December 12, 2012

Moving Grumbles and Sage Advice

This massage therapist thinks she is organized. She thinks she has a good grip on where things are and handy when needed.

Ho, Ho, Ho, delusional again. 

Moving is a drag under the best circumstances. This circumstance was a Wednesday. I had clients on the book. Ho, Ho, Ho. Mistake again.
When we got to the new office, two blocks away. The furniture was dusty, and all the boxes were labeled “Mom’s dolls.” I had to work not knowing where anything was.

At least it wasn’t too hard to get the table up and find bins with sheets in them. I had the oil sitting in the front seat of my car, on top of my schedule book.

The clock was in one of the bins marked “Mom’s Dolls,” so I used my cell phone to track the time. In the middle of a massage, it started vibrating with an incoming call.

I could not find any of the aromatherapies either, so I took my plain oil and ventured forward. The fellows had to unpack the rest of the truck without me while I was in session, so I came out of the therapy room to a nice huge pile of boxes and stuff.

Pier One Imports had room dividers on sale. Eureka. I hid half the pile behind the divider and got back to work. Then I noticed there were two sheets of toilet paper left in the bathroom. Off to the market.

My phone kept buzzing. Everyone wanted appointments. I wanted to lie down.

At the hardware store later that day, I found a nice shower curtain to cover the rest of the pile. The clock was still in the pile somewhere. My phone rang again. Every time it rang I looked at it in terror.

Well, sometimes you cannot do too much about how the schedule goes. Rooms aren’t ready, landlords do demolitions, clients want in. I wondered how my clients felt about the jumble.

“I couldn’t wait to move out of my office,” my first client told me. “The landlord was a total pill, the place was too expensive and it didn’t fit my business anymore.”

I am lucky enough to have people who understand.

“By the way,” she added. “Don’t let any of the guys pick the paint.”

Sage advice, literally. We went With Mountain Sage and celery, with a celadon for my therapy room. And I found my clock - a week later.

Chopsticks: Catching the Posterior Scalene in Action

That’s a lot of old-fashioned chronic inflammation with the posterior scalene stretched far from its anatomical role. Those poor guys are stretched over the precipice and desperately pulling back. Adhesed, unloved, overworked and so far under the trapezius that even a deep tissue massage barely touches it, the posterior scalenes are crying for help.

Massaging many people with neck pain, I have developed a deep respect for the nefarious actions of overstretched posterior scalenes.

Most neck pain folks looking for massage come in with a history of working on computers, lots of driving and an old accident – usually whiplash or cervical strain.

Getting my teddy bear paws in the posterior scalene zone is a tough goal to achieve. First, the trapezuis acts like a prison. Going through from the back of the neck just plain hurts.

With the client supine, I like to flex the neck to the side slightly and slip soft fingers along the posterior scalene. Then I gently shorten the scalene until it can sense that a different way of life is possible.  With the scalene approximated for about 30 seconds, I add a light, slow cross-fiber crushing with soft fingers. (I said soft again didn’t I? Ever feel a hard touch on a scalene?)

Anyhow, if there is a hope of redemption here, the scalene should soften, going from concrete to something more like jerky.

I try to get clients to start chin retractions, pushing the chin back while keeping the head level. I find they can do it best on the table, against a wall or even better against the car seat headrest.

Three gentle (that pesky word again) chin retractions of above 5 seconds each, with a five-second relax in between. That should put the head closer to the anatomical position and take the posterior scalene off precipice duty.

It isn’t an easy path, but well worth it to get the neck feeling better. I then suggest the client stop playing piano with their nose.