Don’t we look so professional???
Growing up on a farm two hours west of Toronto, I was raised to be a hard worker, a caring person and compassionate towards others. Being a bit of a free spirit, i had difficulty finding that “perfect fit” career. After graduating from high school I traveled for about 5 years, lived in numerous countries, experienced different ways of life and living and finally returned home. Upon my return to Ontario I decided to enrol in school and study to become a Registered Massage Therapist. RMT was the perfect fit for me; the ideal way to make a living while doing something i am passionate about doing; helping others. After graduating as an RMT, I started my own practice in my hometown. Although I enjoyed having my own clients and owning my own business, felt like there was something missing, and that there was more I could do and learn to better my practice.
This past January I moved away from my small town to Toronto and was excited to learn more, experience new things and to challenge myself. I had heard about Aim2Walk from a massage client of mine who is also a patient at the Aim2Walk clinic. Conversations about the Aim2Walk clinic intrigued me, so I decided to check it out. As soon as I walked into the clinic I knew that many of my ideals and passions were housed within the walls of the Aim2Walk clinic. Alternative therapies, multi-faceted professionals collaborating for the greater good and healing of people in need. A dream team and I wanted the chance to be apart of it. A lot to learn about neurological disorders, but I looked forward to the challenge that this posed.
Starting at the clinic, i often asked myself, how, specifically, can I as a massage therapist help those with neurological disorders. There are many reasons why people should consider massage to be an integral piece of their health and wellness plan. Here are a few common issues seen with neurological disorders and how massage will assist in management of there disorders.
Muscle Spasticity (muscle tightness and/or stiffness) – With the spasticity comes along pain, decreased joint flexibility, decreased circulation and edema. Massaging the tissue helps maintain the life of the tissue. Creating circulation to and from the tissues, helps decrease edema, and creates blood flow to carry nutrients to the tissues to repair the damage. Massaging the tight muscles helps soften and lengthen the shortened tissue while promoting more flexibility and allowing for the joints to move more freely.
Scar Tissue – Scar tissue can be and is often very painful. This happens because the scar tissue is adhered to the underlying tissues and when stretched or lengthened the tissues will pull and sometimes tare causing extreme pain. Scar tissue also decreases range of motion in the tissues as well as the joints. By breaking down the scaring with massage this will help improve the range of motion and flexibility as well as decrease pain.
Muscle Pain – Many clients complain of muscle pain due to the spasticity, stress of the disorder, and change in the body structure. Massage releases endorphins and amino-acides that function as the bodies “natural pain killers”. In turn these “feel good” endorphins cause a sense of well being while decreasing pain.
Problems with Digestion – I have had numerous patients who present with pain as a result of abdominal bloating. This is often seen in people affected by neurological disorders because of restricted body movement and for those who spend a large part of their day sitting in a wheelchair. This can lead to issues going to the bathroom and passing gas. Intestinal massage can help release the pressure and let the gas escape. Although possibly a bit foul smelling, the pain relief is there!
Massage has an enormous amount of positive effects on the human body, specifically the bodies of people with neurological disorders. At Aim2Walk clients are treated as individuals and their cases are treated individually because no disorders transpire identically in people. Although treatments are very personalized and dynamic, personally my main focus is to improve quality of life for my clients and to help them achieve the highest level of recovery possible.
Michelle Wolfe, RMT