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About michaelparrish

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  • Birthday 10/20/1968

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  1. Here you'll see the latest madness in our Massage and Yoga studio. Since opening on 9/3/11 we've done about 2000 sessions 99% involving some component of barefoot massage techniques (incidentally I no longer have flat feet) with benefits to numerous to mention though among which are the ability to deliver significant compression for fascial work and have dexterity in 3 dimensions unparalleled in massage. From the outset of our practice we built bars over each massage table which have fostered a completely new sense of 'whole body awareness' as the practicing therapist. With the benefit of insight from the Intro Course in June of this year I began intensively including stretch therapy on the table and on a mat. Then it became obvious to break the 4th wall of the table and all that goes with attending to clients on a table and create an entire stretch therapy + massage platform. This is a simple bar system with parallel bars at a 6' height. The hardware uses all-thread so I can vary the height of the bars if I like. We just put down a 7X7 double layer of yoga mats and a blanket and get to work. Having this system in place in addition to the private massage treatment rooms gives us a much expanded set of options to flow with clients including stretch therapy for intake, stand alone stretching and massage sessions done through clothing, post-session stretching. This image doesn't show that I actually created two stations over a single stretch of room. I just hadn't installed the second set of bars on the supports. Thanks
  2. As a massage therapist I probably hear this 50% of the time in an intake. I thought it might be an idea worth looking at and deconstructing...
  3. Thanks for this reply. In the 2nd to last paragraph is that meant to say 'skeletal symmetry'?
  4. Dear ST'rs, Recently a client came to me who had injured her back doing deadlifts in a Crossfit workout. She said the instruction focused on sticking the tail out to keep a curve in the low back. Her injuries included very strained erector muscles. In order to help release the reflex in the muscle I had to prop her up in a supported back bend for 45+ minutes, use cupping techniques intensively along the erectors, NMT pin and stretch the QL and a CR stretch for QL along with massage. When I asked her about how she got into the 'pickle' she knew she was hurting herself but didn't have the boundaries to say NO and was feeling pushed to do more. I don't know Crossfit technique or how to instruct deadlifts. What I do know is that when I replicated in my body what she was doing there was no sense of 'integrity'. I had her go to the wall and resting her back against the wall work with knees bent to differentiate sacrum from hips then activate the tail tuck while bending the low back and feel the difference when activing pelvic floor, abdonimals, low back. However I'd like input... With what folks know about 'tucking the tail' and protecting the back in this forum I'd like to hear how the instruction/form could have been approached safely and what fail-safe to offer. Thanks
  5. 3 days later DEEP ache in check to 20% or so, head balancing better, amount of pops and grinding reduced, no referral on arm, light numb on pinkie. Tomorrow I will repeat. And yesterday on an emotional/fear dimension got access to a freeze state from an childhood memory of 'I-think-I'm-drowning'...probably not uncommon.
  6. As a therapist it REALLY sucks when you can't figure out what's 'wrong' with yourself or find someone who can. A year ago in April on the day after I started my first full-time therapy job I was hurt by the 'star' therapist using a traction technique with a towel for a neck complaint I'd made. I had swelling on my spine the next day and lost most of my hand grip in both hands for about six weeks and had to quit the job. The dramatic loss of strength was enough that I shifted my work to barefoot massage and lost about 6 months total before opening my own practice/clinic. Ever since getting hurt I aspire to skills that are sensitive and precise and where the client is in good communication or resonance with the therapist. With stretch therapy it really goes another level in where the client is in charge of their therapy. So picking up more than a year later with the same initial challenge I had when I asked for the therapists help... a deep ache I feel in the shoulder/low neck, vague tingling down the back of arm and into pinkie fingers. My grip is fine and after last weekend in Phoenix with Kit and feedback that my shoulders are relatively mobile, my scalenes checked out OK and the regimen of neck stretches outlined in ONBP feel great, incredibly useful and energize me however I've still had this persistent daily neck/shoulder/arm complaint...WHAT TO DO? Yesterday it occured to me to look up Serratus Posterior Superior an interestingly adapted breathing muscle group deep to levator and rhomboids connected to the ligamentum nuchae. Here's an excerpt from Simon & Travell and from an August 2008 article in Massage Today by David Kent, LMT "Common causes of trigger points in the serratus posterior superior muscles include illness and certain movements and postures. According to Simons and Travell, "Trigger points in the serratus posterior superior muscles are activated by overload of the thoracic respiratory effort because of coughing...and by paradoxical breathing (use of diaphragm and abdominal muscles out of phase)."1 Trigger points in the region can also be brought on by poor movements and postures caused by "sitting for long periods writ-ing at a high desk or table, when the shoulders are elevated and rotated forward to permit the arms to reach the high surface; repeatedly reaching to the rear of a high work surface...and protrusion of the thorax against the scapula by scoliosis," among other things.1 However, "scalene trigger points may mimic, in part, the pain pattern of the serratus posterior superior [Fig. 2]. The neck should always be examined for scalene trigger points if a trigger point is found in the serratus posterior superior."2 Anatomy: The serratus posterior superior is cover by two layers of muscle. The superficial layer is formed by the trapezius. The second layer is formed by the rhomboid minor that covers the upper half of the serratus posterior superior and the rhomboid major that covers the lower half. (Fig. 1) The serratus posterior superior attaches at midline to the lower portion of the ligament nuchae, the spinous processes of the C6-T2 vertebrae and the intervening interspinous ligaments. The muscle fibers run at an approximately 45-degree angle, inferiorly and laterally, to attach on the 2nd-5th ribs. The lateral portion of the serratus posterior superior is covered by the scapula. (Fig. 1) The serratus posterior superior also crosses over two muscles of the erector spinae group: the longissimus thoracis and iliocostalis thoracis. Some describe the serratus posterior superior and serratus posterior inferior acting as retinacular tissue directly super-ficial to the erector spinae; functionally this would help increase the force generated by the erector spinae. Function: The serratus posterior superior raises the ribs to which it attaches, subsequently expanding the chest and aiding respiration. Other muscles that act synergistically with the serratus posterior superior include the scalenes, diaphragm, intercostals and levator costae muscles. Using the principles and pure enjoyment of the stretching I experienced with Kit, here's where I went with this today rather than hang out in 'tolerance'. As a muscle group that work hardest to raise the ribs up and back for increased breathing capacity I started with taking the DEEPEST breath I could and hold the breath. Definitely feeling the ache up under the shoulders and neck. So simply clasping my hands behind me and reaching down with considerable effort towards the floor depressing the shoulders onto the ribs I feel an intensification of feeling -- yes definitely getting some feedback in this area. Then hopping into a chair and trying my best by grasping both sides of the chair, leaning out until I'm in a stretch then taking the deepest breath I can and leaning out even further, letting my head hang forward. This is starting to feel like a REAL stretch! See the image of me grabbing the underside of a chair on both sides and leaning the head out forward and to get the ligametum nuchae end of the SPS to take up. Getting traction! Fine tuning this by first wriggling a while in the lean playing with the tilt of the hip and the curve of the spine to dig out some underlayers. Then I added the tail tuck via the contraction of all the muscles of the pelvic floor with that extra maha bandha sensation to seal the deal pulling along the longitudinal spinal ligaments too. Very sore! Feels good. Then extending my standing version clasping hands behind me and playing with the bandhas, relative position of shoulders etc. I'm building a much better map of the territory. In one case I'm drawing the shoulders down and forward against the movement of SPS up and back and added a deeper flexion of the ankles on the front to tension up the fascia from the heel up along the back that much more by standing on my anatomy books! It's hard to convey in words how big a deal this is for me since I've been stuck here for so long. I feel better and interestingly I feel better about myself. I feel relief from the constant ache and shoulder/neck alignment seems 'better' and yes I feel sore however I was able to work tonight without feeling so bound up on a number of levels including moving forward past the place I was hurt before. I welcome any feedback on this post. Here's a few images to picture it all. The 3D image is a screenshot from a very amazing free anatomical visualization tool at www.zygotebody.com. The spider looking 8 digit muscle on the upper ribs is SPS. The referral image showing yellow came from a website called pressurepointer. Having fun with it. -Michael
  7. I just completed the intro to Stretch Therapy material a week ago and as a practicing massage therapist in Texas I have the opportunity daily in our clinic to immediately start introducing the idea of stretching to clients at intake. I've had access to Kit's books and video for over a year however sharing time in class was vital for me to have support for my own experience in stretching. Here's some of the excitement we were having this week... A client working as a janitor complaining of persistent headache running up the neck and behind his ear and neck tightness on his LS who is spending a lot of time working overhead. His Scalene and levator sensitive both sides to palpation. Not 5 minutes into his intake we went through a chair version of #17 neck side bend (lateral only) and headache absolutely resolved on the spot!!! I felt confident and moved on to #18 "neck forward abs side bend" (numbering from Overcoming Neck & Back Pain). He got through the exercise on the left side and instantly became very nauseous and had to stop. Aside: The way I introduce the material to clients is to talk about their Relaxation response as a way to counter not only the physical discomfort but any root of fear that may underlie the discomfort they're experiencing as stress. In each case where I've framed the stretch therapy offer in this way clients have come forward with important information that they on reflection they are in fear - in this young man's case fear of losing his job because of a new manager. When I invite him to consider Relaxation as a priority at least as important as good nourishment he disclosed that he used to play guitar weekly and had stopped doing so as he clamped down at work. I suggested he return to guitar. I gave him water and got him to the table and found everything suboccipital and off atlas working double-time with mastoid and pterygoids muscles bound up and sensitive. The jaw clenching continuing at night such that he wears a night guard. So nausea settled after about 5 minutes and he was able to settle. I was able to continue with the treatment and earned his trust enough that he made a follow up appointment. However as a practitioner I feel doubly responsible for clients experience and wanted to put the nausea in context and would like to invite input here from this forum. Of course nothing is going to replace being a compassionate human being in an instance like this however I'm curious if any other practitioners have a comment on this point. I also repeated this exercise myself and found I would get dizziness creeping in on one side but not the other and had back off. Since this happened I've elected to have the client start with the simplest rotation Left and Right prior to any other neck stretch. Thanks, Michael Parrish
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