November 2016 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: November 2016

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What is Sciatica?

Why do I have sciatica?

Is there successful treatments available?

Most work-related sciatica injuries are caused or aggravated by actions such as heavy lifting, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.

Sciatica usually is derived from a traumatic event, muscle disproportion, or a combination of both.

Sciatica soreness is caused by force on the sciatic nerve, normally caused by a tightening and shortening of the piriformis muscle. This is more often than not produced by a disproportion between the inner and outer hip rotator muscles.

The ordinary low back troubles and other spinal situations that can cause sciatica – pain along the sciatic nerve – include:

1). Lumbar Herniated Disc. A herniated disc happens when the inner core of the disc breaks through the fibrous outer core of the disc and the bulge places force on the nearby nerve root as it exits the spine. In general, it is said that a sudden twisting movement or injury can lead to herniation and sciatica. But, most discs get worse due to recurring stress and then herniation. A herniated disc is usually referred to as a slipped, ruptured, bulging, or protruding disc…or a pinched nerve.

2). Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. This usually causes sciatica due to a tightening of the spinal canal. It typically results from a grouping of one or more of the following: enlarged facet joints, overgrowth of soft tissue and a bulging disc placing force on the nerve roots as they exit the spine.

3). Isthmic Spondylolisthesis. This condition rarely causes back pain or sciatica pain. Caused by a combination of disc space collapse, the fracture, and the vertebral body slipping ahead, the L5 nerve can get pinched as it exits the spine.

4). Piriformis Syndrome. The sciatic nerve can also get aggravated as it runs under the piriformis muscle in the rear. If the piriformis muscle irritates or pinches a root that includes the sciatic nerve, it can cause sciatica-type pain. The most familiar source of sciatic pain and is made when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle.

5). Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. Irritation of the sacroiliac joint at the bottom of the spine can also aggravate the L5 nerve, which lies on top of it, and cause sciatica-type pain. This is radiculopathy, but the pain can feel the same as sciatica caused by a nerve irritation.

If you do not know which one is the culprit, I would start with the fundamentals. Sciatic nerve pain are usually caused by muscle disproportions you have, you should start to see progress right away…and your sciatic pain should subside in a few weeks or less. Sometimes even the next day or two!

There are many different methods of treatment for your sciatica pain with the best one being Chiropractic.

Indeed, Chiropractic care has been very successful for many patients.

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Sciatica Exercises: An Effective Remedy For Spine Trouble

Sciatica refers to the pain caused by the compression or irritation in the nerves at the lower end of the spine. Sciatica is also known as radiculopathy, which refers to the extension of the spinal disc beyond the normal position, resulting in the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Such a condition can often result in pain in the back and legs. The best remedy for the treatment of this kind of pain is sciatica exercises coupled with manipulated. It is also often believed that bed rest helps in such a condition. However, inactivity usually worsens the pain in sciatica patients. Lack of movement weakens the back muscles and the spinal structures, thus resulting in increased pressure on the back and consequently more pain. Sciatica exercises are very important for health and fitness of the human back and spine.

Sciatica exercises focus on strengthening the abdominal and back muscles. These exercises include stretching, which helps in improving the flexibility of the back muscles, resulting in reduced pain. Doctors recommend different exercises for sciatica patients, depending on the cause of sciatica, which can also occur due to serious medical conditions such as an infection or tumor. One has to do these exercises regularly and in a proper manner in order to derive maximum benefit.

Exercising regularly not only helps in the treatment of sciatica-related pain, but also helps in the prevention of any such problems in the future. The most common sciatica exercises that are recommended for the treatment of sciatica-related pain are the Hamstring stretching exercises. The hamstrings are the muscles located in the back of the thigh and help in bending the knee. You must also perform exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles in order to get relief from the sciatica pain.

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Excruciating Sciatica

Have you ever experienced such excruciating pain that standing up becomes a great difficulty?  Sometimes, sitting down makes the pain even worse. A lot of people may be doing something so simple and yet a certain body movement would cause them unbearable pain. You may be experiencing sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, is a condition in which the sciatic nerves in the body become inflamed.  Sciatic nerves are found beginning at the lower spine and continue down the buttocks area, back of the legs, and into the feet. Symptoms of sciatica is characterized by a light tingling feeling or burning sensation to a full blown shooting pain that travels from the lower back, buttocks area, back of legs, and/or feet. More often than not, sciatic nerve pain affects only one side, although it could also be possible to run down both legs.

Sciatica could be a frightening experience especially if you do not realize what is happening. One may begin to feel like he/she will become crippled. However, most of the time sciatica can be treated effectively.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica may occur when the nerve in the lower spine become pinched, or if there is a slipped disk.  Arthritis or a sprained ligament will narrow the passageways of the nerves which may cause the nerve endings to become tender and inflamed.  Other causes of sciatica include an abscess, growth, or blood clot.  But these can be rare.

Treatment of Sciatica

Since sciatic nerve pain is caused by a combined pressure and inflammation on the nerve root, treatment is generally focused on relieving both of these factors through non-surgical treatments.

Non-surgical sciatic nerve pain treatment may include one or a combination of therapy and Chiropractic manipulation. Also, most of the time, it includes some form of exercise and stretching.


If you are experiencing sciatica, it is advised to stay off your feet for the first few days. One of the things you must avoid is to get up and down repeatedly as this will only cause the nerve to become more irritated. Though some quarters pose question on the benefits of bed rest, still it is advisable at least for the first few days.

It may feel soothing to soak in warm baths to ease the pain. However, do not use heating pads while the nerve is inflamed. Prolonged heat will draw the inflammation in and will keep the swelling high.  Rather, most healthcare professionals would advise the application of ice packs directly on the lower back area for 20 minutes at a time, every couple of hours. This may feel a little uncomfortable, but the cold packs will greatly help in reducing the swelling. Using mineral ice is also a good alternative in soothing the pain and offers a temporary sciatic relief.

Though some doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants for temporary relief of pain, caution is advised as to the side effects of these types of prescription drugs. Some medications can be addictive, or may give a false sense of feeling better.  By far the best treatment results have been with Chiropractic care coupled by therapy.

Massage therapy is considered to be a highly effective non-surgical treatment as it can keep your spine in better alignment for longer periods of time. As soon as your back begins to heal, your doctor may give you stretching and low impact exercises so that your muscles won’t stiffen too much. Be sure to engage in exercise only when your doctors approve it.

Alternative treatments that you might find available and helpful are acupressure, herbal therapies, homeopathy, biofeedback, and guided imagery to name just a few.

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Acupressure More Effective than Physical Therapy

We all know Acupressure has been around for some 5,000 years now and those of us involved in Holistic and wellness remain convinced that the procedures encompassed within this sphere are more efficacious than physical therapy. Every living being has a life force, or energy, called qi or chi (pronounced “chee”). When this energy, which runs along meridians, is in balance and flowing freely, the body is in a state of health. Acupoints tap into the the major energy pathways of the body

When this energy is blocked or deficient, illness can result. These energy disruptions are often the result of stress or injury. It is believed that acupressure causes the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins play an important role in immune function, pain relief, stress reduction, and slowing the aging process.

Lower back pain has long been the bain of the modern world not only in lost man hours but also because of the numerous side effects, complications and nuances of lower back pain complaints. Further studies now confirm the benefits of acupressure over physical therapy. Albeit that the studies failed to take into account functional status and disability as recommended by most low back pain researchers the results are still very meaningful and relevant. In February 2006, a randomized controlled trial took place at The National Taiwan University in Taipei.

129 patients with chronic low back pain received acupressure or physical therapy for 1 month. Primary endpoints were self-administered Chinese versions of standard outcome measures for low back pain (Roland and Morris disability questionnaire) at baseline, after treatment, and at 6-month follow-up. After treatment, the mean total Roland and Morris disability questionnaire score was significantly lower in the acupressure group than in the physical therapy group regardless of the difference in absolute score or mean change from baseline.

Compared with physical therapy, acupressure was associated with an 89% reduction in significant disability and that improvement was maintained at 6-month follow-up. Study limitations include a confounding psychological effect of therapy; loss of 15.5% of patients to follow-up at 6 months and effectiveness of any manipulation therapy dependent on the therapist’s technique and experience.

Participants were aged 18 to 81 years. Exclusion criteria were pregnancy and contraindication to acupressure. 64 patients were randomized to acupressure and 65 to physical therapy. Conclusive or inconclusive the results still point towards the undeniable and positive aspects of acupressure and holistic healing.

On a more lighter note Acupressure has also been cited as a new aid for sleepy students. 39 student volunteers found that those who were taught to self-administer acupressure to stimulation points on their legs, feet, hands and heads were less likely to drowse during class. The acupressure consisted of light tapping of fingers or using thumbs or forefingers to lightly massage the stimulation points. It was conceded that more study is needed in relation to acupressure and the effect on human alertness.

Looking further into the positives might this self-administered acupressure also be a consideration for children with ADHD contra Ritalin!

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Benefits of Massage Therapy

It may only have exploded in recent years but the practice of massage therapy dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. And that is about 4000 years ago. In a clear reference to massaging, Hippocrates wrote in one of his medical notes that physicians must know the practice of ‘rubbing.’

Now, massage therapy cannot just be called as ‘rubbing.’ With most of the young Hollywood getting a massage or two every week, it has become the toast of the social set. Its popularity can be seen with the way a lot of massage therapy clinics have opened shops in the last few years with many more planning to in the next couple of months. Currently there are about 100,000 massage therapists in the country and the numbers are increasing two-fold.

Massage therapy in the scientific terms is the process of putting pressure on muscular structure and soft tissues in the body for relaxation. Pressure in this instance can mean a lot of things, from holding and pressing to kneading and rocking. Massages are primarily done with the hands although some massage therapists also use other parts of their bodies like the forearms, elbows and the feet.

Its popularity is actually not surprising especially with this stressful world. Many people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation and regeneration. And unlike other de-stressors, massage therapy is scientifically based and its advantages are all research proven. Besides its physical benefits, it also known to improve the overall wellbeing of the mind and the spirit.

Below are some of the benefits that massage therapy gives us.

  1. Relaxation

This is the number one reason why people coming back to the clinics. After a week of stress in the office or at home, people especially women, just want to relax. Massages are great for the skin as it stimulates the release of toxins and hormones. In fact, some studies have even shown massages as being able to lower the possibility of wrinkles production.

  1. Relieves pain

Another benefit of massage therapy is the fact that it can loosen those tight muscles especially if you frequently have cramps on your legs. Going to the clinics can also relieve you of your tired and aching muscles. This is especially useful with people who are into sports or those who live the active lifestyle.

  1. Makes you a better athlete

People who are into sports can also benefit much from massage therapy. If you feel that your muscles have become tight and rickety, massages can improve on your flexibility and also increase your range of motion. If you get massages all the time, you will notice that you can now do movements that were painful to do before. Massages also improve the body’s resistance. It lowers the blood pressure, heart rate and even helps in recoveries from injuries and sprains. It also strengthens the immune system.

  1. Improve mental faculties

Massages are also great ways to improve your mental performance. It can actually reduce mental stress, allowing you to work better and think clearer. It is also known to relieve headaches. Massage therapy also allows you to concentrate better on the task at hand. After a massage, you will basically have a clean slate in your mind that is equivalent to the restful therapy that sleep gives.

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Getting Over the Hassles of Back Pain

In the United States alone, a huge eighty percent of the population suffers from back pain at some point of theirs lives.  It may manifest itself in different forms.  It may come up as lower back pain, neck pain, or sciatica for some people.  Back pain may last for a short while or it may persist for a longer time depending on different people.  Back pain may range from a mild, persistent pain to an unbearable back ache than worsens with the slightest of movements.  Back pain, also called dorsalgia by people in the medical profession, may originate from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine.

A recent study shows that there has been a steady rise in back pain consultation over the past ten years especially to Chiropractors.  The same study also reported a higher percentage of male patients seeking medical consult for back pain than women, and this percentage increases to seventy percent by age sixty.  Surveys show that around forty percent of the population experience back pain which lasts for more than a day in the past year.  Its persistence increases as we age: one out of three men and one out of four women aged sixty-five and above have been reported to suffer back pain for the whole year as compared to one out of twelve men and women between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four.

Fortunately, a variety of treatment are available to alleviate the pain caused by lumbago.  Choosing the most fitting treatment will be determined by the patient’s health care practitioner or therapist as the results may vary for every person.  Below is a list of different treatment used for different levels of back pain.

  • Heat therapy is used to alleviate back pain caused by back muscle spasms.
  • Medications, be it over the counter or prescription, such as muscle relaxants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and paracetamol have been proven effective in providing back pain relief.
  • Exercise while being supervised by a licensed Chiropractor, may prove beneficial for short-term and chronic back pain.  This includes stretching and strengthening muscles surrounding the spine.
  • Massage therapy performed by a licensed therapist may also help.
  • Back manipulation therapies like Chiropractic helps lessen back pain and often is one of the best option.


There have been instances where the cause of the back pain is non-physical.  These factors include: on-the-job stress, repressed anger, anxiety, or depression.  For these causes, treating the psychological cause or resolving existing issues may help get rid of the dorsalgia.  Engaging in stress relieving activities may also help provide back pain relief.

For most people, postural factors have been the reported root cause of their dorsalgia.  This may be due to improper lifting technique, poor posture, or poor support from sleeping mattresses or office chairs.  Most sufferers experience a great of comfort from having such ergonomic or postural factors corrected. Again a Chiropractor has been found to be one of the best option to treat such condition.

Our backs support our entire body.  It helps us stand tall, sit straight, and walk upright without any problem.  So it is just fitting that we give it the care it is due.  Preventing dorsalgia is easier than treating it.  So as early as now, relieve yourself of unnecessary stress, engage in an adequate amount of physical activity, maintain proper posture, and consider Chiropractic manipulation and you’re on your way to a healthy, pain-free back.

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Muscles and Nerves in Back Pain

Muscles and Nerves in Back Pain

Back pain has affected millions of people around the world. Back pain is caused from trauma, injuries, inappropriate bending and lifting, and disease. Back pain is common, yet some people suffering back pain for a few short months, it disappears and is never felt again. Others will feel the pain daily for the course of their lifetime. What causes back pain? First, we must consider the muscles and nerves in back pain, as well as particle muscle diseases to answer the question correctly.

The muscles are where we get our strength to move, since it exerts pressure that forces the bones to move. The muscles are the locomotive mechanisms that are constantly interrupted by the actions we take and the gravity and influence of the weight that affects us from the earth. When we perform asymmetrical actions, the muscles achieve a degree of strength from the spinal column. It supports this structure of the muscles to a degree. On the other hand, the muscles that promote movement, i.e. these systematic structures enable us to lift, pull, walk, swim, stand, etc.

During movement, the muscles will act by contracting. This means the muscles shrink, expend, tighten, and narrow, and so on. Due to the shifting the muscles start to absorb shock, which the muscles will release pressure, or tension. The muscles then control what actions we conduct. We see this when the muscles allow us to sit, walk, etc. In fact, the first thing that hits the ground when we walk is the heel, which is why we experience heel pain at some point of our lives. The bearing weight is placed on the heel, which the muscles react allowing one to drop the remaining foot to the ground, bending the knee to continue movement.

The spinal column assists the muscles in many ways. Yet, the spine is made up of neurons, or nerves, which promote our sensory and motor skills. The motor nerves emerge from the muscles activities. Specifically, these motor nerves are sponsored by the voluntary muscle activities, which promote body motion. The nerves will transmit from the brain and then the spinal cord, impulses that travel to the glands and the muscles. When we move, the action is enforced by the motor nerves.

We also have sensory nerves, which relate to sense organs and sensation. We use sensory nerves to heighten our awareness and to transmit communication to the joints.

The sensory nerves continue sending the messages down to the muscles. Once the message reaches the muscle it travels to the organs and blood vessels, and continues to the skin and finally reaches the cranium. In short, we get our feelings and senses from these nerve signals.

Motor impulses and sensory messages combine to alert the motor unit. The motor unit is made up of fibers that compose the nerves and muscles. The motor unit is also the motor neuron that acts on muscle fibers and nerve fibers.

Back pain includes muscle spasms, which start when one of these fibers cannot act with the other fiber. What happens is the muscles undertake involuntary actions, such as usual tighten of muscle contractions. If the contractions are restrained further, thus it can cause extreme weakness and/or paralysis. Now, if the muscles and fibers are not working correctly, i.e. the muscles are not producing enough contraction, or the muscles are producing too many contractions, thus it causes back pain.

Damage can occur when the muscles are not contracting with the muscle and nerve fibers. To learn more consider over stimulating spasms, nerve fibers, tendons, and ligaments.

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Healing from Accidents

No matter how much you try to drive carefully and responsibly, you’ll never know when accidents can happen.  Car accidents are very traumatic and can leave crash survivors in shock or full of guilt, fear, nervousness, or anger.  All these emotions are normal reactions to the situation. But it is better for a survivor to take a few deep breaths first, or try to count from 1 to 10 in order to calm down. This will better prepare the survivors to take stock of the accident and analyze the extent of damage.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is as upsetting and traumatic as the crash itself.  People can appear to be in a state of shock several hours or even days after the accident.  They may feel that  it could have been avoided and they may start to blame themselves.  Sometimes, people close to those who were involved in the accident, like families and best friends, can experience some emotional problems as well.  All these feelings are normal.  But as soon as every damage is taken care of, these accidents become mere afterthoughts.

However, when the feeling gets unusually stronger or last for longer periods of time, it may hinder the crash survivors from their normal daily functions.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, might occur to the survivors when the car accident involves severe injuries or has resulted in deaths. Signs of PTSD may show up immediately following the accident, or weeks or even months later.

PTSD is a very strong stress reaction that can develop in people after a traumatic event that involves directly experiencing the event. Aside from a serious car accident, a natural disaster like an earthquake, personal assaults and abuse, terrorist attacks and military combat can also cause PTSD.

Although not all people who experience stress after a car accident develops PTSD, it is better to take note of the following symptoms:

  • avoiding emotions or any reminders of the incident
  • constant feelings of anxiousness, crankiness, or anger
  • avoiding medical tests or procedures
  • constantly reliving the incident in one’s mind
  • nightmares or trouble sleeping

For those who have any of these symptoms after having been in a car accident, discussing the experience with loved ones or close friends can be psychologically therapeutic.  It will greatly help in releasing whatever suppressed emotions that are bottled up inside.  Try to bring back the normalcy in life by engaging in regular daily activities, no matter how difficult it may seem.  If these things don’t work, consult with a health care professional to get the necessary treatment. Mental health professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors who specialize in treating anxiety problems are usually experienced in working with people who have PTSD.

There are those who avoid seeking professional help because they’re afraid that talking about the incident will bring back memories or feelings that are too painful.  PTSD is not like something that can be forgotten quickly or can be willed to go away.  Getting treatment and support can make all the difference.  People with PTSD need to work through the pain in order to reduce symptoms like nightmares and flashbacks.  It can also help people avoid potentially harmful behaviors and emotions, like extreme anger or self-injury

Therapy may involve gradual talks in a safe environment and learning coping skills that help with anxiety, fear, or panic.  Relaxation techniques can also be applied in order to help reset the stress response which resolves other problems like sleeping disorders.

The healing process may allow people to discover strengths they didn’t know they had, or a support network that they didn’t know was there.  Treatment helps them find focus in life and develop new insights to cope with other problems.


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Back Pain and Considerations

When back pain occurs, the process of consideration must start. Back pain can emerge from various causes, yet when the pain is severe, one should seek medical advice immediately. When injuries occur and the back delivers messages that signal us that a problem exists, one must also seek medical advice. Injuries often cause neurological conditions.

When to visit your doctor:

If you are in an accident or fall and cause injury, seek medical assistance instantly. Delaying the problem can lead to further complications. If you lift a heavy object and your back starts to ache, seek help. If the muscles in your legs cannot provide you support and stability to stand erect on your toes, seek help. If slapping of your feet start when you begin walking, you will need medical support also. At the lower trunk, legs, and back, if you feel weakness, tingling, or numbness you will need medical assistance. During sleep hours if your back gives you problems, you endure fevers, and if you experience chills, seek help. If you loose control of your bladder and bowels, medical treatment is needed.

If you notice pain traveling down your arm or leg, in addition to back pain, seek help. If you notice joint pain or swelling in all areas, including the back seek help. If you have back pain and perform home treatment, such as bed rest and taking over-the-counter meds, seek help.

If you feel pain in the back, which you believe is not an emergency; you should rest your back. When pain starts from common activates, it is often because you have over-exerted the joints, muscles, etc. When treating the problem at home, rest in a comfortable position. Lie on your back and place a pillow under your knees. You can also try resting on your back while placing your feet on your couch or chair. The knees should bend at a 90-degree angle. Roll a towel up and situated it so that it supports your neck.

Whatever method you choose and if it is right for you, allow your back to rest until the pain vanishes. If the pain continues however, seek medical assistance. Sometimes you have to rest the back a few days before it ceases aching. Ultimately, you can visit a massage therapist, chiropractor, or someone who performs acupuncture to seek help. In fact, many doctors and mental health experts are incorporated chiropractic into their treatment plans.

When you rest the back, make sure that you lay on a firm surface, especially if you are resting for a day or so. If you lie on soft mattresses for a length of time, it could cause problems to the muscles that support the back. During the wake hours, you want to continue lying on your back, rather than sitting up to read a book. You can continue the treatment at home by moving around every couple of hours. You want to focus on balancing the body when walking around and use hard surfaces to support your weight.

When you lie back down to rest, make sure you move gradually in position. If you have a back mattress at home, lie on the mattress and allow the heat and vibration motions comfort your aching back.

How to lie in bed properly:

Whichever side your pain is, sit on the edge of your bed and lower the head, so that it balances with your trunk. Raise the legs and slowly turn over onto your back. Use your arms to erect from bed rest.

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How to Look for the Best Massage Therapy Clinics

It seems that everybody in America is having some massage therapy nowadays. Popularized by Hollywood celebrities who schedule a massage and a spa twice and even thrice a week, Americans have also started to get into the program. The result? A goodly number of massage therapy clinics that have opened shop in virtually every street corner.

With so many clinics to choose from nowadays, it has become really hard to choose a good one. Because some of these so-called massage clinics are only there for the fad, one must be shrewd enough to separate the legitimate ones from those who are just riding the bandwagon but are not really adept with the real techniques of massage therapy. Below are some tips on how to find a good massage clinic in the metro.

  1. Go for the tried and tested

When looking for a good massage therapy clinic, go for the tried and tested. They may be more expensive but you can be sure that what you are getting is a safe and effective massage. You see, if not done correctly, massage therapy can also cause health problems especially problems that involve the bones. A little too much pressure can also bruise the skin and even cause sprains on the bones.

You don’t have to go for the massage therapy that celebrities frequent. When you say tried and tested, it does not mean that you will go for the upscale ones whose therapy can be ultra-expensive. What you can do is ask for referrals from people who are very much into massage therapy. Those who do this on a weekly basis will definitely have one or two recommendations that you will definitely use.

  1. Join internet forums

The internet is a rich source of information about anything under the sun. One information that you can get from the internet especially from forums are names of massage therapy clinics that give good service. You can either read through the forums or join in on the conversation with the members of the sites.

You can also look into blogs and check what they recommend for good massage therapy clinics. These people will frequently have recommendations on the best massage therapy in the country.

  1. Try it out

If you are the adventurous type and you are not afraid of trying out a service, then try the service of different massage therapy clinics. You will not always get good service and at some point, you will even experience the worst kind of service but at least you have tried the service yourself and have not relied on mere hearsay.

Of course, when you say trying it out for yourself, this does not mean that you will just go inside any massage therapy clinic.

What you can do to keep safe is to also discriminate among the massage therapy clinics in your neighborhood. Check out the place first and try to learn about the various massages that they do. You can also look into the oils that they use as well as strokes that they employ.

Ask about the massage therapists and ask if they have licenses to practice. This way, you can be sure that what you are getting into is completely safe for your body and your mind.