Deep in the Weeds with Thai Bodywork

I’m into the latter part of my Thai yoga massage training, which I continued this past weekend. Wow, just when I thought I had a good handle on this, my brain flips a 360 inside my skull.

My training to this point was mostly on the poses, sequences, positioning, tempo, and all that goes into a traditional Thai bodywork session. I’m now entering into the clinical aspects of the treatment. There is a chain of events that happens when you feel pain. Its a cascading flow with a network of interrelationships.

It starts with your feet. How do you stand? Is one leg or one pelvis longer than the other? How does that affect your spine? Do you have tendencies toward sway back or hunch back? What activities do you do on a daily basis? Sitting in an office or driving 8 hours a day? Do you do yoga, weight training, or sports? Or are you sedentary? What is your a dominant side? Do you have inherited or other pathological predispositions? All these play a role in treatment.

Then, we begin to describe pain. But what many doctors and therapists aren’t aware of is referred pain. You come in with knee pain, so they work on the knee. They diagnose something physical in the joint itself. They may prescribe strengthening exercises and stretches. But they never really find the source of the pain. For instance, outer knee pain may stem from a tug from the IT band. So the trainer has you roll your IT band (which, btw, does nothing at all). The real problem could be your tensor fascia latae (TFL) is in contraction which in turn pulls on the IT band, which it is attached to. But they don’t think to look there. But the complicating culprit to the TFL is adductor magnus, so you have to work there too. There are so many referrals that don’t start where you would think. You have to study trigger points and referral pain to understand how the nociceptors send signals to your brain to put out bracing or support wires to prevent pain or injury. And those trigger points aren’t always in obvious places. Its really amazing how it all works.

So we were working on protocols to treat pain. Its not “I have knee pain so work on my knee”. There is a whole process that works toward the source of the actual pain. Otherwise, you get a bodypart worked on, the pain returns, and then you have to go back for therapy over and over again. They never solve the source of the pain.

Another interesting thing I found out was about how pairs of antagonistic muscles work synergistically. I worked on someone last week with painful mid-anterior thigh pain. I was able to find trigger points and work through the pain. But now that I look back, a source of the problem is also tight hamstrings, which were present in this client. So instead, I need to open up the antagonistic muscles as well. The same is true with a client with intense inner pelvic pain. But the source likely isn’t the pelvis at all. It comes down to antagonistic muscle groups.

I still have lots of learning to do. I feel like I’m only on the tip of the iceberg with this. Sure, I can therapeutically work and help people. But my full understanding is a long ways away. And I’m super excited about that. Its a never ending process of learning.

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Just Say No to Credit Cards

So, I was at Home Depot picking up some things. I was in a really good mood since I also had a full belly of Thai food that made me all warm and cozy. So when I got to the checkout, I showed my license with proof that I’m a Veteran for my discount. Its one reason why I prefer Home Depot these days.

This bubbly checkout fellow said, "how would like $25 off on your order?"

I replied, "why not!".

Then he asks for my social security number. I usually have my guard up since the military is trying to remove the need to use your SSN# to protect our security. I have a duffel bag from Army basic training that has my full name on it and SSN# marked on it with Sharpie permanent marker. That thing used to go through airports and anyone could write down my info. Nowadays, you have to watch out. I’ve since marked out my SSN# on that duffel bag.

What I didn’t realize, though my wife did [and she didn't say anything], was that I was signing up for a store credit card…

So here is one of my rules in life that I learned the hard way when I was young, don’t have more than one credit card. Only use one with good reward points. Always pay it off. Try to never use it if you can. I say that tongue & cheek because its what I use for Amazon and I use Amazon a lot!! But never carry a balance on your card. You may have your Bank ATM debit card as a backup. But use that even less because there is less protection from someone draining your bank account.

Yeah, I got my $25 off, which is kind of OK in my book. And I suppose the small print somewhere that I wasn’t shown and apparently didn’t ask for probably says I need to hold this card to keep my discount. Now, somewhere down the road, I’ll have to remember to cancel this account. What a pain!!!

Don’t sign up for credit cards. You don’t need a good credit rating. You’ll get one anyway if you pay off your credit card every month and keep in good stead with your bank. And make all your mortgage payments on time. And buy cars with cash from savings and not credit. Build your savings. Build your retirement. I can’t say that enough. When you get to be as old as I am, you’ll start wondering, will I have to take odd jobs to make ends meet when I’m 70? Will I end up sorting through the stale bread bin for meals? Will I have to buy a double wide trailer and live out on Federal land without a pension or health benefits? You don’t want to be asking those questions of yourself when you are 70. Believe me!