It is estimated that up to 25% of the Western World has experienced constipation. This occurs when food moves too slowly through the digestive tract and as a consequence stool becomes more solid and increasingly difficult to pass. It is one of the the most common conditions affecting the digestive tract.
Naturopaths and Osteopaths agree that you need to have a good bowel movement at least once a day and if you do so less frequently you are constipated.
Causes of Constipation
* Dietary - Not eating enough fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other food rich in fiber.
- Too much pasta
* A change in personal circumstances, lifestyle or eating habits.
* STRESS at work or at home.
* Other mood disorders such as anxiety, feeling low in mood, or depression.
* Certain medicines: most commonly pain killing medicines/narcotics based in codeine or morphine, sedatives, some anti- depressants, or meds that lower blood pressure.
Food enters the mouth and then passes down the esophagus to the stomach, to the small intestine, to the large intestine, to the colon, to the toilet. Once food is in the stomach digestive juices stimulate the rest of the tract to produce digestive secretions.
The main function of the colon is to re-absorb water from the purified food.The longer the bowel contents hang around, the more water is re-absorbed and the drier they become. These waste products become stagnant and start to putrefy. Toxins from stagnant waste products may be re-absorbed from the blood instead of leaving the body. The gut wall becomes inflamed by these toxic wastes, and new food arriving irritates the inflamed area, possibly triggering diarrhea. Flatulence (passing gas) arises from stagnant and fermented foodstuffs. Consequences of this irritation may cause the following: fever, backache, headache, upset stomach, loss of appetite, gas, congestion of the spleen or pancreas.
OSTEOPATHIC THOUGHT PROCESS
Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) in bowel dysfunction is often directed toward improving blood and lymphatic flow to these tissues. Also an integral part of our approach is balancing neural signals to and from the bowel. Specifically, these signals are the Sympathetics (SNS) OR the fight or flight response, and the Parasympathetics (PNS) OR the rest and digest system.
Too much SNS or hyperactivity of the lower Gastro-Intestinal (GI) tract is associated with symptoms of constipation, bloating and gas.
Too little PNS or hypoactivity of the lower GI decreases bowel motility and glandular secretion as well as constipation.
Metabolic changes caused by dysfunction of the tissues of the colon can lead to increased fluids and tissue congestion. The result is an accumulation of waste products, reduce blood flow and decreased nutrition to the cells.
OSTEOPATHIC MANUAL TREATMENT
OMT enhances homeostatic mechanisms of the patient who has illness or dysfunction. Homeostasis is the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdepedent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. In the case of constipation the following issues will be addressed:
SNS - Rib raising produces the reflexes which clinically normalize sympathetic activity. Also paraspinal inhibitory soft tissue manipulations are applied to decease SNS.
PNS - Cranial sacral techniques are applied to reduce PNS with focus to the head and upper neck.
LYMPHATICS - Indirect fascial (connective tissue) to the thoracic outlet to improve lymphatic flow.
- Inhibition to the pelvic diaphragm to inhibit the pelvic PNS and improve lymphatic flow from the legs.
- Relax the abdominal diaphragm to improve blood and lymph flow throughout the entire body.
- Improve lymphatic flow to decrease congestion and increase nutriend absorption from the bowel.
SPINAL - Any restrictions in spinal mobility will be addressed.
Lisa Marie Foreman, Osteopath
Why does my Massage Therapist always remind me to take an Epsom salt bath?
Baths with Epsom salts are relaxing but there are more benefits to the Epsom salts. Epsom salts are packed with Magnesium and magnesium offers us many health benefits.
Did you know that it is estimated that over 80% of North Americans are magnesium deficient? Magnesium is an essential mineral used by every organ in your body. Magnesium is also necessary for activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in your body, digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and serves as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis, and also acts as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Magnesium deficiency triggers or causes the following conditions:
Anxiety and panic attacks
Musculoskeletal conditions – fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps, chronic neck and back pain
Raynaud’s syndrome Tooth decay
These are just some conditions caused by magnesium deficiency. An Epsom salt bath is a great way to absorb magnesium since the skin is the largest organ of the body that allows for quick absorption.
Using Magnesium oil is an alternative for skin absorption. I often treat my clients with magnesium oil. The magnesium oil, accompanied with massage helps to increase relaxation, loosen knots, ease spasm, treats sports injury, increases muscle recovery and adds to your daily dose of magnesium.
With that being said, remember to have your Epsom salt bath after your massage therapy and be generous with the amount of salts that you add to your bath. Having an Epsom salt bath after your massage will help to increase your relaxation, further decrease muscle tension and provide your body with some Magnesium.
Shawna Klein RMT
Dara Komor RMT
Muscle illness, injury and prolonged immobility can cause muscle and the muscle-encasing facia to become stiff, hardened or stuck to adjacent structures causing pain and impaired muscle function. These stressed and damaged muscle can block nutrients and oxygen from being released and taken up by surrounding muscles resulting in inflammation and buildup of toxin.
Deep tissue massage is a technique that involves strong pressure exerted by the therapist in order to penetrate to these deep muscles and facia. The benefits of this technique are multiple. Deep tissue massage can break up scar tissue from older injuries. This form of massage releases the build up of toxin associated with pain, stress and inflammation. With the release of toxin, blood and oxygen can be released throughout the body. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that deep tissue massage reduces stress hormone levels, decreases heart rate and boosts mood by releasing oxytoxcin and serotonin.
What should you expect when receiving a deep tissue massage? The therapist typically uses knuckles, fists, elbows and forearms when applying pressure to muscle groups. The pace tends to be slower than that of other massage techniques so the therapist can obtain a sense of problem areas and subsequently apply careful and sensitive pressure to achieve a comfortable and lasting muscle release. Deep tissue massage, however, may cause temporary or delayed-onset of soreness and tenderness because of the release of toxins like lactic acid. Patients are expected to properly hydrate before and after a massage flush out these toxins. Stretching before and after a massage will also help reduce soreness and speed recovery and muscle function. Furthermore, a good way to recover is to soak in a warm bath with epsom salts - a salt that draws out the toxins and promotes muscle recovery. Icing persistent painful areas is also recommended.
Therapeutic Benefits of Massage Therapy for the Elderly
Shawna Klein, RMT, PTS
Registered Massage Therapist
Massage therapy combined with remedial exercise improves function and mobility and helps to prevent limitations caused by the natural effects of aging.
Massage has many benefits including the improvement of general health and wellbeing. Seniors who receive massage often experience improvements in depression, stress, anxiety, vitality, personal wellbeing, and overall health. Seniors often feel disconnected and isolated from the world around them. Increased levels of anxiety are common as they face new physical limitations. The gentle touch of a massage therapist can have an impact on a senior’s emotional state and improve their sense of wellbeing.
Massage encourages stress relief and relaxation. Anxiety and stress can lead to insomnia and general feelings of uneasiness. Massage contributes to the stimulation of a relaxation response in the body which can aid in proper sleep and stress reduction. Stress is often referred to as the “silent killer” and a lack of sleep can also have detrimental effects on the lives of seniors by way of negative moods, decreased cognitive abilities, and ineffective immune system function. Studies have shown that a foot massage for only 10 minutes a day for a 2-week period decreased agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.
An increase in aches and pains often arise as we age, either due to the natural effects of aging or from age related diseases. By focusing on the entire body system and its relationship to the soft tissue, specific techniques used in massage therapy will help to decrease pain and reduce discomfort.
Maintaining health and a strong immune system are encouraged with regular massage treatments. Strengthening the immune system leads to an increase in the body’s natural killer cells, aids in the fight against bacteria and infection, and naturally enhances the body’s ability to get nourishment to important areas. Studies indicate that regular massage can naturally increase the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity - the activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells” and decrease the number of T-cells, which improve the body’s overall immune function.
Seniors often experience postural changes that have occurred gradually over the years. Poor posture leads to a chain of functional and internal deficiencies. It can lead to digestive problems, affect circulation, and breathing capacity. Poor posture can also lead to a lack of balance since the body is not in proper alignment. Addressing postural deficiencies through massage therapy and remedial exercise will help to reverse the effects of poor posture. Studies have shown that joint play on the ankle and foot improves balance.
Contact your massage therapist today and find out how massage can benefit you personally and provide you with all the benefits of improving and maintaining your overall health.
Shawna Klein RMT, PTS
A therapeutic massage is a holistic alternative for your health and wellbeing. It is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Hot Stone Therapy is not just a spa-like treatment, it offers many benefits with a real emphasis on relaxation, healing and grounding.
Hot Stone Therapy is an effective treatment that involves deep penetrating heat from basalt stones along with Swedish massage techniques. The heated stones may be placed on various parts of the body to improve the flow of energy into the body. The heated stones also allow the muscles to relax and respond to tension release, without the misconception that pain is necessary to reduce muscle tension.
Some of the benefits of Hot Stone Therapy Include:
Hot Stone Therapy is a wonderful therapy, not only for therapeutic reasons, but for relaxation as well. Consider bringing your massage experience to a new level and try a Hot Stone Massage.
Deep Tissue Massage
Myofascial Release Therapy
Cupping Massage Therapy
Osteopathy . Reiki . Doula Services
Urban Healing Studio