Frida Kahlo probably had fibromyalgia

While continuing to learn more about fibromyalgia, I found something interesting: Frida Kahlo probably had it.

If you’re wondering what fibromyalgia is, the Mayo Clinic says it’s a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Symptoms sometimes begin after a trauma, surgery, infection, or significant stress. Women are much more likely to develop it.

One researcher, Manuel Martinez-lavin, says it’s likely the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo had fibromyalgia. The bus accident that badly injured her at age 18 must have been quite traumatic and was followed by many stressful surgeries. The accident left her with chronic pain, well documented in her art.

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-11-07-37-amThe Broken Column

Continue reading

TMJD treatment, dentists, and massage

I was contacted by a “digital media intern” who was working for a Houston office, MedCenter TMJ, asking me if I would write a blog post with links to that company. Here goes! (I don’t always or even often do this, by the way.)

Houston dentists offer advanced treatment for TMJD disorder

First of all, I am impressed that a couple of highly trained and educated dentists in Houston are specializing in treating TMJ disorder.

  • Dr. Auvenshine is a DDS and a PhD who has taught at the college level and founded the TMJ and Facial Pain Clinic at Louisiana State University. He’s been practicing in Houston since 1978 specializing in those issues. He currently teaches at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the VA Hospital in Houston, and he gives lectures around the world. He is working with the American Dental Association to get TMJD treatment recognized as a specialty. Here’s his page, with a video: http://www.medcentertmj.com/about-us/dr-auvenshine/
  • Dr. Nathan Pettit is a summa cum laude DDM with advanced training. He too is devoted to craniomandibular and TMJ disorders. He studied with Dr. Auvenshine for three years before joining his practice. Here’s his page with a video: http://www.medcentertmj.com/about-us/dr-pettit/

Continue reading

My work in May 2016: a massage therapist recounts what she actually does

I started offering my massage and bodywork clients custom sessions at the beginning of 2016. Clients choose the length of session they want, and when they arrive, we discuss their issues. I figure out how I’d like to proceed (that is, which modalities to use, in which order), run it by the client, get their input and consent, and the work begins. The client and I both know that if we need to change direction in the middle of a session, we can — and sometimes that happens.

Before 2016, clients signed up by length of session and modality (for example, 90 minutes of craniosacral therapy). Once I felt confident about mixing modalities, it made more sense to offer custom sessions, tailoring my work to the client’s needs. But without modality descriptors, I imagine that some people wonder what I actually do in a custom session — and how I work and follow up with clients, how people find me, how my practice grows. That’s the reason for this blog post. Plus, I’ve never really tried to summarize a month of work before. It seems worthwhile.

Continue reading

A tale of recovery: my path from traumatized to healer

I had lunch a few weeks ago with John, someone I’ve known for about 12 years but haven’t seen much in recent years. He commented that I am a very different person now from when he met me, and that would not be apparent to people who hadn’t known me that long.

When we met in 2004 (I think), I seemed troubled to him, and I was. John said that now, I appear to be happy and “like a fountain” (which I love), and he was curious about that.

Other people have said I’ve changed more than anyone they know. Well, that’s probably because I was starting from a more troubled place than most.

So I’m reviewing my path in search of insights to share. This is for you, John, and I know that some of you are interested in recovery from trauma, and some of you are interested in personal growth, so this is for you too. Continue reading

Thoughts on the film Where To Invade Next

Two things really moved me in Michael Moore’s film Where To Invade Next. He visited prisons in Norway and interviewed inmates and staff. Prisons there are extremely humane. There is no capital punishment, no life sentences, and little or no rape and violence in the prisons. Each inmate has a cell with a door they can lock with a key.
When they get out, they have to be fit to live in society, and the prisons work toward that end.
 
Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 4.11.38 PMIn comparison, when you think about American prisons cheaply warehousing huge numbers of minority inmates, run by corporations for profit, providing cheap labor, allowing rape and violence to occur, it’s easy to see Michael Moore’s point that our prisons are a socially condoned, legal form of slavery. 
 
The other moving thing was his visit to Germany to see how it deals with its history of Holocaust. Students learned empathy for a Jewish man who had to put the belongings he most cherished into one suitcase, because Nazis were forcing that onto him. The students then put their most cherished belongings into a suitcase. One by one, in went the cell phones, photos, keepsakes, etc. You could see it made a deep impression on them. 

Continue reading

TMJ massage relieves jaw issues and renews the spirit

A client came to me a couple of weeks ago for 90 minutes of “Whatever Works”. During the session, she learned that I offer TMJ* care sessions and asked a lot of questions about it. She had not known previously that a trained, skilled bodyworker could relieve the symptoms of TMJ disorder – jaw pain and tightness, clenching, grinding, popping, clicking, locking, etc.

I explained to her a bit about the anatomy of the jaw, my TMJ Care package, and the outcomes of my TMJ clients. Since others are likely unaware that trained massage therapists can offer TMJ relief, I’ll share that info here. Continue reading

Here’s how I do bath therapy.

This morning I felt the need to nurture myself after a bit of a rough week wondering about my status with a place that provides a good chunk of my income and also having some lower abdominal pains that I believe were due to the adjustments my body is making as I realign my pelvis.

(See previous posts about my SI belt, pelvic tilt, and self-treatment program if interested.)

These were just little bumps in the road. We all experience them. But often we don’t know they’re not the beginning of major stressors until some progress or good news occurs. I don’t believe in worrying about things beyond my control. I like to place my attention on what I can do, and do it. But I’ve been a bit unsettled, experiencing uncertainty.

Both of those concerns are currently resolving favorably. I more than recovered the lost income with private clients, and doing Kegels has helped me recover from the pains. Continue reading

Etiquette for massage: how to handle stinky butt

Warning: This is a delicate topic.

All massage therapists and bodyworkers who work with unclothed people have encountered this phenomenon, and it goes by several names: stinky butt, monkey butt, smelly ass, stinkbutt, stinky bum, ass stink, swamp ass, sweaty bum, and rotten smelly butt hole. You get the idea.

It happens like this: The therapist leaves the room, and the client undresses and lies down on the table between the sheets. The therapist re-enters and begins the session.

When the therapist is ready to work on the client’s hip/sacrum/gluteal muscles, he or she undrapes the area, usually leaving the butt crack covered.

Suddenly a nasty smell hits the therapist’s nose. Pee-yew! It’s gross, and the client is often unaware of it, which makes it embarrassing for both the therapist and the client.

And it can happen to anyone. Continue reading

Report on effective treatments for fibromyalgia

A few folks with fibromyalgia have come to me for bodywork. Fibromyalgia, if you don’t know, is a condition of chronic pain with tender points located in various places on the body.

There’s a lot of mystery about it. It used to be thought by doctors to be “all in the head” (which basically means they don’t know, so it must exist just in your mind), but we know better now. A couple of years ago, scientists pinpointed the cause.

In my bodyworker role, I’ve noticed that some fibromyalgia sufferers prefer very light touch, while others prefer medium pressure and don’t mind, in fact prefer it, if I do deep tissue work in the tensest, tightest places, such as the upper trapezius. Continue reading

Postural alignment, functional movement, and bodywork for breath and head-forward posture

It’s coming up on a year since I started doing functional movement classes with Matt Fuhrman at Tao Health & Fitness. I thought I’d report on my progress.

I am way stronger and sturdier than before I started doing this. It wasn’t that I was unfit before, but my body was still twisted and unevenly developed. I couldn’t run without paying for it later, not just feeling soreness in the muscles worked. It felt like structurally, the pounding of running was pounding my compensations into my body. Continue reading