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The True Value of Therapeutic Vibration - Part 1

Note: This post is an excerpt from Chuck's upcoming book on Coaching The Body®. Percussion: A Brief History Many people have become aware of CTB via our therapeutic vibration/percussion tool, the Muscle Liberator™. It gets peoples’ attention to see someone get treated with what looks like a power drill. While I’m very excited about the ... Read more

Hyperpronation, A Major Key To Sciatic Pain

How Using Trigger Point Phenomena Can Make You a Pain Hacking Hero   Most people don't think of the feet and ankles as potent instigators of pain elsewhere in the body. I know I didn't when I started out. But 15 years of clinical observation have made it abundantly clear to me. Many of my ... Read more

The Direct Referral Problem

So. We've been talking a lot about latent trigger points, and how they can fire constant nociception into the nervous system, causing chronic pain. (By the way, if you happened to miss my most recent article about this, you can read it here.) But what about active trigger points? Many therapists and non-bodyworking-professionals know something ... Read more

Pain and Nociception - Part 2

Our last post discussed nociception, a phenomenon in which the nervous system sends "danger signals" throughout the body, thus creating a pain response. When pain becomes chronic, the central nervous system (CNS) has ratcheted up its sensitivity, to the point where even the most benign stimuli can create a pain response. At this point, the ... Read more

Pain and Nociception Part 1

In the last article, we talked about the fascinating topic of neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to change its wiring on the fly. This is one of the ideas the Coaching The Body methodology is built on.But in order to apply the principle of neuroplasticity to the treatment of chronic and severe pain, you ... Read more

Neuroplasticity: Changing Your Wiring On The Fly

This week, I want to talk about neuroplasticity. This fascinating development in neuroscience has become a hot topic across the alternative health field—and we're just beginning to comprehend the incredible adaptive capacity of the human brain. It's pretty exciting!The old school medical paradigm believed that once we were fully developed adults, the brain was basically fixed. As in, done ... Read more

Understanding and Treating Frozen Shoulder: A New Approach

The supraspinatus muscle and tendon as it passes beneath the acromion

Understanding the True Origins of Frozen Shoulder Pain Frozen shoulder is a stressful experience for anyone. The term itself is only descriptive, and not a reliable diagnosis. The “frozen” aspect refers to an extreme limitation of pain-free movement, but in my experience, this is in general not due to capsular adhesions, but splinting adaptation from ... Read more

Treating Sciatica With CTB By Addressing Gluteal Trigger Points

Gluteus Minimus - The Sciatica Muscle

Most sciatic pain is caused by trigger points in muscles. Sciatica is the most common lower body pain complaint that we see in our clinic.  It is a description of radiating leg pain, not a diagnosis. Although most physicians and physical therapists will assume that it is caused by nerve entrapment in the lumbar spine ... Read more

Treating Tennis Elbow with Clinical Thai Bodywork


Tennis-Elbow-Diagram-400Amy Carr of TimeOut Chicago magazine came in a few years ago for a treatment. She's a tennis player, and wanted help with a persistent pain issue that had been bothering her for almost a year. Her pain was diagnosed as tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, and she had seen several practitioners since the previous March without getting much relief.

Her report on our session appeared in the Feb. 5, 2009 issue of TimeOut Chicago, and to quote an excerpt, "Combining his knowledge of anatomy and Western medicine with Thai massage techniques, Duff gives my aching tennis elbow more relief than a year of cortisone shots and chiropractic visits..." Which is flattering, but in truth, cases like this are relatively easy to address by anyone with the right training.

It's all about your worldview. Allopathic western practitioners almost invariably assume that pain near a joint (for example, elbow, knee, lumbar vertebrae) is due to injury, dysfunction in the joint, or a mysterious onset of inflammation (tendonitis) in the tendons and ligaments that cross the joint. A quick Google search of tennis elbow will find thousands of pages all explaining what the "injury" of tennis elbow is all about. This often mistaken attitude about joint pain is what leads to the 3 common and frequently ineffective therapies that we hear in a litany from our clients: anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots and surgery. Unfortunately, many are still being told to ice their elbow, which is the worst possible strategy. While we consider our western medical system to be firmly based in science, one wonders what scientific reasoning is at work in the face of a great deal of evidence that these approaches usually don't work to actually relieve pain.

...Duff gives my aching tennis elbow more relief than a year of cortisone shots and chiropractic visits... Amy Carr, Editor, TimeOut Chicago

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Ice Your Tissues, Freeze Your Issues - The Illusory Appeal of Icing


pitcher-iceDr. Gabe Mirkin coined the term RICE -- for rest, ice, compression and elevation -- in his best-selling book The Sportsmedicine Book ((Little Brown and Co., page 94)) in 1978. The practice of icing anything that hurts, feels tight, or seems "injured" has gained widespread acceptance among practitioners of all types - sports medicine, PTs, athletic trainers, coaches, personal trainers and more. As a clinical bodyworker who mostly sees clients with fairly severe pain complaints, I can say that virtually every one of them has been told to ice, and most did until they began working with me.

Unfortunately, the practice of icing was based upon questionable science -- which has since been conclusively debunked. Dr. Mirkin retracted the protocol that made him famous in an article that he wrote in June, 2013, Ice Delays Recovery from Injuries. In that article, he cites a study by the Cleveland Clinic showing that ice delays healing by reducing the body's production of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor - a compound that is present in the fluid that surrounds inflamed tissues. Dr. Mirkin later expanded upon that article with another post in March, 2014, Why Ice Delays Recovery.

Healing is delayed by cortisone-type drugs, nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, applying cold packs or ice, and anything else that blocks the immune response to injury - Dr. Gabe Mirkin, originator of the RICE protocol.

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