Category: Wellness Spotlight

January 15, 2016

breast cancerPain and tightness suffered post mastectomy/ lumpectomy can limit one’s life drastically. Myofascial Release can help create vast changes by softening dense scars and fibrosed fascia that remain unchanged with traditional therapy and stretching.

 

Axillary Cording

Axillary cording is a web of thick, rope-like structures under the skin of your inner arm. These cords usually start near the site of your scarring in the underarm region and extend down the inner arm to the inside of the elbow (sometimes they can continue down to the palm of your hand, or in to the chest wall instead of, or in addition to, the inner arm.

Traumatized tissue can have a cascading effect on the body.  Locally, tightened and fibrous fascia can restrict blood flow and lymphatic flow resulting in lymphedema.  Auxiliary cording can also occur, causing a significant loss of range of motion in the shoulder, leading to a loss of function.  Pain and weakness can occur in the shoulder, arm and chest wall.  Burning, pins and needles, numbness, or spasms can also occur in these areas.

Tightness, with time, can start to effect areas not associated with the scar even if these areas are far removed from the local site.  Symptoms not “normal” to mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction, or augmentation can start to occur.  Headaches, jaw pain, low back pain, pelvic pain, digestive issues, postural changes, hormonal imbalances, etc, may become a “common” occurrence for you.

The inability to move, or the pain suffered with common range of motion and activity can become debilitating.  This might happen immediately, or it might occur 6 years down the road.  In real life it might look like the inability to wash your hair in the shower, get dressed in the morning, pick your child up out of the crib, hug a loved one, carry your groceries, drive your car, work at your computer, or reach up and grab the sugar out of the cupboard.  No matter the role you have as a woman – mom, worker, grandma – your life is impacted.

breast mfrPain management and rehabilitation using Myofascial Release can help.  Gentle and slow work done at the fascial barrier (on the scar and surrounding areas) can assist in restoring functional patterns by decreasing the restrictions.

Whether you had surgery, chemo, or radiation last month or 10 years ago, Myofascial Release should be added to your recovery process.

 

 

IMG_8104cropbwTara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Myofascial Release Therapist.  She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same.  More about Tara here or find her on Facebook Tara Hagan-Fields RMT

 

September 10, 2015

Every April, I pull out my Slo-pitch ball bag.  Curse at myself for not having done it in October… Curse some more because that’s where my shirt went, or my favorites socks…. and then….curse some more because I left everything in the bag wet…. OOOOPS!  I start the process of airing out the equipment, oiling up the glove, make sure there is a ball for every league, 11 inch for ladies, 12 inch for mixed.  My warmup balls, one heavy, one regular weight.  My bats are all cleaned up. My cleats cleaned and sprayed to rid of the smell.  That’s my routine.

I am a full time athlete only part of the year, because I only play ball from May to October.  But, during my season I go all-out. I play on 3-4 teams, leagues and tournaments…. then the rest of the year is for rehabbing nagging injuries that happened during ball season.

BUT… this year has been a little different.  This year, instead of worrying about old injuries or worrying about a tweak here or there, I have been very worried about a new injury.  One that impacts my game so much, that I have pulled myself from my line ups, just so I can rehab it to play in the year end tournaments. One that prevents me from lifting heavy objects, or thinking about how might I move my body during a treatment so I don’t feel this discomfort I am constantly feeling.

I am often asked “who takes care of you?” and jokingly I reply “I get around”. The honest truth…I struggle to even get my own treatments at times.  Until recently! I have had to make it a priority to get in and get treated.  And I’m not being easy in just finding any therapist to treat me, I am being very specific in who I see.  I fully believe in Myofascial Release and how everyone needs it and that it will help everyone.  I also know the people I work with are awesomely gifted in what they do.  So in the past four weeks, I have been seeing my fellow colleagues here at Whole Therapy and some other MFR therapists here in the city, and I have also been self-treating!

4 weeks in a row, I have focused on getting someone else to touch and treat me.  And 4 weeks in a row, I have focused on treating myself.  Two weeks ago, after a great treatment and some self care that night, I felt a shift.  I woke up for the first time and the pain wasn’t a burning sensation in my forearm and elbow.  For the first time, I felt a good heat in my elbow rather than a horrible one.  I’m feeling less nerve pain and I can hold my own coffee mug (you all know how much I love my coffee!).

My lessons are many this year…I need to take care of me (so our #ChangeOneThing challenge could not have come soon enough)! I need to make the time to get my own care even if I have to push something else aside to do it.  I’ve always been a believer that no matter what it costs, we should take care of ourselves.  This ball season, I feel it has cost me a lot; I have missed out on playing the sport I love with the people I like most.  I have even come to the point that I don’t want to play ball because it hurts too much and my play has been impacted.

I am not invincible. I really need to practice what I preach about self-care and maintenance.  I really have to be that athlete that gets treated regularly because my fascial restrictions have prevented me from doing what I love to do.

So my first #ChangeOneThing is to look at my schedule and put treatment into it for the whole rest of the season.  That’s happening today.

What step are you taking in the name of positive change?

 

Tara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Whole Therapy.  Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Myofascial Release Therapist.  She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same.  More about Tara here or find me on Facebook Tara Hagan-Fields RMT

 

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July 13, 2015

Méana Franco does things on purpose.  The 23 year old powerlifter and personal trainer cuts a decisive path across the gym floor as she heads to the bench press.  Without any preamble or small talk to those around her, she bounces on her toes a few times, shakes her muscular arms out, and assumes an arched position under the bar.

An average gym-goer watching the scene would not be able to appreciate the complexities of Méana’s lift.  To the uninitiated, a bench press works the chest muscles.  To the powerlifter, it is the culmination of the entire body flexing and directing energy into lowering the bar to the chest and back up.

I realized I could match almost all of  Méana carefully places her hands in the proper position on the bar. She presses into her feet, steeling her upper back and shoulders into the bench, and… liftoff. People around her stop to watch as she skillfully lowers close to double her body weight onto her chest and back up again.

They should be impressed.

Already, at 23 years of age, Méana Franco is one of the best in the world at her sport.  And would you believe she first got into it by accident?

“Originally I was a wrestler and rugby player, but I wasn’t great. I loved it and I enjoyed playing, but I was never going to go far with it. When I started working at [GoodLife as a trainer], I tried benching a plate and it was easy.  People were like, ‘oh, that’s really impressive’, and I was like, ‘what do you mean?’ I didn’t understand that the weight was heavy.”

A little research proved that her raw skill was, indeed, impressive.  “I realized that I could match almost all of the current national and some of the international bench records.  So I thought, ‘well maybe I should do this.’”

Don’t let Méana’s nonchalance fool you; while her start into powerlifting may have been by chance, her training since its inception has been anything but.

-My goal is to be top five in the world. (1)
She and her boyfriend, Mark, who is also a Personal Trainer and powerlifter, structure their whole lives around training.

“When we cook, it’s almost like we’re making food for five families,” she jokes, “We’ll go to Costco and get fish and meat and cook it all at once. Sometimes we cook once a week, sometimes twice.”

And what kind of food fills a powerlifting couple’s fridge?

“It’s about trying to mix what’s convenient and what’s healthy. We do a lot of frozen veggies, a lot of lean meats and fish, a lot of salads. I’m predominantly low-carb, because carbs don’t sit well with me. I try to keep foods that bloat me out of my diet.”

Méana has another reason to eat healthfully – she has polycystic kidney disease, which means she has to be careful with diet and hydration. “I can’t ever get dehydrated. I can’t have caffeine. I can’t take a lot of the supplements that other people take to improve their performance; my kidneys can’t handle it.”

And she also has to be careful to get enough recovery, because she is prone to adrenal fatigue.

Goal setting is a big part of Méana’s life.  Although she didn’t attend World’s this year, she is planning on going next spring. “My goal is to be top 5 in the world. Right now I’m in the top ten; I’ve got some work to do.”

How does Méana set her training schedule? Currently she is training with Elite FTS, an online source for strength training, equipment, gear and seminars.  “To get sponsored by Elite FTS, you need to have an elite total,” Méana explains, “when I went to my first competition last year, I got some attention because I was squatting over 300lbs and benching 200.  The owner of the company was watching me, and I asked him what I could do to get better. He said, ‘Get an elite total today.’ I needed 280lbs deadlift to get an elite total. I deadlifted 300.  He handed me an Elite FTS shirt after that, and I cried. I’ve been with them ever since.”-If you’re strong, and your attitude is

Elite FTS promotes the tagline StrongHer, which describes not just powerlifters, but strong women in general. “If you’re strong, and your attitude is strong, then you’re strong. It doesn’t matter what your totals are, either. Strong is strong, to them.”

But staying strong is not just lifting, according to Méana.  “I have to stay well, because if I burn out I’m not lifting anything.  I’m proactive about recovery: I take some supplements to help with inflammation. I get myofascial release with Tara at Whole Therapy every three weeks.  I do a lot of mobility, stretching foam rolling, and I always get 8 hours of sleep. I rarely go out drinking or stay up late; it’s just not where my interest is.”

I alwaget 8 hours of sleep. I rarely go

With that down-to-earth attitude, it’s easy to imagine this girl heading straight for the top in anything she tries. Does she have any advice for would-be powerlifters?

“Seek help from people who are better than you. Try and surround yourself with people who are positive and will support you. If you’re going to be successful, you have to live with humility, integrity and passion.  There is no other way.”

Check out Méana’s blog here.

Know someone who would be great in the Wellness Spotlight?  Send us an email! info.wholetherapy@gmail.com

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized, Wellness, Wellness Spotlight by Jen Wright