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View Full Version : holy myofascial release Batman!



kinnip
Sep. 29, 2011, 08:46 PM
I just had my very first massage today. It was from a sportsmassage therapist. I recently began using myofascial release massage on my horses, and it occurred to me, suddenly while riding, that it wasn't quite fair to massage them then ask them to carry my stiff butt on their backs. I was undoing everything!!!! My massage was about as comfy as I imagine the horse's have been :o , but the difference in my posture and muscle use is night and day. I can't believe how much tension I was carrying. It has gotten to the point in the last few months that I couldn't really sit the canter without pain. Canter transitions and sitting trot were all gutting it out and no softness. I feel sooo much better (pretty sure horsey feels so much better). I only rode one horse today, as the nice lady said I should take it easy, but it left me hungry for more. I'm suddenly aware of how distorted my body is when asking for transitions. It will take a few rides to get my muscle memory on track with the new lack of pain, and I can't wait!!! I will be investing more in MY muscle soundness for the sake of my horse's soundness. :D

juby2be
Sep. 29, 2011, 11:34 PM
See...it's awesome, isn't it? :D

There's a reason my clients come to see me. And most of them aren't even riders! ;)

(And make sure to drink lots of water over the next few days too!)

netg
Sep. 30, 2011, 01:20 AM
The day I got my first recent massage, I told everyone it was life changing.

I've been getting them every Wednesday at work for 30 minutes. I'm VERY lucky that we have someone come in with a table and take over a conference room once a week. It makes it convenient and easy to get a massage, and I am working with the same person every week. She's watched videos of my riding to see what I'm working on, and helps me understand any way that I'm crooked while riding, because it shows up in muscle tightness and development.

It turns out I also had SI joints basically frozen in place, and the massage loosened everything up enough that I was in a lot of pain for a while, but with a chiro's help am doing better there, too. It has completely changed my riding for the better, so now anytime someone has problems I try to suggest it without sounding like the pro-massage zealot I'm sort of becoming...

Beentheredonethat
Sep. 30, 2011, 02:01 AM
I put this on the other thread juby started, as not everyone is near her. Kinnip and netg, you're only just starting. When I was presented with a massage fantasy opportunity, I took it, and it's been one of the best things I've done for me. Just because it works out so well for me and my masseuse, I want to put the idea out there because it may work for you.

I prepay $200 a month and get two one hour massages a week, or one two hour massages a week. Yep, that works out to $25 an hour. It's a great deal for me because look what I get, and for my masseuse because, even if it was just a $50 massage plus tip, I might go once every couple of months. This way she gets a steady income, and I get my fantasy.

I've been doing this almost a year, and you don't even KNOW how stuck you are. MY SI joints have been frozen so long I never knew they could move. It's taken a long time and a lot of work, but now I can actually move my hips when I ride without zinging pains going up my back to stop me. It's still tight and I have to work carefully to stretch them when I ride, but it's slowly getting better. The first thing she fixed was the constant tight knots in my upper back, and I don't have a higher right shoulder now. We've made some good progress on the hamstrings, and I don't feel like I've got pain zinging down the back of my leg when I walk up hill. We're just getting started on some on the muscles in the front of my legs.

Just as with horses, we have a lot of damage, and it takes a long time to fix and strengthen the soft tissues. We rarely treat ourselves as well as our horses. If you think you can at all put it in your budget, you might want to approach a masseuse with the prepaid idea. It's not just the muscles, either. It's like a deep meditation for me once a week.

AllWeatherGal
Sep. 30, 2011, 09:10 AM
Just a note about regular payments, Massage Envy does the same thing. Depending on your location it's $49 or $59 a month "membership" and that includes 1 "60 minute" massage and entitles you to vastly discounted regular prices. With a tip it's still not cheap, but if you find a good practitioner it's priceless! And if you work for a company with a flexible health spending plan and have a doctor who will give you a prescription for massage/bodywork, you can even get reimbursed for it.

As a LMT myself (non-practicing) I was very suspicious about the quality of a corporate-type business. However, I have found very good practitioners at several locations throughout the country and as far as I've experienced, very low turnover.

My current regular MT is the best I've ever had (including at the school where I went and the studios I worked).

coloredhorse
Sep. 30, 2011, 09:18 AM
It is amazing, isn't it? I use it often on many of my equine clients and it really helps with my particular issues, as well. Like netg, I have some SI issues; it's quite interesting to have the LMT perform essentially the same work on me that I do on my mare who has post-injury SI problems.

Meshach
Sep. 30, 2011, 09:30 AM
If you were to make an appt. what areas do you tell them to focus on (that would be beneficial for riding) / what kind of massage do you get?

AllWeatherGal
Sep. 30, 2011, 12:59 PM
Any area of your body is likely to benefit from massage thus your riding will, too. Most of us hold tension in our shoulders and could use help opening our chests. I have particular issues with my lower back, as well.

If you can find someone who does real myofascial, it's amazingly effective ... not always relaxing or comfortable, though. You can do something like self-myfascial with foam rollers. Google "foam rollers" and check out youtube instructional videos.

Otherwise, I'd ask for deep tissue or sports massage work and let the practitioner make decisions based on your input of where you hurt and what you do with your body.

I have found amazing relief from psoas work, but I have only met two bodyworkers (my current MT and my current chiropractor) so far who really knew how to work that muscle/area appropriately (through the belly, not from the back).

kinnip
Sep. 30, 2011, 02:18 PM
Awesome! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who missed the memo. :) I've spent so much time and money trying to keep my horses comfortable and sound, I totally forgot about me.
I'll have to ask about a package deal. Mine wasn't cheap. They charge $90/hr. I would like to be able to have it done every other week at least. AWG, that's interesting about the psoas. I'll have to address that. Now that my neck and shoulders have relaxed a bit, I'm starting to feel all the other places I'm tight.

netg
Sep. 30, 2011, 04:06 PM
...
I've been doing this almost a year, and you don't even KNOW how stuck you are. MY SI joints have been frozen so long I never knew they could move. It's taken a long time and a lot of work, but now I can actually move my hips when I ride without zinging pains going up my back to stop me. It's still tight and I have to work carefully to stretch them when I ride, but it's slowly getting better.
...

Just as with horses, we have a lot of damage, and it takes a long time to fix and strengthen the soft tissues. We rarely treat ourselves as well as our horses. If you think you can at all put it in your budget, you might want to approach a masseuse with the prepaid idea. It's not just the muscles, either. It's like a deep meditation for me once a week.

I hear you on not knowing the SI area was supposed to move! I at least haven't had movement there as an adult. I suspect I haven't since '97 when I had major back pain in college due to a tank of a Dutch Warmblood, and the doctors kept telling me "It's just muscular!" and refusing to refer me to a chiro. Muscle relaxers just made things worse! A couple weeks after I started with chiropractor appointments I went "wait... I'm moving there... is THAT why I couldn't move enough to ride my horse like I wanted?!" I had no idea. I really thought spine movement stopped at the top of your pelvic bone, and didn't realize you're supposed to move all the way down to your tailbone. Talk about revelations which help your riding!


If you were to make an appt. what areas do you tell them to focus on (that would be beneficial for riding) / what kind of massage do you get?

It depends week to week for me. My MT has multiple specialties, so she can focus on different areas depending on me that week. This week she focused on neck/shoulders and helping relaxation because I was tense and my right shoulder was stuck near my ear after a horse was snakebitten the night before and made me a weeeee bit tense!


Any area of your body is likely to benefit from massage thus your riding will, too. Most of us hold tension in our shoulders and could use help opening our chests. I have particular issues with my lower back, as well.

If you can find someone who does real myofascial, it's amazingly effective ... not always relaxing or comfortable, though. You can do something like self-myfascial with foam rollers. Google "foam rollers" and check out youtube instructional videos.

Otherwise, I'd ask for deep tissue or sports massage work and let the practitioner make decisions based on your input of where you hurt and what you do with your body.

I have found amazing relief from psoas work, but I have only met two bodyworkers (my current MT and my current chiropractor) so far who really knew how to work that muscle/area appropriately (through the belly, not from the back).

She's definitely worked on my psoas a lot, and I had no idea I would feel it from my knees to my rib cage! Very beneficial, and I'm about due for a focus there.
Because I'm rebuilding core to support the newly increased range of motion, we spend a lot of time on lower abs, and areas which most people don't like... you really need to build a solid professional relationship with a MT before it's not just terribly uncomfortable to have them working on you! And yet, you don't know how much you need it until you're able to get that work! I also get a lot of work on the deep core muscles in back and glutes. Everything is changing length, developing strength, etc., as I'm fixing my posture - so it's kind of a focus on what's up that week.

kinnip
Sep. 30, 2011, 08:18 PM
It's funny you should mention comfort level. I was a little anxious over the nudity, and wasn't really sure whether I could go full monty. As I stood there in the nice room with the big expensive table and the nice artwork, I thought, 'This is gonna cost me. I'm getting my money's worth dammit, even it means getting naked!' :)

Somantu
Sep. 30, 2011, 10:48 PM
I've been getting regular massage therapy for decades, mostly Shiatsu.

Six years ago I moved into a barn, where a few boarders were getting Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) treatments.
The practicing chiropractor happened to live on the property. I decided to give it a try – it was incredible. Went from stiff and tight to loose and fluid… in all the places that were previously "unmovable".

Then I found out that this chiropractor also treats animals: mostly horses, but also small animals.

The first time I had a treatment before a lesson, my coach was gobsmacked at the difference in my position. She kept asking: "What happened to your legs? They're 5 inches longer! And you're not grabbing the right rein every two minutes. What's going on?"

Then the perfect storm happened: chiropractor watched dobbin on the longe. Then gave him a treatment. Next day gave me another treatment before a lesson. It was a pretty amazing ride: forward, balanced, loose. No pinching, pulling, or teetering. :eek:

It was almost as if I actually knew how to ride!:lol:

So now we both get monthly treatments. Except that my horse gets his in 15 to 20 minute quickies weekly, which is extra beneficial.

Kyzteke
Oct. 1, 2011, 06:49 AM
Very interesting discussion -- I have alot of pain due to a bad hip, back, etc. and I'm crooked as heck. Stiff as a board.

I see signs everywhere for MTs and some are very reasonable, but how do you know you've got a good one?

Any suggestions as to certification, training and what you should expect for a skilled practitioner?

Kyzteke
Oct. 1, 2011, 06:54 AM
Very interesting discussion -- I have alot of pain due to a bad hip, back, etc. and I'm crooked as heck. Stiff as a board.

I see signs everywhere for MTs and some are very reasonable, but how do you know you've got a good one?

Any suggestions as to certification, training and what you should expect for a skilled practitioner?

AllWeatherGal
Oct. 1, 2011, 08:22 AM
Very interesting discussion -- I have alot of pain due to a bad hip, back, etc. and I'm crooked as heck. Stiff as a board.

I see signs everywhere for MTs and some are very reasonable, but how do you know you've got a good one?

Any suggestions as to certification, training and what you should expect for a skilled practitioner?

Depending on where you live, massage therapists must be licensed. Check ...

A massage therapist that works out of a chiropractor's office
Recommendations from other riders in the area.
Your horse's chiro
An MT that rides!

Massage is quite personal ... my last Chiro loved an MT that I didn't like at all (great woman, didn't like her work). And of the three chiros in the office that I'm seeing now, only one is "right on" for me. And even HE has no idea how we really use our bodies in dressage.

Based on my current experience, I would ask for someone who was trained in myofascial release ... it's a specialty and who has experience with athletes and/or back issues. They might or might not have a certificate in either specialty ... but it's the hands-on that will tell.

Most importantly the MT *listens* to you and you feel a connection in your body. Just like when you ride, when your MT touches you it becomes a complex system of energy and exchange.

The guy I work with now is great, even tho he talks a lot of nonsense about riding ... honestly, people who don't do dressage really DO NOT KNOW what we try to do with our bodies (no, your hamstrings are probably not the weakest part of your leg because that's what you use to keep your leg in place, not quads) ... so try not to get too wrapped up in their theories.

FWIW, I keep my bottoms on during massage and the MT seems to be able to work just fine around it.

For ART, I'd go to a physical therapist (there are a couple of other newer modalities). And that's another option for those of you experiencing chronic pain (ART was instrumental in rehabbing both my knees after surgery.) -- AND that is nearly always covered by insurance.

Some folks have had great results from a technique called Rolfing. It wasn't much good for me. You can also look into Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais (http://www.create-a-healthy-flexible-body.com/feldenkrais-exercises.html both of which offer lots of self-work.

Just one note ... none of this is magic-bullet material if you're not willing to do the exercises on your own. I'm struggling with this issue myself. I should know better. I experience the relief from daily workouts ... but still somehow "can't seem to find the time" (because I post more than I work out?) ...

netg
Oct. 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Very interesting discussion -- I have alot of pain due to a bad hip, back, etc. and I'm crooked as heck. Stiff as a board.

I see signs everywhere for MTs and some are very reasonable, but how do you know you've got a good one?

Any suggestions as to certification, training and what you should expect for a skilled practitioner?

What makes a "good one" differs from one person to another.

Definitely someone who listens to you, to what you're feeling, and everything else AWG said.

Many are too gentle, I've found. Sports massage has to get to the deeper tissues. That can be VERY light pressure at the start in affected areas, but it means spending the time to work through issues in those areas. Many massage therapists are more light, relaxing massage... that doesn't get very deep, and only releases superficial tension. That feels great, but doesn't help in athletic endeavours. Just about any MT is going to ask you to tell him/her if it's too hard/too soft, but personally I don't want to have to spend an entire massage asking for a deeper massage. As we've worked together, my MT has learned exactly what amount of pressure works in sore areas (which she usually can feel will be sore before I realize they are!) and so I rarely have to ask for her to go lighter now - but at first I did have to help her adjust to specific problem areas.

Mine discusses what she's finding as she goes with me. She listened to me explaining to her how I use my body, and watched a video of me riding on my phone. We discuss what's going on with my riding each week, and she applies that to figuring out where the problem areas are that week. She tells me which muscle groups are tight/sore and what their function is, so I can know if it's a good sign for improving my riding, or I'm developing a bad habit - and getting weekly feedback on a muscular level about habits you're starting to develop is pretty much as useful to me as lessons, because tightening the wrong muscles is something I feel well before it can be seen. As you can guess, I'm a very analytical person, so I like that - you may not want it! I like being able to feel as she works on a muscle group and tells me what that group does, to be able to articulate those specific muscles while riding. It's really helping me locate the correct abs for using my core properly as my body and ability is changing, and helping me recognize when I'm tight in my obliques which is how I tend to keep myself from sitting properly. I've been able to ride for the last month since my chiro issues, and I'm a drastically different rider than I was a month ago as far as how I use my body, and my MT is a HUGE part of that.

You may have to try multiple massage therapists to find one you really like, but once you find one, try to stick with that one and develop a relationship, because having someone who knows your body and how you use it and can point things out can be VERY valuable.

Beentheredonethat
Oct. 1, 2011, 03:31 PM
As said, what is good depends on the person and how much you know about massage. It took me a long time to figure it *that* wasn't supposed to hurt, so *that* needs to be worked on until it doesn't, or is better. A good masseuse will find those very quickly and focus in on them. You want the feel good spots with all of the nerves (front of shoulder, that spot over your pelvic bones, the hands, etc.) but you also need them to find the sore, stuck spots and work on them.

I found mine because she was just starting out as a business, and was very smart about trying new business opportunities. She tries all kinds of techniques and is constantly trying new things to see what works. Like riding, there is no one way that works, and no way that works every time.

You do have to be comfortable with them and feel like they are finding the bad spots and working on them. I've always gone naked and it's never been a issue, even with male masseuses. When I was in Thailand, I got about 40 massages ($5 an hour) and THAT is an interesting technique. Thai massage is like couple's yoga wrestling, so the masseuse literally wraps themselves around you, or you around them, though you're clothed. But, they do it all of the time, so just relax and it's no big deal. You really need to be naked, though my masseuse does a lot of techniques I've never seen before with sheets over my body using pushing and weight techniques (sort of Thai ish). If there's any issue with weirdness, you don't need to be getting a massage from them. Just try some and see what happens. Depending on where you live, there may be a lot of various Asian decent masseuses who can be wonderful.

LLong
Oct. 4, 2011, 03:55 PM
Has anyone heard of sEMG? There is a practice near my house that does deep tissue massage/chiro and other practices. Has anyone heard or done sEMG, or is it BS? Here's a link to the explanation on the website of the place I'm thinking about going:

http://www.gooddayclinic.net/Advanced%20Exams/Advanced%20Exams%20sEMG.html

AllWeatherGal
Oct. 5, 2011, 08:39 AM
Has anyone heard of sEMG?

I have not, but the explanation sounds somewhat more believable than cold-laser massage. If it were available to me, and not outrageously expensive, I'd want to give it a try ... at least see if the results correlated with the feelings I have in my body.

Chiropractors do a lot of marketing, sometimes, to appear legitimate to folks who are more comfortable with traditional medicine (a.k.a. pills n surgery) ... I think some of it is overkill -- all the tests in the world won't make a bad bodyworker better and a great bodyworker has lots of intuitive skill -- but not much of it is bad for you (the facial stuff looks a bit scary if it's not FDA approved, IMO).

I think this test's strength would be in measuring progress/improvement after a course of treatments.

Oh, and ask if they can take the equipment to the barn and do the same thing for your horse!

LLong
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:43 AM
I'm going to book an appointment,and hopefully get it done some time this week. I found a trubates offer for the sEMG and an hour deep tissue massage afterwards for $59. So even if the sEMG thing is a waste of time it's still a good price for an hour long massage. I plan to not tell him where I hurt or anything beforehand and see how accurate it is.

dragonharte8
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:54 AM
Question
Having discovered what it can do for you, what about your horse getting massage treatment?

horsefaerie
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:02 PM
Kysteke, see if your library has any books by Pete Egoscue. I think he wrote four. One is specifically for women.

If you can find the time to gently try those e-cises you may be amazed.

It will not supplant massage but it will help immensely over time.

If you are lucky enough to live near one of their trained people, more the better. If you have extra bucks invest in the DVDs.

I do this stuff daily so I can keep moving. I cannot afford much massage but have been able to now and again. Over a two year period I have seen huge improvements. I got initial results in about a month.

It is so worth it.

INoMrEd
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:33 PM
It's funny you should mention comfort level. I was a little anxious over the nudity, and wasn't really sure whether I could go full monty. As I stood there in the nice room with the big expensive table and the nice artwork, I thought, 'This is gonna cost me. I'm getting my money's worth dammit, even it means getting naked!' :)

This! I'd love to be able to do this but the thought of being naked and having a stangers' hands all over me really creeps me out.

AllWeatherGal
Oct. 5, 2011, 02:53 PM
This! I'd love to be able to do this but the thought of being naked and having a stangers' hands all over me really creeps me out.

1. There is absolutely no requirement to be nude. I always told new clients to take off as much or as little as they were comfortable with.

2. You're "draped" ... that is, covered. Most places I've been including Massage Envy (a U.S. national chain) uses full sheets. Massage therapists are trained to protect modesty by uncovering the minimum necessary for bodywork.

3. The massage therapist is not a "stranger" and his or her hands aren't "all over you"!

I think of my MT pretty much like my chiropractor (except he spends more time with me) and my hairdresser (whose work EVERYONE sees!).

MTs see from 4-8 nekkid bodies of all types, shapes, sizes and fitness a day. They're professionals and have jobs to do that they take very seriously.

You have every opportunity to tell the MT that you're modest, or your feet are ticklish or you don't want your face or your tummy, or whatever touched. If the MT does not respect your request, you may terminate the massage immediately, complain to the management and get a complete refund.