"Consider the Lilies of the Field..."

Last night I had the privilege of sitting with my friend in a meadow on a cool late summer's evening just as the sun began to set. My eyes slowly turned from the treeline to the field rich in purple and gold and pre-autumn green.

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Frogs were chuckling in their hiding places as countless numbers of butterflies danced from blossom to bloom. Crickets played their violins while a soft and steady breeze passed over the wood, providing the cello section for the vast, floating and ever evolving symphony.

Clouds were lifted high

     the silent passers by-

         that reached and found each other, like dancers in the sky

Against a wall of blue

     an overwhelming view-

          they drift and hover there, and wave to you and I

There were so many patterns and pathways for the eyes to travel. We sat there, just taking it all in, exploring with our senses ... the light, the sounds, the feel and o! the smell ... of this living panorama! 

I guess in my younger years, I would have thought "Oh, what a great place for a go-cart!" But now I find myself offended by anything that would disrupt such beauty. Man-made anything seems to be such an intrusion, like walking in loudly to a great and solemn performance. Planes flying overhead have become as noisome to me as some annoying mosquito buzzing around my head ... only a lot bigger. And loud motorcycles, which once I held in great esteem now sound more like rolling flatulence. Very LOUD flatulence. 

There, in that vast theater, there was a Mass production of epic proportion! Thousands, if not millions of players were involved. Lots of lighting and various backdrops, musicians and dancers, and oh-so-many-extras ... all came together for the ever evolving performance called 'the meadow'. In such a place as that, how could one such as I, who believes in the Creator, not sit in amazement at the craftsmanship, the timing, and the choreography of it all?

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the Earth shows forth His handiwork!" And there we were ... with the best seats in the house!  

Soon we would leave, and walk the short distance to another location, surrounded by thousands of people sitting outdoors in lawn chairs, listening to classical music broadcast from speakers, and watching lighted fountains accompanied by a backdrop of fireworks.

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All was orchestrated nicely. The sky would erupt in sparks when cymbals crashed, explosions punched white holes in the black sky when the kettle drum was struck, and the fountains were lifted high on the wings of lofty melodies. Plumes of smoke would eventually drift off into the night sky, blocking out the moon, leaving the smell of sulfur in their wake. And everyone "Ooooh"ed and "Ahhh"ed. 

Don't get me wrong ... it was thrilling! Fountains and fireworks to the music of Mussorgsky is nothing to shake-a-stick-at. We certainly got our money's worth. But for all its pomp, at least under these circumstances, the meadow had the better show ...!

    

       .        

Crying in the Wilderness

There's a common verse that's quoted (and often 'anecdoted') of John the Baptist calling in the wild.

            A mad-man dressed in rugged cloth preaching all alone.

            Surrounded not by church and pew, but wind-blown sand and stone...

                                                                         Like a howling wind in an empty town, he cries out as a child.

Today there is a new wilderness. A slow shutting down of our senses. A gradual detachment from our Source of Being. We are so used to hearing and seeing so much all at once... all the time ... that we learn to 'tune it all out'. 

If John were to preach today, he would just be one more blogger, one more singer-songwriter. One more person with an opinion posted on this cyber bulletin board we call social-media; or one of many-a-million op/ed pieces submitted to any one of thousands of newspapers... along with all the rest.

The wilderness today is not empty. It's full. Overfull, in fact. And that's the problem. Good ideas get lost in the shuffle, and challenges to established ways of thinking are suppressed all the easier simply by ignoring them and moving on.

The wilderness is now a noisy place. It clamors for attention. Everything. All at once. Constantly. Non-stop. Our senses are over run. We are caught in a torrent of information and can't keep up with all that we are now required to remember. And somewhere, in there, in the midst of the cacophony is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness..." 

And somewhere,in there, are you and I, with something to say that needs to be said ... along with everyone elses' things that need to be said... and are already busy saying it!

So what do we do, we prophets anew? Do we scour for new congregations?

    Where can we go to be the more heard among so many peoples and nations?

          We needn't yell any louder. Our voices are quite loud enough.

                 Nor do we need a new broadcast, we already have enough stuff!

Silence will get their attention. Quiet can cause quite a storm.

    Waiting to hear what the Spirit reveals should really become the new norm... 

          And if we must speak, let us be meek, and keep our words simple and few.

               You'll think it absurd, but then we'll be heard by the very ones worth lisn'ing to!    

Who's the Leader in Health Care?

Although many claim to "believe in alternative medicine", the fact is they often bring their conventional mindset to the table. The massage table, that is.

If you are looking for a therapist or practitioner to fix, repair, or heal you so you can go back to your regularly scheduled lifestyle, then you're really not doing anything different from the person who wants to rely on medicine or surgery to solve their health problem. Both involve a passive approach to healthcare.

I've had clients who are not only unwilling to make changes in their posture, but practically cup their hands over their ears at the mere mention that they take responsibility for themselves, their actions, and their injuries.

So they may run down the idea of 'doctors and medicine' in favor of a more "holistic approach". but in reality, they're swapping out players while playing the same game.

This is why my preferred clients are the ones who want to learn ... and do. Rather than the passive approach (" ... just fix me!") they take a proactive approach, whereby I am their coach, their supplement, their mentor.

I spend time educating my clients about their own anatomy and physiology, in order to allow them the opportunity to take charge of their health and to move wisely throughout the day. "Knowledge is power", and when it comes to health, it's down-right essential!

I often refer to the conventional medical paradigm as"faith based". All religious connotations aside, the fact is: most people do what the doctor tells them, not because they know their own bodies, but because they believe and trust their health-care provider (and the system they are a part of) to solve their problem. Committing oneself to an action ... any action ... without knowing the why's and the particulars for why you're doing it, is nothing less than an act of faith. For good or for bad, that's what most folks do. They do what they're told without knowing why.

I believe in explaining to my clients the reasoning, the logic, and the methodology of various therapies and exercises. Only then will they really get what they need to out of the experience. When they understand how to move, and why, they will see to it themselves throughout their day. Getting in and out of a car, putting away dishes, lifting boxes, tying shoelaces, etc, are all typical activities that can be transformed into healthy, even therapeutic movement once they have the knowledge and background.

Don't expect anyone to repair you from the outside in. Your body heals from the inside out, so that's where you need to begin. You are the captain of your health. You steer the ship. Healthcare professionals are simply part of the crew. Their job is not to steer the vessel while you slumber below deck. Their job is to assist you as you steer your body thorough life's many experiences and circumstances. But in the end, it's your ship, and you're the one at the helm.

I love coming along side my clients and helping them solve their aches and pains, moans and groans, lumps and bumps! I love it when they say "Wow! That massage really helped ... AND I did those exercises you told me about. They really made a difference! Look! I can move my arm now!" I think that's what I enjoy the most about being a massage therapist ... helping people help themselves by educating them and awakening them to the exciting role of proactive health.

    

Concerning Love

(Originally posted on EmbodyGrace.com, February 10th, 2009, and reprinted with permission)

Probably no topic captures our focus like that ‘crazy little thing called love".

We feel its absence and long for its return. We seek it and mourn when it’s nowhere to be found. We wish it for others, and yet so often fail to bring it to them ourselves.

Popular entertainment has been preaching for years that ‘all you need is love’, and pop culture has been in hot pursuit ever since.  

But what is it exactly that we are pursuing? A feeling? An experience? A state of mind or being? To answer that question, we would do well to examine how love is marketed to the general public. 

It has been my observation that advertising works best when advertising something that will never truly satisfy, nor ever be achieved. For example, the cosmetic industry relies on advertisers to present an image of beauty that is not real.  The advertiser’s job, in a sense, is to create a market by making women feel bad about themselves because of how they look, and then offer them a solution which just happens to be . . . whadya’ know . . . their product! And since the product’s effects will more than likely wear off the next morning, they’ll be back to buy more.

This principle holds true for practically all marketing.

  1. Find an intrinsic need or complaint common to a society.
  2. Exploit it by focusing on it, and stretching it out of proportion. (Ex: "How many times has this happened to you?")
  3. Offer the solution (product) which will solve the problem, but only temporarily.
  4. Collect payment for a job well done! You've successfully created a market selling 'wind catchers'!)  

Now, if I’m a theatre owner, or a recording company, or a movie studio, I’m going to want to sell my product (be it a play, or a CD or a film) to as many people as possible, right?

So what’s an intrinsic need common to many?  

Hmmm . . . thinking . . . . thinking . . . . could it be - Love?

Ding-ding-ding! You got it!
   
The need for love is intrinsic to us all. But what exactly is it?

Unless you know exactly what you’re hunting for, you can shop around for a long-long time and still not find it. And don’t forget, there are entire industries out there willing to link their product to your need, and in so doing, will inevitably present the need in such a way that it can’t possibly ever be fully satisfied. Movies and music may take the edge off for a short while, but the need will continue to resurface again and again.

It’s no wonder pop culture ‘can’t get no satisfaction’.

But what if Love is less ethereal than how its presented in advertisements?

What if, in fact, Love was the expression of a Higher Form of Reason? This would assign a certain logic to the principles of Love. But more than that, it would make Love a lot easier to understand, and therefore, maybe, more attainable. Again, if we know exactly what we’re looking for, we will be less likely to look for it in the wrong places.

The obfuscation of Love is part-and-parcel of its overall usage.

Or rather, its over-usage. I love my dog, I love my house. I love my job. I love the beach. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my friend. And on and on the list may go, using but one word to describe a myriad of relationships and an entire host of emotions. But not all cultures have handled the linguistics of love in the same fashion. Some languages, such as Biblical Greek, for instance, are far more exacting in their terminology. Rather than have one word for Love, they employ several.

EROS was used when talking about romantic love. Eros is walking on the beach hand-in-hand with the one you love. It brings roses on anniversaries and diamonds on birthdays. Eros is looking into each other’s eyes and feeling the rush of emotion that overtakes you like a wave.

However, Eros is conditional. In other words, it is circumstantially dependant. When conditions aren’t conducive, Eros fades. 

PHILEO was another word used for Love, but its application is in the area of friendship. Phileo is a bunch of guys gathered around a football game, beer in hand, and jerseys on. Phileo is friends from the office meeting for lunch, or two brothers canoeing. Phileo usually exists around a common interest such as quilting or music. It shares experiences and events such as the orchestra or a vacation. Phileo may involve a certain amount of affection, but it is not defined by it.

Like Eros, Phileo is also conditional. For this reason, some friendships are closer than others. Those whose company we greatly enjoy we call Best Friends, while others who we have little in common with, we call acquaintances.

And then there’s AGAPE’. Unlike Eros and Phileo, Agape’ is a form of love characterized by a complete act of the will. In other words, it is expressed, not in terms of emotion, but action. Agape’ commits, and stays committed. Agape’ is faithful and keeps its promise, even in the face of inconvenience. It sacrifices, and seeks nothing in return. It does not wish to be recognized or applauded. It would rather do its work silently, unnoticed, and un-thanked.

In short, Agape’ is unconditional. When circumstances change, Agape’ remains. It is the silent glue that stays a relationship through hard times. Eros attracts, Phileo binds but Agape’ carries Love into the future indefinitely.    

Different types of relationships are determined by how we balance these three Loves.  

So, Love at times is emotional. Other days, it folds the laundry for the thousandth time!


Love is enjoyed one way by newlyweds as they look ahead towards the future, and in another way by Jubilee-ers who look back on their past, and all they’ve been through.

But in all cases (Eros, Phileo and Agape’), Love implies peace and unity. Whether emotional or sacrificial, Love always seeks the best interests of Creation. Whether it’s the deep appreciation of nature, or the affection you hold for your children, or the value you place upon your own person,‘Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ -Saint Paul.

And could it be that the reason these three loves were chosen by the writers of Holy Writ is because together they create a triune relationship, thus reflecting Love’s Creator?

According to the *Dilomina theory, all physical realities reflect in some way their spiritual counterparts. Thus, we truly are the image of (designed to reflect) our Maker.

Why should Love be any different? Love in emotions. love in companionship. Love in action. Love as triune. 

Love, no matter what form it takes, should reflect the One who made it, and who is, in fact, according to the Apostle John, the embodiment of all that Love is. ( “Those who do not love do not know God, for God is Love.” -1 Jn. 4:7-8)

Could it be then, that when we seek love, what we are actually seeking is God?

Could it be that when we love one another, we are sharing something of the substance of the Almighty with someone in need?

Could it be that we truly are ‘created in the image and likeness’ of a Being who, while functioning triune, draws together in Love as One, and wants us to reflect that same unifying force to all Creation? 

This Valentine’s Day-

May you find the love you’re looking for, and share it with those still searching!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

The Heart of Touch

By Bill Bryan, originally posted on the Lionville Holistic Health Center blog, February 10, 2010)

I’ll never forget watching a carpenter friend of mine lift his 24-inch plane carefully out of the old worn tool box in which it was safely kept.

It was wrapped in a clean cloth, and stored with the blade deliberately facing away from all the other tools, so as to protect its razor sharp edge. He gingerly unwrapped this classic tool with the same amount of care as a parent would when holding their very own child. He then proceeded to eye up the instrument, holding it up in the sunlight... turning small knobs and screws and making finely tuned adjustments.

I marveled at the attention he paid to every detail.

His care for this tool kept it in perfect working order all these years. Everything from how it was stored and maintained to how he held and handled it was driven by one simple motive: value.

He truly valued his tools.

Consider this: How a person values an object can be seen in how they touch it.

Or, to put it another way: Show me a person who values their possessions, and I'll show you a person who takes care of their things.

But unlike tools or other inanimate objects, which have no sense of their own value or worth, we humans have a deep sense of our own self-worth. It matters to us whether or not we matter....!

In fact, our entire sense of security, I believe, is dependent upon three intrinsic needs: a Sense of Place, a Sense of Purpose, and a Sense of Worth.

The Heart of Touch lies directly at the center of it all!

Caring, thoughtful touch communicates to the very center of our being that we have a purpose, and a place, and that we matter. It's a powerful force that we possess at our fingertips! That, in the very literal 'palm of our hand' is the ability to make someone feel good (or bad) about themselves.

What is a hug if not the expression of belonging, and the creation of a 'safe place'?

What is therapy if not the attempt to restore someone's body to its intended purpose?

And what is 'good intent' if not the deliberate focus upon another's intrinsic worth?

The Heart of Touch is that point at the epicenter of those three basic needs: Sense of Place, Sense of Purpose, Sense of Worth. It balances and recognizes each need as legitimate. Though they be separate, practically speaking, they are intimately intertwined, functioning as triune.

For this reason, true 'healing touch' requires motives and intentions that are pure and without guile.

When we touch from a less-than-noble center, we devalue the one we are touching, robbing them of their own dignity, assigning values of worth and purpose that are unfair at best. Too many of our hurts are the result of others touching selfishly!

But when 'our center' (i.e.: the place where our Physical, Intellectual and Spiritual all intersect) directs itself on behalf of another's intrinsic needs, that's when, in a sense, Center touches Center, and a powerful reaction occurs!

At that moment, we become the very hands of God, providing for another's need for a safe place to be, acknowledging that they do indeed have a Divine Purpose, and assigning to them a renewed sense of their own Value.

What greater joy can anyone ever experience than to help another regain their own sense of dignity and worth?!

Like my friend, the carpenter, we have an opportunity to assign place, and purpose and value to those we come in contact with. But first we must recognize it in ourselves, as well as in others.

When we do, we will begin to master the Heart of Touch.


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Keep in Touch - A Poem

(Originally appearing on EmbodyGrace.com, 9/22/08, and copied here with permission)

When wishing to convey
   affection for another
Whether friends or college roommates
    a sister or a brother
after all goodbyes are said
   and we kiss and hug and such
We wave our hands and wipe our tears
    and say "Let's keep in touch!"

So let us now consider 
   exactly what we mean
And try our best to thus address
   and benefit and glean
from a topic oft ignored
   a mighty subject unexplored
the concept we embrace so much
   the mighty power we call touch

Connections are essential
   for living things to grow
Within connective pathways
   the breath of life doth flow
From simple to complex
   cells unite as one

A fabric held together
   connected one-by-one
And what provides the strength
   Much stronger than a crutch
The blessing of connection 
   Maintained in constant touch

This act of touch, though physical
   goes far and way beyond
Simply sensing pressure
   maintained within a bond
There's more than simple nerve cells
   talking to the brain
Registering pleasure
   or registering pain

Think of touch more like a bridge
   whereby emotions cross
Carrying their messages
   when words are at a loss
Sharing thoughts much deeper
   and weightier by much
Words alone could ne'er convey
   The truths found in our touch

Transmitting and receiving
   a silent communique'
Revealing all our true intent
   no matter what we say
The need to be connected 
   the need called 'sense of place'
A basic need we all must heed
   throughout the human race
Is sought by those who feel apart
   from loved ones and from friends
It's touch that keeps them in our hearts
   and touch affection sends

So when I say "Let's keep in touch"
   what I'm really saying
Is I value our connection
   and wish that you were staying
But if our paths should separate
   and if depart you must
Then again, I'll say my friend,
   "God bless, and KEEP IN TOUCH!"

©2008 Wm. Bryan


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

An Interview with Bill Bryan

(Originally appearing on the Lionville Holistic Health Center blog, April 19th, 2010)


I'm William M. Bryan, massage therapist, owner of Tri-Scale Massage & Bodywork, and Director of the Lionville Holistic Health Center.

Q. Bill, how long have you been involved in massage therapy, and had a practice at the Holistic Center?

Bill: I graduated from the East/West School of Massage Therapy in 2002, received my National Certification later that same year, and have had my practice at the LHHC since 2006.

Q. What drew you to learning massage therapy?

Bill: I've had many jobs, from 'chef-ing' to cabinetry, but never felt that any of them were what I was 'supposed' to be doing.  While I became interested in alternative health at the age of 16, I only considered a career with this when I was 39.

I attended a massage school to learn anatomy and physiology, and to gain an introduction to alternative health modalities. But, at that time, I truly had no interest in becoming a massage therapist per se. But after realizing that conditions like sciatica and plantar fasciitis could be relieved by therapeutic massage, I knew I had found my calling.

Q. What's your superpower? In other words, what unique gifts, experiences and insights do you bring to your practice?

Bill: My background in construction and design allows me to appreciate structure and the forces at work therein - most importantly, the ability to troubleshoot and assess structural imbalances.

Interestingly, a lot of the previous jobs I had held, while seemingly unrelated, turned out to bring relevance to my understanding of how the body works. I also bring a unique philosophical slant, drawing primarily from Scriptural and scientific principles as I understand them.

Q. What kinds of people seek out your services?

Bill: The bulk of my client base is comprised of people with chronic injuries that are seeking to avoid the use of pharmaceuticals and surgeries. Some just want massage to relax and unwind, but most come seeking reparative work.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about this work?

Bill: When I've been able to help someone avoid surgery, or come off pain medications, that's when I am sure I am where I'm supposed to be, and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. My world comes together at that point. If I was a millionaire (which isn't likely to happen anytime soon :), I would still do what I do.

Q: What's next for you? What's your vision?

Bill: I would like to one day start a healing arts school dedicated to alternative therapies based on sound science along with Biblical principles of healing.

Q: What else brings joy to your life?

Bill: Music (both playing and listening), art, poetry, gardening, political & philosophical discussions, sitting by the ocean, studying and teaching Scripture.

I often say that I'll have to live to 103 to pursue everything I want to do!

Q: What would you like people to come away with from your sessions together?

Bill: Pain relief, primarily. But more than that, an increased appreciation of their own sense of self-worth. I want them to know that they have been 'fearfully and wonderfully' made!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Water, Water Everywhere...!

Every where I turn, I'm being reminded to 'drink water'. Drink more water. Are you drinking enough water? Don't forget to drink more water! OK! OK! I get it ENOUGH ALREADY!

Only in America do we have to force people to do things like drink water and eat less food. Other countries have the opposite problem. They wish they had water to drink, and wish they had more food to eat ...

But here in the land of affluence, we have to be told to eat less and 'drink water'.

The problem is ... water is ... well ... boring! It has no taste. At all. This is probably because water doesn't have any calories. Calories are what give food flavor. Afterall- the more calories there are, the better things taste, not? And vicey-versy ... the less calories the more bleh it tastes!

So, here's my suggestion for encouraging people to dink more water. Actually, there's two of them.

The first is simple. Add sugar. That's right ... good old fashioned sucrose straight from the bowl on your kitchen counter. Keep in mind that sugar has a lot of calories ... so the more you put in, the better it will taste. I suggest 2 to 3 heaping teaspoons per 8 oz. glass of water. You can add more if you wish, but it has a tendency to come out of solution, so you may have to convert sulfuric acid into phosphoric acid to keep the sugar suspended in solution. This is what the big soda companies do, and it seems to work quite well.

You'll also want to add color. A great many studies have been done proving that the more colorful something is, the better it tastes. For instance, M&M's verses cauliflower. No contest, right? Well, color is another thing that water lacks. And adding color is easy. Just get some food color ... like red or yellow dye #5. You can use either one, or combine them to make orange. (Using latex paint is not recommended, although its probably just as healthy for you.)

By adding sugar and coloring, the people you care about will be drinking water like never before!

Another way to prepare water is with malted barley, hops and brewers yeast. This is a little more involved, but the final outcome is a healthy glass of water with all the sugar and color needed to ensure regular consumption. In fact, you may want to consider this: dehydration leads to stiffness. And I can personally testify that the more barley and hops-infused water I drink, the more loose I become.

So - there you have it ...


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Plantar - Fashy - What?!

 OK, plantar fasciitis is a big word.

Most diagnoses are. That's because they're made in Latin. And in Latin, plantar fasciitis means: the bottom of the foot (plantar) is inflamed (-itis).

In English it means "Holy smokes does it hurt when I first get out of bed in the morning! It feels like an ice pick poking me in the heel! Ouch!"

or something like that . . .

Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis, or 'heel spurs', as some people call it, is becoming more and more common, due to the fact that we walk around almost continually on hard flat surfaces, and wear shoes designed for fashion rather than comfort.

But what exactly is plantar fasciitis? And what's the best way to treat it? 

Your Plantar Fascia is a piece of webbing on the bottom of your foot, beneath the skin, that extends from the toes all the way back to the heel.  Its purpose is to literally put the 'spring in your step'. By spanning the arch of the foot, the plantar fascia maintains the curvature of that arch, much like a bungie cord, or the string on a bow-and-arrow.

So when you take a step, your weight comes down on the floor, the bottom of your foot flattens out, causing the fascia to stretch.

As your weight transfers over to the other leg, the fascia springs back, and launches your foot off of the surface you are walking on, propelling you forward to paths untravelled and sights unseen- broad new horizons and the journey and the thing and the stuff ...

My point is ... its a drag when it gets injured.

The Birth of a Heel Spur.

If, let's say, the fascia gets over-stretched ... which can happen quite easily given our culture's tendency to be overweight, combined with our propensity towards hard flat surfaces like concrete...

... What happens is, we're constantly putting a lot of weight on a 'spring' (i.e. the fascia), forcing it to conform to almost perfectly flat surfaces. It can only stretch so far and for so long.

Eventually, the fascia starts to pull away from its attachment site at the heel of your foot (your calcaneus bone). And boy does that hurt ...! Ouch.

But it doesn't happen all at once. Not usually, anyway. Usually what happens is: you begin to notice pain in the bottom of your heel the first thing in the morning. But after a couple of minutes on your feet, and things start to loosen up. Over a period of time, it lets up less-and-less.

Eventually you hobble into your friendly neighborhood's doctor's off ce and say "Hey, Doc ... the bottom of my feet hurt really bad when I put any weight on them ... and they seem all inflamed ..." and you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.  (Instant Replay here: You said "Hey Doc, the bottom of my feet are inflamed." And they answered back, in Latin, "That's because the bottom of your foot is inflamed ...!")

I digress. My point is, only a doctor of the M.D variety can make a diagnosis, so please don't use this article to diagnose yourself, ok? I'm just telling you what plantar fasciitis feels like ...

When the fascia starts to pull away from the heel bone, the tear causes pain ... but. worse than that is that it creates a condition for the formation of a heel spur. A heel spur occurs when the calcaneus bone begins to grow out towards the fascia trying to 'fill the gap', as it were. But not all plantar fasciitis is caused by heel spurs. And that's important to remember. A lot can be done before it gets to that point.

Oh Those Crazy Gastrocs! 

Your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) play an important part in treating plantar fasciitis because ... well ... most the time, that's where the trouble begins.

Your calf muscle attaches to your heel bone, but doesn't stop there. The tendon (what we often call the Achilles tendon ) wraps around underneath and becomes the plantar fascia.  

The calf muscle's connected to the ... heel bone, and the heel bone's connected to the ... fascia ... and the ... well ... you get the idea.

If your calf muscles are too tight, they will put extra tension on the bottom of the heel, as well as on the whole plantar fascia, making it tighter than it was designed to be. Hence the tearing, hence the "ouch!"

So, let the calf lead the way...

When I work on people with plantar fasciitis, I don't just loosen up the bottom of the foot. I start on the calves. Get them to release and you're halfway there.

Then I break down the scar tissue that's been building up on the bottom of the heel, as well as in the 'webbing', or the fascia itself. I've found that within three-to-five sessions, noticeable improvement occurs. Unless, of course, its an actual heel spur, in which case ... 'off you go to the podiatrist' ...

 But assuming its not an actual heel spur... and assuming you don't continue to reinjure it, you should see significant results rather quickly. So, situation desperate, not hopeless!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Concerning Knee Pain

 "A point that pivots by degree  

       is how one best describes the knee,

             but the more we look, the more we'll see

                   the simplest form's complexity!"

 

Knees are tricky things. But you wouldn't know it to look at them. I mean, on the outside, they look like nothing more than just a big hinge. But when there's a problem with that 'hinge', your whole life can change. Stair climbing, walking outdoors, even getting up out of a chair becomes a chore, and an uncomfortable one at that!

So let's talk about your knee ... shall we?

For those of you with an appreciation for mechanics, your knee is your basic class C lever       

In the case of your knee, the hinge is where your femur (your thigh bone) meets the two bones just below it (the tibia and the fibula). This hinge is protected in the front by the knee cap (your patella). And the whole assembly is cushioned by a 'shock absorber' (your meniscus) and held together by a series of ligaments, which criss-cross and wrap around the juncture so as to be able to accept force from any number of directions.

 And powering this lever... this hinge... are your body's most powerful muscle groups: the 'Quads' (vastus lateralis, medialis, longissimus and rectus femoris) and the 'Hamstrings' (biceps femoris).

 You Don't Need to Know That for the Test!

But the reason I point all this out, is because if you have knee pain, it can be caused by a lot of things. Yes, you could have a torn meniscus, or a strained ACL or PCL (ligaments inside the knee joint), which are very serious injuries that should be looked at by those much more knowledgeable and qualified than yours truly. BUT ...

...sometimes it's a problem with the two muscle groups previously mentioned. Sometimes (but not always) the ache you are feeling in and around the knee cap is the result of trigger-points in either the quads or the hamstrings

This is because the attachment sites for the muscles that bend your lower leg are all in the knee area. Even the IT-band (powered by the small muscle- tensor fascia latte) attaches down at the knee. So any tightness in these muscles will transfer right to the knee, sometimes mimicking a much worse condition.

Some Things to Look For

f you have an injury to the meniscus or any of the ligaments (the ACL, the PCL, the LCL, etc.) you'll almost always experience swelling. That's the first clue for you to bypass me and go straight to your friendly neighborhood doctor's office, where you will then be guided to the department of the x-ray and MRI department. (Really, these are great tools, and it's worth knowing exactly what you're dealing with!)                                                                                                                                        

Another good indicator is if it feels worse the more you use it. Like, if you rest it for a while, and it starts to feel better, but then, as soon as you attempt to put weight on it, it sends a sharp signal to your brain which, being interpreted, means "No Friggin' Way, Jose'!". Again, make an appointment with your doctor and have it checked out. Even if it's NOT a serious injury, it's always best to rule that out before trying alternative treatments. And if it IS a serious injury, well ... as much as I'm not a huge fan of surgery ... sometimes it's all you can do, especially in the case of torn soft-tissue(s) within the knee.

When a Negative is a Positive

The best scenario is when someone comes to me and says, "Well, they ran all the tests, and everything came back negative! There's no tears in the meniscus, there's no tears in the ligaments, everything showed up 'fine'! So now what?"

"Now," says I, "we explore the quads, the hamstrings and the IT band ... which is the easiest way to repair knee pain." Usually the problem isn't scar tissue as much as it is trigger-points. First, we'll locate the offending fibres within the belly of the muscle. Then, by using STR (soft tissue release) techniques, we'll work on opening the trigger-point(s), thereby reducing the amount of tension on the attachment site of the muscle (which also happens to be where the nociceptor, or specialized-pain-nerve is), thus restoring full range of motion to the 'hinge'.

Tada! It's that simple! 

Well ... sometimes it's that simple. Other times it takes three to five sessions to get everything opened up, depending on the severity of the condition, and how long it's been like that. For example, a problem that just started showing up last week will be much easier to remedy than one that's been there for ... oh ... say 'since Hector was a pup'!

Success is sweet!

 I've had athletes, especially runners, come to me with knee pain, fearing the worse. "Am I gonna need surgery? Am I going to be able to run in the 5k next month? Am I gonna die?!" My answer to those questions is, respectively ... "Probably not. Hopefully. And definitely... but hopefully no time soon!"

I'm thinking of three cases in particular, all within the past year, where the clients (two males, one female) experienced full recovery simply by releasing the trigger points in the quads and biceps. No pain meds. No injections. No surgery. Just good old fashioned logic and body work. (Man, I love my job!)

                        "So if there's pain down in your knee

                              the cause may not be plain to see.

                                   Don't wait 'til you're in agony-

                                        bring your troubled knee to me!"  


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

This is a "Stiff-Necked" Generation!

It's interesting to listen to the words we use when describing how we feel about things. Expressions like "Going for the throat" and "My boss is a pain in the neck" are spoken allegorically. But are they really just metaphors, or is there some truth to it ... literally speaking.

Your Emotional Highway

There are many reasons that the muscles in the back of the neck can tighten, not the least of which involves your physical posture. How we sit while driving or while working at the computer, or how you sleep play a key role in back and neck strain. Many who develop 'head forward' posture are completely unaware of what's happening to them unntil the problem becomes obvious, and difficult to correct.

Did you know that the average human head ways between 10 and 12 pounds? And that for every inch the head is forward, it gains ten-pounds (relatively speaking) in weight, so that, if your head is pitched just two-inches forward, your neck muscles must now hold up the equivalent of a 30 to 32 lb. weight? That would certainly explain whay our necks are so tired by the end of the day.

But there is more that effects the neck than the physical forces of nature (posture, gravity, old or recent injuries, etc). There are these things called emotions that have a profound affect on our physiology.

Elusive, hard to track and stealth like, emotions can not be filmed, measured, or quantified. But oh! what an impact they have on your being, and especially the neck.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which focuses on Qi Meridians, and equates these meridians with various emotions, shows the back of the neck as being the only place on the body where ALL the meridians pass through at once. This would make the back of our necks a super-highway, of sorts, of our emotions. Is it any wonder that when we start to feel afraid the hair on the back of necks 'stands-up'?

"What a Pain in the Splenius Cervicus!"

You see, muscles have several jobs to do. They provide mobility, yes ... and, by contraction and relaxation help regulate body temperature ... but wait! There's more!! Muscles provide protection.

Let's say my good friend of many years, having buddied with me since grade-school, and having earned my trust since childhood ... decides to sucker punch me. (It's a guy thing ...) If I see it coming, what will I instinctively do? Yup... I will immediately tighten my stomach muscles (rectus abdominus and the obliques) because tightened muscles are like armor. In fact, when we 'brace for impact', its our muscles (and fascia?) that contract to keep us safe.

The problem is, our body doesn't know the difference betwen a real threat (i.e. someone waving a club at you) and a perceived threat (i.e. being afraid that someone may wave a club at you for coming home to late after staying out all night with 'the boys' ... for instance ... just sayin' ...) Anyway, I digress ...

The fact is, what we think about something translates into what we feel about it. And what we feel about it translates into our physiology (as posture or some other reaction). So if I believe I'm being attacked at the office via corporate politics, the back of my neck is going to tighten up just as if it were guarding me from a central park mugger.

But Fear Not, For Help is on the Way!

 Fortunately, whether the back of the neck is tight from a muscle spasm that's guarding an injury, or tight from fear, worry and other types of stress ... the solution is the same! In fact, people do it to themselves all the time, just not as effectively.

When your neck is tight, and its making you tired and starting to actually cause a head-ache, what do you instinctively do? That's right ... you reach around with your hand and start to self massage the muscles that run from your shoulders to the base of your skull. And why do you do that? Because your body is telling you that it wants those muscles to relax. To stand dowm.To open up and 'breathe a little'.

Now imagine, instead of self-massaging your neck while sitting there at work, you are, instead, relaxing on a heated massage table while someone else does the work of getting your muscles to relax. It's not really much of a comparison, is it?

I do a lot of thirty minute sessions with my clients, where I focus soley on the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back. If it's a postural problem, we'll discuss it. If it's caused by emotional stress, I'll leave it up to you whether or not you want to share what's going on. But either way, getting those muscles to 'unclamp' is the first step towards clarity of thought and getting a good night's sleep!

In conclusion:

   I have a pain behind my ears

     Its been there days, its been there years

         From wrong sized pillows, and life long fears

            I have a pain behind my ears!

 

   I have a pain all down my neck

      because I am a nervous wreck

          My anger I've not kept in check

              and so I have pain down my neck!

 

  I have a problem with my shoulder

      and a knot just like a boulder

           I fear the worse for getting older

               I have this problem with my shoulder!

 

  I have a head-ache pounding strong

       which tells me something must be wrong

           the slightest sound rings like a gong

               I have a head ache, pounding strong!

                                                                              -Wm. M. Bryan

Dear Reader: Don't suffer needlessly. Call to schedule an appointment.


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Aches and Pains and Moans and Groans

 

Q: What is it that sells aspirin and other pain medications?

A: The promise of "Quick, fast pain relief!"

Heaven forbid we should feel discomfort for more than a day ... or even THAT long!

Now don't get me wrong, I dislike pain as much as the next guy (or gal, as the case may be), but there's more to pain than just trying to make it go away.

An Unwelcome Teacher

There are two ways to approach pain...

One of them is this: "Pain is the enemy!" According to this view, pain itself is the problem. Therefore, if you make the pain disappear, you have solved the problem. Pain killers, muscle relaxers, sleep tonics and alcohol are all fine solutions, if pain is the enemy. And they work just fine, all the way up to surgery!

The second approach is this: "Pain is my tutor." While less dramatic and not nearly as exciting as having an enemy, it makes a lot more sense. Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong, that something is not as it should be. According to this view, pain is no more 'the problem' than is the smoke alarm which loudly announces that there's a fire in the kitchen.

Let Me Ask You a Question

If there was a fire in your kitchen, and the fire truck pulled up in front of your house, and a fire fighter came running in your front door and began spraying the smoke alarm until it finally stopped making all that noise ... and then proceeded to leave while the fire was still burning out of control in your kitchen ... would you be satisfied?

Putting out the alarm instead of addressing the problem is exactly what pain-killers, muscle-relaxers and anti-inflammatories do, which allows the problem to become worse over time.

The Role of What I do

As a massage therapist, I do more than just help you relax. My job is to investigate your pain, to listen to it and see where it leads us. Rather than mask it, I work with it. In the world of aches and pains, moans and groans, pain is an ally, not a nemesis.

I'll ask you things like: Is it a sharp pain or a dull pain. Does it stay in one spot or does it radiate outward? If so, where does it travel? I'll ask: How long have you had it? Did it show up all at once, or has it been there for a while, off and on?

These questions make pain our guide, leading us to the problem. There may be "trigger points" in the belly of a muscle, or scar-tissue built up in a tendon or ligament. You may have a postural problem that needs addressing or fascia that needs to be "released".

Address THOSE issues and eventually the alarm will turn off on it's own.

My job is to "open up" trigger-points, "break down" scar tissue, and "release" fascia using massage and bodywork techniques such as Deep Tissue work, STR (Soft Tissue Relase), Cross-Fibre Friction, and MFR (Miofascial Release).

My clients experience pain relief, not because I turn the pain off, but because I fix what's causing it. But more than that, I explain to them what I've done, and why. This way, they have a better understanding of themselves, and why they hurt.

Knowledge is Power

I want my clients to learn how to listen, and by that, I mean really LISTEN to their pain, rather than be afraid, or worse yet, hate it. (Never hate your body!) When one learns to listen, one gains knowledge. And with that knowledge, you can solve the problem, instead of masking it. 

So listen to your aches, and pay attention to your pains. They are there for a reason. Believe it or not, they're trying to protect you. Who knows? They may just be telling you to call me to set up an appointment! :)


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Ode to Our Lungs

Ode to Our Lungs

They take air in, they blow back out

   they help us sigh, and help us shout.

They'll hold a breath, until at last

   with great release they'll give a blast.

 

Yet all day long they must endure

   the noxious toxins that they deplore-

malodorous fumes beyond compare

  (produced by those who do not care!)

 

How silently they work unseen

  to filter air and make it clean,

bringing life to every part-

  muscles, bones,

     and brain and heart.

 

True connection without, within -

    the interchange of yang and yin.

        Our thoughts, our breath

             unite as one

                 attached to life

                     beneath the sun.

 

Breathe, inhale, relax, let go-

   begin again, stay calm, stay slow.

Rest your mind and hear the sea

   and fill your lungs with heaven’s Qi   

                                        -Billy Shakespeare :)


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Concerning Tennis Elbow

Many folks who play tennis eventually notice a burning sensation along the outside edge of their elbow. Usually they ignore it, until it becomes so bad that they run to their doctor, who gives them a steroid injection and suggests physical therapy.

 Meanwhile, they wrap it, ice it, and continue to try to play, often to their own detriment.

 But what exactly is ‘tennis elbow’? More importantly, what’s the best way to treat it and keep it from returning?

‘Tennis Elbow’ (Latin: elbowum hurticus muchicus) is a form of tendinitis often caused by ‘trigger points’ in the top of the forearm. These trigger points prevent the muscle(s) from stretching the way they’re supposed to during extension of the arm while serving the ball. In other words, when you’re gripping the racket, and ‘whacking’ the ball, your arm has to go through a full-range-of-motion, requiring the muscles in the forearm to elongate through the serve. But if some of those muscles are ‘locked shut’, which is what ‘trigger points’ do to the muscle filaments, the tendon(s) of the muscle(s) up near the elbow will become strained, and even start to tear a little, creating a burning sensation at the site of the muscle attachment.

 Why I don’t like steroid injections . . .

Two reasons: First, the steroid may take down the inflammation caused by the injured tendon, but it doesn’t fix the problem, so eventually it comes back, and often with a vengeance. And second- if a tendon is already injured, poking it with a needle, thereby creating more scar-tissue, seems hardly the right approach.

  Here’s what I do . . .

I try to locate the offending muscle, and release the ‘trigger-point’. Pretty simple, huh? I then use ‘cross-fiber-friction’ (a specific massage technique) to break down any adhesive scar tissue that has built up, thus restoring full range of motion to the affected area.

  But I don’t stop there. No siree . . . !There’s an even more important step to be done. Education. That’s right . . . education. I explain to people (as I’m doing to you right now) the exact nature of their injury, and then show them how to self-massage the area so they can work on themselves in the future on a regular (and cost-free) basis.

  When it comes to ‘Tennis Elbow’ (and its twin-cousin ‘Golfers Elbow’), I have had much success with this approach. Granted, it’s not covered by insurance, and it requires a little more action on the part of the client, but hey, which would you rather- a complete repair or just temporary relief?      


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

"Honey- Which Stress Do You Like?"

It's amazing how much verbage is devoted to the topic of stress these days. 

Studies on stress, workshops on stress management, and lets not forget all those statistics. You know- "48% of all injuries in the workplace are stress related", and so forth . . . 

But here's what gets me: Nobody ever really defines it. I read an article recently concerning stress, with a sub-title which read "What exactly is stress?", and then went on sharing more statistics and listing the effects of and yada yada yada . . .

The author never did define stress, let alone exactly.

                    Q: So why does it matter that we define stress?  

                    A: Because in order to solve a problem, you have to understand                                                                       what the problem is, and not just what it does . . . ,

  I believe that without a clear definition of stress, trying to battle it, manage it, treat it, and lower it are merely a waste of time. More like shadow boxing really.

So- having given this topic a lot of thought, here's what I've come up with . . .

  I want you to think about 'stress' simply as 'workload'. Plain and simple. Stress is merely the amount of 'load' placed upon a 'system'. Any system. For instance, structures are designed to bear a certain amount of weight. Like bridges. Take a 2 ton truck over a bridge designed to handle 1 ton of weight, and I hope your truck is delivering canoes or life rafts, because you'll more than likely need them. Why? Because the bridge was rated at 1 ton stress. and you placed two tons of stress upon it. Ker-splash!

Therefore:                                                                                                                                                        

Since 'Stress' = workload...

 ...then the amount of stress (i.e. burden, effort) placed upon a system is referred to as 'stress levels'.                                                                         

An important thing to realize is that 'stress' is neither good nor bad, in and of itself. What matters is:                   

                   1) how much of it there is

                              -and-

                   b) the condition of the system bearing the burden

Lets go back to the bridge. . .  

2 Ton Truck + 1 Ton Bridge = Kersplash

1/2 Ton Truck + 1 Ton Bridge = Coffee and doughnuts in the little cafe' on the other side of the bridge where all the other trucks park except the ones that were too heavy, but you get the idea ...

   That type of stress is called Mechanical Stress. Stress levels that are below the Stress Threshold (i.e. the limit of what a system can bear) are referred to as safe stress levels. And those which exceed a stress threshold are considered, um . . . well . . . not so safe stress levels . . .

   So in the world of mechanics, Stress = workload, and its either safe or unsafe.

   But- we're not mechanical. We're bio-mechanical. And that makes a huge difference.

Because living systems respond to a work-load differently. In short, living systems (like plants and animals and humans) have the ability to adapt, whereas bridges and beams and fishing line do not. 

So even though 'stress equals work-load', the effect of that work-load is no longer just safe or unsafe. Stress on a living organism now becomes healthy or unhealthy.

Healthy Stress is used to strengthen and build up. There are many names for this. In sports, its called endurance. In music its called proficiency. Its why we study for exams, or at least were supposed to . . .

By placing a challenge before ourselves in order to develop the skill necessary to perform a task with greater ease, or to further develop a talent, we are using healthy stress to do it. Its the 15lb. weight that works and develops a bigger muscle. Its the crossword puzzle that strengthens the brain. You get the idea . . .

Well then, that being the case, unhealthy stress obviously does the opposite. It not only overloads a system, causing damage, but, since the system is organic, and will adapt to the burden, and develop all sorts of compensatory habits that, overtime, will become permanent fixtures in how that organism functions. A good example of this is kyphosis, where 'head forward' posture, overtime, develops into a full hunch-back.

Therefore- Just as healthy stress trains a living structure, so, too, does unhealthy stress...,

So- there you have it! I could say more, and in fact, probably will. But not in this post. This being my first blog, I thought I'd save the interesting stuff for later. Like how does 'centering', 'grounding' and 'alignment' (key elements in posture) effect our ability to bear stress? And how can I convert unhealthy stress to healthy stress? Stuff like that.

So thanks for making it this far. Please comment on this, with all sorts of questions, opinions, and ruthless criticisms . . . really. I don't mind. In fact, I really look forward to hearing what you have to say!

So until next time, remember . . .

"You are very carefully and wonderfully made!" 


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Massage Before or After Chiropractic?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'}

Listen to the audio here:

 

Today's question is: "Is it better to get a massage before or after my visit to the chiropractor?"

Well, some of that depends on your chiropractor. Or more specifically, what kind of chiropractor you go to...

You see, generally speaking, it's better to get a massage prior to a chiropractic adjustment. This allows the soft tissues, like muscle, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, to loosen up and relax, making it easier for the chiropractor to adjust the spine.

Don't forget, the vertebrae of the spine aren't just freestanding. They are connected to a whole series of muscles and ligaments that help keep them in place. The multifidus and the rotatares muscles connect each vertebra like a small truss system. The erector spinae muscles run the full length of the spine, keeping the spine erect, just as their Latin name implies. The trapezius and rhomboids also have attachments to the spine.

So, you can see that if any of these muscles are 'locked down', it will be harder for the chiropractor to adjust you. On the other hand, get the back muscles relaxed and loose, and things slip back into alignment much easier.

But, having said that, sometimes it's better to get a massage after a chiropractic adjustment, especially if your chiropractor is a little ... shall we say .... rough!

I mean, let's face it - there are chiropractors whose touch is anything but gentle. They grab and twist and bend and yank, making things pop that you didn't even know you had! And while it is good to realign the body's skeletal structures, the trauma they create in the process can cause the attached muscles to spasm, causing a rebound effect.

And that's not good.

A spasm in, let's say, the rhomboids, can pull a freshly adjusted cervical vertebra right back out of alignment .. sometimes even worse than before the adjustment, which is not only uncomfortable, but a waste of your money!

(So, for this reason, i try to discourage my clients from using chiropractors that are too rough. There is just no reason for subjecting the body to that much concentrated force.)

But, if that's the kind of chiropractor you go to, and are content with results he or she gives you, then a massage afterward is not a bad idea. Getting muscles that have just been traumatized to open up and relax will get you more bang for your buck, ' chiropractially' speaking. The important thing is to find which combination works best for you.

Obviously, you'll want to stay away from deep work right after an adjustment. Broad-based, steady pressure would be the way to go, moving slowly up and down both sides of the spine.

So, whether before or after ... by combining massage with your chiropractic adjustments, you are now taking care of the full structure, which, in my mind, is a more complete way of dealing with an injury.

Until we meet again by way of radio, this is Bill Bryan, reminding you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Can Massage Help High Blood Pressure?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'

Listen to the audio here, aired originally in 2007.}

Okay... I had a client this week ask me if I thought massage would help with their high blood pressure. My answer: absolutely!

Think about it ... The components of your circulatory system, namely your veins and arteries, run through and around your skeletal muscles. In fact, it's your skeletal muscles that help return blood to the heart.

Inside each of your veins are little one-way valves that allow your blood to move in a forward direction towards the heart. When your muscles contract, they squeeze the veins, pushing the oxygen depleted blood back to the heart to get re-oxygenated. (Which is another reason to lead a more physically active lifestyle!)

But getting back to our subject, when muscles are contracted for prolonged periods of time, they "squeeze down" so to speak, on all the little veins and arteries, increasing the pressure within them. It would be like taking a garden hose and pinching off the end just a little. What happens? The water inside the house builds up pressure, enabling you to spray your spouse all the way on the other side of the drive-way! Anyway, you get the idea...!

The same thing happens to your blood vessels. When a person's body is under too much stress, their muscles remain in a state of contraction, which then constricts the blood vessels, which then raises the pressure within.

So, what does massage do? Well, one of the goals of massage therapy is to get skeletal muscle to relax and open up. This, in turn, relieves some of the pressure placed on the veins and arteries, thus lowering the pressure within them.

Now it's important to note that certain massage techniques are not suitable for clients with high blood pressure. For instance, stay away from deep tissue work. Deep tissue work requires a lot of pressure, and can actually raise blood pressure... so, obviously, you don't want to go there.

But a good medium pressure massage using Swedish techniques can do wonders to help bring high blood pressure under control.

As always, consult your physician, and see what they say. Most of them, more than you might think, are open to the idea of using massage therapy for managing high blood pressure. In fact, I've even had a few doctors refer their patients to me for that very reason!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

What Exactly is Chair Massage?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'

Listen to the audio here, aired originally in 2007.}

Q: What exactly is 'chair massage'?

A: Chair massage, also known as 'on-site massage', was started by a guy named David Palmer in 1986. Since then, its popularity has increased, bringing it to corporate offices, shopping malls, sporting events and fundraising activities.

chair massage.jpeg

Basically, it's a massage done with the client seated in a specially designed chair with kneelers, a place to rest your arms, and a face cradle to rest your head. Once the client is seated and comfortable, the therapist has access to the scalp, neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, arms, hands, and fingers.

Chair massage is done fully clothed and without oils or lotion, so it's very convenient for the office or work place. Sessions normally last about 15 to 20 minutes, which, again, makes it very convenient for people with time constraints while at work.

There are many benefits to 'on-site' or 'seated massage'.

It's a short session, so it's easier to find time for, and it doesn't cost as much. It also focuses primarily on the areas that bother people the most, especially while at work, namely the back of the neck and shoulders. A lot of folks hold stress in these two areas, and a little relief during the work day can make all the difference to someone pushing to meet a deadline!

I guess the two things I like most about chair massage are:

1) It encourages people who are nervous about getting undressed and lying on a massage table to get much needed bodywork done.

I mean, let's face it, there are a lot of people out there suffering needlessly with aches and pains, because the thought of committing themselves to a full-body table massage is just too overwhelming. But with chair massage, they're only committing themselves to 15 or 20 minutes, without having to remove any of their clothes. This is what makes chair massage a great introduction to bodywork! Once a new client gets used to having someone touch them in a professional and caring manner, they're more likely to 'convert', so to speak, to table work.

2) The second thing I like about on-site or seated massage is that it encourages people with chronic pain to get more regular massages.

Often times, in order to make a chronic condition subside, several sessions are needed. This can be time consuming and expensive. But with chair massage, you can go two, even three times a week, and lose no more than an hour's worth of time, and spend no more than $40 to $60 total! This, I believe, encourages the client to 'chip away' at the problem little-by-little, which is the best way to approach a chronic injury.

For several years I spent every Friday in a large corporation doing chair massage. I would see 15, maybe 20 clients. I can't tell you the benefit that my hands brought to those 'cubicle dwellers'! I helped with their headaches and migraines, their carpal tunnel and repetitive work injuries, not to mention controlling their stress levels, both emotional and physical. Just 20 minutes a week made all the difference to those folks. In fact, many of those clients still come to see me in my new office. Some want table work, but some still request 'The Chair'!

If you have business and would like to show your employees how much you appreciate their efforts, call me. A day of 'on-site' massage in your workplace or office can do amazing things for morale and productivity!

Until we meet again by way of radio, have a great day, and stay out of the news!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }

Do I Do Energy Work?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'

Listen to the audio here, aired originally in 2007.}

Someone asked me the other day if I do 'energy work'.

Quite frankly, I didn't quite know how to answer them. Not because I don't know what it is that I do ... but because I have no idea what people mean by 'energy' anymore.

It's become a term so overused within the holistic health movement that I don't think anyone has a clear understanding of what it is they're describing.

Feng shui 'experts' have us rearranging our furniture to redirect 'energy' around the room; Reiki 'masters' clam to be channeling 'universal energy' through themselves to their clients; yoga instructors, guide their students through meditation rituals in the hope of balancing 'energy chakras' within the body.

And my personal favorite: these guys that show up at holistic health expos with their aura simulation cameras, charging people $20 a pop for a photo with blotchy colors around it, which is supposed to be their 'energy field'! (I can assure you that the only 'energy' being transferred in these situations is from your wallet to theirs!)

So, here's a few energy guidelines for consideration:

First of all, 'energy' is not a substance! Or, better put, it is not an entity. It's not something that you can store in a box, or cup in your hand. Neither is it some huge cosmic cloud that dominates the universe.

Simply put ... energy is a law.

It is a law that governs actions and reactions. As such, it is expressed in terms of potential or kinetic, and measured in terms of force, momentum, or precision. It plays a role in the production of heat, speed, light, or any number of transactions involving material interface. But it is not a substance in and of itself!

For example, when you unplug an electrical cord from a wall outlet, do you need to shake the excess energy out of the cord before you can safely touch the metal prongs? Of course not! When you unplug the cord from the wall, the flow of copper electrons stops. There's no additional substance in the cord. Just copper atoms behaving according to the laws of energy.

Another thing to keep in mind about energy is this: It is neither omnipresent, omniscient, nor omnipotent! These are attributes reserved for Deity, and should not be applied to energy (or the universe, for that matter!). Only the Creator is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.

Neither should the term 'energy' be used interchangeably with the term 'spirit'.

A person's energy is not the same as their spirit. Mixing these two terms leads only to confusion and, quite frankly, a weak philosophy of healing. Energy, like we said, is a LAW. Spirit, on the other hand, is that part of your being breathed into you by the Creator, accounting for one third of your SOUL - beyond, not subject to - the laws of Time, Mass, and Energy.

So.... do I do energy work? Sure! But not the kind you might think!


{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: triscale@verizon.net }