Children and Sports Massage

These days, children are more active than ever before, often participating in a multitude of highly competitive sports starting at a much younger age. Along with that superior level of training comes an increase in the amount of injuries associated with that particular sport or activity. Many sports are very repetitive and may also have a rotational aspect to them that puts extra strain on the lumbar and thoracic areas of the spine.  Shoulder issues are very common which can lead to neck tightness and headaches. Running and jumping sports tend to lead to hip, knee, and ankle injuries as well as plantar fasciitis.  Couple this with muscles that just can’t keep up with a young, growing body and you have the potential for tightness, strain, or possible injury.

Massage therapy can help alleviate the pain and symptoms related to sports injuries by working on the affected soft tissue. Finding the cause of the pain, instead of just treating symptoms, is the first step in getting long lasting results. After assessing the area(s) of concern, a therapist would then construct a treatment plan that would include specific techniques for the condition and the frequency of treatments required. Stretching and strengthening exercises would also be recommended to help maintain flexibility and power.

Checking in with your kids and asking them how they feel is the first step to injury prevention. If they are complaining of aches and pains now, it’s time to think about getting them in for a treatment. Age doesn’t discriminate when it comes to injury, and the sooner they are treated the faster they will recover and the better they will feel and perform.

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Broken Brain docuseries

Check out the Broken Brain docuseries that was just launched the other day.  It is an 8 Episode series on how to heal your brain and keep it healthy.  I just finished watching the first 2 episodes and they were fantastic!!  Lots of information on diet and how to prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ADHD, and Autism.  The stats are astounding and very concerning.  I encourage you to take a look at the trailer.

Why sleeping on your stomach could be contributing to your neck and/or low back pain.

For years I used to be stomach sleeper.  It was so comfortable.  It was the only way I could fall asleep.  Then my low back started to hurt.  Nothing crazy, just a low grade ache on my right side that never really went away.  I was young and active with no history of injury to that area so I couldn’t figure out why it pained me so much.  It was about this time that I enrolled into the Massage program and I learned that my sleeping position wasn’t ideal and was probably causing my pain.  Continue reading

Vegetable and Bean Pot Pies with Potato Crusts

Happy New Year everyone!!

This year I decided that I would like to start to incorporate more vegetarian/vegan dishes into my diet.  I’m not planning on cutting meat out entirely but I’ve noticed that I feel better when I only eat it 2-3 times per week instead of everyday.  This month’s edition of Alive magazine featured a recipe from her cookbook, The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons written by Laura Wright.  She also has a blog, The First Mess, which features lots of great vegan recipes.  I made this dish for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it!  Instead of using individual ramekins I decided to just make it in one pot and it turned out fine.  Great as a side dish or a stand alone meal.  Enjoy 🙂

  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice
  • 1 stalk celery, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) minced fresh rosemary (about 1 sprig)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 in (1 cm) cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) cooked white beans, such as navy, cannellini, or butter beans
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) dry white wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) whole spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 medium sweet potato or 6-7 mini new potatoes, thinly sliced, or a mixture

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).  Place 5 ramekins or ovenproof dishes with 1 cup (250 ml) capacity on a baking sheet and set aside.

Heat half the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots, and celery, and saute until onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, rosemary, and tomato paste, and stir.  Add zucchini and white beans to pot.  Stir to combine.  Pour in white wine, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Season stew with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle spelt flour over vegetables and beans.  Stir until flour is moistened and is starting to get slightly pasty.  Pour in vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.

Divide stew among the 5 ramekins. Arrange sweet potato slices on top of ramekins in a fan or layered pattern.  This will form your top crust.  Gently brush the sweet potato slices with remaining oil.  Season crusts with salt and pepper.

Slide pot pies into the oven, and bake until the filling is bubbling and the sweet potato slices are tender and lightly browned on the edges, about 30-35 minutes.  Serve the pot pies hot.

Serves 5.

Yogurt Parfait Breakfast Popsicles

One of my clients passed this recipe on to me the other day.  I haven’t had a chance to try it yet but it looks super yummy and easy to make!  Enjoy 🙂

Yogurt Parfait Breakfast Popsicles

Makes 6 popsicles

1 1/2 pints strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped (around 3 cups chopped)
1/4 cup sugar (or honey)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cups granola

Combine the strawberries and sugar (or honey) in a small saucepan and stir gently to combine. Let the berries macerate on the counter for at least 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and syrupy.

Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the strawberries are thick and jammy. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. You should have about 1 cup of jammy fruit. (At this point, the strawberries can be refrigerated for up to a week.)

When ready to assemble the popsicles, whisk together the yogurt, 1/4 cup of the milk, and 2 tablespoons of honey. The yogurt should be thick, but pourable (roughly the consistency of regular yogurt). If needed, whisk in a little more milk. Taste and add more honey if desired.

Scoop out 1/4 cup of the yogurt mixture and stir it into the granola. This will help the granola freeze into the popsicles.

Arrange 6 popsicle molds (1/2 cup capacity) on your work surface. Pour a generous spoonful of yogurt into the bottom of each mold. Add a scoop of granola and then a spoonful or two of strawberries. Continue layering yogurt, granola, and strawberries until the molds are filled. Tap the molds lightly agains the counter or use a popsicle stick to work out any air bubbles between the layers.

Insert popsicle sticks into each mold and place the popsicles in the freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.

To unmold, run the popsicle molds under hot running water for a few seconds and gently easy the popsicles out of the molds. Popsicles will keep in the freezer for several weeks.

Recipe Notes

  • You can substitute 1 1/4 cups of regular yogurt for the Greek yogurt. As long as it’s pourable, there’s no need to thin the yogurt any further.
  • The strawberries can be replaced with an equal amount of any other fruit.
  • You can also substitute 1 cup any flavor of jam or fruit preserves for the berries. Skip the jam-making step and proceed with assembling the popsicles.

Cold vs. Heat

I often get asked the question during a massage treatment, do I use cold or heat for this?  In order to answer that question, we must first consider what types of situations that cold or heat would be used.

Cold or Cryotherapy

Cold therapy is used primarily when there is inflammation in an area.  The cold helps to suppress the pain and also to reduce swelling in the tissues by causing a decrease in blood flow.  After an acute injury, usually within 24-48 hours, cold is used.  If you are sore and tender after a massage, cold can help to reduce this tenderness. Massage therapists will sometimes use ice during a treatment while performing frictions to breakdown scar tissue.  Ice packs are the most common form of cold therapy but you could also use a cold compress, a bag of frozen peas, or submerse the body part in an ice bath.  Cold therapy is very effective at lessening the pain associated with menstrual cramps.  A typical application of cold would be 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, and so on as often as needed.  Always be sure to wrap the ice pack in a cloth so it is not touching your skin directly to avoid frostbite.

Heat

Heat therapy is used to loosen up tight or stiff muscles, increase blood flow to an area, and decrease pain.  You should never apply heat to an acute injury (within 48 hours) as it will increase the bleeding and swelling.  Heat therapy would be typically used when a more chronic or long standing condition is present.  There are many forms of heat therapy including hot water bottles, wheat bags, warm compresses, thermophores (electric moist-heat pad), or hot baths.  An application of heat would be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of application being used.  Sometimes massage therapists will apply heat to a patient prior to treatment to help to soften the tissue and to increase relaxation.

No matter which form you use, hydrotherapy can be a very effective way of reducing pain and tenderness.

MUSCLE OF THE MONTH

Adductor group (Gracilis, Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Magnus)

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The Adductors act to bring the leg closer to the midline of the body. Each individual muscle has a slightly different action, in addition to adducting the leg, and that will determine whether it acts like a hip flexor or a hamstring.  Thus these muscles will be recruited when you are walking, sitting or running etc. This very important and strong group of Continue reading

Welcome to Natural Touch Massage blog

Hello everyone,

I would like to welcome you all to my new blog with this being my very first post!!  My goal is to provide interesting and informative articles on massage therapy, anatomy, yoga, meditation, recipes and anything else I think you might find useful or humorous.  I will try to keep the posts short and sweet 🙂  As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions and please feel free to share what you read here with your friends and family.