Hormones and Pain

Even though this post does appear to be targeted to women, I hope that the men will read it too, because we are all affected by hormones, and far too many of us, both women and men, are affected by chronic pain.

What prompted me to start reading up on this topic was that many women I know have told me that their pain (joint pain, back pain, neck pain, basically ANY pain) was worse at certain times of the month and they felt that it was hormone related. Beyond that, every one of these women, myself included, have experienced the frustration of having a doctor be dismissive of the idea that hormonal fluctuations may increase pain in all areas of the body (not just in the female organs).

What IS a hormone anyway? A hormone is a substance produced in the body that stimulates cells or tissue to act. They are powerful.  Off the top of your head, can you guess how many hormones there are roaming around your body? A quick search on the internet will tell you that there are about 50 different hormones in the body…so yeah, hormones are kind of a big deal.

After reading many articles on this topic, I found that the consensus seems to be that hormones may very well play a big role in chronic pain. So, ladies: it is NOT all in your head! Here are just a few examples of the articles out there:

  • This article indicates that fluctuations in women’s hormonal cycles appear to be associated with changes in the response to pain: Click Here.
  • This article suggests that when estrogen levels are high, more endorphins are released and when estrogen levels are low, less endorphins are released: Click Here . Endorphins help us to feel less pain.
  • Even though estrogen and progesterone seem to be the biggest players in this game, there are other hormones that also participate. According to this site: Article_Chronic_Pain_And_Hormones, low levels of Vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, thyroid and DHEA can all be connected to chronic pain.

If you would like to read more about hormones and their relation to pain, there are lots of articles here: www.hormonesandpaincare.com

In defense of Flip-Flops

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my flip-flops! So it causes me a bit of anxiety when I hear people talking about about how bad they are for your feet! I’ve read many articles on why it’s considered a bad idea to wear flip-flops. After “researching” the reasons why, there do seem to be some legitimate concerns, however I do not agree with the blanket statement that “flip-flops are bad for your feet”.

The most legitimate concern, in my opinion, is the potential for an overuse injury. With the standard flip-flop, your toes are forced to grip the bottom of the footwear in a way that is not normal for your feet. And it has to do it more often than is desirable, which could lead to an overuse injury. BUT, this is a problem that can be alleviated by simply wearing a flip flop of a different design…one in which a strap comes over the top of the foot and is nearer to the front of the ankle. This way, the toes will not be forced into an unnatural, repetitive action.  (http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/expert-advice/are-flip-flops-bad-your-feet)

The second concern which I felt had some merit, was that the arch of your foot would lack support. However, it seems to me that if you have weak arches, you are plenty aware that you might be better off with more supportive shoes, so you already KNOW that you wouldn’t want to wear flip-flops.  AND if you do still want to wear flip-flops, there is such a huge variety of flip-flops nowadays that you won’t have any trouble finding flip-flops that have arch supports.

On the flip side of that argument (pun intended ;) ), there is plenty of controversy out there over whether arch supports are a good thing or a bad thing. I personally believe that going barefoot and wearing flat shoes (or nearly flat shoes) are the way to go. If you never wear arch supports, then your arches will be strong and won’t fall. If you start wearing arch supports, you’re letting the shoe do all the work for you, and your foot muscles become weaker and weaker and you become even more reliant on the arch support in order to keep you from having foot pain.

*Here’s the disclaimer you’ve been waiting for:  If you currently suffer from flat feet, and want to build your foot strength, please do it gradually. And consult a doctor about these issues. I’m not a medical professional. I’m just a person with an opinion. (A bare-footer who has never felt the need for arch supports ;) ).

There are other concerns that people have cited in their arguments against wearing flip flops, but it seems to me that these are all issues that common sense plays a part in:

  • injuries to the foot from doing yard work in flip-flops
  • sunburn on the tops of the feet
  • snake bites and bug bites, ticks
  • ankle injuries from hiking in flip-flops or playing sports in flip-flops
  • risk of flip-flops interfering with the pedals while driving

To all of these “risks”, I would just recommend using common sense. I’m sure no one that I know of is ignorant to the risk we take when we participate in ANY activity while wearing flip-flops. And flip-flops are not the only culprit in the shoe world.  So, just take the necessary precautions that you would take whenEVER you take part in these activities, regardless of the type of shoes you are wearing.

And don’t pick on my precious flip-flops ;) !

 

Sliding Scale

After a lot of thought, I’ve decided to implement a sliding scale.

The bottom line is that I want to make it affordable for people to get the treatment they need. If you are like me at all, you probably would rather just not make any appointments than to have to discuss money, so I’m hoping this will help.

I will not be asking you about your financial circumstances. I will just post this chart in my office for you to refer to and you can use your own judgement about what you can afford and what is fair payment.

Please note: There will be a minimum payment required. It is on the bottom line of the chart.  *The minimum price for the 80 minute Neck Treatment will be $50.*

I am implementing this on a trial basis. Please feel free to let me know how it’s working for you.

Sliding Scale Corrected

Nominate a Nurse!

Nominate a Nurse!

I have a lot of admiration for nurses.  A nurse can change your hospital experience from distressing to at least tolerable, and possibly even pleasant.

In honor of the amazing nurses in our area, I’d like to give away free massages to some of them. If you know of a deserving nurse, send an email to me at
junipertherapeuticmassage@gmail.com.

Please include a couple of sentences about your experience with them.  I’ll be choosing one or two nurses to receive
a free 80 minute massage.

 

Please send the email by May 13th.

If the emails come after that, I’ll reserve them for another time (because I may do it again).

 

*Please keep in mind, for their convenience, where my office is located, and the hours that I am open:

My office is located in Baldwinsville (about a mile from the Jones Road exit of 690).

My general hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sleeping, snoring and other “embarrassments”

During my time as a massage therapist, I have had many people sheepishly say to me, “I might fall asleep during the massage”, or with some embarrassment say to me, “I’m sorry if I was snoring”.

Although I have heard of the occasional therapist who is somehow offended by a sleeping client, I just want to give you my personal opinion. I personally take it as a great compliment that you feel so comfortable and relaxed with me that you  can drift off to sleep. I think that it is a great honor to have my clients trust me enough to relax to that degree! Snoring during a massage lets me know that I am doing my job of helping you to relax. So, snore away!! It’s music to my ears :) !

 

While I am on the subject of possibly embarrassing situations, let me try to put your mind at ease about a few other things…

Shaving legs

I’m not just trying to be nice when I tell you that it’s okay that you didn’t shave your legs for this appointment…It REALLY is okay! IN FACT, it’s probably BETTER if you don’t shave, simply because stubble that has grown for a day or two is much sharper and actually can cut into my hands. Trust me, I am not offended by hairy legs.

Bodily noises

There are all sorts of sounds that the body makes when it is relaxing. Remember in Science class when your teacher talked about the “Fight or Flight” response? It is activated by your Sympathetic System. Well, your body also has a Parasympathetic System which triggers the “Rest and Digest” response. When you are getting a massage, this system is activated. A number of digestive functions are taking place, some of them more audible than others. So, if these noises occur when you are in a massage with me, and you feel embarrassed, you can do one of two things: Ignore it, and I will too. Or say “oops” and we will both laugh about it.  

Other body reactions

Occasionally, your body may react to massage in other unexpected ways. Again, it’s all part of the relaxation response, and it is fine as long as there are no inappropriate behaviors accompanying the response. Ignore it, and I will too.

Dirty feet

If it really bothers you that your feet have accumulated some dirt or odor before you come in for a massage, I keep wipies and washcloths available in the room. Feel free to use them. 

 

Above all, if you feel embarrassed by anything, please don’t just leave and never come back! Talk to me! You won’t be the first person to have felt worried about these things and I want to take that worry off your mind.

 

 

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Special!

Happy Spring! (Be strong…it’s almost here!)

 

Time to start sending out hints to your kids and grandkids that what you’d LOVE for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day is a Gift Certificate for a massage :)

 

And to help you all celebrate…

 

All gift certificates (of $68 or more) purchased from now through Father’s Day, will have 15 minutes added to the certificate for free!  *There is no limit on the number you may purchase to give as gifts to others. However, each person may only redeem 2 of these special gift certificates.

 

As an extra “Thank You” to my regulars, check your email.

 

*All you have to do is mention the offer when you buy the gift certificate.

 

*The free 15 minutes is not a stand alone service and must be added on to a massage of 60 minutes or more.

Feel free to pass it on! Thank you!

 

Be Well!

 

Joybelle Allen

Licensed Massage Therapist
Juniper Therapeutic Massage
7275 State Fair Blvd.
Baldwinsville, NY 13027
315-464-0809

Thank You All!

It is hard to believe
that it has already been a year
since I opened Juniper!
I would just like to say
to each and every one of you
that have supported this business…
Thank you so very much!
It has truly been a pleasure
to meet and work with each of you
and I’m excited
to continue to do more!
Cheers!

Stretches

These are some of my favorite stretches to recommend (and do).

I tried to label them in a way to make it easy to remember.

Feel free to print for personal use.

Please remember to ALWAYS stretch gently!!!

 

 

Neck Stretches 

Howl at the moon!

Howl at the Moon!
Tilt your head back and pucker your lips.

 

 

Hiss at the moon!

Hiss at the moon!
Tilt your head back and touch your bottom teeth to your top lip.

 

 

Make a double chin!  And don't take a picture of yourself doing this ;)

Double Chin!
Make a double chin!
And don’t take a picture of yourself doing this ;)

 

 

Hmph! Rotate!

Hmph! Rotate!
Look over your shoulder!

 

 

Deodorant?

Deodorant?
Turn head to the side, then look down towards your underarm.

 

 

Tilt!

Tilt!
Bring your ear towards your shoulder. You can gently increase the stretch with your hand.

 

 

Tilt side, tilt back!
Bring ear to shoulder, then tilt your head back.

 

 

Chest Stretches

T

T!
Open your arms as wide as you can!

 

 

Clasp and Roll!

Clasp and Roll!
Clasp your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders back.

 

 

Doorway!

Doorway!
Stand in a doorway. Place your elbow at a 90 degree angle on the doorjamb. Step forward with the same side. Turn your other shoulder back.

 

 

Arm position for "Doorway"

Arm position for “Doorway”

 

 

Doorway too!

Doorway too!
Stand in a doorway. Place your elbow on the doorjamb, around the height of your ear. Step forward with the same side. Turn your other shoulder back.

 

 

Arm position for "Doorway too"

Arm position for “Doorway too”

 

 

Child's pose. Palms down.

Child’s pose. Palms down.
Kneel on the floor. Bend at the waist. Place hands on the floor in front of you, palms down, keeping arms straight.

 

 

Child's pose. Gimme cash!

Child’s pose. Gimme cash!
Kneel on the floor. Bend at the waist and place hands on the floor in front of you, keeping arms straight. Turn palms up!

 

 

Hand Stretches

Flip the wrists!

Flip the wrists!
Bring your hands palms together in front of you, then flip them so they are back to back.

 

 

Press the thumb!

Press the thumb!
Bring your hands palms together in front of you, then flip them so they are back to back. Now take one hand and apply pressure at the base of the other hand’s thumb.

Hip Stretch

Knee press!

Knee press!
Sit. Cross your leg with your ankle on the knee of your other leg. Gently press on your top knee. Be sure to keep your back straight! Don’t hunch! Bend at the waist.

 

 

Stay tuned! You never know when I might add more favorites!

P.S. Just a little disclaimer.  I am not a certified yoga instructor or personal trainer. Please consult a physician before engaging in these activities. A yoga instructor will help you to perfect stretching techniques.