A good reason, if you need one…

Here is a good reason to get massages on a regular basis, if you need one.

Spring is here an brings with it the start of all the sports you love to play like golf, tennis, soccer, gardening (I personally think it should be a sport), etc. This means you are going to use muscles differently than you have over the winter. To illistrate, let’s look a golf. In what other event in life do you put your body into such a contortion while hitting a stable object with extreme force?

Not many, if any, none that I can think of anyway. So, take a look at this picture Golfer_swingand let me explain what is happening to the muscles in the body.

First his forward leg is stable causing extreme rotation in the hips while balanced on the left leg, therefore using his gluteus medius and minimus muscles to stabilize him.

His core muscles, the iliopsoas, are being stretched as he extends his back while his pectorals (chest muscles) are working to bring his arms into the swing position.

Looking at his neck, wow, the human adult head weighs approximately 11  pounds. We can add 10 pounds for each inch that it is off center and this man’s head is way off center. To figure if it is centered you compare it to the center of gravity–the hips–his head is not over his hips at all. Therefore, great pressure is put on the neck muscles to hold the head up.

The arms and hands are a story in themselves. I don’t want this to become an anatomy lesson so I won’t get into discussing them or the feet. I think we have plenty hear to make the point that starting up new sports/events with the change of seasons is reason enough to get a massage regularly.

I worked on a young man this morning who went golfing for the first time this year and let me know his arms are hurting. This is common after someone picks up a sport they put down for 4-6 months or longer. This guy gets a massage weekly so it was not difficult to decipher which muscles were tight.

Again, not to get into an anatomy lesson, his back muscles that keep his vertebrae in alignment were tight though he did not feel pain–yet. He would probably have felt tightness if he were not taking care of himself as he is and some time down the road his back would have ‘gone out’ when he bent over to pick something up.

As well, his hip muscles were hypertonic which would have him walking differently if he let them go without getting them worked out sooner rather than later. pec-muscle-med

His arm pain is from his shoulders. The pectoralis muscles, the muscles in the front of the shoulders, are responsible for bringing the arms forward, turning the arm in a medial rotation, as well as bringing  the arm toward the body. These are the primary muscles used in the golf swing.PecMajorTrP

Trigger points in the pecs will cause pain in the chest–kind of obvious–but also down the arm. Since there are two musclesin the pectoral group, let’s look at both the major and minor.You can see in these illustrations, from Travell and Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction Volume 1, of the trigger points that arm pain is involved when the pectorals are affected. PecMinorTrP

The young man I was working on probably would have been rubbing his arm to no avail since the pain is coming from the shoulder muscles. In a few days he probably would have had issues with his back that he would ask me to address next week but not knowing to what he should attribute the pain since he ‘didn’t really do anything different this week’. That is a usual response from clients, he did not give this response today.

Because I am trained in trigger point therapy I was able to discern what needed to be done in this situation and he walked out of here free of pain. If he were not getting massages on a regular basis, I would not have been able to help him so quickly because muscles do not respond well to chronic issues.

Travell, J. G., & Simons, D. G. (1983). Myofascial pain and dysfunction, volume 1. the trigger point manual: The upper extremities (2nd ed., Vol. 1). Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.


It’s the nature of a massage therapist’s work that clients seem to have the same issues in bundles. One week it’s shoulder pain, the next everyone’s low back hurts. I have been doing this for ten years, long enough to know this is the norm.

Well, this week it’s stress. It’s a muscles job to contract and relax, that is what makes our body parts move. We have over 400 muscles in our body, approximately 46% of our body weight, that work effortlessly when they are working properly. Stress causes increased muscle tension, or contraction. This is the part of ‘fight or flight’ that allows us to move quickly when attacked, or move out of the way when a car is coming toward us. 

When there is no longer imminent threat the muscles are supposed to relax. If we have constant stresses in our lives tension never goes away. My clients often tell me they have ‘normal stress’. Stress is not normal—it is common—it’s not normal.

Stressed muscles are often painful. However, when we are stressed for a long period of time our muscles stop trying to get the brain to recognize that they are fatigued and continue to do their job—they ‘muscle through’. After some time of this, in addition to repetitive motion, exercise, and activities of daily living, the muscle cells are pushed beyond their limit and they seize, or stop working—they contract.

Remember, the heart is a muscle. If your skeletal muscles are tight, imagine what your heart is like.heart attack

Pharmaceutical muscle relaxers do not relax your muscles, if they did you would be in a puddle on the floor. Anti inflammatory drugs work only for a short period of time.

The best treatment is to de-stress, relax, take a break. You are not a robot. Even God rested.

There are various ways of relaxing, the best is to remove things from your schedule in order to create down time. A good way to do this is to delegate. You don’t have to take care of everything for everyone. Here is a list of Age Appropriate Chores. Your spouse can make his/her own meal once in a while—even weekly, and it might be nice if they cooked for you from time to time. It’s okay that your child doesn’t get driven by you, they can walk; ride a bike; or even go with another driver to the event. You do not have to attend each and every sporting event and practice. Being on the board of a non-profit may look good on a resume but do you really need to be on so many at one time?

You get the picture, relax, it’s ok. If you don’t you might just have a heart attack.

Tell Me Where It Hurts

I had a client come in for a follow up to a previous issue that I was helping her with. When I asked if there was anything else bothering her she hesitated, then said ‘Well, you’re a miracle worker, so what the heck’. She went on to explain how she had a pain in her right knee from painting over the weekend. It lasted two days and went away but then the left started to hurt and, she explained, she didn’t understand why.
knee pain
While assessing her muscles, I found that she did still have pain in her right knee as well as several trigger points in both of her thighs. That’s right, her thighs. The problem most likely did not stem from the work she did while painting, it had probably been coming on for some time. This client had a previous injury that has put her right leg in a compression sock for six months. Muscles don’t like to be compressed, it tells them not to work. All the other muscles in this client’s legs have been working overtime to make up for those underneath the compression sock.

This is not to say the sock is a bad thing, she needs it to stave off blood clots, however, her muscles are taking a toll due to the extended compression.

I was able to do some therapy on the trigger points and relieve the pain in both of her knees.

Medical doctors rarely consider the ramification on soft tissue when prescribing. Had the doctor told her to stretch her leg and do the capital alphabet with her foot every night she might not have had the knee issues. But, that’s why I am here. I don’t profess to be a miracle worker, I don’t walk on water, however, I do know muscles pretty darn well. Don’t ever hold back, tell me where it hurts, you never know, I just might be able to help!

Efficacy of Ultrasound

Atrium Wellness, Inc is founded on principles that work. We do manual therapy because it has been effective for thousands of years. If there is not credible scientific evidence to a modalities effectiveness we would rather go a different route.
Because we are a medical massage therapy company we see a lot of clients because they experienced little or no success with physical therapy (PT). In view of the fact that we are never with the client when they visit the physical therapist we are getting a one-sided story, and that is never good. Therefore, we do our research before we speak on a subject or discount the efficacy of any modality or treatment. In doing so, we typically seek out peer-reviewed or scholarly articles upon which to base our findings.

Ultrasound is a modality that seems to be very common among the clients we see who have been through PT. In speaking with a physical therapist who has been in the business for 20+ years I was told that he does not us ultrasound because it is not effective. I decided to research it for myself.

In their article, A Review of Therapeutic Ultrasound: Effectiveness Studies, Physical Therapy Journal states “There was little evidence that active therapeutic ultrasound is more effective than placebo ultrasound for treating people with pain or a range of musculoskeletal injuries or for promoting soft tissue healing.” http://www.physther.org/content/81/7/1339.full

In an article Ultrasound therapy for musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review published by Research Gate also states “As yet, there seems to be little evidence to support the use of ultrasound therapy in the treatment  of  musculoskeletal  disorders.” http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Geert_Van_der_Heijden/publication/12867477_Ultrasound_therapy_for_musculoskeletal_disorders_a_systematic_review/links/0912f50f9b47271b3e000000.pdf
In addition, Oxford Journals states “Although many laboratory‐based research studies have demonstrated a number of physiological effects of ultrasound upon living tissue, there is remarkably little evidence for benefit in the treatment of soft tissue injuries.” in their article Therapeutic ultrasound in soft tissue lesions. http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/12/1331.full
Based on these findings, we will continue to promote the use of manual therapy (i.e. massage therapy) as a means by which to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and promote healing of muscle and other soft tissues.

Atrium Wellness, Inc. does not discount physical therapy as a whole and this article is not meant in any way to do that.

Top 10 Stressors

  1. Death of a spouseStress
  2. Jail Sentence
  3. Death of immediate family member
  4. Immediate family member commits suicide
  5. Getting into debt beyond means of repayment
  6. Period of homelessness
  7. Immediate family member seriously ill
  8. Unemployment (of head of household)
  9. Divorce
  10. Break up of family

Stress is not normal, it’s common, but it is not normal to be stressed on a continual basis.

There are many other causes of stress as well. Here are just a few:

Childhood experiences that stick with you, such as abuse. Research has proven that when we experience emotional difficulties as a child it can cause lifelong physical stress in the body. Growing up with an alcoholic or drug abuser can often cause adulthood psychological stress as well.

Illness, of a child or adult, can also cause stress. Not only are you attempting to get better, or get them better, there might be money issues coupled with the illness due to loss of income. Stress is a major contributing to disease. The World Health Organization has estimated that stress-related illnesses/diseases such as depression will rank as second on the mortality listings within 10 years.

Stress is the leading cause of death in America—AKA ischemic heart disease. The second leading cause is stroke, often caused by stress as well. According to World Health Organization ‘Tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of about 1 in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.’ Stressed out people often smoke. Number ten on the list? hypertensive heart disease, also caused by stress.

Stress is treatable and easily reduced. One leading cause of stress that is not on the top 10 list is keeping up with the ‘Joneses’. Rather than look at what we are not doing that they are doing, let’s look at what we want to do. It’s okay, and healthy, to have blank spots on the calendar. Our children can ride their bike to events rather than always counting on us to take them. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Of course, you can get a massage to help you out as well.

Gentle Touch for Seniors

Do you have a loved one in a nursing home, senior center, assisted living, or that receives home health care?

Why not give them the gift of touch? We will go to their location and give them a therapeutic massage for only $1/minute (minimum 30 minutes).

There is no better gift than human touch.

Please Help

8 daysPlease join us for an exclusive showing of the film “8 DAYS”. This is film shows a heart wrenchingly accurate picture of sex trafficking happening in our neighborhoods all over the US. It, sadly, is inspired by actual events. Education and Awareness are key, please help us by attending and spreading the word!

How many you ask? According to the state department “Human trafficking is a clandestine crime and few victims and survivors come forward for fear of retaliation, shame, or lack of understanding of what is happening to them.”

Ignoring sex trafficking doesn’t make it go away.


Chronic Pain – Check Your Desk

I was just reminded by an article in my massage journal that how we work on a computer, any kind–phone, tablet, desktop–matters. Heck, just how we sit matters. If you are over 40 your mom probably told you to sit up straight, well, she was right.

When sitting at a desk it is best to have our knees at a 90° with our feet flat on the floor. As I type this I’m sitting on a stool in my kitchen my left leg is bent with my foot against my right thigh and my right foot is on the rung of the stool with only the ball of the foot and big toe supported–not good. I really shouldn’t be sitting here for a long period because I am not able to put my feet flat with a 90° angle in my knees.

We need to be able to lean back, not all the way as in a lounge chair but to support our back. I am sitting slightly forward with only my very low back against the stool.

Our monitor, or whatever we are working on, needs to be at eye level. Check! I got that right!

When working on a computer, we have a tendency to use both hands, therefore, our forearms need to be supported from the elbow to the wrist. Check! Got it!

If using a tablet the monitor and hand/arm placement is an issue that is not easily corrected. I have attempted correct posture and limb placement with my tablet and never seem to find the proper fit. If you have, please let me know how.

Don’t wait too long to fix your posture, I can say from experience—as I have proven here—that it is tough to change the habits. When is too late? When you feel pins and needles in you hands or forearms, or your neck hurts, or you get frequent headaches (more than one a month), or you have an arch in your upper back with your shoulders rolling forward, etc. It’s best to change before you feel discomfort.

Oh, massage can help with the aches and pains you get from improper sitting, or even standing, so give us a call or book online now! Even if you have waited too long.

There are tons of articles, blogs, Facebook posts, etc. about posture but the one I like best is from Lifehack.org. Did you watch it? If not, you need to. It is quick, only 2 minutes long and it explains how not only you, but your child should sit at a computer. Great job Lifehack.org!

BOGO applies! Buy one get one 1/2 off when you book both massages with Shanna before March 31, 2015. 

BOGO not to be combined with memberships, other offers, discounts, or specials.

We Need Your Help!

We Need Your Help!

Due to injury, I, Annie Moore, am not able to continue helping others at the same rate that I always have. I have been told if I keep up this pace, very soon I will never be able to massage again.  

Won’t you help us continue this service? We need to grow so I am not the only one doing this any longer; and in order to do this we need a new location and employees. The new location will be state of the art to better serve our clients and reduce wear and tear on the therapists.

In the past I held positions as an educator and trainer and plan to teach others to do what my clients have come to rely on to keep them moving. My clients look to me for relief of chronic pain. I am not the typical massage therapist who does mostly relaxation massage. I practice Orthopedic Manual Therapy, consisting of mostly deep tissue, which takes a toll on the body.

Some conditions I have helped include releasing debilitating scar tissue, relieving recurrent migraine headaches, decreasing the pain of fibromyalgia, and much more. 

Atrium Wellness offers 1/2 off to ALL first responders and 1/3 off to their immediate families—for life. They have our backs on a daily basis. As we have seen so much in the media these days, their jobs are death defying and extremely stressful. Many have been in multiple on-the-job accidents and experience chronic pain. Atrium is here for them; we’ve got their backs.

So many loved ones in nursing homes rarely get touched in a compassionate way. Atrium goes to them and gives them 30-60 minute massages to let them know they are cared for and give them a sense of oneness. This is at a low-cost rate of $1/minute.

We also offer cut-rate, sometimes Pro bono services to those who are not able to pay full-price, yet are not able to function without the relief we offer.