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Shania's Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Welcome to my Blog Pages

April 15, 2020

Hello friends and clients, here is my blog page to share my information and knowledge.  I hope you find the following entries useful and relevant to your inquisitions.  

Patterns of Dysfuntion

October 25, 2022

Patterns of Dysfunction

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2006. I have always found techniques along the way to relieve my own pain when I couldn’t see another massage therapist right away. I use my knowledge of anatomy and muscle therapy techniques to relieve joint and muscle pain. I know from experience that muscle tightness and muscle soreness are two different things. Muscle tightness is the result of an over conditioned muscle or muscle group that lacks full extensibility of motion. Over time muscle tightness can lead to postural deviations from a more neutral and optimal position. Muscle soreness can be caused from an acute injury from direct overuse, or it can be a chronic pain from continued misuse. Knowing the difference helps me determine where to stretch and massage.

Acute muscle or joint pain can be the result of a serious injury from a fall, twisting, or impact. It is always best to get a doctor’s diagnosis of the injury before seeking alternative treatment such as massage therapy. In some cases, muscle or joint pain occurs suddenly without a cause such as in the middle of activity or directly following. If the pain subsides with stretching, rolling, and hydration it is likely that pain is caused from a muscle or postural imbalance. Overtime the muscle or joint pain felt only certain times during activity does not go away and the pain becomes chronic. The brain communicates with the body to adjust stance, walking gait and basic movements to accommodate for the nagging muscle or joint area. This process establishes the muscle pain gait cycle.

The pain that is sent to the brain from the muscle that aches chronically is not always the source of pain, it can also be from the opposite muscle group that is fixed into a shortened holding pattern.

Patterns: I see patterns of dysfunction as a therapist, certain chronic pain areas in the body have similar muscle shortening patterns. There can be postural dysfunction patterns that elicit pain in common areas. I have also seen repetitive motion patterns from common sports that produce pain in certain muscle groups. Learning to recognize these patterns has helped me treat clients more efficiently and target the correct muscle groups for relief.

I want to share the techniques I have learned to help you become proactive in your muscle health. 

Schedule a session with me and see how I use postural analysis, gait assessment and dynamic movement assessments that provide you with a superior muscle treatment.  Experience the difference of how a Sport and Swedish focused massage can improve your muscle wellness and help stop patterns of dysfunction.

Tips, Tricks and Tools

May 19, 2022

Quite often, I'm finishing a session with a client and they ask "How do I stretch this muscle?" or "Do you have any ideas how to strengthen my traps?  The answer in short is yes, yes I do.  Unfortunately I don't always have the time to go into great detail unless an additional Flexibility Guidance or Strength Training session has been set up.  I do offer Flexibility and Strength Training since I am a Certified Personal Trainer in addition to my Massage Licensure.  There is even a whole separate area specifically for training within the building where my office is located which is essentially a gymnastics training facility.  As you can imagine there is a space set up exclusively for flexibility and strength training.  

Today I am going to expand on specifically on incorporating more movement into your day.  I am not talking about exercise or heart rate movement; I am talking about Range of Motion.  Let's consider in an average day, the typical person gets up out of bed, gets dressed, goes to work by sitting in a car, sits at a desk or walks.  The basic functional movements should include squatting, lunging, bending, pushing, pulling and pressing occasionally there may be some reaching and catching.  As we age our muscles become tighter, more fibrous and joints become stiff and rigid from the lack of movement. Movement becomes restrictive and less fluid which can increase the risk for injury.  

Incorporating movement should begin in small increments and slowly build over time.  You don't have to commit to an hour of stretching each day, beside who has that kind of time.  I believe in short bursts of movement throughout the day that add up over time.  I'm going to outline my favorite movements and you can choose when and where to begin incorporating them into your daily lifestyle.

Neck Extension/Rotation- Can be performed sitting or standing, simply make sure knees, hips and shoulders are facing forward with your hands softly on your knees or at sides if standing.  Take a deep breath in and on the exhale turn your head to the left and stay there for one cycle of breath.  Return to the center and repeat on the right side.  Repeat 3-5 times.  Extension: begin in the same position and extend your neck by looking up on the exhale.  Only stretch as far as you feel comfortable.

Chest Openers- Can be performed sitting or standing, simply make sure knees, hips and shoulders are facing forward with your hands softly on your knees or at sides if standing.  Take a deep breath and on the exhale bring your palms together in a prayer motion, continue to extend your hands to the ceiling until they get as high as you can reach.  Slowly pull the palms apart and external rotate in the shoulders so the hands are extended above your head and facing forward. Gently lower your arms simultaneously as you exhale focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you lower to return to the prayer position.  Repeat 5-10 times.

Rib Cage Open and Rotation- A towel or stick roller can be used for this exercise Can be performed sitting or standing, simply make sure knees, hips and shoulders are facing forward with your hands softly on your knees or at sides if standing.  Hold your towel or stick in an over grip with hands approximately shoulder width apart.  Begin with a deep inhale and slowly bend on the exhale to the left while keeping your hips aligned with your feet and knees.  Do not push your hip out to the side beyond your foot.  Return to the center and repeat on the right side.

Hip Mobilizers- A very simple exercise to keep mobility and motion in the hips.  Holding a chair for stability lift your knee forward and rotate in the hip externally to bring the knee to the side.  Place your foot behind you and repeat going forward again.  

Hip Openers- Hip Flexor stretch standing or seated in a lunging position curl your pelvis under to isolate your iliopsoas.

Calf Stretches- Find a wall or doorway to flex your foot onto and slowly straiten your leg.

You can also find the video tutorials for these stretches on my 

Tick Tock account @Stronger_with_Shania 

also check out 

youtube channel @ShaniaLMT

From Athlete To Massage Therapist

July 17, 2021

 I always wanted to give back to sports and be a mentor on some level. I work with athletes and non-athletes every day and try to share a little of my knowledge and encourage individuals to push through their limitations whether it be pain or injuries. I would like to think that as a massage therapist I offer a great muscle therapy service as well as the encouragement to continue. I hope my story serves as inspiration for others to find their way and be their best.

You can read more about that here in this article that was recently published in Massage Today.

Cupping, Isn't Just For Athletes

November 11, 2020

Perhaps you have heard about cupping or seen the little red circles on the backs and shoulders of athletes. These are the cupping marks that are left behind from intensive treatments. While these are a side effect of some types of cupping, I am using more conservative techniques that are less likely to leave marks.

Cupping, what exactly is it? 

 In my practice I use several different sized pliable silicone cups. The cups are placed in targeted areas and produce a vacuum on the skin. There are two different techniques I use with the cups during a treatment session: fast cupping and Myofascial cupping.

Fast Cupping:

 utilizes several different sized cups along a muscle group. The cups are placed statically for about 10 seconds and re positioned. This process can take several minutes until the muscle feels more relaxed.

Myofascial Cupping:

 uses 1 or 2 cups with a gentle vacuum glide over a targeted muscle group. The intensity of the vacuum slowly becomes more intense until the muscle eventually relaxes.

Here are some examples of how cupping can be used during a session:

1.Facial Cupping: Tiny cups are used on the face for the purpose of plumping fine lines to give the appearance of tighter skin. The effects are temporary but can last for up to 24 hours.

2.Mid Trapezius release: medium sized cups are used to break up muscle spasms when deeper pressure in not tolerated between the shoulder blades.

3.Frozen shoulder: smaller cups can be used in the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and pectorals to help unglue adhered muscle tissue and fascia.

4.Low Back Pain: Larger cups can be used in the areas of low back and glutes that may otherwise be sensitive to pressure. The cups produce increased circulation without the use of heavy pressure.

5.Illiotibial band work: Larger cups are used to massage with a gentle vacuum over the hypersensitive areas resulting in sense of decreased pain associated with over used tendon pain.

6.Plantar Fasciitis: smaller cups are used on the bottom of the foot to help bring more circulation to muscles and tendons that may otherwise be to painful to touch.

There are many other applications of cups, these are only a few examples. Cups are a great addition to any massage and can be highly beneficial.  Check out this month for cupping promotions!

Cooling Weather, Heating Stones

September 16, 2020

Brisk mornings and fog role in as September days become shorter and colorful. The air is cool and sweater weather has debuted almost overnight. Apple caramel lattes, Pumpkin spice, and cinnamon swirl through the senses. There is a sense of comfort knowing the warmth of a small cup of tea is enough to relax even the most guarded of posture crouching forward from a chill. Sense the warmth of that cup in your hands, the ease it brings. Now imagine that comfort of warmness during the most relaxing massage on your back, legs, arms, hands, and feet. The Hot Stone Massage is a full body massage that uses heated river stones.

Heat therapy is a great way to warm up during the cooler months of fall, it also provides many benefits. I offer the Hot Stone Massage for relaxation and Sport Stone Massage for deeper muscle work and trigger point therapy.

The Hot Stone Massage is intended for complete whole-body relaxation. The pressure is light to medium to encourage the return of lymph throughout the entire body. The benefits of heat and massage create a soothing experience by reducing stress, anxiety, and muscle pain.

The Sport Stone Massage is intended for individuals that wish to focus work to specific areas of concern. Perhaps a tightness in the neck and shoulders has resulted in perpetual throbbing or pain in the head and neck, a 30-minute sport stone can work out these specific areas. The Sport Stones are heated and used more as a massage tool for soft-tissue mobilization on areas of tight, injured, and overused muscles. The 90-minute application of sport stone massage uses stones on arms, legs, back, feet, hands and neck.

Here's a Challenge:  if you are new to massage, try just a focus on neck and shoulders or just feet.  A 30 minute Sport Stone application on tired feet can help loosen tight plantar fascia and relieve foot pain.

Heated stones can be used for many applications from relaxation, recovery work to maintenace massages for the tired athlete.  If you have questions feel free to contact me by email or phone.

In the Treatment room:

I have made some upgrades and special adjustments to warming equipment to ensure the safety of each client. Ensuring safety is the primary focus in the treatment room to accommodate Covid-19 guidelines with the CDC. The table is now heated for every massage unless otherwise requested. The heat pad is covered with a vinyl cover that will be sanitized after every client in addition to a complete change of linens. I also have medical grade heat packs that can also be completely sanitized between clients. I will continue to use medical grade disinfectants and sanitize between clients. I am also using the Victory electrostatic sprayer with an ultra-violet light on the carpet and non-wipeable surfaces. I also have an air filter which has an ultra violet light to kill bacteria and pull allergens from the air during treatments.

Foam Rolling for Self-Care

July 29, 2020

I recently became certified as a Mobility Specialist through Functional Movement Training (FMT). The focus of the certification was on self-myofascial release with tools like a foam roller, foam trigger point ball, roller stick and vibrational massage balls and rollers. During the course, we applied the principles of “Anatomy Trains” Myofacsial Meridians; written by Thomas Myers. Fundamentally speaking there are different lines in body that follow muscle movement patterns which are connected by layers of fascia.

What is Fascia?

Fascia is a network of connective tissue throughout the entire body, it connects skin, to muscle, to bone, ligaments, joint capsules, organs, etc. It is vascular and highly innervated which means it sends information to the brain about movement, body awareness, and pain. Knowing the pattern that fascia moves within the body also gives greater understanding to identify tight muscle groups. An injury can influence another part of the body due to the fascial restriction pulling on the line or chain.

Knowing what fascia is helps athletes or active individuals understand how to better care for their muscles.

During the last few weeks, I have been working with groups of athletes to demonstrate how they can self-assess to find their fascial restrictions in and then massage out the trouble spots. I have found that not just one tool fits all. There are different tools that work best for different areas of the body, so it is my suggestion to try several different items. I personally have 3 different foam rollers, several small rubber and foam balls, a rolling massage stick and vibrating ball and foam roller. I am relatively active as a massage therapist and gymnastics coach, so I do get sore muscles frequently from overuse, poor posture, and recurring injuries.

I would like to share my opinion and professional recommendations for self-care tools:

Foam rollers:

I find these are great for recovery rolling when you want a little more pressure in large muscle groups like hamstrings, quads, mid back, lats and thoracolumbar fascia.

Rubber and foam balls:

Great for bottoms of feet and getting deeper into trigger point areas like upper and mid traps. I like using these for releasing my glutes and deep hip flexors (iliopsoas), also great for the TFL. Again it’s like a thumb in a very precise location to release a trigger point.

Rolling massage Stick

These are handheld and great for areas like calves, shins, hamstrings, quads and IT band. I like that you don’t use a lot of pressure so it’s great for all over prep massage to wake up the muscles.

Vibrating balls and rollers

Depending on the pressure and setting, these are great before practice as a pre-event massage to wake up and liquefy cellular matrix and fascia. Studies have shown that using vibrational stretching before exercise increases explosiveness and flexibility which is ideal in gymnastics. Vibrational tools may also improve sensory proprioception when used as stability training devices. An example of this would be attempting to hold the vibrating ball standing with shoulders protracted as one would be in a handstand. After 20 seconds, put the ball down and attempt to do the handstand. The athlete will immediately notice more sensory feedback in their arms and hands.

What tools do I use?

Right now, I am using a lot of TPtherapy products that can be found here. I like the diverse selection of products for self-care and rolling.

There are a lot of places that do have foam rollers, balls and massage sticks. I have seen them everywhere from Dicks, TJ Maxx, Wal-Mart and even 5 Below also Amazon is a great resource.

I hope this has been helpful to guide you in selecting your self-care tool kit.

My New Operational Plan

June 6, 2020

As I am getting ready to open doors for the very first time and welcome new clients I wanted to share with you what I am doing to help provide safety. I am working within the Bright Raven Gymnastics Victor building. I will be sharing the entry door in the front as all individuals that enter must be scanned for a touchless temperature reading.

The following outlines my plan to be compliant with all CDC guidelines.

•Intake forms should be filled out online prior to your visit, there are new questions that help me screen for potential covid-19 contact

•Online scheduling and payments are also available to cut down on the amount of paper touching hands

•Your appointment will be verified thru text message and email

•When you arrive at the front door of Bright Raven East expect to have your temperature scanned, if you are above 99 you will not be permitted to enter for your appointment. Your appointment will need to be rescheduled, there will be no fee collected for missed appointments due to sickness.

Upon arrival:

  • All patients and myself are required to wear a mask when in my office. 
  • I ask for prompt washing of hands upon arrival to your appointment and suggest that you wash before leaving as well. Please allow yourself enough time to do this. There is a bathroom located on your way to my massage office in the hallway in which you will be directed.
  • I will meet you upon your arrival and direct you where to go. Immediately after washing hands I will take you to your appointment.
  • Following your appointment, you will be able to exit thru a separate door to decrease traffic flow.
  • I will be hand washing between each visit as well as wiping all touchable surfaces in my office space.
  • All tables and equipment used will be sanitized between each visit and at the end of the night for additional measures.

I am looking forward to working with you in the near future.  Thank you for your support.

The Four Phase Plan

May 9, 2020

As we move forward into May in Western Upstate and Finger Lakes Areas of New York the reopening of the economy will be addressed in a four-phase process as set forth by our NYS Governor Cuomo. I have been scouring the news and looking for hard opening dates but there is no set time schedule. We are waiting on the numbers of those who have been hospitalized to drop as well as the numbers of those who have been tested to drop. As it stands from what I understand we have a good chance of re-opening our economy based on regional statistics.

I can not say what phase I will most likely open my doors and see clients, but the good news is that I do see that happening in the future. I am confident that my schedule will be modified to ensure complete sanitation and cleaning guidelines between clients. I am eager to learn new processes and recommendations set forth by the CDC. I encourage you follow my youtube channel to help learn self- care massage and stretching techniques.

I am looking forward to opening my doors and treating clients again. During these months off I have been educating myself in more myofascial techniques especially for the neck and shoulder. I have also learned some great migraine relief treatments for those of you that experience headaches. Hang in there it won’t be long now, we are in the home stretch and soon I will be able to see you in real life.

My new Youtube Channel

April 15, 2020

I have started a new Youtube channel.  I am spending time each week to create a video and share them.  Each video focuses on a specific area of the body or pain with a brief description of the muscles involved.  The videos end with self care stretches and massage that can be applied at home.  My goal is to educate individuals seeking pain relief from muscle soreness, postural disfunction or injuries.  

As we move forward into the 5th week of quarantine from Covid-19, it may be some time still before I am able to actually massage clients.  I can however use this time to help clients identify their pain and teach self care massage and stretches.  In the weeks ahead I will also use the Youtube channel to demonstrate different massage applications that I will offer in my clinic including cupping, hot stone, sport stone, herbal towels and Swedish.  You will understand when each massage would be most useful and for what conditions.  The goal is to completely educate individuals on types of massage and self care.

Covid-19 Outbreak and Social Distancing

March 21, 2020

There has been a tiny wrench thrown into the plans of many, that wrench goes by the name covid-19. Just a few weeks ago, I was setting up my website and getting my online scheduling software in place and now due to the recommendations of multiple world and state organizations, my massage therapy business is placed on hold. It's kind of a bummer to go from such a high of creating a business strategy that has been that has been a long term goal, to: just hold your breath for a minute. I am certain that when communities return to daily life as before the outbreak, we will all need a little stress relief.

Massage may not be considered an essential business during a time when we are social distancing but it is necessary for a lot of people to help manage stress and anxiety, relieve pain, and reduce muscle tension. In fact, 41% of consumers that get massage are for medical reasons. Medical reasons that include injury recovery, pain relief, soreness, migraine relief, prenatal and pregnancy or for well being. ( percentages are based on an AMTA 2018 consumer survey). Now is a time to stay healthy and proactive, just like any other virus there are similar protocols. It is in our best interest to try and flatten the curve and stay away from others for a short time until the virus fades. There is an abundance of information from the CDC, WHO, and DOH on what to do and how to prevent the spread of covid-19.

My greatest objective when I open my doors for new clients will be to implement safe strategies for diligent disinfecting between clients. I may need more time between individual clients to accommodate new precautionary measures. I will be adding new health intake questions that can identify if someone is at risk or has been exposed to someone at risk of carrying the virus. I look forward to the weeks ahead and getting through this challenging time. Let's all try to make the most of this time with our families and enjoy the time we are spending together. Take a moment each day to reflect upon what you are thankful for and call your friends and family to check up and see if everyone is safe. Thank you for your continued support, be safe and stay well.

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