Tag Archives: endorphins

New Uses for Cold Laser

Cold laser therapy works by altering or stimulating cellular function. The light energy penetrates,  depending on the wavelength,  and affects cells and blood vessels.  The laser can block a nerve’s ability to send a pain signal to the brain, increasing blood flow or decreasing swelling. It may also significantly speed wound healing.

It’s noninvasive. When used correctly, it doesn’t have any side effects. It can be used weekly or monthly for pets with chronic pain, giving them better quality of life. In cases of severe pain caused by surgery or trauma, laser treatment can be used twice a day for a few days and then daily to diminish pain and speed healing.

Some exciting new areas of study for laser healing are range of motion, baldness, jaw clicking, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and  stress. treating stress, anxiety and depression with cold laser therapy. The protocol for stress combines ancient Chinese medicine and laser technology that’s used on acupressure points to boost  endorphins and dopamine. These chemicals naturally help your body reduce the physical effects of stress.

Lasers have been shown to speed healing time by about 50%. th

 

Care of Your Equine Athlete

People often make comments to me like “You must have really strong hands” or “Your arms must have big muscles”, but Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Stress Point Therapy are all fairly gentle practices. Accuracy, through knowledge of anatomy, reduces the need for brute strength.  The massage is deep, with firm pressure, stimulating endorphins, and the horse often helps me by leaning into my hands.

Trigger Point therapy targets areas of stress where muscle attaches to bone. The treatment specifically targets areas of constriction that refer pain signals to other parts of the body. Myofascial release is related to trigger point therapy, but focuses on tightness , or other disorders afflicting the fascia, a membrane that surrounds the muscles and may restrict their motion.  What makes my work so exciting is that I can switch methods as I move around the horse, using what is needed for each area of the body. 

All animals need to have their bodies in balance to live long and active lives. For show horses it makes the difference between winning and being withdrawn from the competition Tight muscles can affect  posture, and poor posture can cause spinal misalignments. The reverse is also true — spinal alignments can lead to muscle strain. 

Massage therapy should also be part of the process of rehabilitating from injuries, regaining lost range of motion, or coping with chronic pain conditions.  Body work for your horse can produce dramatic results in a short period of time: one of the many reasons it is so exciting for me to go to work!

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Massage for Pain Relief and More

Bodies are designed to move. In modern Western society, humans and animals spend much of their time in the same static position. Horses stand in stalls or paddocks. Humans sit at desks or in cars. Children sit at desks in school.

Movement or exercise raises the level of endorphins (natural painkillers) and reduces inflammation in the body. Working muscles improves circulation and removes toxins from tissues.

Often pain will make an animal or person fearful of moving their bodies. But without movement, the body won’t get better. There is a difference between the achy soreness that is felt after a workout to get back in shape, and pain. Some soreness is normal and healthy when rebuilding muscles. Owners, trainers, and riders need to be very tuned in to their horses to protect them from re-injury.

The healing power of massage is so apparent that just about every culture in history has used massage to relieve pain. Massage faded into the background with the arrival of modern medicine, but is on the rise as a valuable tool. Massage may also change the way the brain senses pain. As Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky has said, sensations of a good massage can temporarily make the brain forget about other aches. The relief experienced after body work will help attitude and ability to focus, which can affect behavior, training, and performance.

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Pain Reduction With a Powerful Beam of Light

What if you could easily trigger the body’s natural painkiller: endorphins? This can now be done with cold, or soft, lasers.

The beams are thought to work in the same way as acupuncture needles by stimulating the release of endorphins. They are pumped out by the brain during times of pain and stress.

Researchers at Dundee University’s Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (in the UK) recruited 49 patients with osteoarthritis and split them into two groups.The study showed a large reduction of pain (greater than when using medication) in patients treated with cold laser therapy. No reduction of pain was experienced by patients in a placebo group.

Six months later, pain scores had dropped even further, enough to make a huge difference to their daily lives. In a report on their findings the researchers conclude: “Short-term application of low-level laser therapy, in association with exercise, is effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life.”

Other studies have found lasers may help to promote tissue repair in damaged knees. And low energy lasers have also been found to help in the treatment of depression. A study last year at the University of Sydney found aiming laser beams at the back and neck boosted mood in patients for up to three months at a time.

Low Level Laser

Applications for Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy is a form of treatment that involves the use of a low intensity laser to address pain and inflammation.

The underlying science behind cold laser therapy is valid, as studies have shown that light of certain wavelengths can reduce pain and inflammation. Lasers use very focused beams of light that can be used to target specific areas.

Low level laser therapy has been shown to treat a wide range of disorders which, at first, seem to have nothing or very little in common.

For example, LLLT can accelerate wound and burn healing, reduce pain in different limbs
all over the body, improve the condition of patients after a stroke, help in treatment of
diabetic angiopathy, and reduce stiffness and inflammation.
The physiological effects of laser light at low intensity are not completely understood, but
what is known is that it has three main effects:
• biostimulation/tissue regeneration
• anti-inflammatory

• analgesic (pain relieving)

Most often the person receiving laser treatment doesn’t feel anything. Sometimes you may feel a mild tingling sensation or a mild numbing of the region being treated. This is due to the natural production of endorphins, your natural painkillers.

Is Pain Always Bad?

Any form of massage that will effect structural change is going to be painful. When my fingers cause pain at a stress or trigger point, the electrical impulse that is created actually disrupts the neurological charge that maintains the point.

Pain also brings a flood of endorphins. It is another one of Mother Nature’s gifts to endure difficulty. The endorphins are a natural pain killer said to be stronger than morphine, and will dull the pain.

When posture and movement is not balanced, muscles tighten, fascia gets rigid. Persistent imbalance and distortion of posture is what I strive to correct, and that can cause temporary pain. But that minute of pain can relieve days, months, or years of chronic pain.

Knock on wood: I have never been kicked or hurt in any way by a horse or dog. I do cause them pain when I treat stress and trigger points, but not only do they not get upset, most lean into the pressure and help me cause them temporary pain. And most are very happy to see me again for the next session!

When Your Horse is on Stall Rest

Today I went to give a massage to a horse on stall rest. He enjoyed the attention and the body work. At the end of the session he spontaneously went into two big stretches and gave some big yawns. This horse is in excellent condition in every way. He gets regular chiropractic work and exercise, and has a very good diet. So why bother with a massage when he is not working?

Many horses on stall rest become tense and restless. Massage is a way to decrease tension and ease stiffness from standing around. Massage increases circulation, so in a sense,  it mimics exercise. Massage can help prevent muscles from atrophy.

Massage can help release endorphins as the muscles relax.

Massage increases blood supply to muscles. The increase in oxygen helps carry away metabolic waste.

Swedish, or relaxation, massage is meant to be calming.

Massage can detect and resolve any muscle imbalance that may develop in a stall bound horse.

 

Pain Reduction With Cold Laser Treatment

A client being treated (successfully) for knee pain asked how the laser alleviated pain immediately. While there has been extensive research to show that the laser works to relieve pain, there are no definitive answers as to how. What is known is that cold laser therapy increases the release of endorphins, blocks firing of pain fibers, increases nitric oxide production, increases the levels of acetylcholine (which regenerates damaged nerves), and decreases levels of inflammatory chemicals.
Horses and dogs can’t tell me that their pain is gone, but when I see them licking their lips and closing their eyes so peacefully, I get the message!

Yesterday I saw a pony who struggled to walk up a steep hill. He over flexed one of his hind legs at every step. Once he got to level ground, he walked more evenly, but he still did not look completely comfortable. When I checked his leg, I found some very tight fascia right behind the stifle. I massaged it, but didn’t feel that I had done everything possible, so I got out the cold laser. The laser emits no heat, but his leg became very warm to the touch. What that told me was that circulation was being stimulated to the area. If a muscle is so tight that blood can’t squeeze through to the capillaries, massage to loosen tight fibers and then the cold laser to stimulate blood flow is an ideal combination. The pony has a big show next week and I will be watching to see how he is feeling now.

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Fibromyalgia and Cold Laser Therapy

In clinical studies, about 67% of fibromyalgia patients treated with cold laser therapy improved. Pain decreased. Mobility increased. Even fatigue was lessened. Many patients were able to eliminate or greatly reduce their reliance on pain medication. Cold laser therapy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of pain.

Laser therapy involves the application of low-intensity lasers to specific areas of the body to stimulate endorphins. These endorphins, naturally present in the brain and adrenal glands, help block transmission of pain signals to the brain and relax the patient. Laser therapy is a non-invasive alternative to needle acupuncture and is said to excite energy between acupoints in much the same way.

On a personal note, I was lifting weights recently, and probably did not warm up sufficiently. Soon after, I felt a pain in the area of my collarbone. All day it bothered me, but I tried to ignore it, as I had to work. By the evening, the pain had increased and I knew it was bad enough to keep me awake. So I pulled out my laser and put it on the painful spot for about 10 minutes. It felt better quickly, but it still hurt. I did sleep though, and in the morning the pain was 95% gone. I should take my own advice more often!

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