Unwinding Potential
By Skylar Harris LMT #19139

Benefits Of Massage

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. Massage is an effective tool for managing this stress, which translates into:

  • Decreased anxiety.
  • Enhanced sleep quality.
  • Greater energy.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Reduced fatigue.

Massage can also help specifically address a number of health issues. Bodywork can:

  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
  • Ease medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body's natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body's largest organ—the skin.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
  • Relieve migraine pain.

Why is massage important? If you are still asking that after all these bullets, I have some information that will go further into depth, why massage and self-care are vital to our quality of life.

My goal with massage is to manage how 'we' (humans) interface with gravity...

What exactly does that mean?

From the moment I was introduced to Wolff's Law, I was determined to learn more and more about it, simply by applying theory, and having experience teach me potent truths about why we have pain, how it accumulates and more importantly, how to develop the care and patience to treat it.

Wolff's Law states that bones will become denser due to stress. So, potentially, we can get stronger the more force is applied to our bodies! But this also means that astronauts lose bone mass from the moment they go out into space, and over time, they will become weak. So is this about getting stronger? Or is this about healing?

It's about both. But, to be more precise, it's not the subject that's important, as is with all things, it's always about the small details.

Bones are connective tissue, very dense forms of it. Well, the manner in which I work I focus on breaking down connective tissue... now hold on, I'm not saying that bones are the problem, or that I'm going to do anything to your bones, rather, your joints. I look at the pulley system that is the body as a whole, and I try my best to bridge what keeps it segregated. (k... get to the point already!)

Bones grow because of stress right? But we're told stress is bad? There are inevitable forms of stress which we can use to our advantage. Time and Force are the main focus. Touch is applied force, and its not always about how often you get a massage that will create results. Sometimes, its about the quality of massage versus the amount of times you receive the same treatment. (I'm still waiting to hear about why gravity is crucial to my pain)

Because we have lost our connection to our body-mind. We, as humans, have been raised and grown into a world that has forced us to apply mental strategies daily. Gravity is constant, it is something we cannot change, but change how we interact with it. So this has everything to do with posture, and that rigid patterns are the problem.

The spine holds onto everything. Meaning it is the bridge to our entire nervous system, it is the protector of the network within our bodies that relays every bit of information to the rest of the body from the brain. People say pain is in the brain. Well, that is mostly true, but damage is not. Damage can be overwritten by the mind however, that is when pain becomes Pa-ckaged In-formation, and houses in our network and becomes a void which is no longer accessed by our conscious and potentially unconscious motor skills.

I'm the guy who will go into the voids and not only restore awareness, but do my best to break down the results of damage that have compounded in the area since it's been forgotten/neglected. But this still doesn't tell us why we have pain, and why gravity is so important!

If we start from our understanding of gravity, lets look at our domestic qualities shall we?

What is the worst job anyone could have for the body?

take a real guess...

Most of us have been taught that movement creates issues, that repetitive motion is what causes stress to stack in the muscles and we develop knots...

What If I told you that it is exactly the opposite?

That a desk job is the worst job anyone could have for the body.

Here is why.

Gravity is a constant stress on our body, and in order to manage a constant stress in our lives, we have to be able to endure it. And if you think about holding a boulder over your head forever... You'd get sick of it! You'd start thinking, how can I get this boulder away! Who put this here anyway!? I don't even remember... When you realize you picked up the boulder, you start to ask yourself why, why did I take this job? Why do I suffer? How can I change it? Well... in this case, we can't just drop the boulder and walk away from it. But let's say that we can, once you drop the boulder what happens? A weight has been lifted from you, you can move easier, in fact, you may even be stronger because of it.

Stress can be an incredible thing if we learn to manage how we associate to it.

But the boulder I'm talking about is gravity, and we lift it, hold it everyday, and we can't just toss it aside, we need it! So how do we live with gravity, and not suffer?

It involves movement and posture.

Posture by my understanding is best when subtle movement is applied. Not remaining rigid or stagnant, it's not about holding a 'proper' position, its about maintaining fluidity. Is this making sense?

Let's break it down a little further, when the bones no longer sustain the flow of gravity within their alignment, (aka, the body gets tired, or lazy, or any suggested movement that goes out of alignment [which is a certainty]) the force of gravity begins to stress the ligaments that support the joint. When the ligaments cannot sustain the stress, the tendons will take it on. Once the tendons start holding stress, the whole muscle is effected, and then weight will shift in order to 'maintain' endurance.

Taking this posture degrade as a blueprint can teach us how to reverse the problem. Since we are already maintaining subtle movement in an unconscious way, what this means is learning how to endure subtle movements in a conscious way in order to support 'good' posture. But that doesn't mean going from one position to the next, it means honing in on the pain or problem, and learning to invite movement into a space that is stuck to move again.

Now... here's the real culprit to this equation. If gravity is the force that is meant to teach us how to handle stress, why does it accumulate in the body?

This is where we return to the fact that bones are connective tissue, except that once again we are not looking at bones, but rather, connective tissue itself. It accumulates due to holding patterns and stagnancy. Example: when you wake up in the morning and experience that "good morning stretch feeling", that is connective tissue breaking down in the body. It's awareness that has created a film of recovery over the sleeves of the muscles, skin, and bones in order to heal itself.

So... why is connective tissue a problem?

Because we are never relaxed, except for when we sleep... mostly. I can't speak for everyone. When we take another example, like a knot, that is connective tissue that has compounded between compartments of the body, and adhesed them together. How does this happen?

If we look at the examples from about, about gravity and how it can heal us, let's look at the stress as it goes down the body when it is no longer healing, and taking on the stress from gravity. If it is not managed, it becomes a holding pattern, and depending on how we lay on the couch, sit at a desk, drive a car, it all depends on our mindset in our ability to manage stress.

More importantly, its these forms of comfort that have taught us how to tolerate instability in our lives, and, guide us further from the understanding of relaxation vs comfort.

Sympathetic nervous system vs Parasympathetic nervous system.

fight or flight vs relaxed.

humans know the sympathetic state better then the latter. In this state, stress is all over the place and is poorly managed unless there is a task that is concentrating the whole body to accomplish it. Humans rarely know how to operate the parasympathetic state because it is typically accessed right before falling asleep.

In the future I hope to manage people's attention towards gaining the ability to not only achieve the parasympathetic state on their own, but how to manage it in waking life and not just as a means to fall asleep. I think most of what we are capable of as humans can be achieved by remaining relaxed in our mind to better our body and thus, one's own quality of life.

To conclude this article, I will say that it will continue! There is always more to learn, and my other pages go into my approach in breaking down connective tissue. But now you know why I no longer focus on muscles being the problem, it's the glue (connective tissue) that's creating all the restriction, pain, and stress in the body, because it is physical potential energy that requires friction in order to change.

I aim to free up the body by clearing out the misuse of gravity from our system.

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