All Posts By

Mark E. Smith

September 9, 2016

Therapeutic Massage: Improving Body, Mind and Spirit

therapeutic massage benefits

There’s no question that a massage – whether by a partner or a professional – can be the ultimate in relaxation.

However, did you know that therapeutic massage has become a scientifically-studied, proven form of treating many permanent disabilities, including spinal cord injuries (SCI)?

Twenty SCI patients, with injury levels between C5 and C7, were involved in a therapeutic massage study. Half were randomly selected to participate in massage therapy for 40 minutes, twice per week. The other control group participated in typical rehab exercise routines twice per week. After five weeks, both groups showed physical improvement. However, the massage therapy group not only showed significantly higher physical improvements, but also lower anxiety and depression scores. Put simply, massage therapy proved dramatically more beneficial than traditional exercise with this SCI study.

So, what specific areas does massage therapy help with?

Circulation

Among those with spinal cord injuries and other movement-restrictive conditions, proper circulation – especially in effected limbs – is among the leading causes of secondary health issues. These issues can range from as seemingly mundane as a tingling sensation to as deadly as blood clots. Therapeutic massage can dramatically improve blood flow as muscles and tissue is stimulated. And, again, with as little as two sessions per week, improved circulation can be sustained.

Range of Motion

For those with a loss of movement, muscles and joints can become limited in range of motion (ROM). At its most severe, limited ROM can lead to contractures, meaning parts of the body become fixed in position – for example, limbs that no longer straighten. Therapeutic massage reduces muscle tension (which even for those with SCIs, muscles may still involuntarily contract). This reduction in tension can allow joints and extremities to have increased ROM, decreasing the likelihood of contractures.

Spasticity and Tone

For those with spasticity and tone, the constant muscle extension and contraction can be fatiguing, painful and frustrating. Through therapeutic massage, the relation of the muscles can decrease these symptoms. Fatigue often exacerbates spasticity and tone, whereas relaxation can decrease it. By relaxing the muscles through therapeutic massage, the adverse effects of spasticity and tone are often dramatically decreased, allowing improved muscle control.

Emotional Well-being

Getting back to the aforementioned study, therapeutic massage has proven benefits beyond the physical. Disability experience can be difficult and stressful. Knowing the mind-body connection, relaxing one can relax the other. Those undergoing therapeutic massage universally express lower anxiety and less depression, a correlation to releasing endorphins and other chemicals that improve emotional mood and mental health.

Therapeutic Massage as Modern Medicine

When it comes to therapeutic massage, it’s no longer a mystery: modern medicine proves its benefits not only for the physical, but the emotional and mental. More and more outpatient rehabilitation facilities offer therapeutic massage, and it’s recommended for many with spinal cord injuries and other conditions for dramatic improvements in quality of life – mind, body and soul.

New technologies in therapeutic massage products can provide the next best thing to your own personal massage therapist. For soothing, kneading massage to ease sore neck and shoulder muscles, try the Osaki Kneading Massage Belt.

Kneading Massage Belt

Kneading Massage Belt

OmKnee Foot Massager

OmKnee Foot Massager

 

 

 

 

 

 

The OmKnee Foot Massager offers shiatsu massage to the feet and legs, and heated air-pressure massage to your calves and knees to increase circulation and ease knee pain.

 

For the ultimate in massage and relaxation, check out the Refresh Massage chair. Recline, relax and enjoy a full body compression massage any time! See our full range of therapeutic massage products at Spinlife.com.

therapeutic massage chair

Refresh Massage Chair

September 6, 2016

Employment Among the Disabled: Challenges and Progress

Employment and disabilities

Employment rates among the disabled community are a topic of much discussion.

When it comes to employment, socio-economics and those with disabilities, we often hear grim statistics. For example, 28.1% of those with disabilities live below the poverty line compared to 11.6% of the general population.

However, such statistics, while unfortunately true, don’t reflect other, brighter socio-economic dynamics of the lives of those with disabilities. Employment rates are one of them.

It’s often touted that those with disabilities have an astronomically high unemployment rate of around 70%. Yet, when we look at the actual statistics, the realities are both revealing and encouraging.

Cornell University performed a landmark study that gathered employment statistics on those with disabilities. In 2014, 34.6% of those with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 were employed. Further, an additional 9.2% of those with disabilities were actively seeking jobs. That data puts those with disabilities in the workforce at a remarkable 43.8%. That’s astonishingly better than the 70% unemployment rate that’s often inaccurately touted.

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August 26, 2016

The Power of Powered Mobility

The power of power mobility

Power Mobility Empowers.

When it comes to mobility, every day without it is a day lost. Mobility empowers and liberates us. Mobility allows us to pursue education, family, career, and community – the aspects of life that we all want, need, and deserve.

Interestingly, everyone’s individual mobility needs differ for countless reasons, from specific condition to age. However, what’s wonderful is that there is a vast array of mobility products to help maximize one’s independence. In this wide realm of liberating products are motorized mobility products – or power mobility, as it’s often called – and its diverse applications are truly life-inspiring.

Power Assist Base

Power Assist Base

Power mobility can be as common as a scooter, as mid-range as a power chair, as complex as a custom rehab power chair, or as innovative as an add-on drive system for a manual wheelchair. All, however, result in the same outcome: personal liberation.

 

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August 18, 2016

Baby Boomers revisited: The truth about Zoomers

Senior couple having a coffee in a bar. taking selfie with smart phone

 

If you are one of the baby boomers – or have a loved one who is – you are not alone, that’s for sure.

Post WWII, 77.3 million Baby boomers, as coined by the New York Post back in the day, were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, that places the baby boomer generation between the ages of 52 and 70. Historically, in previous generations, this meant slowing down and retiring. However, for this generation, retiring may not mean slowing down, but simply changing directions! Yes, Boomers are the new Zoomers.

As sociologists have researched, the trait that makes Baby Boomers different than previous generations is that they’ve maintained an indomitable spirit of growth. This traces back to their coming of age in the 1960s, where personal growth became a cultural norm. That same spirit remains with them today, regardless of their age.

From civil rights to physical fitness, Baby Boomers continue to push the envelope, embracing change and growth.

In 2016, when we look at the demographics of which age groups are traveling the most, adopting technology at lightning-fast rates, and are pursuing late-in-life courtships in growing numbers, Boomers and Zoomers top the charts. You might say, you’re more likely to find Boomers texting on their smart phone than having a conversation on a porch swing.

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August 10, 2016

Cruise your Community in a Personal Mobility Vehicle

Personal Mobility Vehicles on a path

Personal Mobility Vehicle? Imagine cruising around a private community. Maybe you’re headed to the golf course, swimming pool, tennis court or club house.

You’re probably meeting up with neighbors and friends. The ride there isn’t in a car. No, it’s far more practical and, yes, fun. You’re on a comfy captain’s seat. The vehicle’s suspension soaks up bumps. Lights and turn signals are at your thumbs. And, the warm breeze blows through your hair. All this may sound like a high-end golf cart. However, it’s a rapidly growing trend in senior and private communities that’s far more practical and captivating: full-size outdoor scooters, or a Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV), as they’re officially called.

To rework a phrase, these aren’t your average scooters. PMVs are lifestyle-based, designed to get you to the country club in luxury and style. PMVs are a very convenient, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly way to travel around private communities.

For starters, PMVs are large scooters, typically sized in-between a mobility scooter and a golf cart. Although not made for indoor use, a Personal Mobility Vehicle is ready for sidewalks and bike paths, with features and performance not found on typical mobility scooters.

Starting with creature comforts, PMVs have high-end, automotive-style seating, with a cockpit to match. Roomy foot platforms allow tons of leg room, and moving up the adjustable tiller, you’ll find cup holders and interior courtesy lights. Steering is most commonly by a loop-around steering wheel, with throttle controls on its back edge, surrounded by turn-signal and light switches, as well as a horn. A LCD dashboard gives line-of-sight data, such as speed, tripometer, and battery gauge. Of course rear-view mirrors and automatic brake lights most often round-out the features.

Personal mobity vehicle looks like a motorcycle

Pride Mobility Sport Rider

As for performance, that too separates PMVs from other scooters. PMVs are designed for true community use and transportation. As such, they’re designed to go faster, further, smoother. The average Personal Mobility Vehicle  travels up to around 9 mph, with a battery range of 25 miles or more, with very sophisticated suspension and even disc brakes. As a result, you can cover a lot of ground quickly and comfortably. This makes PMVs a very convenient, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly way to travel around private communities.

With such luxury, performance and convenience, accessories are a popular addition. Depending on model, accessories ranging from storage trunks to golf bag holders to canopies are available.

Personal mobilty vehicle for the golf course King Cobra PGV

Drive Medical King Cobra Personal Golf Vehicle

 

 

 

There are a few important notes on use. Firstly, PMVs are not street-legal so they should only be used on designated pedestrian or bike routes, and in areas of private communities where allowed. Secondly, some PMVs with turf tires are allowed on golf courses; however, always check with the individual golf course regarding their rules.

 

 

 

It might sound odd to refer to a scooter as “cool,” but when you park your PMV next to the others at the club house – shined-up, with a bit of a hot-rod look to it – there’s really is something fun and cool about that!