I am so excited about the SRT class that I took recently that I would like to share this article from Taya Countryman's website with you.
Relieving your Middle-of-the-Back Tightness
When you sit at a desk for several hours your mid-back begins to feel tight. This tightness gets worse especially when you are under stress. The muscles of your lower neck and middle back are being stretched. Most people roll their neck and/or shoulders a few times. Finally, they lift their arms over their head and lean backwards.
Without your conscious thought, your body wants the muscles on the front part of your torso to stop contracting and pulling on your middle back. You have been taught to stretch tight muscles so you lean backwards trying to stretch the muscles in the front to relieve the pain in your middle back. These motions do help but they don't address the true problem.
SRT uses a position to stop involuntary muscle contraction. The muscles of your chest and abdomen are the muscles that are involuntarily contracting. Try SRT! Push away from your desk, and with your arms hanging by your sides, let your whole torso move into a forward collapsed position (like falling asleep with your chin on your chest). Start counting to 120 slowly. Let yourself relax into this position stretching your middle back. You will only be able to breathe shallowly. Remember, you are shortening your abdominals and chest muscles.
After you have reach a count of 120, sit up and take a slow, deep breath. Now, lift your arms up and lean backwards comfortably and stretch for a moment. Next, sit in an upright, neutral position and take another slow, deep breath. Notice how your head sits more upright and relaxed on your shoulders and the burning in your middle back feels better.
If you are not extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the rule. We are all in high gear; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. This can have lasting negative effects on our health! Here are a few ways to break the cycle:
It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity.
We can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now.
Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen. It is in those exact moments that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and that is how we can instantly change our perspective and attitude.
Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, gives your mind a break from stress!
Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a fact. We all tend to create schedules that are overflowing and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves! Take a good hard look at your schedule and see
what you can delete and what you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body, and that means giving it some rest.
One tip for quieting your mind is to put it on your schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do this week. Take time for you.
Stay in the Moment
Being in the moment has become a cliché; however, if you really take the time to focus on what it means, you can start to practice quietening your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. If you are washing a dish, focus on the water, the soap bubbles and the dish in your hand. When you take time to do this, you will be in the moment and not two days from now when something big is scheduled.
Every day! Well, maybe that’s not practical, even though it would be nice. This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it’s a combination of the two, so let’s look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:
Relaxation & Stress Relief
One of the very best reasons to get a massage is for relaxation. Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want!
There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we “don’t have time” for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it.
If you are in a high-stress job or you work in an environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or “knotted” muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness.
Living with high levels of stress for a prolonged amount of time increases the risk of contracting heart disease and other diseases. It has been estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. The good news is, massage can help! Just knowing your massage is coming up in a few days can help to relieve stress, and a massage every 2-4 weeks will help with stress related tension.
Are you a weekend warrior, or do you just like to stay in shape? Either way, massage can help with sports performance and recovery. Many athletes and physically active people receive sports massage because it enhances their performance, prevents injury, and speeds up their muscles' recovery. Competitive sports can put a lot of stress on a person's muscles! Research conducted at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging at McMaster University in Ontario shows that massage reduces inflammation and stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing units in the cells, after strenuous exercise. This means that massage can help relieve pain, build muscles and help with muscle recovery too! For these benefits it is recommended that you get a massage up to three times a week or at least three times a month.
Chronic Health Conditions
People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month. Your massage therapist will work with you to help you get on the best schedule for your body.
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage and is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don’t have to, a certified massage therapist can help to relieve those discomforts.
Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don’t have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.