Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage
Manual experts for your body. Life is too short for limits.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The whole process is supposed to happen in 15 minutes.

The whole process is supposed to happen in 15 minutes.
What do I mean by that? I mean that in a lot of spas a fifteen minute turnover is standard practice.  In other words, most spas, if they are busy, are booking therapists with clients hourly with a fifteen minute break in between.  At the end of a treatment the therapist has 15 minutes to:
  1. Inform your client how to get up
  2. Exit the room
  3. Wait for the client to come out
  4. Walk the client out
  5. Cover homecare/client questions
  6. Run back to clean the room and change the sheets
  7. Greet your new client
  8. Assess them
  9. Give them informed consent and give them instructions to get on the table
  10. Wait for them to change
  11. And finally begin the treatment.
This does not cover any bathroom breaks, late clients, unforeseen circumstances or any water breaks. The average shift being 5 clients long, a therapist often goes for 6 hours without stopping. By no means is this ALL clinics, but it is standard practice for many.
On one hand, as a business owner, I understand the need for efficiency, and for structure. After all, in the end, it is a business and the end goal is to make money, however, as a health care worker, I also feel that it is not possible to meet the needs of my patient with such a schedule.
On the other hand, this is often not the case in private clinics, as private clinicians schedule themselves and are able to take a larger cut of the profit, so obviously their concern is putting out a quality product in a healthy amount of time. There is less pressure to make money fast when there is no one to split the total with.  However, when health care becomes monetized into units of time that must be cut into smaller splits, the pressure is on! Compound that with the fact that many spas and gyms are not run/owned by actual therapist, but are managed by business owners, the end result is likely something that does not meet any standard of client health care. Obviously it is not deliberate, however, health care goals and financial ones sometimes do not align. The situation further degrades as therapists, on long shifts with only 15 minute breaks, are likely at higher risk for burn out and mistakes as the therapists become essentially an assembly line of massage.
So the question becomes, are massage therapists health care, or are we a product? Massage therapy often finds itself straddling this issue as it rides a thin grey line between a luxury item and heath care.  My clinic runs on a 30 minute schedule. It works for me; it allows me enough time with clients to pay the bills and invest in their care. I don’t expect that this schedule will work for everyone, some will need more and some will need less, but in the interest of raising the standards for work environments and for lifting client care, we should work together as professionals to raise awareness for what IS and what IS NOT possible in 15 minutes.
For more information on Massage in NYC find us at our website!
by Beret Kirkeby

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Twas the Night Before Marathon Poem.

Twas the Night before Marathon and all through the city,
Not a runner was running, not even the most gritty.
The compression socks and shoes were set with care,
In hopes that come morning lovely weather they would share.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sports drinks danced in their heads. 
Now Sprinter! Now Pacer! Now Nubie! Now Runner!
On Veteran, On Triathleate! Lets make this one Funner!

So up to the race course, the runners they flew,
For themselves, and their best time, and for charities too!
When they meet with an obstacle they mount to the sky!
Like they have wings on their feet, oh how swiftly they fly!

How their eyes twinkle! How their cheeks flush!
Hey its 26+ miles! Dear God whats the rush!!!
So tonight as your sleeping, know in your heart that you are ready,
Tomorrow will be thrilling, your endurance will hold steady!
And as you spring from the start and dash out of site,

I wish to you Happy Marathon to ALL and to all a good Night.

Have a wonderful run. We wish you the best from this Amazing experience. Thank you for your dedication and commitment that make this sport great for all levels. 
for more info find us at our NYC Massage program
By Beret Kirkeby

Friday, November 1, 2013

Running Hot and Cold before your Marathon. The power of a contrast bath.

I get asked a lot by athletes 'What can I do to recover faster' or 'What can I do before a race if I am sore'. I almost always bring up contrasts baths. And that almost always that leads them to say 'What is that?'

If I think back to the time of where I first knew of contrast baths, it really brings up images of 80's sports movies where athletes are dunked in big steel tubs of ice, or institutional baths. They are ugly steel contraptions set awkwardly in corners of locker rooms. In today's utterly perfect, slick, performance world I can't remember seeing them anywhere. Instead, we eat a vitamin-filled gummy, or wear cool colored tape for our recoveries; however, the contrast bath should not be over looked. It is a huge tool in recovery, and if you are running with an injury you should not be running with, it might be a game changer.

A contrast bath is a simple rehab tool anyone can use that helps decrease inflammation, decrease pain, decrease swelling, and potentially increase mobility. The bather, moves from a tub of warm water, to a tub of cold water and back for a cycle of 30 minutes. The back and fourth temperature changes from warm to cold, cause your circulatory system to repeatedly vaso-constrict and vaso-dilate. That "squeeze - release" action moves the fluid through your body at an expedited IF you were exercising but without the actual risk of exercising. 

We all know our blood moves through our body by the hearts pumping mechanism, but it does not move the blood by its power alone. Your muscle movement provides a very strong secondary pump that facilitates fluid movement throughout your body. For example, some of you might have noticed that your legs swell up a bit from lack of  movement when you are on an airplane. 

Plunging your whole body from hot to cold, or part of your body, can mimic the normal muscle movement, and be a very effective way of moving things along, especially if you are too close to race time to risk a massage, or cannot access treatment. In most cities there are bathhouses that have alternating cold hot dips that athletes can utilize for full-body plunges. You can also put one together at home with the use of buckets and thermometers. The bucket version is best for ankles and arms, or you can do a hot/cold compress for harder to reach areas. 

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of the recipe, I should like to add that it‘s very important to check with your doctor if you have any questions about if this is right for you. Anyone with circulatory problems, Reynaud’s, decreased feelings in their limbs or compromised skin should not be doing a contrast bath because it puts you at risk.

Here is the recipe for your contrast bath (if you are at home you will need a thermometer)
30 minute cycle repeating hot/cold and always ending on the hot
3-4 min hot water (100F)
1 min cold water (60F)

Have fun running hot and cold! For more information
by Beret Kirkeby

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A quick runners' synopsis on Lower Cross Syndrome- Why other sports do and should exist

What is it? Lower Cross syndrome is a condition that runners (or anyone who is inactive or sits for long
periods) can develop from using the same muscle groups again and again, such as during running. It refers to the over-tightening of the hamstring, low back and the weakening of the deep belly and glut muscles.

How do I get it? Essentially the muscles on the back of the body such as gluts and hamstrings are supposed to balance the ones on the front like abs and quads, however, some activities don’t use all of those muscles so when you do them repeatedly you are training for weakness in certain areas. For runners who are focusing on keeping their strides short for training, the leg will never swing above hip level…which is exactly the motion needed to train those deep belly muscles. Over time, this repeated action of small flat strides builds up hamstrings and quads but does not address the gluts and belly.

How do I know if I have it? Lower cross syndrome can be insidious, and build over time. Symptoms can be low back pain, ITB tightness/pain, and hamstring tightness/pain.  Lower cross syndrome in itself in the beginning may not be a huge problem for runners, but the secondary problems that come with it can defiantly sideline a runner big time. Chronic shortened hamstrings and ITBs can lead to some unpleasant secondary problems for runners. Short hamstrings  put you at risk for strains and hamstring pulls which are notoriously slow healers.  Having short ITBs can cause friction at the knee from overuse and knee tracking issues. Ever hear that knee problems usually come from the  hips? This is exactly what they are talking about so you can see how one problem can spiral into many.

How do I fix it? Well, you need to strengthen the weak parts and lengthen the tight ones. Often just being involved in another activity can help bring balance into your life. Boot camps, Yoga, Cross fit, climbing…anything that brings your leg up to 90 degrees extension (about hip level)  and puts you into some squatting positions can be helpful. In general, moving through a whole range of motion rather than a partial one is considered very healthy for your body. You may also want to consider Massage therapy to alleviate some of the pain associated with problem, and working with the secondary condition associated with it. If you are concerned you might have this condition you should consult a Physical Therapist, trainer or someone adept at physical assessment to help you check. In general, however, erring on the side of caution by bringing some full range of motion exercises into your life can help you be a more well rounded person and better runner. 

For more information on runners issues please see For more info see our sports massage program
By Beret Kirkeby

Monday, October 14, 2013

Running a marathon can be a pain in the Butt. What a strain.

So many of us in the athletic world are preparing for marathons 
running shoes

right now or at least gearing up our runs. It is a good time to remember that many running problems can be insidious.  I hear from runners all the time that they NEVER had a knee, glute or hamstring problem before, and that this problem just showed up. It's really important from a rehab point of view and a running point of view to understand that injury is often cumulative. When you are doing something like running a marathon, where you are constantly stressing the SAME muscles over and over, that much like your training, small increments can lead to larger ones.  Take for instance a hamstring irritation.  Every day you run, and you are in your arc before your taper. Things are great! But you are running after work and you're pretty tired. Now you never had pain exactly--however, every day you did a longer run, you noticed your hamstrings were super tight and even tighter in the morning.  Like a good runner who is invested in their home care, you made sure to stretch them out.

Now--I would never tell someone not to stretch at all.  However, if the hamstring tightening is the result of micro-tearing from overuse, muscle imbalance,and fatigue, it is a signal that your hamstring is saying “hey, back off! I am trying to grow new hamstring here!!’. So when you stretch that site, you are pulling the fibers away. What happens is the micro trama from friction and repeated overloading causes inflammation at the site of the ishial tuberosity (usually just under the butt).  That inflammation is a direct chemical signal to your body to build new tissue in order to support the damaged ones.  So now each time you run, it gets tighter and tighter…Ouch! What a pain in the butt! Now its hard to run at all and you are nervous about a long run.

So what went wrong? Well, maybe nothing.  Or, maybe a little of everything.  Don’t take the injury personally. You can't predict the future and there are many races coming down the line. So much can go into a hamstring strain--fatigue, overuse, muscle imbalances, the wrong shoes….the list goes on. It could be you did not warm up properly. It could be that you tripped and pulled it without realizing. It could be that the evening runs were not ideal for your healing because your circulation slowed down at night. Or it could be that there was no reason whatsoever other than that your body reached a point where it could not recover. The problem is, there is a tipping point for all people and many small ignored problems can add up to a larger one.  You can help yourself by following a few guidelines.

Recovery is a pre-game event.  Stretching and foam rolling really help, but it's best to use them preventively before you are scrambling. You should also really understand RICE protocol. That’s Rest (which runners hate) Ice, Compress, and Elevate….and they all have to be done together.  You can’t just stick an ice cube in your sock and hope for the best.

So now what? Your hurt, but you want to run. My first suggestion is to see a physical therapist and find out what they say. Strains are categorized by severity and you really need to see if you're doing permanent damage to yourself. If they give you the all-clear, there are some things you can do for yourself after you run it past them.
rock tape/Kt tape Injury treatments that are not acute often include contrast baths. You submerge the offending limb in warm water and then cold, and then repeat. The ongoing cycle causes vasodilatation and contraction, which aids in recovery and flushes out the area.  This technique can also be used for general recovery. This is old school, serious recovery.

No one advises running on an injury, but if you do, you might use a compression sleeve to limit the inflammation.  Runners often use this sort of device for injuries that are older and come back with a vengeance.  You can also use KT tape or Rock Tape to help support and  increase circulation to the area. These two treatments are slightly different in approach, as KT tape lifts the skin a bit to increase lymph and blood flow to the area, while compression does the exact opposite.  So how do you choose? With compression, you are saying, “I know this is going to swell up, I am going to minimize this."  When you choose tape, you are saying,  "This might swell a little but not too much and I am am taping preventatively". The tape can also be used in places no compression garment can go.

Above all, listen to your body and bear in mind that the number one thing you can do for yourself is rest. No runner likes to hear it. Even if you make it through your big race on your injury, afterwards you will still have to take that break (and by then you will really deserve it).  Boy, what a pain in the butt. For more information on recovery please see For more information see our sports massage program in NYC

Friday, September 27, 2013

It is running season, how about a little foot pain??

It's every runner's nightmare:  waking up one morning and feeling a stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. Plantar fasciitis affects around 2 million Americans a year, and it's not just limited to runners. Anyone who is bearing extra weight on their feet, who has body-structure problems, is over-training, is pregnant, or has compounding injuries could be at risk. 
If you search the internet you will find loads of boots  and strange supportive gear that help you deal with plantar fasciitis after it appears. Doctors might prescribe pain killers, anti-inflammatories or cortisone injections to help you deal with the pain.  All these things are geared strictly to managing the problem. They are a mere band aid in for something that many people find literally debilitating.  
The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of the foot. It stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot, supporting the muscular arch above as well as interlocking bones. Technically, plantar fasciitis is billed as an inflammatory condition, however it's not that the body is randomly creating inflammation---rather, the inflammation is being created at the heel in order to try and repair the micro tearing that is occurring there, In truth, the problem is actually over-stress or tearing of the delicate foot fascia. and the inflammation is just a symptom. 

So here is the skinny. Understanding this problem for your body is key. The tissue on the bottom of the foot is very delicate when you compare it to the things it's being asked to do. The plantar fascia is not an isolated tissue, it is one small part of a long chain of tissue that runs from the top of the back of your body, down to the tip of your toes.  Picture this tissue as something like how, when you tie a rope around a box, it helps stabilize the box wrapping the whole way around If for some reason the rope were to get shorter, things would become uncomfortable for the box....there would be less and less space until finally the tension would be so great that most likely the rope would begin to fray at one of the corners (just like your heel) in order to create more length. That is exactly what is happening to your foot. The rope is tearing at its weakest point. When you have injuries that thicken the tissue and make it less contractile, or add extra stress to the "rope",  it is at risk for damage. 

By the same token, slackening the 'rope' can take pressure off the weaker tissues. Adding length to your
visual of the 'rope'
hamstrings and calves takes pressure off the bottom of the foot. Treating plantar fascia issues is a two-fold process. You must examine what caused the flair in the first place. Is it too much tension? A structural defect? Training?  Extra weight? Or is it another muscle pulling it tight?  The second step is to create less pressure on that plantar fascia by lengthening the tissue on the posterior chain, which will decrease the inflammatory reaction from the micro tearing. Professionals in sports medicine, physical therapy, massage and orthopedics can help you with the various parts of this painful problem to get you back on track, but I have also seen a good number of people help themselves
 once they truly understand the problem. A good foam roller and a trigger point ball are always a good investment for preventative care if you know you are prone to this malady. Once this is done and the cycle is broken, it is essential you give it time to heal...after all time heals all wounds.  If you are experiencing problems that are diagnosed or that do not resolve, it is very important to visit your primary care physician. 
For more info visit
or see our sports massage program in NYC
By Beret Kirkeby

Monday, September 23, 2013

What is Orthopedic Massage?

What is orthopedic Massage exactly? Well, to be honest, that is a hard question. I have heard it described multiple ways, such as it is a combination of medical and sports massage, or a way of treating soft tissue injury which is its own style. 

Truthfully, the answer is an issue I also struggle with because my training is different from anyone trained in NY who is doing ortho work, and at first I did not realize that my training was any different because, in Ontario, where I went to school, everyone works the same way. I  was aware that I had gone to school nearly twice as long as the  New York program , but I never thought that what I  was being taught was entirely different that what was being taught here.

Lake Ontario- Toronto, Ontario
I suppose I should go back a bit and explain that in Ontario massage is covered by the National Health System.  Canadian massage therapists operate in a very different capacity than in New York. Massage is not seen as a luxury but as affordable basic health care for physical problems that do not require a prescription.  Canadian therapists might work in conjunction with a doctor or physical therapist, or entirely alone. The entire attitude towards the profession is different.

Here is what I learned about the difference:  In the first year of school in Canada we learn the basic concepts of Swedish massage, which is essentially the same as the training here in New York. It is the second year in Canada--where we only treat dysfunction,  go through an internships plus the continuing education-- is where things take a turn. The second year of massage in Canada is solely ortho. The therapists learn every single thing that could possibly go wrong physically (within reason, ie we are not studying super-rare subsets of infections and disease)  in each part of the body, including those things that we are NOT able or licensed to treat, and you are drilled on it...over and over. We are run through literally thousands of scenarios, good, bad and ugly, and graded on them. The drills are run like real live client interactions where we assess, interview, decide to treat or refer out to higher care, and then provide home care.  When the school thinks we have done enough ground work we are sent to practice on real assessments for real conditions. It is essentially our residency.  I was sent to a Parkinson's clinic, and an AIDs hospice for 3 month stints. By that time, organizing a treatment for someone with a physical problem is not really a challenge, however, reading about someone who is dealing with the possibility of death or disease is entirely different than caring for someone who is dealing with it. This part of the program gives us essential real life clinical experience, and it‘s pretty tough. Incidentally, they also make us intern in an office as a lesson in how not to ruin a business. 

From what I have understood from therapists here, they touch on ortho. The class might visit a Parkinson clinic here, and they might learn the techniques from a book just as we did, but they don't have the time to work in those environments.  In essence, the program here is a tasting platter and the Canadian is a full 6 course dinner. There is nothing wrong with the program here, it is just different. It is designed to give a great relaxation massage and show the therapists IF they wanted to learn more that there is more out there. Many, of course, have learned more, and are working in hospitals, teaching throughout NY and generally doing great work. Many therapists never move beyond working in a spa however. But why the difference? Why educate all therapists to work in a way only a handful do in NYC?

Massage Therapy in Canada is covered by the NHS, and since the insurance  is paying, they are invested in the product. The massage therapy program in Ontario fills the gap between physical therapy and your doctor. We handle the manual therapy components that often pt's are uninterested in, pain management, and the physical components of stress-related problems,  while keeping the doctors’ offices clear of minor bumps, sprains and strains. My days were filled with never ending streams of very normal problems ranging from headaches, surgery recovery, car accidents, over training, back pain and fibromyalgia. The end result is less people in the doctor’s office, less prescriptions for pain relief, and more problems caught before they become serious. 

You might pose the question of litigation. Here in NY we worry about litigation a lot. Therapists here are trained to explain that their care is not a substitute for medical care, which is really confusing as we are listed as medical professionals. You might think that, because we more frequently work with injured in Canada that the risk would be higher, however it is the opposite. Canadian therapists are far more likely to stay out of trouble by being able to accurately identify problems before they start. We have the extra training to understand when a problem is too big for us, and our training prepares us to work in emotionally difficult scenarios. 

So what is Orthopedic Massage? For me it’s being a trained professional, knowing what I can provide, and understanding my limits so I can make available the best care possible to the people seeking me out. Good care comes from understanding and pulling in the right resources, not from being the only stop in health care. Orthopedic treatment means I can pull from lots of sources and work in conjunction with trainers, and other health care providers to get the best.

For more information on Orthopedic massage in NYC please visit our website a

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's touch got to do with it?

Many years ago I visited a doctor in Canada who was an expert in TMJ (Tempromandibular Joint-this sort of doctor works with the dysfunction of the joint). He was sort of an old school doctor, the kind with a desk littered with papers and a big laugh, so that you felt as if  you were walking into his home rather than his office. While questioning me, he found out I was a massage therapist.
Excited, he quickly posed this question to me,  "Do you think if we did the exact same touch, detail by detail, but replaced the touch with that of a robot, you would get the same results? Furthermore if you replaced me with a robot, would you get the same doctor-ing?"  At the time, I was very young and a bit  intimidated by him, despite his warmth. I thought perhaps I was being tricked by someone with a higher level degree than mine, and that his point was that it was information that mattered, not the person delivering it.  But I was wrong.  As it turns out, he himself was doing research on human touch, and why it is so important and ultimately healing. 
One of the body's most important biological features is its division between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, or in lay terms the 'fight or flight' and 'rest and digest' systems. When the body is in the fight or flight mode, it is sending the signal to you that all is not ok and that you should protect yourself. Your heart rate will go up, your posture will change to that of one preparing to flee, sounds and perceptions might increase, and your pain tolerance might go down, prompting you to move quickly. In essence you are on high alert for anything remotely threatening. Unfortunately, this is the constant state many of us live in, in cities like New York. We are forced to defend ourselves with headphones, sunglasses and external disconnects just to shut out the stream. 
When we are touched, we have to take down those barriers. The simple act of allowing another person that close to you can override the stress response by mimicking intimacy, even in a clinical setting. It is a built-in part of our biology to expose soft things like the neck, the belly, and the vital organs only to those we trust and deem safe. This is an unavoidable part of the intimate human experience. By mimicking this behavior, you unconsciously send a signal to the brain that all is well. That reduces your heart rate, reduces your perception of pain, and changes your posture substantially - and all of these things are connected to blood flow and hormone secretion which drive our lives.  
Whether your therapist is skilled at effecting lasting change for injuries, or is a beginner who gives a basic Swedish massage, so long as it is done calmly, in a safe comfortable manner, you have the opportunity to change your health for the better that day. The Mayo clinic lists stress as the number one killer of adults.  It decreases health, and often leads people to cope by taking on other killers, like smoking and excessive drinking. Perhaps today more than at any other time, where we live in a world of technological isolation, the biological response of community and touch is even more relevant.  Your " luxury" of having a massage takes on a whole new meaning if you begin to look at it in terms of a way to override the biological response to stress and eventual disease. My personal and professional opinion is that we all must take a little ownership of our lives, and decide honestly if we are doing enough to reduce our stress. Bike, swim, run, climb, laugh... massage ...touch...but do something. For more info see our Massage program in NYC or email at 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pregnancy and Posture

Today we are going to briefly look at the musculature changes that take place during a normal pregnancy and how they affect the body. A normal pregnancy is full of postural changes, and sometimes those changes are completely normal.  The end result for the person experiencing them can be confusing and uncomfortable.  Even if you have gone through it before, second and third pregnancies can be completely different, but progress much faster.   Since there is so much change occurring on a regular basis, it is important that you check in with your doctor continually.  This ensures safety for both you and for the baby. 
As the course of your pregnancy progresses, many women experience low back pain, headaches, shoulder pain, foot pain, swollen ankles and hands, and even occasionally seemingly random thoracic pains.  Many of the postural changes occurring, and the discomfort associated with them, have to do with the body accommodating the growing baby.
The uterus is nestled deep inside the female pelvis. As the baby grows, it pulls the pelvis forward and down.  Alternately, as the pelvis rotates forward, the tail bone lifts, causing the low back to curve more than it would normally.  You can approximate this change on yourself if you stand and look in the mirror, tucking and un-tucking your tail bone. Because of the increased curve in the low back, which shortens the muscles, many women often complain of low back pain.
As the pregnancy progresses and more relaxin (a pregnancy hormone) is released, the cartilaginous joints and ligaments soften in order to prepare for birth. In many cases the body feels unstable and responds by tightening up the muscles in the pelvis in order to give more support. It can often be seen most easily in the glut and piriformis muscles (butt muscles) as they shorten and rotate the legs outward. This combined with the belly pulling down and forward gives pregnant women that distinctive “duck walk”. Those shortened muscles can also be the source of pain. The nerve that feeds the leg, the sciatic nerve, runs just under or through the piriformis muscle.  Frequently during pregnancy, women report the symptoms of sciatica, which are due to the piriformis muscle tightening over this nerve.
Most of us we think of the changes that happen in the body during pregnancy as in and around the pelvis area, but actually the upper back is affected just as much. All of our spines are essentially an S shaped curve that balances itself. Whatever the low back does, the thoracic or mid back area has to reflect in order to keep balance. This is often combined with the growing weight of the chest pulling the shoulders into a rounded position. All this results in an increased curve in the upper back.  For some women this will not be a problem, but depending on their original posture, their pain tolerance and a number of other factors, for some women this leads to headaches and upper back pain.
Just as the top of the body is effected, so is the bottom. Many women experience foot pain during pregnancy. Carrying extra weight and retaining water can be very hard on the feet. As the pregnancy progresses, the ligaments supporting the bottom of the feet can be stretched and over taxed;  adding to that the swollen feet that come from carrying 50% more blood can make for a difficult time. It’s a perfect reason to put your feet up, relax and rest a while.

The important thing to remember is that under a doctor's care all of this is normal, and that the symptoms of muscular pain are treatable through stretching, exercise, massage therapy and other alternative care.
If you would like more information on massage therapy in New York, pregnancy or prenatal massage you can see Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage's prenatal treatment page  or come see us in Midtown New York. 
For more information on prenatal massage in NYC check out our websites

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The key to less injuries is prevention. Information for athletes and Sports Masssage

 We all know the primary work of the circulatory system is to push your blood around your body.   But the other job of the circulatory system is to deliver essential nutrients to your body tissues and to work in conjunction with your lymph system to remove waste products.  So how does that all work?  Your blood is pumped by your heart;  it moves through your body, and when your heart rate goes up due to stress, activity, or receiving a massage, it moves at an even faster rate, with more pressure.  Your lymph system, on the other hand, is completely independent of your heart and works on muscle pumping  to move fluid and broken cells through the tiny collection vessels in your body.  When you move your body more, and your body is warmer, the rate of movement and collection goes up.  But that is in a perfect world.  What happens when you are trying to push blood through the blood vessels and lymph through the collection vessels when you have been in heavy training?  When you are tight and sore?  Essentially you have a bottle neck--there are too many cars on the highway, and not enough space to get through.  No matter how hard you push, which nutrients you eat,  how hard you train, or  how much you move--unless there is enough space within the tissue to get that stuff there, you will  be more prone to injury and fatigue. To compound matters, when you are injured, it is going to take longer to heal.
Tissue often changes by means of inflammation.  In some cases this is not a problem, but too much inflammation is bad.  Inflammation is a generalized first response to injury, and signals the body to lay down non-functional layers of tissue in order to support the body structure. Your body’s response to any kind of unknown stress is to stabilize. It is very important to understand that  your body sees training as a form of stress and your body’s response to that stress is to lay down thicker tracts of tissue through  an inflammatory process.  Those tracts are less functional than the original ones and will thicken along the fascia trains already in existence, reducing fluid flow, which robs your body of the things it needs to make you a top performer.  Thicker trains means more compression, more inflammation, and  less movement of fluid, and that means more injury, slower healing and less performance. 
By icing any areas  where unusual heat or soreness are present (thus limiting the amount of inflammation you endure while exercising), you can help your body defend against excessive inflammatory processes.  Some people are also more prone to inflammation than others and might also benefit from a low inflammation diet, which is a way of eating that limits or reduces your reaction to inflammation.  Compression socks, and KT/or Rock tape can also be helpful by limiting swelling and/or encouraging lymph flow in order to minimize damage in an event.  Any area that is prone to shock, friction, load bearing or overuse is at risk. Take steps to give yourself the best chance to heal by learning to stretch and realign these areas appropriately prior to exercising. The best medicine is prevention. It is far easier and far cheaper to limit inflammation than to require extensive treatment to correct a problem in full flair…and perhaps even risk missing the big event entirely.
For More information  on Sports Massage and how you can prevent your own injury's you can visit me at or book a treatment. If you are interested in learning more on the topic of how your body works, how to prevent injury, increase your recovery times and get relief for FREE,  I am speaking at Jack Rabbit sports this month at Self-Massage Clinic here is the info:

Jack rabbit sports 14th st. Sept. 18, 2013 -7pm  Curious how to expedite recovery, increase performance, and decrease risk of injury? Body Mechanics NYC joins us to host a self-massage clinic at Jack Rabbit Sports 42 west 14th st. (between 5th and 6th). You'll learn which recovery tools work best for certain aggravations and how to use each properly. And by addressing discomfort immediately and effectively, you'll increase your chances of crossing the finish line injury-free.
 for more info on sports massage in NYC please check out our website

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pregnancy Massage: Face down or on your side...What is the difference?

If you’re pregnant and you are looking for a prenatal massage therapy treatment, one of the choices you might be pressed to make is to decide between a place that performs the massage face down on a “special table” or does it in a “side-lying” position on a normal table.  If you do a little online research, you will also see that the face down option, which is done by means of a large hole cut into the table for belly and or breasts, is highly advertised for its enjoyment factor of lying face down during a time period where you otherwise could not. When you go to a site that utilizes side lying, they will often say that the reason that they do it that way is because it is safer, thus implying the face down method is unsafe.

So how do you as a make a decision with two such conflicting view points from the professionals?  If you are pregnant or buying a gift for someone who is, clearly you want the best.

1-First of all, if you are pregnant before you get any kind of treatment you should check with your doctor and get the all clear before starting the program

2-Second, both being treated while face down or side lying are safe.  You can bet that if there were a risk the tables would have been pulled from the market already.

So what is the difference?

I have used both methods.  The face down method is relaxing for some because they miss their mobility; this is especially true if before you became pregnant you were a belly sleeper.  In most cases however, pregnancy causes an increased lumbar curve, and when you lie face down on the table, even though you are supported, the weight of the belly pulling down causes the low back to curve even more that it already was. Your back is then doubly compressed.

When you lie on your side, and are pillowed correctly into position, your back assumes a more neutral position. The benefit of this is that even though you are on your side, and it is not as special as laying face down, when the therapist tries to relax your muscles, they will have the room to lengthen, causing you have a better result from your treatment, especially if you went in for low back pain.

Both methods will, of course, feel good, but in the end it really depends on why you are receiving the massage to begin with.  Many women seek prenatal massage when they have pain, and in that case I would always choose the side-lying option, however if a simple spa day in a perfect pregnancy is what you are after, both options are totally okay.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage uses the side-lying method.

If you are interested in more information on prenatal massage, please contact us, and stay tuned for the third installment of pregnancy series and for more info on prenatal massage in NYC check out our website

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hi and welcome to my site! I included a blog on my site because I get a lot of questions from clients and friends about the work I do. I thought that I might as well post the answers publicly so that everyone can read them. I will cover a wide range of topics about massage, sports massage, pregnancy massage, injury recovery, my own personal training, yoga and the things generally relating to my practice. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. You can write to

for more info please see Massage in NYC