One question we receive often from our clients is “what is this bag of white stuff?!” When they
find out it is baking soda the understandable next question is always “what is the difference
between a baking soda and Epsom salts?”
Baking soda –or sodium bicarbonate - is a great remedy for everything from sunburn and itchy
skin to teeth whitening. A lesser known fact is that taking a bath with baking soda can also help
you after a tough workout, massage or when your just feeling sludgy during the flu season.
Baking soda is very alkaline or basic which makes it able to bind to the so called “sludge” and
remove it from your body. After a particularly demanding cross fiber session, 8 cups of baking
soda in a hot bath can help to detoxify your body by flushing out the released toxins through
Epsom salt isn’t really a salt at all but instead a mineral compound called magnesium sulfate.
Epsom salt is great for chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia, soothing inflammation from
ingrown toenails and relieving bruised and aching muscles. This pain relief comes from your
skin absorbing the magnesium naturally founds in Epsom salt.
Many combinations of these two detoxifying ingredients can be helpful. Some people mix
them together or supplement the soak with essential oils or apple cider vinegar for additional
detox benefits. As always, be mindful of the potential health risks associated with any
treatment. Do not use baking soda or Epsom salts without consulting your doctor if you are
pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart problems or are on any prescription medication.
If you have gotten the go ahead from your doctor, enjoy a nice long soak and reap the benefits
of a detox soak to stay Active for Life!
By this time you are probably gearing back up after the New Year. Your check list is a mile long and somewhere between getting back to work and getting dinner on the table you manage to roll your ankle. It is a bit sore and you notice some swelling start to set in later as your lounging on the couch. Your sister recommends ice it but your cousin says she puts heat on her aching shoulder. Which one should you do?
Ice verses heat is a long standing debate but the truth is that both can help depending on your injury. The rule of thumb is that ice is for new injuries such as strains and sprains while heat is for chronic injuries, pain, and relaxation.
Ice should be used in the case of new injuries such as the one described above because it eases inflammation and swelling. Icing is also a good, drugless way to dull pain because it effectively constricts blood vessels which can also aid in the lessening of bruising. This is also the reason ice should not be used on chronically tight muscles - narrowing the vessels can cause these muscles to stiffen even more.
Instead heat can be used to sooth sore muscles, tension and spasms because it increases blood flow and flushes new, healing fluids to the affected area. Often time’s heat helps sooth stiff muscle and joints and increase range of motion in some cases. Heat should not be used for acute injuries such as a sprain because bringing more fluid into the area will increase swelling and delay the healing process.
Typically a regimen with ice and heat is 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. If you don’t have an ice pack you can use a bag of frozen peas or corn or mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 2 cups of water and freezing to make your own DIY ice pack. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can stuff an old, clean sock with rice and microwave at 30 second intervals until the desired temperature is reached. As a precaution always make sure there is a layer like a towel or scarf in-between your skin and any ice or heat you apply.
So was your sister or cousin right? Both! For your everyday life induced aches and pains remember to ice that sprained ankle and while you’re at it, throw some moist heat on your tense neck and shoulders – you will be good to go in no time! If you have any questions about whether to use ice or heat, contact your doctor or therapist to stay Active for Life!
In our last blog we delved into the differences between two distinct philosophies of therapeutic massage. But did you know that there are over 350 types of massage being utilized today? Today we will explore two types of massage, which are also called “modalities”. Let’s look at Swedish verses Cross Fiber massage.
Swedish massage is what comes to mind for most people when they think of massage. It is often found in a spa or resort setting and at large chains such as Massage Envy or Hand and Stone. It is the first modality learned when training to be a massage therapist due to its versatility and relaxing nature. Swedish massage is effective in whole body relaxation, increasing oxygen levels in the blood, improving circulation and easing tension through long, repetitive strokes that follow the fibers of your muscles.
Cross Fiber techniques include modalities such as Pfrimmer (pronounced Frim-mer) and Cross Fiber Friction. These modalities are often used in medically based massage practices and in some chiropractic offices. Cross Fiber is effective in treating a wide range of ailments such as soft tissue damage from traumas, releasing scar tissue and tendonitis. The goal of most cross fiber work is to allow muscles to contract and expand easily when you move, break up adhesions between the muscle layers, tendons and ligaments as well as to increase range of motion. The staple of cross fiber work is that it is performed just as the name implies – in short strokes across the fibers of your muscles. Cross fiber is an ideal treatment for chronic pain, old injuries and those stubborn ‘knots’ that just never seem to disappear.
Both the Swedish and Cross Fiber modalities have desirable results. Talk to your therapist today to see which one would be the best fit for you to stay Active for Life!
Hello and welcome to our very first blog. In our blog, we hope to demystify common questions we often get from our clients and community. We thought a good way to start would be to explain the differences between a therapeutic massage at PAMT and a standard therapeutic massage found elsewhere.
Let’s start off with the word therapeutic – it holds many meanings. Some of the more commonly used definitions and synonyms are:
Given these definitions, most massage is therapeutic in nature. Often times the term therapeutic is used to make a session’s benefits more clear. Some common effects of Therapeutic Swedish massage for example are reduced stress, increased circulation, greater access to the parasympathetic nervous system and a greater sense of general wellbeing. These sessions also tend to be client directed and ‘feel good’ oriented - a day to day approach.
While the effects above are also usually present at a location such as PAMT, our main focus is gaining a more stable and direct solution to pain. We aim for partial or whole healing of many conditions as well as steady improvement of chronic and acute pain. Our process starts with a rigorous education for our therapists in order to enable them to foster a space that will create long lasting effects for their clients. The end goal is to create effective treatment plans that get down to the root causes of pain – a prolonged approach.
Both of these therapeutically based approaches have value and benefit and comparing the two is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Since both have therapeutic benefit how do you know which one will work the best for you? Our advice? Try out both and don’t be afraid to speak frankly with your massage therapists about your goals. We are all here to help you reach whatever goals you may have so dream big and always stay Active for Life!