Muscle Knots can develop anywhere muscles are present!

The medical term for muscle knots is myofascial trigger points. These pesky pain spots occur when muscle fibers or fascia tense or tighten and are in a state of constant contraction. muscle knotsSometimes they are excessively painful and even debilitating. We all experience these nagging pain points from time to time, so how do we get them?

Muscle knots commonly develop from:

1. Faulty biomechanics

2. Overuse

3. Sedentary Lifestyle

While a portion of muscle knot issues are caused by injury and overuse, the most common issue comes from a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for too long and repetitive movements create the perfect environment in your body for knots to form.

The actual knot develops from your body trying to protect an injured, strained, or weakened spot. The muscles around the area will tighten up to prevent more injury. Knots are persistent and most will remain until the knotted area is broken up and the muscles contract. Limited range of motion, pain and tightness will persist until the muscles are loosened and circulation returns to the constricted area.

A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle KnotsGreat news! There are multiple ways to break up muscle knots!

The very basic principle around muscle knots is that they need intervention. The knotted area gets caught in the "Pain-Spasm-Pain" cycle, which causes your muscle knots to stay knotted. What happens first is the knot gets triggered, then a spasm follows suit. This causes more pain and then leads to more spasm. No fun! The pain-spasm-pain cycle will continue until it is interrupted.

How to intervene:

1. Massage! Massage will literally "get the knots out. " The more persistent knots are best handled by a professional massage therapist. A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle Knots

2. Stretching. One of the very best things to reduce and avoid knots is to lengthen and circulate your muscle groups through stretching and exercise that includes a wide range of motion for both large and small muscle groups.

3. Ice and heat. If a knot is causing a movement pattern that has caused swelling, then using ice for 10-15 minutes can help. Applied heat or a hot bath can help loosen up knotted muscles.

4. Foam Rolling. Foam rollers and trigger point balls are excellent at home treatments for knotted muscles. Pick up a foam roller at the Zama boutique.

Reduce muscle knots by doing the following:

A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle Knots1. Posture. Avoid sitting while hunched over. Engage your core and extend your spine while you sit. Consider adjusting your work station if it is preventing good posture. Take stretch breaks!

2. Exercise. Move frequently throughout the day and exercise your body most days of the week. Consult your physician or an exercise professional to help you get started on the right program if you are needing assistance. Exercise not only makes you feel great, but it also prevents injury and aches and pains.

3. Stretch. Your muscles need circulation, movement and stretching. Lack of movement and/or overtraining can cause muscle groups to contract and constrict your circulation. Gentle stretching, yoga, pilates and swimming can help your muscles loosen up and strengthen at the same time.  A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle Knots

4. Hydrate. Dehydration causes a myriad of problems, including muscular injuries and knots. Drink lots of healthy, non-sugary fluids to keep your muscles in optimal condition.

5. Vitamins. Muscles that aren't getting enough nutrients are more prone to knotting up and staying constricted. Be sure to get your B Vitamins, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Why does massage help?

A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle Knots

Besides breaking up the pain-spasm-pain cycle, massage brings new blood supply, and with it oxygen and nutrients, so muscles can function properly. Some muscles become rock hard when the supply of blood is less available.

Breaking up the physical knot and bringing oxygen in will gradually restore normal function. Massage will not always vanquish an unwavering knot in one session though. Often, knots need frequent sessions to be completely terminated. Even once the pain from a knot is reduced, the muscle memory remains and the knot can resurface, especially when preventative measures have not been taken.

Why do I get the same muscle knots over and over again?

We tend to develop patterns in life: our job, posture, activity, inactivity and so on. These patterns cause the same muscles to be overused or ignored. When muscles are painful and persistent they are considered active trigger points. A latent trigger point won't have as much feeling unless someone or something touches it, pinches it, or puts pressure on it. Knots can affect the way we move, stand, sit, our overall strength and how we carry ourselves. The most shocking part is that we may not even know we are being affected until it is has become serious.

We highly recommend doing preventative measures and talking to your health professionals. Your massage therapist, doctor, acupuncturist, physical trainer, etc... can give you excellent information that has been customized just for you.A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle Knots

Knots, or trigger points, have the unique quality of referring sensation to other very specific areas in the body.

Many areas will refer pain to specific points throughout the body and trigger point therapists will use these specific points to treat specific conditions. A few very common conditions that can be treated with trigger point therapy are:
-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
-Plantar Fasciitis
-Disc Pain (often referred to as radiculopathy)

And many more...

A Quick Guide to Breaking Up Pesky Muscle KnotsMuscle knots are possibly the most common thing a massage therapist hears as a primary complaint.

These little nodules in our muscles cause unnecessary stress for us at various points in our lives. With a little education, a lot of peace can happen. We hope this helps.

Call today to make an appointment at 503.281.0278 or book online now!

What is the first thought and emotion that comes to your mind when you hear the word whiplash? What it the first thought and emotion that comes up for you when looking at this picture?

For me, when I hear whiplash and see these images, I instantly tighten my muscles in my neck, shoulders, and upper back and start to get a knot in my stomach and feel pain in my body. Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe neck pain associated with a trauma. The medical terms you will hear doctors use are cervical strain/sprain along with hyperextension/hyperflexion when diagnosing a neck injury.
I'm sure everyone at some point has experienced some sort of neck trauma, whether it is from a car accident, sporting injury, fall or repetitive motions. How many of you still feel pain from those accidents/injuries? I have been in a few car accidents and remember a time whitewater rafting down the White Salmon River when I got whiplash, severe hyperextension of the neck, because of Husum Falls. That was three years ago and I continue to experience chronic pain in my neck and upper back every day along with occasional tinnitus (ringing of the ears) and numbness and tingling in my arms.
Over the course of the last three years I have not found any treatment with massage, chiropractic or acupuncture to provide me with significant pain relief. I have received one of these treatments one-two times a month over the last three years. All of them have provided me with temporarily pain relief and have ensured my success in continuing to do 20-25 hours of massage a week, along with my outdoor activities. However it wasn't until I recently took a class by the Rolf Institute in Advanced Myofascial techniques that I experienced significant pain relief along with increased range of motion in my neck.
In early December 2011, I took a class on the neck, head and jaw along with a two-day class on whiplash/chronic neck pain. In this class we went over the neck anatomy extensively. We also discussed how people can live in a state of chronic whiplash for years and how pain from a trauma can take hours, weeks, day or months to set in. When a massage therapist receives training in a modality, they must also experience the modality; given my past neck injuries I was a great candidate for the class. I experienced significant pain relief for the last month and have been applying these techniques on almost every guest I see at Zama with great success. The third and last day of the class, I felt my eustachian tube (ear canal) adjust and so far I have not experienced any tinnitus. The techniques we learned are very passive and take a while to administer, mainly because we wait for your nervous system to respond which allows for movement. It is best to receive this work over short multiple sessions.
We have many therapists in the office who are trained by the Rolf Institute in the Advanced Myofascial Techniques; they are Juniper Vojta, Jarrod Morrow, Lynn Bukowski and Racheal Kasprzak. Jarrod is the only LMT who has been certified in these trainings whereas Juniper and Lynn have taken many classes but have yet to complete the certification process and Racheal has just gotten started.
Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions about chronic neck pain and what treatment would be the most effective we are happy to help find a solution to fit your needs.
Lynn Bukowski
Founder of Zama Massage

My name is Rory Mohon and I have been practicing massage for just over six years. As a new addition to an already amazing team of therapists I felt it was important to differentiate myself and my approach to massage as well as give you a little more of my background. The modalities I am most proficient in are Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy. I enjoy doing point-specific work and these modalities serve me in my approach. I prefer helping those that need relief from pain, athletes that are looking to take themselves to the next level, no matter the sport, and those who are body-conscious.

Before coming to Zama I worked in a hospital where I was able to hone my skills on patients who had recently suffered an injury, usually from a motor vehicle accident or post-surgery. A typical client would be seen two to three times a week for up to six months. This included everything from sciatica, low back pain, cervical injury and frozen shoulder to everything in between. My work gave me a unique outlook on the cycle of pain and the road to recovery as my days were filled with these cases. Repeatedly seeing these types of injuries not only gave me great insight towards the best exercises and stretches to prescribe in order to strengthen muscle imbalances but also how to approach the areas through touch.

For those that have had the good fortune of never having a sustaining injury I would like to offer some insight to what it is the body goes through and my approach to healing. After a traumatic injury the muscles contract in order to protect- typically the body wants to protect the spine. My job as a massage therapist is to "trick" your body into remembering that it was once in a relaxed, pain-free state. This takes changing the mind-body link or muscle memory on a cellular level.

Typically Myofascial Release is used first as fascia surrounds muscles on a cellular level and can cut the muscles off from blood supply by acting as a type of barrier which in turn keeps the muscle in a contracted state. Once the fascia returns to a more liquid state I turn my attention to the "knots" in the bellies of the affected muscles. I perform Trigger Point Therapy and Deep Tissue to release these areas in the muscle fibers that are contracted and hindering your full range of motion. What people don't usually realize when recovering from an injury is that this takes time and consistency in treatments.

I also enjoy working on people that aren't necessarily injured but just want to reach their full potential within their musculoskeletal system. I love fine-tuning the relationship of joints to one another and helping you to feel youthful within your own body. It is never too late to attain a new state of physical being and prowess, as evidenced by some of my clients in their 90's who still walk with a little spring in their step. It's also never too late to live a life without pain - just ask those I have relieved from pain that had persisted for twenty plus years in some cases. No matter the change you wish to produce I can help.

By Tate Barker, LMT

Cycling weather is finally here and so begins races, touring and long distance rides. Riding a bike can put a lot of stress on your muscles leaving you fatigued, sore and tight. Massage pre and post-ride is very beneficial for faster recovery. Pre-ride massage and passive stretching help to warm and stretch muscles and tissues, helping in injury prevention and enhancing performance. Post-ride massage helps by relieving tension and sore muscles. Massage helps supply blood flow to muscles allowing oxygen nutrients back into the muscle.

Which muscles are used while riding a bike? Primary muscles used are gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. All of these muscles work together to help in pedaling. Depending on the ride's terrain some of these muscles will be used more than others. Outside of these muscle groups other parts of the body become engaged to help give you posture and support on the bike. These areas on the body are your arms, abdominals and lower back. The neck and upper body can become sore from breaking down steep hills and catching head wind on the road.

This will be my 9th year on the massage team for Cycle Oregon - a week-long event where 2,000 cyclists tour around the state. I have extensive experience in helping the cyclists recover from cramping and soreness. I love cycling myself and know how demanding riding is on the body, which is why for the months of July and August I am offering a one hour sports massage with passive stretching for only $55.00 (normally $75.00). Whether you're a cyclist who commutes to work or one who rides one hundred miles every day, your body will greatly benefit from this massage. Call us at 503-281-0278 to make your appointment or make one online.


When people think of massage they usually imagine hand to skin contact with lots of oil, a relaxing hour spent in a competent therapist's hands where tension is literally kneaded out. Thai massage is quite a different picture. You remain fully clothed and no oil is used. It is performed on a mat on the floor or a low table. Typically there is a lot of interaction as the therapist puts you in a variety of positions, many akin to yoga postures. Our clients have described it as invigorating, uplifting and energizing.

Traditional Thai massage is said to have originated more than 2500 years ago as a form of therapy to the Buddha. Since then it has been influenced by Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as well as other ancient Southeast Asian practices.

It is based on energy lines running through the body called Sen lines. During a session these lines are stimulated through gentle rocking, compression and a variety of deep stretches. Many of these techniques may seem similar to myofascial release, trigger point therapy or neuromuscular therapy. The practitioner may use their feet, forearms, elbows, fists or hands. The work is invigorating rather than painful. The idea is to free up the stagnant air or Lom that travel these lines. The rhythm of a Thai massage works closely with your breathing. A typical session will last ninety minutes or more, following a sequence that starts with the feet and encompasses the entire body.

Anyone can benefit from Thai massage, even the most fragile. It is especially recommended for people looking to increase their flexibility, who want increased range of motion in their joints and who are looking for an rejuvenating experience. Because of the emphasis on stretching, it can be unparalleled in loosening up tight hips, stiff low backs and limited shoulder movement. Recently it has even come to be called lazy yoga.

Come in and try a Thai massage today for $10 off through the end of June!    Click here to get your coupon for $10 off.

Trigger Points Self-Care:
What they are, and what you can do about them
By Erika Mueller, LMT

It is very common to see clients who experience regular headaches. Many times a headache is related to tight shoulder and neck muscles, and very often found in those neck and shoulder muscles are trigger points. Working with trigger points is a great way to help relieve some of the discomfort and pain caused by them.

Being aware of trigger points and learning some simple ways to treat them can literally safe you a headache.

A trigger point is a highly irritable localized spot, ranging in pain, that when pushed may or may not refer pain elsewhere in the body. In other words, those little knob like bumps and lumps that hurt really bad when pushed. Trigger points have several causes ranging from poor posture, an injury sustained in a fall or accident, or overexerted/stressed muscles.

Trigger point therapy is a technique that involves the applying of pressure to tender spots found in muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction associated with them.

Sometimes trigger points can cause discomfort in another part of your body. This is known as referred pain. Some examples of referred pain are:

Because it is so important to share tips and information that can help us create balance within our lives here are some that you can utilize.

To decrease the likelihood of developing trigger points take deep breaths throughout your day. Taking deep breaths will elicit a sense of relaxation within your mind and body. Receiving regular massage is a valuable way to prevent trigger points from developing by easing over used and stressed muscles. Massage elicits the rest and relaxation that is vital to muscle function.

For more information on trigger points refer to:

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook
Your self-treatment guide for pain relief
Claire Davies, and Amber Davies

National Quit Smoking Day 2011 is March 9th.
Is this your year?

You already know how smoking can affect your health, and you have probably heard that acupuncture can help you quit smoking.  It's true!  Acupuncture is used with good success to help people stop smoking, and is often a court-mandated treatment for drug addicts because of its ability to reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating.

While no acupuncturist can actually make you quit smoking, they can use what is known at the NADA Five Needle Protocol to help you deal with the stress, cravings, and discomfort that can come with the process of quitting.  Katelyn Decker, now offering a ten treatment package at Zama, which includes ten thirty-minute treatments for $280.  Also available is a five-treatment package for $160.

You'll need to come in twice a week for five weeks for the best results, with occasional follow-up treatments depending on your individual needs.  The treatments, which serve to readjust the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, will support you to naturally overcome the addiction and move towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.  The tiny needles are left in the ears for about fifteen to twenty minutes, while you relax in a chair or on the treatment table and listen to peaceful music.

Katelyn may also prescribe Chinese herbs in order to help you cope with the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms.  You'll love the feeling of accomplishment and improved well-being!

Check out this video on E-health

Not able to commit to a full treatment package yet?  Come in for a health consultation, acupuncture treatment, plus 15 minute tuina massage (This new patient visit is $80 and lasts 90 minutes).

Call us at  503.281.0278 or visit our online appointment makerto get started on your path to health today.

Shoulder Realignment and Restoration Massage
with Troy Lyon LMT

Over the last five years of my massage practice, I have consistently heard one common complaint from my clients: frequent soreness in the neck and shoulders, which is often a result of spending ample time on the computer. In my therapeutic approach to Shoulder Realignment and Restoration Massage, I aim to correct the root problem, realigning and positioning the shoulders back to the position where they belong.

Day after day many of us repeatedly place our shoulders in stressful movements and postures that result from some of the following activities:
~ Countless hours sitting at the computer
~ Talking on the phone with shoulder raised to the ear
~ Carrying heavy items
~ Holding the weight of the world on the shoulders

These tasks and positions place a demand on your shoulders that cause them to remain in that position, such as:
~ Shoulders rounded forward
~ One shoulder higher or lower than the other
~ Protruded neck

These positions may cause you to experience pain in many areas of your body. The most common of these areas is your upper shoulders, back, and neck due to repeated raising, lowering, and rounding of the shoulders. The muscles are pulled right along with your movements, causing you to feel pain. However, the problem is not that you have tightness in your back, but rather tightness in surrounding areas such as the pectoral, deltoid, and other regions of the neck and shoulder. These are the muscles that hold your shoulders in position.

The Solution? To address the discomfort in your neck and shoulders, you need to decrease the tension in the areas that are causing your postural distortion. Note: this is not necessarily where you are feeling your pain and discomfort. Therefore, my intention in my massage practice is to assist you in realigning your natural posture. This means that though I will spend time massaging where it hurts, I may also massage where you do not feel acute pain in an effort to free the entire region of tension to decrease pain and improve your alignment.

I incorporate many different modalities, techniques, and range of motion exercises to address this common situation. My massage may result in a little discomfort at times as I work through the tension-filled area, but I will always encourage you to endure only the discomfort that you can comfortably breathe through.

I acknowledge and appreciate your individual efforts and willingness to seek balance and wellness in your life, and look forward to working with you to reach your health and wellness goals.

To schedule an appointment, please call Zama Massage at (503) 281-0278 or use ouronline appointment maker. Please also feel free to visit my website and contact me directly.

Troy Lyon L.M.T.

Zama Massage Therapeutic Spa

2149 NE Broadway Street
PortlandOregon 97232
Off street parking in back (compact cars only).

Phone: 503.281.0278


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