therapists create programs of sessions that extend outside our studio. Our treatment plans include stretches and exercises for you that can help lessen the number of sessions you’ll need. And prevent pain from returning later.

Our team is highly prepared to offer diverse types of techniques that will help you in different ways. Including prevention of injury, maintenance of your wellness, and relieving more complex situations and problems.

We offer medical massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage midtown or medical massage fidi studios!

 

Neck Pain Massage Therapy_ Designing Effective Lasting Treatments @ Bodyworks DW with David Weintraub LMT

Neck Pain Massage Therapy: Designing Effective Lasting Treatments

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about neck pain and the positive effects of massage therapy to overcome it.

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Why effective neck pain massage therapy shouldn't focus exclusively on your neck

Neck pain is a very common issue. Our phones and devices are constantly pulling our attention. Our head follows our eyes putting us in a "head forward" position. This pulls the muscles in the back of your neck into a constant stretch. And makes them work extra hard to fight the weight of your head. Muscles hate being stretched and working hard. So they yell at you with achy pain. Thankfully, neck pain massage in New York and can be an effective and lasting treatment...when done properly.

Does this sound like you?

a) Sitting at a desk staring at your screen for 40+ hours a week
b) Looking down at your phone multiple times a day
c) Reading your tablet in bed while propping your head up on a pillow

All of these habits tighten your anterior neck muscles (the ones in front). While simultaneously pulling on the posterior neck muscles (the ones in back).

My massage therapist should work mostly where the pain is, right?

Actually, no. That might feel good at the time. But it won't last more that a few hours to a few days if you are lucky.

The next day you may even feel worse. Like you were hit with a bag of hammers. Working only on what hurts won't do anything to relieve pain for the long term. Truly effective neck pain massage has to address what's causing your head to move forward in the first place. And the cause is usually not your neck!

For most common neck pain, the following three areas need to be released together at the same time. This will move your head into a more balanced position on top of the ribcage. When the head is balanced in gravity the muscles in the back of your neck and upper back get to relax. And stop yelling at you with achy pain.

The Three Main Areas to work on in a first session

1) Hip Flexor Muscles (any muscle that helps bring your knee towards your chest...there are more than 12!)

Your hip flexor muscles are tight from sitting all day. This pulls the top of your pelvis forward into an anterior tilt (forward tilt). Basically you can think of it as a small but significant fold forward in your hips. This forward fold pulls you entire upper body forward. If nothing else changed, you would feel stooped over.

2) The Ribcage Position

The position of your ribcage in relation to your pelvis is vitally important to relieving both back and neck pain. With an anteriorly tilted pelvis, the ribcage tilts backwards to compensate. The muscles in the mid back will work extra hard. Basically you will be doing a backbend all day long. You'll have to in order to keep the ribs balanced on top of your forward tilted pelvis. In addition to putting your head and neck in a poor position, this also puts a lot of strain on the low back.

3) The Pectoral & Anterior Neck Muscles

With the ribcage doing a backbend to balance the pelvis, your head needs to move forward to compensate. If it didn't, you'd be looking at the ceiling. As you head pulls forward it overstretches your posterior neck and upper shoulder muscles. Yes, we know that's where it hurts 🙂 However, working back there is not going to make a long term impact. The back of your neck is already over stretched. Releasing it into length even more (which is what massage does to muscles) is not going to help any. To really provide relief, the front side anterior neck muscles need to be released in order to give the back ones some slack.

If your massage therapist only releases the front neck muscles and not the mid back muscles, your neck will feel a lot better. But you'll be stuck looking up at the ceiling. And if they open up the angle of your neck and your ribcage, but not the hip angle, you'll be left stooping over! So, to really release your neck muscles in a way that sticks, we need to make sure all three areas are in better balance. This will allow your head position to float back on top of your pelvis and ribs naturally, without effort. Finally your neck muscles get to rest!

For most neck pain and upper back pain clients, we sequence all three areas in a neck pain massage session. We work on releasing hip flexor muscles, then mid back muscles, then front of neck muscles. By the time we work on those back of the neck muscles, they are already super relaxed and ready for deeper work. You'll leave feeling your neck light and moveable in ways that you had forgotten exist 🙂

What Next? That felt great and lasted weeks! But now that familiar ache is starting to come back...

The above 3 step session is a basic outline of what would happen in a first session. It's going to provide a lot more relief than a standard massage session and it's going to last a lot longer than you are used to. In order to get that relief to last long term we recommend a series of sessions to address some or all of the following (depending on the client):

  • Any old ankle injuries your have that change the angle and shape of the foot: these usually cause hip flexor tightness
  • Your adductor muscles on the inner thigh that may be stuck together due to sports injuries: these also cause hip flexor tightness
  • The position of your shoulder blades on your ribcage: these are often "rolled forward" pulling on the muscles in the back of your neck in a similar way to the front neck muscles
  • Your side body fascia: if the ribcage isn't inflating and deflating while breathing, both the shoulder and neck muscles get "stuck"
  • Your jaw muscles - tension from trips to the dentist or daily unrelieved stress tightens these causing headaches and also neck and shoulder pain

As each of these related causes for neck pain is worked on, it will become easier and easier to balance your head on top of your ribcage. Eventually, usually after 4-7 sessions of neck pain massage, pain becomes a thing of the past.

Effective neck pain massage therapy addresses all of the forces pulling on your head

We've developed truly effective neck pain massage therapy that provides long term relief at Bodyworks DW.

First, we'll address your neck pain effectively by releasing each of the three main contributing factors in the same session. You will feel immediate relief at the end of the first session. And you won't feel sore or beat up the next day.

Next, to have a long term impact, we will follow up the first session with 3-6 custom designed sessions. These sessions will work on more detailed areas in cumulative layers. Each massage allows us to go deeper into the stuck front neck muscles and bring your head into better balance. With your head balanced on top of your spine all of the muscles work less. Less work = less pain!

We offer neck pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a fantastic neck pain massage with one of the best massage therapists this city has to offer? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our neck pain massage midtown or neck pain massage fidi studios!

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Poor Posture at work & it's Long Term Effects

LMT, Germain Phanord discusses Poor Posture at Work & it’s Long Term Effects

Germain Phanord, staff LMT at Bodyworks DW, is our therapist of the month for May!

Read his interview below where he discusses how continuous poor posture at work has long term effects that can keep you seated in the future and the reasons that brought him to massage therapy.

Germain Phanord

What is the most common pain issue you see with your clients?

I would say in the upper extremities (neck, shoulders). This is such a common problem, often caused by poor posture at work while repeating the same movement pattern for hours. Sitting for a while with the add-on of poor posture can lead to serious pain in different areas of the upper body.

A large portion of my clientele work at sedentary desk jobs for long hours. I'd say about 80% of the time I'm working on their neck, shoulders, or upper-back. Awkward postures like bent wrists, leaning to one side or another, looking too closely at the computer or not keeping your head and neck in neutral position can cause a variety of injuries that could sideline you for a while.

How do you work on this issue to correct poor posture?

I correct this issue first by having an intake assessment to identify muscular imbalances. I'll then come up with a plan to address and decrease the pain they're experiencing. Usually it takes a few sessions to deal with issues regarding poor posture. When the muscles of the upper extremity will not release it is usually due to an imbalance in the lower body. It can also be something emotional that the client is holding on to. Each treatment is based on the specific issues of the client. The session must be tailored to each individual client so the work can be effective. 

Do you have a favorite area to work on? What do you like about it?

I'm very curious about the psoas. It can be quit a challenge to access on people! The psoas is a deep core muscle that connects the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. We all have a psoas major and some people even have an extra psoas minor muscle (about 40% of the global population). The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors.

The psoas contracts to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other. The psoas also allows for stability in the back and lumbar spine so that the leg can move as needed. As a runner, for instance, if you have a properly firing psoas, you'll have the support to have longer strides and a faster time. A good massage therapist can release the muscle which helps a lot with lower back issues. 

What inspired you to start a career in massage therapy?

Massage Therapy is one of the few professions that allows you to make a difference in someone's life. A stranger's life, most often. When I first thought about applying for the LMT program it was because as a personal trainer, I knew I would gain more skills and knowledge to benefit both the client and myself. Then I began involving myself in the field I started to realize all of the incredible things that come out of being a therapist.

Massage Therapy has a way of creating certain kinds of environments. A massage therapy studio provides a quiet and relaxed energy for everyone in the space. This, to me, is absolutely priceless. Especially living in the city. As a therapist there's flexibility to pursue other passions or endeavors such as parenthood, continuing education, or part-time careers. You can choose the number of days you work or the number of massages you would like to perform every week to create a schedule that works with your life.

Working long 9am to 5pm jobs was not the right kind of work for me. It hurt my body to stay still for so long. I prefer a position that allows me to move around and as a massage therapist, you can stand or sit as you provide treatment, which is be much healthier than a sedentary position. It helps me stay away from poor posture.

Book an Appointment with Germain!

How to Find the Right Massage Therapist

How to Find the Massage Therapist for You

Michael Bruffee, Senior LMT at Bodyworks DW, gives tips on how to choose the right medical massage therapist for you! Check it out below.

Michael Bruffee

Massage Therapy is gaining in popularity and recognition as a legitimate and powerful tool. It heal injuries, relieves stress, and improves overall health. However, to the uninitiated looking for high-quality care, the search can be confusing. There's a dizzying array of different treatment styles all under the umbrella of massage. Here is our guide to finding a great massage therapist in New York and everywhere else!

1. Find a State Licensed Massage Therapist.

If you’re not sure, ask if they’re licensed and registered with your state.

To us in the industry, this is obvious. But there are many people out there offering massage who are not state licensed, and not state registered. Licensing is important because it means there's a baseline of safety protocols that the therapist follows. These include proper privacy draping, extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and required knowledge of scope of practice.

Massage Therapy licensure in New York State requires a minimum of 1000 hours of schooling and clinical practice. There's also a comprehensive written exam that must be passed.

Many unlicensed establishments offering massage are fronts for unseemly practices. Therefore, if you want a legitimate, professional massage therapist, make sure you’re booking appointments with state licensed practitioners. An LMT has specific training in communicating effectively with you about your needs. They'll make your safety and comfort while receiving massage therapy a priority.

This includes proper draping practices to make sure private areas on your body are always covered. Also, the ability to talk you through the therapeutic reasons for working close to these areas. And the professionalism of always allowing you, the client, to make your own choices on what work you are willing to receive.

For New York State, you can verify a therapist’s license, at the NYS Office of Professions verification service.

2. Do research about which modalities of massage are right for you.

Not everyone will need the same approach. Not all therapists use the same techniques.

There are seemingly a million and one types of massage therapy and bodywork out there. Such as, swedish, shiatsu, sports massage, deep-tissue, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, tui-na, thai massage, craniosacral, orthobionomy, reiki, zero balancing, ashiatsu, polarity therapy. As a result, if you’re not sure what something is, do some research beforehand! Clarity is important.

Make sure you’re getting information from reputable sources, such as the American Massage Therapy Association website.

The Difference Between Deeper Tissue Styles & Energy Work Modalities

Most therapy modalities are physical (meaning the therapist applies touch to your body), such as Swedish massage. Swedish is most well-known and featured in many spa settings as relaxing massage. This is a legitimate form of healing that can reduce stress-related pain and other issues.

In addition, other physical modalities include sports massage and deep tissue. Both of which involve deeper, more intense tissue manipulation. Sports massage is more related to athletics. Deep tissue is more related to everyday orthopedic injuries.

Some other therapy modalities are more energetic in nature. Polarity, reiki, and other energy healing therapies may be helpful for people who can’t handle anything more than light touch. Energetic work over time can help bring you out of sympathetic (or fight/flight) nervous system reactions. In turn, it can bring you back into parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system states.

Many practitioners are fluent in multiple modalities to allow them to support a wide population of clients. Most important is that you know your own body. Know what you’re looking for. Ask questions. Be willing to create a set of boundaries with your therapist. Get a massage that you will be happy about!

3. Make sure your therapist conducts a thorough intake before you start.

Spending several minutes talking about your body and the stress and/or pain you feel will make a huge difference. As a result, your therapist can tailor the session to your needs.

Spending time on a thorough intake ensures that your therapist knows the main issue you’re coming in for. It also lets you know that they're listening and paying attention with their ears. This usually translates to a therapist who also pays attention and listens with their hands. A good therapist practices professional due-diligence. They'll make sure they won’t use any techniques that could exacerbate an injury.

A Great Massage Starts with an Agreement Between You & Your Therapist

The intake is also the time for you and your therapist to come to an agreement about what you need. Remember, your therapist is a professional (assuming you checked off #1 above) who knows anatomy. They're trained in the therapeutic process. However, there's often a desire to simply let the therapist run the show and take whatever you get. Keep in mind that you know your own body.

You can always let a good therapist know the pressure is too light or too deep. In fact, we really want to hear that feedback from you. Then, we know we are giving you the session you want.

Make sure your therapist listens to you and treats you with kindness and respect. For instance, if there are parts of your body, like your face, or your abdomen, or your feet that you really, really don’t want to be touched please let us know.

Thorough Assessment is the Key to a Great Massage

A sign that you’ve found a great therapist is that they'll conduct a postural assessment as part of intake. Pain in your neck may be related to postural shifting due to an old ankle sprain or hip injury. Working only on the area that hurts may feel good at the time... But it won’t necessarily allow the pain to go away for more than a day or two.

Your therapist should take the time to assess your whole body posture. Then, they are more likely to see the root causes of your pain and plan the session accordingly.

4. Come up with a multi-session plan to address the issue you came up with.

Massage therapy is a cumulative treatment process.

The best massage therapists will work on addressing the “chief complaint” you bring in that day, but also put the pain in a larger context. They will ask questions.

How do you exercise? What do you do for work? What are your sleeping habits? Any other ways in which you go about your day? All of these questions and observations of your posture help them determine the roots of your pain and make an effective plan to address them.

Working with a therapist over a series of sessions will allow them to get into the root of your pain. Over the course of the series your pain will decrease noticeably and eventually disappear. And you’ll learn self care methods to keep it from coming back later.

The number of sessions will depend on the issue itself. 3-5 for a lesser issue, 5-8 for a moderate issue, 8-12 for a client with multiple acute pains. Committing to a massage therapy series will make sure that your problem doesn’t just get a band-aid. We want your pain solved in a substantial and lasting way.

5. Do your homework.

Great massage therapists will give homework to their clients.

The beneficial nature of massage will depend on how diligently you stick to your homework. You get out of it what you put into it between sessions.

Examples of homework include:

  • Awareness practices, e.g. paying attention to how often you slouch or grit your teeth at your desk, or the position of your neck as you look at your computer
  • Stretches for muscles that are locked short, such as those in the front of the neck, or the front of the thighs.
  • Introducing a habit of movement or breathing in the morning before you go to work for the day

Even if you manage only to do your homework once or twice before your next scheduled session. That is often enough to break out of habitual patterns of movement and jumpstart your trajectory towards improvement. As you start feeling better, the motivation to make a habit of the homework increases until they become routine. You’ll feel more in control of your issues. And you'll feel less reliant on your massage sessions to “get you through.”

At Bodyworks DW, we’ve already done all of the work of finding a great massage therapist in New York for you

Massage therapy in New York is different. We have some of the strictest licensing laws in the country. Each of our massage therapists has been hand-picked and trained by owner David Weintraub. We practice at the highest levels of professional massage therapy available. To keep the staff up to date, David holds mandatory trainings on technical bodywork, treatment protocols, and improving client interactions.

All of our therapists meet all of the above requirements for a great massage therapist in midtown and the financial district:

  1. NYS licenced
  2. Trained in a wide variety of massage modalities
  3. Conduct friendly and thorough intakes for each massage session
  4. Able to create multi-session treatment plans for a wide variety of pain issues
  5. Crafts homework practices for every client that helps them conquer their pain faster and with less time and money

We offer massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a fantastic massage with one of the best massage therapists this city has to offer? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our massage therapy midtown or massage therapy fidi studios!

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Mental Health, Loneliness & Medical Massage in New York

Mental Health, Loneliness and Medical Massage in New York

Jess Loewer, LMT at Bodyworks DW, addresses how medical massage in New York can help with your mental health and loneliness. Read below for more information!

Jess Loewer

We live in a fast paced, grind, hustle, burn the midnight oil from both ends of the candle kind of city. We make our bodies go until they can’t, and then we limp through mile markers. Then we bad-mouth our bodies for not being able to handle the life-long marathon we thought we were winning. Most of us don’t even think about the impact this has on our mental health unless things start to feel really bad.

Because it’s the cultural norm, it can be hard to identify when we’ve gone too far, until loneliness and burnout make regular appearances. While we might have company in this misery, I’m happy to reveal the not-so-secret news that there are tools at our disposal to achieve better mental health and self-value. In plain English, you can feel better than you do, without a lot of effort!

Caring for our Mental Health is Physical Health is Mental Health

I’d like to build a case around our mental wellness being physical. If you run a quick search on mental and physical health, you’ll find many ways they’re linked, or that they affect one another. For one example, we now know that the body’s lymphatic system exists within the brain - linking our immune system health directly to our brain health.

Our immune system (ie our body’s waste filtration system) was not thought to cross over the blood/brain barrier before this study’s findings.

We already know that the nutritional content (or lack thereof) of whatever we digest makes its way to our small intestine. This is where we absorb what’s useful into our bloodstream. Our circulatory system transports those nutrients where we need them and deposits plasma, lipids, and debris into our lymphatic system.

Sometimes our digestive system can’t completely eliminate harmful things and they make their way to our bloodstream. Our lymphocytes (white blood cells) kill what we don’t need. The leftover waste is passed back to our bloodstream to be filtered out and eliminated.

A Case for Diet Affecting Mental Health

What this means is that our diet physically affects our brain function on a cellular, nutrient-exchange level. This also might mean that healthy lymphatic drainage (achieved primarily by exercise and movement but also massage and skin brushing) may have real impacts on our mental wellbeing!

This is a big deal. How our brains function on a cellular level is physiological, not just mental. And it is inseparable from the rest of our body’s systems. Our thoughts are affected what we eat, who we spend time with, and how our bodies are moving. And not simply by how well we process our emotions past and present.

Our Bodies Store Our Emotional Memory of Stress Responses and Traumas

How? We’re still getting a better understanding of this process through research and integrative, functional medicine. So far, a lot has been done in the fields of neuroscience, biology, and psychosomatics.

Here’s what we know: When our bodies have a stress response, our endocrine system jumps to sympathetic nervous system mode (freeze, flight or fight). We start pumping stress hormones (mainly adrenaline and cortisol) into the bloodstream. These hit our muscles fast for the purpose of hiding, running away, or fighting.

In the way our bodies were designed to survive, your boss yelling at you would elicit three potential responses: hiding in the corner, running out of the meeting, or punching them in the face. None of these are an option in modern day society, right?!

Our Modern Restraint Takes a Physical Toll

What happens when we don’t let our bodies use that burst of power to get out of the confronting situation? What happens when the stress trigger doesn’t stop? While our adrenal glands stop pumping eventually, those hormones wind up in our muscles. Since you can’t run or fight at the office, your body chooses the “freeze” response (you know how a cockroach just freezes there on the wall…). If you continually engage in a freeze response your muscles and fascia will get stiffer and stiffer.

If the muscles are not restored to resting length, they’ll remember that contracted state as your “new normal.” This is where medical massage therapy can help with not just muscles but also mental health. There’s often an emotional origin to our trigger points, fascial restrictions, and movement patterns. Acknowledging that can help us resolve problematic patterns faster, for true healing and better body mechanics.

So let’s talk about the power of touch!

Our bodies respond with more than just stress responses to keep us safe. We also have restorative hormones produced when we rest and when we’re touched in a compassionate way. Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. It also decreases cortisol production and increases serotonin and dopamine. While we’re not positive how long that increase lasts, simply getting that physiological change is vital. Medical massage tells our brain it’s both possible and repeatable to relax and be at peace. What the mind can conceive the body can achieve 🙂

What about loneliness? Self care and mental health is really much more nuanced than body chemistry before and after shots can show. Right? It is so much more personal. And generally socially inappropriate to talk about in our culture. Unless we find avenues to communicate our feelings safely, we tend to keep things to ourselves.

It isn’t news to try our hardest to limit chronic stressors, yet here we are...

We may have heard this over and over as general doctor’s advice: keep your stress low! However, we rarely hear about how physical a stress response is. And we rarely hear about what the physiological consequences of chronic stress are. There’s something about New York City that makes us a special breed of compromise-makers.

We compromise our health for our career or lifestyle so easily. We really blast past the health advice. We roll our eyes and put ourselves into adrenal fatigue easily. And call it normal because there’s pride in a NY hustle! And then add in more exercise as if that’s going to counteract all the stress. Or take away things and go on a juice cleanse. Sadly, while these measures can help, they are helping in much smaller amounts than we hope for.

In the tug of war between the stress and the healthy things we do, team “stress” is like an Australian Rugby team and team “health” is like a kindergarten class at nap time.

So what are the actionable steps you can take towards a solid mental health?

1) Behold, my mental wellness toolkit (not an exhaustive list)

2) Practice healthier eating and hydrating

  • Has it been a while since you’ve had dark leafy greens? Get ‘em.
  • Had too much caffeine & traveled this weekend? Drink up on water!
  • Snacking while stressed? Try some healthier snacks such as nuts and fruits

3) Schedule Time With Uplifting People

  • You are the five people you spend the most time with...are those people restoring your or stressing you out?
  • Prioritize people that build you up.
  • Bonus if you get to work alongside these people. (If not, can you find the folks at your office that seem to radiate relaxation? Go have coffee with them!)

4) Joyful Exercise

  • If you don’t have an exercise routine, try something low key but invigorating like the NYT 7 minute workout
  • If you do exercise but aren’t really loving what you are up to anymore, try something new that also engages your learning brain (martial arts, circus arts, ballroom dancing, the Ido Portal method, etc.)
  • Small additions really matter such as just taking the stairs a few times a week rather than the elevator
  • If you’re not enjoying what your body can do for you, welcome to 2019, where we can make new rules for our workouts 🙂

5) Add in some simple Meditation and mindfulness, play and creativity

6) Get out and spend some time in nature! (Nature deficit disorder can be a real thing here in the city!)

7) For those of you as bookish as I am, if you haven’t read Dr John Sarno’s books or The Body Keeps The Score. Pick them up!

8) Massage Therapy!

How Medical Massage in New York Can Make a Big Impact on Your Mental Health

Are you trying to maintain healthy mental wellbeing and/or in a lonely season of your life? I encourage you to make massage a dependable part of your life. It is more versatile medicine than you might have ever known. I have seen truly empowering results with our clients when we acknowledge the other parts of their life that impact their physical wellbeing.

The emotional support and understanding of having a medical massage session dedicated entirely to your wellbeing can have a huge impact. And it is often enough to get our systems to chill out and relearn how to relax. Having time to be present with your body instead of dissociating is a powerful thing, my friend 🙂

I’m human too. Even though I live and breathe massage and self care, life has a way of shaking us up every so often to see where our values lie. I have to keep committing to my own mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health, right alongside you.

And I can say without a doubt that we at Bodyworks DW are all here to support you to set and meet your physical and mental health goals. And to take glorious steps to living the life you choose. Our team’s therapeutic focus means we treat the whole person not just a torn shoulder and or an aching back (though we excel at treating those!).

We offer medical massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City.

If you are are working on your mental health, medical massage can help you experience what your body could feel like to truly rest.

If you would like to schedule a fantastic medical massage and experience the benefits above, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage midtown or massage therapy fidi studios!

Book an Appointment

See you on the table, Jess

The Power in Psoas Release, by Logan Medrano

LMT, Logan Medrano Talks about the Power of Psoas Release

Logan Medrano, staff massage therapist at Bodyworks DW, is our therapist of the month for April!

Read his interview where he talks about the effectiveness of Psoas Release Techniques on lower back pain, and why he decided to be an LMT.

Logan Medrano

Most common pain issue you see with your clients?

Definitely, lower back pain. It's one of the reasons I started wanting more training on psoas release techniques! 

How do you work to correct this issue?

  • First, I do an assessment to figure out where the lower back pain is stemming from. Is there a tilt in the pelvis? Maybe a rotation forward or backward? An elevation between the left or right side?
  • Then I work with the hip flexors - release of the psoas and quads, adductors, abductors, hamstrings and QL (quadratus lumborum). 
  • I often give a passive psoas stretch as a "homework" assignment where the client lays flat on their back with both of their legs elevated up on a chair or a couch. It's just a really easy, relaxing stretch that also provides a good psoas release for an often neglected muscle.  

What makes psoas release one of your favorite areas to work on?

The psoas is a very large deep-seated core muscle. It connects the all of the lumbar vertebrae to the femur (your thigh bone)! It's a muscle that's often contracted especially for people who work a desk job. I like that when it's released most people feel a HUGE difference right away.

Psoas release is great for lower back pain but it's also great for neck pain. The pelvis and the neck also have a strong correlation with each other. And I've had psoas work release neck and jaw tension too!

What inspired you to start a career in massage therapy?

Back in 2006 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. She was receiving really incredible care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and they had a licensed massage therapist on staff that would come around and give bedside oncology massages. I asked the therapist one day if she could teach me a few techniques to help ease my mom's post-chemo pain and she did.

I went on to study music and audio production at first but kept with me a fond appreciation for massage. Then several years ago I had an injury that required surgery and afterward I started to get regular massages to help with my recovery.

I was amazed at the results.

 

I always believed in the validity of massage therapy but it was in my own recovery that I realized I wanted to give back to other people and help them be pain-free in their own bodies.

Book an Appointment with Logan!

Low Back Pain Massage Therapy Treatment by David Weintraub

Lower Back Pain Treatment with Massage Therapy in New York

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of massage therapy for lower back pain. And how massage therapy rather than using the traditional approach of surgery or medication can produce better results at a lower cost.

David Weintraub

Why medication or surgery is only masking the root cause of your pain

Massage therapy for lower back pain is an effective alternative treatment to surgery and medications. Additionally, in most cases the results are noticeably better than either of those traditional approaches. This is according to the newest research. (Excerpt from Vox article "A comprehensive guide to the new science of treating lower back pain").

Lower back pain from bulging or herniated discs often seems to come out of nowhere. In reality there are usually other root causes. An older ankle or knee injury can create an imbalance in the body leading to lower back pain. Compensation patterns from older injuries put asymmetrical pressure on the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the part of your spine located in your lower back. Eventually this pressure can cause one or more lumbar discs to bulge. If the bulge presses on nerve pathways, light to extreme pain can result.

How Traditional Approaches can Fail

The most common surgical approach is called a laminectomy. This surgery tries to correct pressure on the nerves by shaving down part of the bulging discs. However, the root cause older injury is still affecting your body. The pressure is still there on the lumbar spine. A laminectomy can eliminate the pain symptoms for a short period. However, in many cases a new bulge pops out in another disc later. This usually makes the problem even worse later on.

Medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories mask symptoms. This feels good and sometimes can help you move through the issue by allowing you to stretch into the stuck area again.

However, the root cause is still not being addressed. Pain will likely come back to plague you in the future. Opioids are especially worrisome as they are highly addictive. This can lead to reliance on them to even function. In an increasing number of cases the addiction spirals out of control creating a far worse issue than the pain itself.

How Low Back Pain Massage in New York works differently

With back pain massage in New York, we work to discover why the disc is bulging in the first place. Meaning you'll get a more holistic approach. And of course we'll spend some time massaging the muscles in your low back.

In addition, we'll work to identify and address any older injuries that caused the low back tightness to begin with. Once the older injured joints are moving better, your low back will have less work to do. Pressure lessens on the lumbar spine. This allows pain to decrease naturally without medications or surgery.

This pathway might be slower than popping a pill. But you'll know that your pain is being reduced in a healthy way. And you'll gain the tools to keep it from coming back in the future.

[T]here are perceptions that opioid therapy for chronic pain is less expensive than more time-intensive nonpharmacologic management approaches. [However,] many pain treatments, including acetaminophen, NSAIDs, tricyclic antidepressants, and massage therapy, are associated with lower mean and median annual costs. [As] compared with opioid therapy. (excerpt from CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016)

We offer back pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City

If you are in acute or chronic low back pain we recommend booking as soon as you can make an appointment.

Are you suffering from lower back pain? There are many advantages to working with our team of trained medical massage therapists.

At Bodyworks DW, we evaluate how the rest of your body and posture is affecting your low back pain. Together we'll make a plan for a series of back pain massage sessions. This will help to unwind any seemingly unrelated issues. As your whole body opens up, pressure on the low back is relieved. This allows the discs to return to their normal shape over time. With less and less pressure on the nerves, pain slowly but surely goes away.

If you would like to schedule a fantastic back pain massage and experience the benefits above, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online for back pain massage in midtown or fidi!

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Benefits of Massage Therapy

5 Reasons to Make Massage Your Monthly Routine

Germain Phanord, massage therapist at Bodyworks DW & David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW write about the benefits of incorporating medical massage therapy in new york into your monthly routine.

Germain Phanord
Shoulder Pain Massage, David Weintraub

There are a lot of great reasons to make massage therapy in New York a regular part of your self-care routine. Massage has tons of benefits!

Here are our top 5...

Alleviate Pain

Working late nights while sitting in front of the computer for hours is a surefire recipe for muscle imbalance. When the body is overworked it aches all over. Left untreated, this will lead to chronic pain. There is almost nothing worse than feeling pain, stiffness and achiness. Especially on a cold day!!!

Many of us live with pain in today's high demanding society, especially in busy cities like New York. Eventually your body maxes out your pain threshold. For most, that's when you’ll break down and visit a professional, such as a massage therapist in New York, acupuncturist, physical therapist, or chiropractor.

By making massage therapy part of a regular routine, you can help get ahead of the curve and prevent chronic pain from building up. Try switching your mindset. Instead of only getting massage therapy in New York when you have a major acute issue, schedule preventative monthly massage. You’ve been pushing so hard at work...don’t you deserve a nice massage?

Relieve stress and anxiety  

In today’s modern world there are more stressors than ever. We are getting less sleep and staying up longer due to work deadlines, children, school, family issues, environmental issues.

Massage can be a great to decrease stress and anxiety. Bonus...this will help your body’s other systems like digestion and immunity function better. Massage therapy can help engage the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest and digest” system) which your body needs to go to to restore.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of your sympathetic nervous system (your “fight or flight” system). The sympathetic nervous system prepares your body for stressful situations. It pumps you with adrenaline and increases your heart rate and breathing. This is very useful and necessary if you are being chased by a lion. Less so when you are stressing over that report that’s due on Friday.

As New Yorkers, we tend to stay stuck in our sympathetic nervous systems...all the time.

Which is really not good for the body in the long run. Your body doesn’t get the rest it needs to heal. Having regular massage therapy in New York restores your ability to switch back to rest mode more easily. It can help you sleep better and handle stressful situations more calmly.

Decrease Tension Headaches and Migraines

Quick fact (According to the Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology): "Tension headaches, by far the most common type of headache people experience (90-92%), these are triggered by muscular tension, bony misalignment, postural patterns, eyestrain, temporomandibular joint disorders.”

Tension headaches build up due to stress caused by intense work, missed meals, depression, anxiety or lack of sleep.

Did you know that there is a big jaw muscle called Temporalis at your temples? Jaw clenching is a primal fight or flight response that you probably don’t even realize you are doing when you are stressed.

Migraines have different triggers and causes. Some people react to light, smells, foods, stress, or hormone changes. It’s different for each person. And while massage isn’t a cure for the tigger itself, it can change the threshold for when the trigger activates. Also, migraines lead to tension headaches which lead to more migraines in a cycle. Relieving the tension headache component of the cycle helps prevent future migraines.

Massage when you are in the midst of a headache or migraine can undo clenched shoulder, neck, and jaw muscles and help you relax.

Regular monthly massage can help ease jaw clenching and shoulder raising. It can also put you at ease and lower your stress levels (see above) which helps prevent future headaches and migraines.

Boost your immunity

Getting a massage not only helps you relax, it also helps boost the immune system. Receiving a massage decreases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior.  

Check out the research on massage therapy and immunity from the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association). It says that massage therapy increases the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that work to combat viruses. According to massage research from Cedars-Sinai, participants in a Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes. These play a large role in defending the body from disease. A lymphocyte is one of the three subtypes of white blood cells in the immune system.

Monthly massage therapy in New York helps keep your immune system primed and ready to keep you healthy.

Improve Range of Motion and Ease of Movement

Injuries and repetitive stress patterns can tighten muscles and the fascia that glues muscles together. Over time, this restricts range of motion in your joints. This affects all of your daily activities. And makes your muscles have to work harder to move you around.

Deep tissue massage focuses on aligning deeper layers of muscle tissue. It also helps with chronic conditions such as a stiff neck, back pain, shoulder pain and leg muscle tightness.

You’ll find that everything gets easier and lighter as your muscles learn to let go of chronic tightness. Regular massage reminds your body of how much better it is possible to feel.

This helps your brain adjust the nervous system to want to feel that way more often. You’ll be more motivated to include small but meaningful regular self care actions in your day.

You can think of getting regular monthly massage like getting an oil change for your car. Sure you might not need it exactly right now. Your engine will be fine…..until it isn’t. And then instead of a $20 oil change a few times a year you’ve got a major mechanic bill on your hands and a car out of service for a few weeks.

You might not feel like you absolutely need a massage this month, but you’ll feel better faster if you make it part of your routine. And be able to keep up with your regular activities without a major breakdown such as a herniated disc or a torn rotator cuff.

How Massage Therapy in New York is Different

New Yorkers are in luck. Our massage therapists have the highest and most extensive training requirements of any state in the country. And given how hard we push ourselves, we really need it!

At Bodyworks DW we focus on therapeutic massage, with each session tailored to your individual needs. First we work through any acute pain issue you may be having with a series of massage sessions over a shorter amount of time. Usually once a week or bi-weekly for 4-8 weeks depending on the severity of the issue.

Once the acute issues are treated, we recommend a regular monthly massage to keep you running smoothly. And to prevent future injuries.

We offer massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. If you are in acute or chronic pain we recommend booking as soon as you can make an appointment.

If you aren’t in pain, think about what days and times would work for you. Not just for your “next” massage, but for a regular monthly massage in New York. For instance, how about every first Tuesday evening of the month at 6 pm? Ask your therapist if you can create a standing appointment in our system so that you’ll get email reminders when your next appointment is about to come up. And don’t forget to block it off in your calendar 🙂

If you would like to schedule a fantastic massage and experience the benefits above, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our massage therapy midtown or massage therapy fidi studios!

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Omer Unluata Takes on Text Neck

Senior LMT, Omer Unluata talks about “Text Neck”

Omer Unluata, senior massage therapist at Bodyworks DW, is our March therapist of the month! Read his interview below where he takes on "Text Neck" massage, why he decided to be an LMT, and one of his great success stories in this field. 

Omer Unluata

What is the most common pain issue you see with your clients?

Forward head posture aka “text neck”, “reading neck” and related discomfort/pain, by far, is the most common issue that presents itself amongst clients. It is the forward positioning of the cervical spine, resulting in lot of physical problems. This is due to the extra pressure on the neck from altered or weak posture. When you take the subway, you may observe pretty much all commuters in some form of a forward head posture looking down their phones. Text neck is so common that it can be considered normal these days. Text neck massage should be just as common to combat it 🙂

Usually accompanied by kyphosis (hunchback) and rounded shoulders, this is one of the most typical causes of tension and pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and jaw. It can cause tingling and numbness in the arms, headaches and migraines.

How do you work to correct this issue with text neck massage?

With forward head posture, your head shifts forward, closer to your chest. As you still need to look forward, you compensate by lifting your chin up, shortening the sub occipitals, the muscles at the backside of the base of your skull. As well as your scalenes and SCM, the muscles at the front and side of your neck. Accordingly, the treatment involves myofascial release of suboccipitals, scalenes and SCM. This enables the retraction of the cervical spine and brings it back to its neutral alignment.

Non local work includes, but isn't limited to, release of chest, arms, ear, jaw and scalp fascia. It's reinforced by postural work of deep abdominals, hamstrings calves and feet. This will really help clients combat their text neck.

This truly is a case that needs to be addressed head to toes.

One of my favorite parts of the treatment is how most clients state that they feel taller even after the initial session. I end each treatment showing clients easy self care methods that actually resemble the bodywork that was performed to create new & healthier patterns that will prohibit text neck. These are mostly fascia stretches that aim for more functional results compared to local stretches.

For a quick way to help calm your muscles, check out these aromatherapy hot/cold pads:

What inspired you to start a career in massage therapy?

After I moved to New York 17 years ago, I had a restaurant/bar business which was extremely stressful. I had been longing for a stress free environment for a long time. I listened to my instincts and followed the signs. Having studied Civil engineering in college, I’ve always had an appreciation for physics. My athletic background and education in personal training helped me understand the human body mechanics. Samantha, my spouse, who is also a licensed massage therapist/personal trainer introduced me to massage therapy. It all finally made sense to me. I was able to put all 3 careers in one. It helped me advance pretty quickly while giving me the peace I’ve been looking for.

Do you have a favorite area to work on? What do you like about it?

More than any part in particular I have a favorite technique that I like to perform on different fascia lines. Stretching tissue between two different body parts giving it a sheer feeling. Like a simultaneous release on erectors and hamstrings or hamstrings hip attachment and the heel bone. This technique really compliments any local bodywork. It connects the parts making it functional similar to how the body executes a movement.

Do you have a favorite massage therapy success story?

I have a client who takes their marathons very seriously. This person suffered from a knee issue which disabled him pretty badly. He was no longer able to run more than a few miles without any discomfort.

He had never had any serious injuries prior to this which is usually the case for repetitive stress injuries.

You don’t feel any discomfort and all of a sudden you're in trouble. At first, we had minor success but the issue kept coming back. It took us a few sessions to be able to figure out the correct approach. We both were very patient. Finally, we were able to bring him to the desired pain free state. What makes the story special for me is that when he finished the race, he texted me with photos immediately to let me know how grateful he was. I was on vacation in Turkey at the time being. That caught me by surprise. The happiness on his face was priceless. That was a great day!

In my experience, when you're in a healer practice these success stories, no matter how simple they may sound, bring so much happiness to both the healer and the client.

Book an Appointment with Omer!