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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 interview 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 mother. Massage during pregnancy is a therapeutic type of bodywork focusing on the needs of the mother-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 women 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.

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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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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physical therapy meets massage therapy

Doing Physical Therapy? Massage Therapy Can Improve Results!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of supplementing your physical therapy plan with massage therapy treatment.

David Weintraub

7 Reasons why this powerful combination works

Pain sucks. As a massage therapist, I would know. Almost everyone who comes to see me does so because they're in pain!

Most of the time, my clients have such a powerful response to massage therapy they don't need additional therapies. However, that isn't always the case. I always look for clues that indicate I need to refer a client to another practitioner, such as a physical therapist. 

Physical therapy and massage therapy are both powerful methods for treating pain. By focusing on correcting the underlying muscular imbalances that have caused it in the first place. When used together, they can help clients achieve faster and better results.  

There are several reasons why massage therapy is effective for anyone who is already receiving physical therapy.

Here are the top 7:

  1. Providing pain relief, often times after the first session
  2. Increasing range of motion so that the body can move better
  3. Decreasing local inflammation by working above and below the area
  4. Lessening the pain clients may be feeling during or after physical therapy exercises
  5. Decreasing the pain clients may feel post-surgery
  6. Bringing faster results than just physical therapy alone 
  7. Motivating clients to stick to their physical therapy treatment plan

That's the short version of why massage therapy and physical therapy are a powerful combination. If you're interested in a more detailed explanation, read below! 

The Breakdown: 

1) Massage therapy helps by treating short and overused muscles. 

The goal of many physical therapy exercises is to help strengthen any weak muscles that are causing pain symptoms. The goal is that by strengthening weak muscles, the body will move & feel healthier. But that's only half the picture. 

When it comes to muscles, imbalance happens when one muscle is weak and long while another muscle is overused and short. In order to correct this, BOTH of these problems need to be addressed. This means following the exercises provided by a physical therapist teaching clients how to engage and strengthen muscles that are weak. It also means using massage therapy to address the muscles that are chronically overused.

The right massage therapist will focus on releasing these tight muscles as well as lengthening them when they've gotten short. This can help effectively decrease pain while also improving range of motion and helping the nervous system learn how to move better! 

2) Massage therapy will help with physical therapy. 

Studies show that one major obstacle to physical therapy treatment is that many will stop coming in if the exercises are painful to do, or if their pain doesn't decrease right away. (Source: Read this article) Basically, if the work is too hard and painful, people are a lot less likely to do it. Massage therapy can decrease pain often with immediate results, which will help provide motivation to stick to the physical therapist's treatment plan.  

3) Massage therapy can help post-surgery.

Sometimes people will experience new aches and pains after their recovery from a surgery, even while doing physical therapy. This can happen due to a change in the body alignment and how the body moves after the procedure. If clients are already doing regular physical therapy and still experiencing pain post-surgery, I suggest asking a doctor if it’s medically safe to try massage therapy.

For more detailed information on how massage therapy can help post-surgery, please check out this in-depth article: Click Here!

 

In summary, we see that combining physical therapy and massage therapy help clients move better and feel better by working on correcting any muscular imbalances that can be causing or contributing to pain. 

Want to read more about how we work at Bodyworks DW? 

Click to Learn More about our Massage Therapy
text neck massage therapy neck pain shoulder pain

Save your text neck

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about "text neck," what it is and ways to prevent it.

David Weintraub

The perils of “always on” technology:

Okay, so your "text neck" probably won’t actually kill you (unless you are texting and driving). However, it’s becoming increasingly likely that at some point in the next 5-10 years of tech use, you’ll develop a repetitive stress disorder.

The phrase carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain) has been part of the collective conscious for several decades. It's so common as a disrupter of productivity that it has spawned an entire industry of ergonomics solutions. These range from special keyboards to Star Trek styled full desk/monitor set ups. All keep you at your desk longer making trades, typing contracts, writing legal memos.

And then the 2000’s came along. Most of us jumped all in with smartphones and laptops and tablets.

Suddenly we could be productive all the time.

Standing on the subway platform?

Let me check my email.

Taking the train in from CT?

Let me just go over those sales reports.

Date just went to the bathroom?

Let me text my assistant to make sure I’m set up for tomorrow’s board meeting.

Unfortunately, there are costs to constant device use that might change your mind about your phone and tablet.

Looking down at our phone, tablet, or laptop, pulls our head forward and down. This imbalances all the muscles holding up your head (ahem... text neck). These imbalances can cause any and all of the following:

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • TMJ
  • headaches
  • low back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • anxiety
  • low energy
  • bone loss
  • depression
  • memory loss

Sound scary? Don’t believe it?

Check out this New York Times article: Keep Your Head Up: How Smartphone Addiction Kills Manners and Moods

Like many things that aren’t healthy for us, these costs are not going to suddenly show up tomorrow. They build up over time. In ways that make it hard to track what the changes are doing to your body. However, there is hope for us all!

What can I do about this?

I’m not some Luddite preaching that we should all return to farming. I happen to be a business owner with 20+ employees and have tech in so many screen sizes it’s getting ridiculous. I deal with text neck too. 

I’ve got a smartwatch, smartphone, an iPad for home and one for work, an airbook laptop, an iMac at my desk. Not to mention the 15 other devices I have at the office for the staff to be "productive" on. I’m just as tempted as you to go on my phone on the subway and read articles on Facebook or Twitter to pass the time. So I decided to try something out...

Experiments DW

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been running an experiment to see just how much I can lighten up my daily commute (see the last blog post on how much we carry around with us and tips to help with that).

I’ve gotten down to just leaving home with the following:

That’s right….NO BAG.

I had to get really clear on what my time is worth to me and what my long term health is worth to me. And I had to spend some extra cash to duplicate certain items at work and at home so that I wouldn’t have to cart them back and forth.

Is it worth it? For me this experiment has been a fascinating eye opener. It’s also reduced my daily stress levels by about 20-30%.

I have less issues with headaches at day end, my back feels better, and my overall mood has noticeably improved.

I’ve got new rules for my text neck, I count em:

#1: I am not allowed to look at my phone during my commute except to choose music.

#2: I am only allowed to work while at the office, or while at my desk at my home office. The couch is only for relaxing and the bed is only for sleeping (and well, you know…).

#3: If I need something both at work and at home, I duplicate that item rather than carry it back and forth. The value in stress reduction and ease of movement on my body is a long-term savings in health and self-care costs down the road.

#4: If I do have to look at a device, I hold it up to horizon level and keep my head up.

#5: When my arm gets tired of holding up the device to eye level rather than looking down, it’s time to take a break and put it away.

You may think I’m crazy for buying a second iPad to keep one at work and one at the office. Really the only reason for me to do that is that it has become my primary note taking device for my life coaching sessions. Sure, I could take notes on paper, but then I’d have to create a filing system for them. The iPad keeps all my notes for each client on the cloud.

Of course, you’ll have to do your own analysis of the following:

- what you can and can’t do without

- how much is your time is worth

- which work can be left until tomorrow or

- what work can be put on hold for the 45 minutes to 2 hours you spend on your commute

You’ll probably come up with different ways to reduce your load and stress than I have. (For instance, maybe it’s spending the extra cash on a monthly gym locker. You can leave your workout gear there most of the time.) Prioritize those ideas and see for yourself how helpful it can be. 

Are you willing to give lightening your load and keeping your head up a try? Yes? Your text neck will thank you.

massage therapy for diastasis recti massage case study

Massage Therapy for Diastasis Recti

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about treatment options and massage therapy benefits for Diastasis Recti.

 

David Weintraub

Getting to the core of the issue

First off, what is this strange sounding condition?

It’s most common among pregnant or postpartum women. About two thirds of pregnant women have it. So why have you never heard of it?
People don’t talk about.

The facts:

Diastasis Recti is a condition where the rectus abdominis splits down the middle causing a vertical gap in the abdominal muscles. It can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally.

How to treat it if you have it:

Massage therapy for Diastasis Recti can be very helpful to rebuild proper abdominal tone as long as you’re also working with a physical therapist who specializes in this issue. An experienced massage therapist can open stuck tissues that are pulling the abdominal muscles outward. These stuck tissues are generally from previous injuries that have left scar tissue behind. In addition to this kind of bodywork, you’ll need physical therapy exercises to knit the torn muscles back together.

 

Why “ab” exercises don’t work for you now…

 

It’s counter-intuitive, but doing “ab” exercises such as sit ups, or pilates, can often make the problem worse. Without proper firing of the correct support muscles, these exercises often pull outwards on the linea alba (centerline where the gap develops). This can either increase the separation, or keep it from knitting back together.

A combination of massage and physical therapy can speed up the healing process considerably. In most cases it will open up the stuck tissues that would keep physical therapy exercises from working. The synergy between the two modalities is worth way more than the sum of the parts.

Why?

Because massage therapy is an “opening” practice. Our training is in releasing tissues that are either tight (ie over-firing) or stuck (ie glued with scar tissue). We also work to retrain the nervous system to allow muscles that are over-firing to relax and settle into a balanced tone.

Physical Therapy is a “closing” practice. It’s based in strengthening and tightening muscles that are weak (ie under-firing). The repetition of certain exercises draw blood flow to areas that need it, allowing the body to heal and reconstruct itself.


Ready to put in the work?

Diastasis Recti is not a one-time fix situation. It takes a coordinated effort, diligent homework, and focused effort for 8-12 weeks. It is next to impossible to self-heal without a minimum of a few guided sessions. Most clients will need the following:

4-7 sessions with a professional massage therapist

3-5 sessions with a physical therapist who specializes in working with Diastasis Recti

15 minutes a day of homework exercises


If you’d like to know if massage therapy for diastasis recti can help you, don’t hesitate to call us and arrange a phone consultation with David Weintraub. Or book an initial session online!

 

NYC Marathon Recovery

NYC Marathon Recovery

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about tips, tools, and recovery for pre and post Marathon run.

David Weintraub

NYC Marathon RecoveryThe 2016 NYC Marathon is less than 4 weeks away...

Is this your first NYC Marathon? Taking on the training and then running a marathon is a big deal. Congrats!

Hopefully, at this point, you are feeling close to ready. However, it's normal to freak out a bit and get worried that you haven't run that many longer runs, and that none of them are a full marathon. Having worked on 100's of runners over the years, we can tell you to trust the process and stick to the training schedule.

Here are a few extra tips to make your first (or seventh...) marathon a great experience instead of a slog.

What to do in the next few weeks to prepare for NYC Marathon recovery

If you are feeling comfortable with the length of runs on you training schedule, great! Keep up what you are doing 🙂

If you are experiencing any consistent pains on your runs, book a massage therapy session and/or physical therapy session to relieve the pain. Mild to medium pain at this point in your training will add up to a real injury on race day. And make your marathon an excruciating experience. It will also mean a lot more work after the marathon to rehabilitate. Often these pains can be dealt with in a few sessions now with a good therapist. Suffering through pain until after the run is playing with fire.  

Some common pain types for runners:

  • runner's knee
  • heel pain and/or foot pain
  • hip pain and/or groin pain
  • shin splints
  • plantar fasciitis
  • neck pain and shoulder pain 

What to do to AFTER for NYC Marathon recovery

Book a post race recovery massage and have it scheduled 2-7 days after the marathon. Your body will be super sore and depleted. If can often take a full 2 weeks to recover and feel normal. A light to medium pressure full body sports massage will help you recover in half the time (or less!). You've put all of these hours into training, run 26.2 miles, raised money, etc. Why not treat yourself to a lot less pain and suffering after the marathon?

If this is your very first marathon, we suggest booking a marathon recovery massage about 3-5 days after. It will take several days for your body to process enough of the lactic acid to where a massage will have you feeling better. If you've run a marathon before, some seasoned runners book a marathon recovery massage for the evening of the race! Others book the next day or the day after that. 

For self-care, drink more water than normal for several days, and eat more protein. You'll need the protein to rebuild torn up muscle tissue. If you get hungry, listen to that and eat something. Take contrast showers....hot, then cold, then hot, then cold. 

Your system will be working overtime trying to heal hundreds of small micro-tears, and trying to flush out way more waste than it's used to dealing with. Trying to live "business as usual" is a asking for grief. Sleep lots. Stretch lots. Don't run for 2-3 weeks! (For realz). 

massage therapy for ankle sprain

Massage Therapy for an Ankle Sprain: Advice for Runners

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about his personal ankle injury and provides helpful tools and tips on ankle injury recovery for runners.

David Weintraub

Massage Therapy for an Ankle Sprain: what to do from the moment you get injured...

Massage therapy for an ankle sprain wasn't my intended topic this week. Then I took a bad fall in a parkour class trying to jump a 12 foot gap. I've now got about 6-8 weeks of healing, before exercising again in any weight bearing or high impact capacity. Based on my own professional assessment, anyway.

It's also timely and useful for those of you currently training for the NYC Marathon or the Ironman Triathlon to know a bit more about treating ankle sprains.

I know that there is a lot of info out there about what to do and what not to do. And much of this info is confusing and conflicting. So I'm going to walk you through what to do based on the most recent science. Using my own injury as an example.

First things first: how bad is it?! (is anything broken)

Before you attempt to do anything at all, you need to figure out if you have a broken bone or an ankle sprain. The very very very last thing you want to do with a bone break is try to move it. So you need to assess visually before assessing whether you can move it.

Questions to answer:

  • assuming you are in excruciating pain, is the ankle hanging off at an extreme angle? (If so do NOT attempt to move it)
  • do you see bone sticking out? (Again do NOT try to move it)

If it does seem like a bone break, you need an ambulance. Call 911 if you are alone, have bystanders do it if there are people around. Do not skimp here and try and get to the hospital by taking a cab. It needs to be looked at by qualified professionals and splinted/immobilized before you are moved. If you try to load yourself in a car, even with help, you are going to smack it around with every bump. This will shred the soft tissue around it even more. More shredded soft tissue = even longer recovery. Not worth it.

Okay, it doesn't seem broken...now what? (no, not the RICE method)

First, gently test to see whether you can move the ankle at all. Small circles in both directions, flex and point, wiggle the toes. Even just a slight ability to move is a good sign that nothing is completely torn through. If you can make tiny circles, flex and point, and move your toes, then it's likely an ankle sprain. Of course it's still possible that you have hairline fractures in one or more of the bones or partially torn ligaments. So don't jump to conclusions.

In the old days, athletic coaches would tell you to walk off an ankle sprain at this stage. Unfortunately, this has the immediate danger of ripping apart the soft tissue even more. And potentially tearing a muscle, tendon, or ligament all the way through. Trust me, anything torn all the way through is going to take a LONG time to recover. So you definitely want to avoid the possibility of making things worse.

In 1978, Dr. Gabe Mirkin developed the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Since the, RICE has been king in sports medicine. The RICE method counteracted the "walk it off" method and prevented further injury to the soft tissue. However, as we are now learning, it also slows down the healing process. And potentially freezes clotted tissue to the ligaments. In the last few years, science has had a nearly 180 degree turn on RICE (in fact, Dr. Mirkin himself has refuted RICE on his own website). Several studies now show that Ice delays healing, as does anything that reduces inflammation.

Second step...flush the tissue with small light movements to a tolerable level of dull pain, but not sharp acute pain. 

In the case of my ankle sprain this meant:

  • lie on my back and raise the ankle up to elevate it
  • make small tiny circles back and forth with the ankle to a tolerable level of dull pain
  • also point and flex the ankle and the toes to a tolerable level of pain
  • use your hands to assist if needed
  • flush for a few minutes, rest,
  • then lightly (and I do mean lightly) stroke the injury area with your fingertips, moving towards the heart
  • repeat several rounds of flushing and resting
  • check in with your pain levels and your body for 15-20 minutes

If the circles get slightly easier to make and/or larger, and your body starts relaxing a bit more, move on to next phase. If the area does not start to move a little better and calm down a bit, go to a sports doctor to get xrays, there may be smaller hairline fractures or a torn through ligament or tendon. 

The point of the flushing phase is three fold: moving fresh blood with nutrients and proteins to rebuild into the area, break down ripped up tissue and old blood, move the broken down wastes out of the area.

The third step...very gently attempt to put weight on the area

In my case with an ankle sprain, it's best to try to come to hands and knees first, then either with assistance or by grabbing on to something, pull yourself up on the good ankle. Then, while holding on to something or with assistance, try to gently put weight on the bad ankle.

Assess the pain this causes (and it definitely will cause pain)....is it intense but diffuse, or sharply acute on one spot?

  • With intense but diffuse pain, you can attempt to slowly put weight on it and take a step while holding onto a wall or another person
  • With sharply acute pain, take weight back off of it and try flushing it for a few rounds while standing on the good leg, then try to put weight on it again

if putting any weight on it again causes sharp acute pain, such that you can't take a step at all, get to a doctor or hospital. You'll want to get xrays and an MRI to see if there are any hairline fractures and/or torn tendons or ligaments. We recommend a few great NYC physical therapists on our collegues page due to their high level of experience and their philosophy of doing full 60 minute sessions with each patient.

However, if you can hobble on it with tolerable pain, call a car and get yourself home, trying to keep the injured ankle elevated on the back seat. If you don't have a friend with you, call someone and have them meet you at home. You are going to need some help and support.

The fourth step...recovery

ankle sprain massage therapy
My ankle sprain, the day after

Once you are home, elevate the ankle, and make sure that you drink water and eat some food, preferably fruit. This will immediately raise your glucose levels and help keep you from going into shock. Have a blanket handy in case you get cold and start shivering. Absolutely try to get help from a friend, partner or family member to purchase a few needed items. Get a cane and a slip on ankle bandage that provides support and compression. Also an arnica based lotion to apply to help move the bruising through. My personal fav is Topricin:


Why a cane and not a crutch? A crutch will be much easier to move around on at first. However, it will create havoc on your shoulder. In addition, it will be too easy to get moving fast on it, which is a recipe for taking a quick wrong step and re-injuring the ankle. A cane is somewhat humbling, but you can't really move any faster on it than your bad ankle will let you, which is a good thing.

Recovery is all about getting blood to and from the ankle. Move it or lose it is the name of the game. Keep flushing it several times daily with rounds of circles and movement to a tolerable degree of discomfort. Too much and you'll probably just want to vomit. None, and the ankle will heal frozen in place and you'll just have to rip the tissue back open again to get it moving. Slow and steady wins the healing race.

Wear the compression brace whenever you plan to try walking on it. For now you'll need the stability and it will keep the blood pressure from feeling too awful. However, don't wear it 24/7. Take it off and elevate it at home when you can (and should) rest.

A simple brace that slips on like a sock is best. You can still move a bit in it and do recovery exercises and it fits better in shoes which are also going to give support. Here are some great braces:

Recover Faster with less chance of Future Injury

ankle sprain massage therapy
two weeks after injury
ankle sprain massage therapy
four days after injury
ankle sprain massage therapy
My ankle sprain, two days after injury

While it is possible to heal this type of injury on your own, you'll get far better and quicker results working with experienced wellness professionals. Work with an acupuncturist during the initial stages, and a massage therapist and physical therapist as it starts to heal and take weight better.

DO NOT attempt to exercise on it until you can walk comfortably, without pain or discomfort, without wearing the brace. (At least not without direct guidance from a physical therapist.)

The main reason I'm already walking without a cane and almost no limp at 2 weeks is that I've gotten treated 3 times with e-stim by acupuncturist Erika Prinz who hosts community style acupuncture at our studio every thursday. I've also had massage therapy sessions from my staff. E-stim (or Electroacupuncture) is especially valuable at the beginning stages to promote healing in the damaged tissue.

Now that I am walking mostly without a limp, and able to take stairs up and down reasonably well, my next move will be getting advanced massage therapy sessions from my staff in order to keep the injury from adversely affecting my knee and hip on the right leg. Often the biggest impediment to healing an injury all the way through is locked up compensating musculature in the rest of the body. In the beginning, this compensation was necessary to keep you from further injuring the ankle. Now, it's just in your way. A physical therapist colleague introduced me to using a wobble board for ankle sprain recovery and it's a life changer. Highly recommended!


Last but not least...for NYC Marathon Runners

Our tendency is to want to dive right back into our exercise routine once we feel like we have little to no pain. This is just asking for re-injury. Take 4-6 weeks to slowly but surely add back in exercise. Act like you've never worked out before. Start small and steady. My first "rehab" exercise was walking to a cafe down the block with my wife for brunch after being stuck at home for 4 days. If you used to run 6 miles a run 5 times a week, start with a walk to the subway. Then walk a quarter mile a few days later. Then walk a half mile in week 2. Maybe by week 3 you try running around the block once. Maybe.

If at any point you step weird and it feels hurt again (and trust me this will happen), take it easy, continue daily flushing. It's all part of the process of rebuilding a solid working structurally sound ankle.

If you bite off more than you can chew at this stage, you may step wrong, roll the ankle again, this time worse, tearing through already weak ligaments. Do you like the thought of having to take 8-12 MONTHS to recover?! Don't push too hard!