Massage Therapy for Headaches

| Categorized: Broadway Wellness News, Vancouver Massage Therapy.

Link to article here.

Having worked as a massage therapist in Toronto for several years, I have noticed a great deal of people suffer from headaches, or migraines. I constantly get inquiries as to whether or not massage therapy can help, so I figured I would write a quick post to let everyone know how incredibly successful massage therapy can be in relieving headaches and pains.

Now in order to fully understand how massage therapy can help, it is first important to know that there are really 3 common types of headaches: sinus headaches, tension headaches and migraines. It is also important to note that if you ever get a CRAZY, INTENSE, MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE headache, that you have never had before, it is VERY important that you get medical attention immediately.  This type of headache can be a symptom of a major problem such as high blood pressure, or an aneurysm. Don’t hesitate get to the hospital!

Now that I’ve said that, back to the most common types of headaches.

1. Sinus headaches.

These headaches are usually located above the eyes and can spread to below the eyes, where the sinuses are located. Tension headaches can refer to the same area, so an easy way to differentiate between the two is to simply bend over and look down for about 15 seconds. If you feel an increase in pain and pressure, you are most likely suffering from a sinus headache. It could be an infection, or simply inflammation. Either way, get a cold compress and place it over the painful area. This will help decrease inflammation, and pain. Then make a appointment with your MD, just to make sure you don’t have a infection.

How can Registered Massage Therapy help?

Once you are sure that you do not have a sinus infection, massage therapy can help alleviate some of the discomfort.  We do this by releasing all the muscles of the neck, head, and face.  Sometimes tight muscles can refer pain into the sinus area, and even cause a feeling of congestion.  Afterwards, the sinuses themselves will be addressed with techniques that can loosen up the congestion, and drain it out.  Often the treatment is completed with a cold compress and lymphatic drainage to the face to decrease swelling.

2.  Tension headaches.

These are THE most common type of headache.  In some cases they can be confused with migraines because they can become sooo intense.  Tension headaches are usually caused by a build up of tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. This increase in tension can activate trigger points that are found in these muscles and cause them to refer into the head, and face. The most common areas to feel pain during a tension headache is at the base of the skull, around the ear into the temple, and behind the eyes. Even if these are the most common areas to feel pain, tension headaches can be felt anywhere in the head.  The pain can vary from a mild discomfort, to an ache, to a raging pulsing headache.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The x indicates the location of the trigger point, and the red area is the location of pain.

How can massage therapy help?

Massage therapy is actually one of the most effective ways of calming down, eliminating and preventing a tension  headache.   Your massage therapist will usually preform a quick assessment to help determine which muscles may be causing your headache, and whether or not there are any other contributing factors.  Afterwards all the muscles of the shoulder and neck will be addressed with massage techniques that will both increase circulation, and decrease muscle tension.   If  the  headaches are caused by trigger points, these will be addressed and released, relieving any pain they might be referring into the head.  Many different techniques will be used, such as trigger point release, deep tissue massage, acupuncture and stretching. The underlying causes will also be addressed.   If stress is causing the tension, then relaxing techniques will be used to soothe and relax the body and mind.  If it’s related to bad posture, then the therapist will work towards fixing the postural issues, so that your tension headache doesn’t keep coming back.

3,  Migraines

If you have ever had a migraine headache you know how absolutely TERRIBLE they are!  I’ve only had 2 in my life, and both were related to  a reaction to food.  It was a awful experience!!  The pain  intensity felt with migraines can vary from person to person.  It can range from discomfort, to “my head’s going to explode I need  to lay down and hide for 2 days.”  As you can guess, this can greatly affect your ability to perform normal activities of daily living, and in some cases can be extremely debilitating.

Migraine headaches are caused by a increase in blood flow to the brain.   This increase can be caused by a variety of reasons: allergies, food sensitivities, barometric pressure,  stress, hormonal imbalance…. and the list goes on.  Most of the time the headache is accompanied by an aura.  There are different varieties of migraine-induced auras.  Some describe it as tunnel vision, other see flickering lights, others get nauseous, and some unlucky people get all of the above.  In most cases people suffering from a migraine find that they are also sensitive to light and sound, and usually need to rest in a dark quiet place.

Medication is often prescribed to those who have frequent migraine headaches.  Unfortunately it does not work with everybody, and can be quite pricey if you do not have insurance.

How Massage Therapy can help?

Massage therapy is usually not indicated during a full blown migraine,  it is more useful in preventing the next one from happening.

In some cases migraines can be related to stress, and neck muscle tension (especially the muscles at the base of the skull).  Massage therapy is a very effective, and natural way of reducing both of these triggers.   The muscles at the base of the skull,  called the Suboccipitals, are commonly a factor in migraine headaches.  These muscles respond very quickly to stress by become very tight.   One of these muscles have a direct link to the covering of the spinal cord, and many blood vessels and nerves surround this muscle group.  This is why, when they get really tight, they can have an effect on blood flow to the brain,  as well as causing an aura and pain.  Specific massage therapy treatments can greatly reduce the tension in these muscles,  possibly preventing another migraine from occurring.

Hydrotherapy can also be used during the massage therapy treatment.  Warm compresses are used to relax the muscles and increase circulation to the tissues, and cold compresses are used if the client feels like a migraine may be starting.  The cold compress around the neck and over the eyes help constrict the blood vessels going to the brain decreasing excessive blood going up to the brain.  ( This is something that can also be done at home to help stop a migraine.)

 

 

 

 

 

Suboccipital muscles located on the back of the head/neck

Article written by Melanie Gallant at Myocare in Toronto.

Vancouver Massage Therapist: Craniosacral Therapy

| Categorized: Broadway Wellness News, Vancouver Massage Therapy.

Vancouver Massage Therapist Article of the Week: What is Craniosacral Therapy?

What is Craniosacral therapy?  Craniosacral therapy a modality or approach focused on manually releasing the cranium, spine, and meninges (layers of connective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord) which is used by trained practitioners across many healthcare professions.  At Broadway Wellness, and other Vancouver clinics, practitioners such as Vancouver Massage Therapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, may take post-graduate training to offer Craniosacral therapy as a technique.  Craniosacral therapy is considered to be an Osteopathic technique.  It was developed by an Osteopath, A.T. Still, in the late 1800’s, further developed by another Doctor of Osteopathy, W.G. Sutherland, and brought to the mainstream in North America by J. E. Upledger in the 1970’s.

Read Further about Craniosacral Therapy in the article below, quoted from The Cranial Therapy Centre based out of Toronto, or clinic the link below to visit their site.

Link to article here.

“Craniosacral Therapy is becoming a treatment of choice in areas of pain, rehabilitation and neurology.  Vancouver Massage TherapistAlso called CST, or cranial osteopathy, it is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on technique, developed by an American osteopathic physician almost one hundred years ago.

CST theory and practice is based on understanding the continuous subtle movements of the cranial bones, which result in a rhythm of approximately six to twelve cycles per minute. This rhythm is understood as a response to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fluctuations within the spinal cord and brain environment. The subtle movement extends outward to the entire body, in response to the fluid pressure changes around the Central Nervous System.

A therapist gently works with the whole body including the spine and the skull, and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. By using the hands as fine discriminating tools, Craniosacral therapists are able to detect disturbances in the cranial sacral rhythm to help them identify areas of dysfunction, such as cranial, sutural, membrane and other soft tissue restrictions in the body.

Patients remain clothed during a treatment and treatments generally are one hour long.

A treatment works in the following ways:

  • Helps restore normal cranial mobility;
  • Releases abnormal myofascial restrictions and tensions in the body;
  • Releases abnormal restrictions in the head;
  • Eases restrictions of nerves;
  • Optimizes cerebrospinal fluid movement through the central nervous system; and
  • Helps restore misaligned bones to their proper positions (assisting troubles associated with the head, back, neck, hips, shoulders, arms, hands, knees and feet)

Craniosacral Therapy is beneficial for all ages from Infant to the Elderly:

  • Birth traumas and other perinatal challenges;
  • Infant latching and feeding difficulties;
  • Recurrent ear infections;
  • Facial asymmetries and eye motor problems;
  • Learning disabilities, A.D.D., A.D.H.D;
  • Gross and fine motor problems;
  • Developmental delays, autism;
  • Headaches;
  • Concussion, and post concussion symptoms;
  • Tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo;
  • TMJ syndrome;
  • Stress disorders and insomnia;
  • Muscle and joint pain or injury; and
  • Many neurological conditions and pain syndromes.”

Article credit: The Cranial Therapy Centre 2 Carlton St, Suite 1004
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1J3

At Broadway Wellness, a Vancouver Massage Therapy clinic which is Integrative, also offering Naturopathic Medicine, Registered Acupuncture, and Osteopathy, several of our practitioners – both Vancouver RMT’s and RMT’s in the Osteopathic Training program, work with their clients using Craniosacral Therapy.

The Practitioners that offer this modality at Broadway Wellness are:

Cara Marks – RMT

Char Hunter – RMT

Jennifer Keene – RMT

Laura Rivere – RMT

Laura Schroeder – RMT

Mai Holmes – RMT

Maya Bleiler – RMT

Monica Cleland – RMT

Pia Sutter – RMT

Alison Ritchie – RMT

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Broadway Wellness is a multi-disciplinary healthcare clinic that has been serving the Fairview and VGH area’s of Vancouver, BC since 2004. Our Vancouver clinic provides the services of highly trained and well-reviewed practitioners in the areas of Registered Massage TherapyNaturopathic Medicine, and Registered Acupuncture.

 

Vancouver Acupuncture Article: Pain Management

| Categorized: Vancouver Acupuncture.

Vancouver Acupuncture Article of the Week: Acupuncture for Pain Management by Brian Kushnirik, R.AC at Broadway Wellness.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), whenever there is pain, there is some sort of a blockage in the system. Whether the blockage is from a physical source (such as trauma or overuse) or whether the blockage is from some sort of an emotional disturbance, pain equals blockage.
Vancouver Acupuncture

Vancouver Acupuncture Article: Pain Management

Physical and emotional blockages will affect each other. In TCM acupuncture, one of the keys to treating pain is to calm the mind. By using acupuncture to calm the mind, the body will be able to more easily help to repair itself, and the use of other acupuncture points will be more productive.

 

An acupuncture treatment helps to facilitate the movement of energy in the system, thereby breaking up both physical and emotional blockages. Released blockages will result in reduced physical and emotional pain and an increase in vitality.

Areas of the body that are treated can either be local (close to the physical pain), distal (away from the pain), or in the ear (as the ear acts as a microcosm for the body, anatomical and functional points on the ear allow for the treatment of the entire system).

Acupuncture can be an excellent alternative or compliment to pain medication as it has no side-effects, does not counteract pain medication, and unlike most pain medication, it treats the root cause of the pain instead of just temporarily masking it.

Read Brian’s full article here. 

Brian is a Vancouver Acupuncturist who has practiced in Vancouver since 2002. He has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), German Auricular Medicine and Laser Acupuncture Therapy, while he is also a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) trainer. His combination of TCM, auricular and laser acupuncture approaches allow for the treatment of a wide range of issues including chronic and acute pain, and concerns related to mental health, addictions and PTSD. Besides training in Canada and USA, he has also travelled and studied extensively in China and speaks Mandarin.
Brian’s wholistic approach to healing, compassionate heart, and dedication to ease suffering establish a safe environment for the return of physical, emotional and spiritual balance. Treatments are personalized for each patient, where for example, laser therapy can be used successfully for clients who have an aversion to needles. His extensive studies in qigong, meditation, martial arts and yoga also allow him to guide patients to work with individualized mental and physical techniques to aid in their ongoing wellbeing and health.

Brian is available at Broadway Wellness on Mondays and Wednesdays (2:15-8:15pm)

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Broadway Wellness is an integrative healthcare clinic founded in 2004, focused around a group of Vancouver Registered Massage Therapists, also offering Acupuncture, and Naturopathic Medicine, in Vancouver BC, along the Broadway Corridor.  Broadway Wellness moved and expanded to 3 blocks East to 610 2525 Willow Street in Summer of 2019.

 

Introducing Brian Kushniruk: Vancouver Acupuncturist at Broadway Wellness

| Categorized: Vancouver Acupuncture.

Brian is a Vancouver Acupuncturist who has practiced since 2002, and recently joined Broadway Wellness. He has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), German Auricular Medicine and Laser Acupuncture Therapy, while he is also a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) trainer. His combination of TCM, auricular and laser acupuncture approaches allow for the treatment of a wide range of issues including chronic and acute pain, and concerns related to mental health, addictions and PTSD. Besides training in Canada and USA, he has also travelled and studied extensively in China and speaks Mandarin.
Brian’s wholistic approach to healing, compassionate heart, and dedication to ease suffering establish a safe environment for the return of physical, emotional and spiritual balance. Treatments are personalized for each patient, where for example, laser therapy can be used successfully for clients who have an aversion to needles. His extensive studies in qigong, meditation, martial arts and yoga also allow him to guide patients to work with individualized mental and physical techniques to aid in their ongoing wellbeing and health.
Common applications of acupuncture or laser acupuncture in Brian’s practice include but are not limited to:
  • Acute or chronic pain (head, neck, back, sciatic, shoulder, abdominal, etc.)
  • Mental health issues (anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc.)
  • Lifestyle issues (insomnia, stress, etc.)
  • Addiction problems
  • Arthritic conditions (osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Digestive concerns
  • Post surgical / injury scar tissue issues

Brian will be available at Broadway Wellness on Mondays and Wednesdays (2:15-8:15pm) starting August 8, 2018.