Category Archives: Human

Releasing Trigger Points

Trigger points are tight spots within the muscle (not at the ends or attachments as in stress points) that cause pain, sensitivity, tingling, burning, or weakness.  Trigger point therapy causes the muscle to have a twitch response, which resets and relaxes the muscle. This can be uncomfortable for a moment, but the results are worth it. Reduction or elimination of pain and improved range of motion can be seen and felt immediately.

Another way to release trigger points is through myofascial release. Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Fascia has multiple functions. It holds some structures together, providing stability.  It allows others to glide and move freely.

Trigger points can be caused by scar tissue, strain from repetitive movement, bad posture, poor nutrition, or injury. The most effective way to remove trigger points is through manual pressure. When the trigger point is released, the fascia will once again move smoothly over the muscle, pain will be reduced or eliminated, and range of motion will be increased.

Cold laser therapy can also relieve muscle pain caused by trigger points, and improve circulation.

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Is All Pain Bad?

Pain is a valuable and natural tool that notifies us when there is a condition that needs tending to.  Immediately taking or administering (in the case of our animals) painkilling medicine without first reflecting on what message the pain is sending is not useful. The medication will temporarily treat the pain, with side effects, but whatever caused the pain is most likely still there. I prefer a cure to treatment!

Pain is not a disease. Pain is a symptom.

Muscles have two major functions: they contract to create motion, and relax to return to its full length and allow another muscle to pull in the opposite direction.  No other tissue in the body does this.  Muscles move bones that are attached by tendons. To move bones back to their starting points, the muscle that made the movement has to relax so the opposite muscle in the pair to bring the bones back to resting position.

What happens if this dance doesn’t run smoothly? If the first muscle doesn’t fully relax, the bones cannot return to their restful, or healthy postural position. Alignment and balance are then adversely affected. Stiffness and immobility (lameness) gain control of the body, robbing it of strength, stamina, and graceful movement. When the body is balanced (the massage work I do is called body balancing) it is in a state of health.  When postural balance is restored, pain symptoms disappear.

I recently worked on a mare that looked to be in pain in her front end. One leg was twisted so that her hoof pointed in. Her walk looked painful as well. I found an area of very tight muscles in one shoulder (I have no idea how they got like that. This was my first meeting with her.) It did not take long for her whole posture to change. Her leg starting to turn until it was fairly straight. At the end of her bodywork session I asked to see her walk, and she just strutted out of the barn. We were all smiles, and once again I was elated to see an animal relieved of pain just by re-balancing some tight muscles.  A week later I heard from the owner that the mare is moving well.

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An Important Supplement: Astragalus

This is an edited excerpt from a book I’ve been reading called The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants, by Guido Mase.

“The science behind Astragalus is remarkable. Modern research is validating the uses detailed for this plant. Studies link it to improved immunity and reduced anemia when it comes to chronic infection, cancer, kidney disease, and more. It is a tonic that builds our resistance to all manner of ills, including  pathogens. Recovery from protracted illness or long term stress is another of its strengths. I have found this plant to be useful support for those undergoing difficult courses of chemotherapy.

Those who take plants like Echinacea in the fall should switch to Astragalus instead. It’s a much more appropriate immune tonic and much more effective at keeping illness at bay. While its life-giving power is legendary in conditions of extreme depletion, such as cancer, compromised immunity, or recovery from prolonged infection, everyone would do well to take some Astragalus root every day. For those who get frequent colds, or whose respiratory tracts seem to be congested and weak all winter, this herb is just the ticket. Astragalus will improve overall immunity.

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Transfer Factor and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease where the immune system attacks healthy tissue. One for hopeful treatment is with Transfer Factor. I have written often on this blog about my profound gratitude to the 4life company that is the source for Transfer Factor, which restored my body to equilibrium and allowed me to breathe without toxic drugs and inhalers.

TF was used in an experiment with 50 female patients with RA.  The patients were followed for 24 months, with check ups every three months. Of the 50 patients, 30% did not respond to the therapy. Excellent and very good results were obtained in the other 70%. The study confirmed the fact that specific immunotherapy with Transfer Factor represents an important adjuvant in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Here is a testimonial from a physician :

I have had quite severe Rheumatoid Arthritis for nearly ten months now. My Rheumatic Factor was exceptionally high and I was very sick with it.

The bones around the joints; particularly the metacarpophalangeal joints; have become enlarged and deformed. They are also very fragile and I have had a spontaneous fracture-dislocation of one of my finger joints already. It seemed that a wheelchair was in my near future.

However; since taking an increasing dose of advanced generation transfer factors; I am now walking with a normal gait instead of painfully and slowly waddling about.

Getting in and out of cars is no longer a major task; I can turn taps on and off and today I even; admittedly rather gingerly; kicked a soccer ball along the length of a park with my grandson.

If you had asked me a week ago whether I could ever do any of these things again I would have thought that you were either very ignorant or a bit cruel to tease me with these unattainable delights.

Apart from this I feel a lot more “switched on” and people have been telling me how well I look.

Thank you once again and God bless you for having done me so much good.

Dr Alexandra Rodda

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Words of Wisdom

A quote from Pete Egoscue, author of Pain Free:

Healing and health come from within the individual.

The human body has a genius for problem solving and coping with the unexpected, but when experts take charge by orchestrating onslaughts of toxic chemical compounds and traumatic surgical intervention, on top of a modern culture that features poor nutritional standards and acutely sedentary lifestyles, the cumulative damage can be enormous and lasting.

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What Happens During a Cold Laser Treatment?

Here is what you need to know: You cannot be burned by a low level laser. The treatment is painless.  You may feel some warmth which is the damaged tissue responding to the light. Light produces energy just the way photosynthesis does in plants.

Since the 1960’s, physicians have used laser therapy to repair damaged tissue and destroy unwanted cells. Lasers can be tuned to different wavelengths to remove plaque from coronary arteries, to seal off leaky blood vessels in the eyes of people with diabetes to preserve sight, and to reattach retinas, the light sensing structure in the back of the eye.

Doctors have used low-level light therapy to activate a number of biological processes, including hair growth and skin repair, without knowing how it worked. In an article in Science Translational Medicine, the Harvard researchers identify transforming growth factor beta-1 as the regenerative protein.

All I can tell you is that whenever I have an injury, pain, soreness, I use the laser and it works!

 

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Riding at High Altitude

With the annual pilgrimage to Rebecca Farm in Montana getting closer, staying healthy at altitude (for both horse and rider) is on everyone’s mind.

The symptoms of altitude sickness are not what you want to be experiencing when mounted: your balance is off, you might have a headache or feel dizzy, you might get a nosebleed, or vomit. Even highly conditioned athletes can suffer from altitude sickness. The higher and faster you climb, the worse the symptoms will be. Because you take in less oxygen with each breath, your body tries to compensate by breathing faster. Your face, hands, and feet may get puffy.

Ginger can help with nausea, so drinking a natural ginger soda is recommended. Christopher Hobbs, the renowned herbalist believes ginger to be very beneficial for treating altitude sickness, as it plays a pivotal role in treating mild levels of altitude sickness. It is advisable to mix 20 drops of ginger liquid with half cup of water in case you suffer from altitude sickness.

The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to drink water. Lots of it! Avoid caffeine and alcohol which are diuretics. Make sure your horse is well hydrated, especially after cross country. The rule of thumb is to double your water intake.

One of things that can happen at altitude is that fluid from the blood vessels leaks into the tissues surrounding the veins and capillaries in the lungs. You, or your horse, might develop a cough. Once you descend elevation, your body will reabsorb the fluid and the cough will disappear.

As I prepare horses for working at altitude, I take extra time with the intercostals (between each rib) and the pectorals, to make sure they are not restricting deep breaths in the chest and trunk.

Getting to the horse show a few days early to give yourself and your horse time to rest and acclimatize after a long drive is worth the extra expense.

 

Using the Cold Laser to Prevent Injuries

Alberto Salazar is a running coach to Olympic medalists and many other successful runners. Observers have noted that Salazar’s athletes are not only fast, they seem to avoid the injuries that plague others in the sport. An article in the Portland Business Journal reveals the latest Salazar method: the use of laser therapy to prevent injuries, or speed healing.

“We use the lasers at the first sign of injury to limit an exaggerated inflammatory response that can delay healing and help the athlete return to training more quickly,” Salazar says in a short interview.

Proponents believe that laser treatments can reduce pain, and speed healing of all body tissues–muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone. Some studies have found it superior to ultrasound.

Before tendons become inflamed and swollen causing pain to the patient (whether two or four legged) and causing a  loss in strength and motion, low level laser, or cold laser, can be a very effective therapy.

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Improve Range of Motion and Reduce Pain

No body has to live in pain from injury, arthritis, back pain, sciatica. That sounds like a radical statement but there are many therapies to address chronic pain.  Myofascial Release is a soft tissue therapy designed to change and improve the health of the fascia. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the body.

Fascia literally holds us together.  When we encounter fascial and muscle dysfunction, the result is usually pain and discomfort, loss of range of motion in our bodies ,and a subsequent loss of well-being and quality of life.

When the fascia gets bunched, similar to plastic Saran wrap for example, it can bind down on nerves, blood vessels and organs and thus cause restriction and pain.

Because the fascia cannot be detected on X-ray, CT ,or MRI ,scans it is often the reason for unidentified discomfort.

Myofascial Release breaks down scar tissue, relaxes muscles, and restores good posture. It is used with great success to target chronic pain, sometimes in only a few sessions. I have been working on many horses lately that have been recovering from injuries. In just a few sessions, we are seeing  better joint flexibility and range of motion. Instead of an angular, disjointed profile, the body has a harmonious, flowing appearance.

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Why Trigger Points Are Trouble!

Sore muscles usually feel better after a day or two of rest. But if you or your horse has persistent muscle pain — particularly in the neck, shoulders, hamstrings or back — and you literally can put your finger on the spot where it originates, you may be dealing with a trigger point. Trigger points exist in tight bands of muscle or tendon tissue and will twitch when pressed. Trigger points are something traditional doctors ignore, but they should not be overlooked as a source of pain, discomfort, or restricted movement.

Trigger points are tight knots of muscle fiber that can’t relax. Muscle often feels denser and tighter at a trigger point — more rope-like. When you push on it, pain spreads throughout the muscle area. Good posture and body mechanics can help prevent trigger points from forming, but every body will experience them at some point.

Myofascial Trigger Point therapy is a safe, effective ,and drug-free way for massage therapists to help animals or humans suffering from pain and limited range of motion.

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