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Memorial Day 2010
Image: public domain Scott Air Force Base /
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs office

Thinking about War, Peace and Serving One's Country

Mostly, I'm a pacifist. I grew up during the Vietnam era, and saw too many young men killed in a war I didn't understand or believe in. I didn't want to go to war in Iraq, although I did favor trying to find ben Laden and stopping the people who perpetrated 9-11. Now, we are searching for a way to leave Iraq and Afghanistan, and we still haven't captured ben Laden although our country is bankrupt from war expenditures. I support the troops but still wonder about the efficacy of these wars. I don't think I'm alone, and I often feel I'm straddling a fence.

My father proudly fought in World War II, and I know enough of the stories of Hitler's atrocities and Japan's hopes for world domination to believe that we had no other choice. I am proud of my father and my uncles and all the service people of his generation. I believe that without them, we wouldn't be free, and we probably wouldn't even be a nation. Other wars and other deaths were also necessary. The question for me remains, when is fighting justified? When is it necessary?

I am not sure about when we should or should not go to war. I don't think many people are sure about it really. Some may be quicker to feel we have to fight, but nobody really believes war is anything other than hell. On the other hand, pacifist that I am, I have to honor the men and women whose convictions have led them to take up arms and fight against those who they felt were threats to our freedom. No matter how I feel about a particular military action, I respect and admire the soldiers and sailors who are in the midst of the action. I especially honor those who have died so that I can sit in my home and write these words— words that in some countries might be seen as subversive and anti-government. I am free because of their sacrifice.

On this Memorial Day, let us pray for peace in the world, and let us remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.


Memorial Day Puzzle from www.Jigzone.com

Click to Mix and Solve line

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage does not have to be painful. That is a misconception that we at Tapestry Life Resources are trying to dispel. In fact, if on a scale of one to ten your massage goes past the pain threshold of a six or seven, the work is ineffective and probably doing more harm than good because the muscles contract against the pain, instead of lengthening and relaxing.

In general, massage techniques that are used for relaxation massage can be used effectively for deeper work. The aim in both is to loosen adhesions, stretch and mobilize connective tissue, and improve circulation and lymph flow. In fact, a good Swedish massage can be the first line of defense against injury since healthy, flexible tissues are less likely to get hurt in the first place.

What separates deep tissue massage from relaxation massage is the depth of the pressure and the speed of the massage. The rule is that the deeper you go, the slower you go. Thus, if you are really having trouble with an area of your body, you may only have time in an hour massage to get that area worked. A full-body massage that is all deep work lasts at least 90 minutes and could last two hours. A look at the way muscles are layered may explain why.

Let's use the back muscles for an example. The superficial muscles of the back act on the upper limb. The intermediate muscles act on the ribs and thorax; the deepest muscles of the back are responsible for keeping the body erect.

sunset in florida

Superficial and deep muscles of the back
Grey's Anatomy

In order to reach the deeper muscles, the massage therapist must first release the superficial muscles. To do this, the therapist may use fingers, hands, fists, knuckles, forearms, elbows, or various massage tools. This can take some time before the superficial muscles are relaxed enough for the deeper muscles to be reached. Less oil or cream is used so that there is less slip as greater pressure is slowly applied. Heat, cold, and sprays may also be used.

If trigger points are found, the therapist may strip, friction or compress these to gain a release. Trigger points are taut bands of muscle fiber that do not relax and that keep the muscle in a shortened state. They are usually more painful than the surrounding muscle tissue, and they refer pain to other parts of the body. Trigger point therapy, also called neuromuscular therapy, is often combined with deep tissue massage. Its focus is these taut bands, and although trigger points can hurt as they are released, the therapist should not push beyond the pain threshold of a six or seven.

A true deep tissue massage focuses on the spreading and lengthening of the connective tissue sheath. Deep tissue techniques are based on the work of Ida Rolf who developed a technique called Structural Integration. Her principles have been widely adapted into other connective tissue massage therapies.

Beneath the skin and connecting every part of the body is a fibrous sheet of connective tissue called fascia. The fascia surrounds the bones, muscles, and organs. Indeed, although it is is basically a single sheet of mesh, it wraps individual tissue fibers as well as the whole structure (ie, individual muscle fibers and the whole muscle). Thus, connective tissue health is essential to painless movement. If the surrounding fascia is restricted, so is the muscle. Denser connective tissue forms the tendons and ligaments.

Connective tissue is unique in that it is elastic, which allows it to be elongated. However, the therapist must employ precise levels of palpation, pressure and energy to effectively make changes in the tissue. Simply massaging, kneading or compressing the fascia does not change or elongate the connective tissue. Fascia and muscle are different types of tissue, and they require different approaches. Your therapist will be trained to apply these techniques.

The fascial layers are worked one at a time, progressing from superficial to deep just as with the muscle layers. The superficial layers must lengthen and become more elastic and supple before going to the next, deeper layer.

Often the reason deep tissue massage hurts is that the therapist may be trying to achieve releases too quickly. While it is appropriate to work at your pain threshold, the therapist should not exceed your threshold. If she does, it is up to you to tell her so. Furthermore, you may have to decide to forego a full-body massage and ask that the therapist concentrate on one troublesome area so she is not rushed. Alternately, you could schedule a longer massage appointment.

Finally, you need to drink water and take a hot bath in Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar when you get home. You always hear this after a massage, but do you do it? The water flushes toxins and helps keep the connective tissues hydrated so they can heal. The heat of the bath and the properties of the salts or vinegar also remove toxins and help relax the body more fully. Stretching or other exercises may also be helpful.

Deep work does not have to be painful if your therapist is knowledgeable and if you communicate with her about your pain level, You should be willing to limit your massage to a trouble area, to schedule a longer massage session, and/or to return for a follow-up visit to achieve the best results with minimal pain. Finally, you need to practice self-care and follow your therapist's advice about proper hydration and post-massage detoxifying.

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May 2010

In This Issue

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Essential Oil Recipes to Banish Bugs & Bad Breath

aromatherapy dropper

Essential Oils can be used for a number of money-saving remedies. Two favorites recipes are for insect repellant and for a great mouthwash that refreshes and prevents peridontal disease.

Keep Those Pesky Bugs Away
Mix 1.5 oz of vodka and 1.5 oz of distilled water with the following essential oils: 5 drops cinnamon, 10 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops lemongrass, 15 drops citronella, 10 drops lavender. Place in clean 4 oz. spray bottle and shake well. Alternately, substitute witch hazel or a carrier oil for the vodka and water.

Fight Bad Breath & Gum Disease
Mix 4 drops of clove oil, 2 drops of myrrh, one tablet of zinc, and one tablet of folic acid (that you buy in a health-food store) in 16 ounces (473 mil.) of water. Let the tablets dissolve in the water and oils mixture, and then shake well. Add anti-bacterial herbs of your choice such as sage, mint, or ginger.

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Copyright 2010
Suzanne H. Eller


victorian boy with american flag

Suzanne Eller will be working this Memorial Day weekend. Call if you want an appointment over the holiday.

This month's issue is briefer than usual, but we wanted to do something special to honor those in the military and civilian services who have died in service to their nation or community and all those who have served us with their bravery and loyalty. In addition to our regular articles on massage and aromatherapy, we have a puzzle to honor all those who served.

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