Mon-Fri 8 to 4:30 (By Appointment)
Call: (218) 235-1732

Blissful Body Blog

By Stephanie Bish

TMJ - Temperomandibular Joint

TMJ can  really limit the amount of joy in eating.  Pain, clicking, a feeling of being mis-aligned, and tightness are common symptoms.  Going to the dentist is difficult, and may cause an increase in pain because of having the jaw open for cleaning or other work.  

People are often surprised at how tender their face and jaw are when massaged.  This tenderness is an indication that there are trigger points that need massage.  Many of the trigger points that help with better jaw function are easily accessed around the cheeks and outer jaw. Also part of the trigger point pattern are areas in the neck and inside the mouth.

Trigger points are tiny points of excruciating pain in the muscle tissue.  They are there because of a lack of oxygen in the tissue.  One of the tricky things about trigger points is that they 'refer' pain to areas away from where the actual trigger point is.  For instance, trigger points in the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) in the neck can contribute to clenching and grinding the teeth, which contributes to TMJ.

Massage flushes the muscle tissue with oxygen-rich blood, and acts to relieve the pain of the trigger point.  With frequent, light massage, the trigger point can actually be cleared.  Once a person is familiar with where they are, they can self-massage those points at home, which is very helpful.  

Another approach to TMJ is to see it as part of the whole body.  The Structural Integration (SI) 10-series is designed to align the body in gravity.  In other words, it is a series of 10 sessions that address tightness and misalignment in the whole body, so a person can stand, sit, and walk with more ease in everyday life.  

Though the SI goal is to create better alignment, not to 'chase the pain' of symptoms, the whole body alignment often clears chronic pain.  By relieving strain in the connective tissue, the whole body has more ease in movement, allowing smooth movements of joints, including TMJ.   

I personally had TMJ.  Three years of orthodontics, dental surgeries, along with neck, spine, and head injuries from horse-riding accidents set me up to have tight, clicking jaws that were very uncomfortable.  I found some relief from working trigger points, and was thrilled to learn how to work on them myself. 

Once I received the SI 10-series, my jaw really changed.  The alignment in my whole body was affecting the tightness in my jaw.  While receiving the 10-series, I often felt connections between distant parts of my body and the pain in my jaw.  For instance, I felt a sensation of relief coming into my jaw while my forearms were being worked on during the 10-series.  

If you are wanting to address the acute pain and discomfort of TMJ, trigger point work is a place to look.  If you are wanting to address whole body balance and alignment, and allow your body to find new ease in all movements, including TMJ, then the Structural Integration 10-series is a great choice for you.

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

 

Continue reading
5915 Hits

Shoulder Relief: a success story.

Recently a client came in with a frozen shoulder;  it had very limited range of motion and was painful and stiff.  After working on a few trigger points, this client had much freer movement and could in fact raise her arm above her head, which she could not do before treatment.  

I taught her how to self-treat the trigger points so that she can continue treatment at home. Frequency of treatment is more important than how long each treatment lasts, when trying to heal trigger points.  She will continue to receive massage in my office, so that she is aware of where the problems are, and how to best treat them.  It is a big part of her self-care plan.

I see a lot of sore, stiff shoulders.  Skiing, raking leaves, running a chain saw, being a carpenter, painting, and many other activities are very stressful to the shoulder.  None of us are going to give up the activities we love, or the ones we need to make a living.  So finding a way to stay active in spite of the inevitable aches and pains is important.  Regular massage and self-treating trigger points are extremely helpful. 

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
5677 Hits

Surviving Overwhelm

This summer was a great summer.  Not only did I have a full business calendar, seeing clients and all the other functions of running a business, but also one of our children had a wedding.

Did I mention it was my daughter?  I have two sons who have gotten married.  Being mother of the groom is busy, and exciting, and wonderful.  I fully enjoyed their weddings.   But being mother of the bride is in a completely different universe!  The mother of the bride is intimately more involved in every detail of the whole event.

Did I mention the wedding was in Ely?  My sons got married in the area that was both their hometown area and mine, in Iowa, about 9 hours drive from Ely, MN my current home.  So I was by default less involved.  Planning a wedding at YMCA Camp DuNord was fantastic- but it was very busy.  Everyone was coming from afar, so it was important to do extra planning for the wedding weekend.  

And of course, being who I am - I had to do a few projects around home in the weeks and months preceding the wedding!  I really did try to keep myself from getting too crazy with 'getting things done before the wedding', and mostly succeeded.  But that also created more 'hectic' to my summer.

When we have big events, busy schedules, or crises in our lives, it is essential to have a plan for keeping ourselves healthy and functioning at as high a level as possible.  

Things I did to maintain my health and sanity that may help you in your next overwhelm:

  • Be realistic about what you can actually handle.  Reduce, re-envision, and delegate the rest.  Be brutally honest.  Less is often more.
  • Form a plan for eating well and exercising through the overwhelm.  It may be unrealistic to continue your usual routine, but come up with a plan you know you can execute.  I made a point of doing a minimum of 15 minutes of stretching in the morning and 10 before bed.   I did more on days I could.
  • If you are investing in your health on a regular basis, you can weather the overwhelm when it comes.   Book regular appointments with your massage therapist, chiropractor, nutritionist, and other care practitioners to keep yourself healthy, relaxed and ready to perform at your best. 
  • Rest before you need it.  Schedule rest ahead of an event so you are not running on empty when it arrives.
  • Do as much as you can as early as you can.  Make a plan determining when things can be done, and who will do them.
  • Let go and have fun!
Book regular massage so that you are your healthiest, most vibrant self.   Then if you have an event, crises, or overwhelm you are able to handle it.   Prevention is always the best cure.  I would be honored to help you attain and maintain a higher state of health.  

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
6007 Hits

Aging with Grace

As we age, we naturally move along a continuum from birth to death.  The newborn infant has energy and vitality.  By age twenty, humans are physically at their prime.  But as the decades wear on, we move from that prime condition to dealing with a body that is not as vibrant.  And in our elder years, aging can have a strong effect on our ability to do the things we love.

Aging has the effect of closing the body, reducing range of motion, and curling up gradually.  Mental sluggishness, energy depletion, and muscle degeneration are commonly associated with aging. Chronic pain and sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep can affect people of all ages, but especially elders.  Skin becomes more fragile and less elastic.  Lymph and blood circulation become sluggish.  The immune system can be weakened.  

That does not mean we need to sit back and passively accept the trend of losing our strength and flexibility, balance, and ability to stay active.  By becoming proactive in our middle years, and addressing issues as they come up in our later years, we can greatly affect the quality of our lives.

  • One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to be active.  Movement is the natural state of humans.  We are not meant to be sedate.  It leads to the 'tin man syndrome', we become tighter and feel unable to move if we don't keep moving.  
  • Eating healthy is just as important as exercise.  By healthy, I mean stressing fresh, whole foods.  Nature provides the nutrients we need to be strong, vital, and healthy.  Be sure to include healthy fats, they are so key to a healthy mind and body.
  • Seek joy in all facets of your life.  Choose joyful relationships.  Choose work that fulfills you and gives you purpose.  Plan regular play-time, vacations, and fun activities in daily life.  Laugh.
  • Stay in touch with your spirit.  That may mean meditation or prayer, time in nature, or an activity that makes your very soul sing.
  • Get to know some healthy aging people who can serve as role models for you.  Our elders have a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge to share.  Seek out the friendship of those who have earned the title 'elder', and benefit from their example.
  • Develop a relationship with a team of health providers to keep you at your best.  Look for a physician who emulates your values.  See your dentist regularly, see a nutrition specialist to stay on track with your nutrition, and find a massage therapist that will work with you to keep you in top form.

Regular massage can address the many issues of aging, and provide relief.  Massage enhances tissue elasticity and joint flexibility, improves blood and lymph circulation, promotes healthy vibrant skin, improves immune system functioning, and relieves muscle aches and stiffness.  Regular massage therapy may increase mental awareness, increase muscle strength and coordination, boost energy and improve quality of rest.

The earlier these steps are incorporated, the better the effects.  Don't wait until the signs of aging have a strong grip on you.  Begin to be proactive in your efforts to have a life that is just as high in quality as quantity.  

If I can be of help to you, I would be honored.  Give me a call if you are interested in being proactive in creating a longer, healthier, happier life.


About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

 

Continue reading
6505 Hits

Balance for Health

Balance is critical for our being able to function.  Physical balance so we can walk and be active is a skill that can deteriorate with age and/or inactivity.  

A mechanism in your inner ear, the vestibular system,  helps you keep your balance.  It helps your body determine when it is wobbling and gives indicators on how to create and maintain balance.  Balance is determined by our center of gravity being directly over where we touch the earth.  Our alignment is key to balance.

If you are balanced, you will feel secure and will not wobble.  To test your balance, stand with your feet fairly close together, and just wait to see how wobbly you get.   If you have noticed some balance issues on a daily basis here are some simple things you can do to improve your balance:

  • Daily stand on one foot for 30 seconds to begin, increasing gradually.  If you are unsteady, you can bend your knee a little to gain more balance.  Or start out by hanging on to the bedpost or the back of a chair to build your confidence.  Be sure to work with both sides equally.
  • Yoga is a wonderful way to build balance.  The positions will gradually build strength and flexibility also.
  • Consciously being aware of your body and your balance will make a big difference.  Consciousness naturally directs our attention, and we become more focused on seeing the situation as it is, and creating solutions.
  • Stay active- our current culture is very sedate.  Collectively we spend many hours a day at a desk, in front of the computer, watching TV, and driving.  Make an effort to spend some time every day engaged in fun activities.
  • Take action to improve your posture.  If you have posture that keeps your center of gravity off center, you will feel out of balance.  

The Structural Integration 10-series was developed to specifically address posture issues that might keep you unbalanced.  It works systematically throughout the whole body creating better posture and balance.  When we have good balance, we naturally are more active and can do the things we love.

Maintaining balance is one of the keys to feeling young and vibrant.  It is an early signal that we need to pay attention and reverse the trend that can lead to further issues.  Let me know if you would like me to be part of your plan for better balance, and healthier living.


About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
6397 Hits