A large percentage of my clients come in because they are in pain.  Many of these cases are complicated involving significant muscle imbalances, long standing postural issues, gait and movement issues, repetitive work activities, referring nerve pains, as well as chronic health challenges such as fibromyalgia and CFS. Many of these people have run the gambit with doctors, specialist, therapies, drugs, and often many various test and evaluations. They have been told a lot of complicated medical theories. They are looking for answers, and more importantly, they want to feel better.

As a massage therapist I spend a lot of time studying and learning new ways to help. Massage training over the past 18 years I’ve been doing this has increasingly become more and more complex, delving deeper and deeper into how and why pain presents in the body, how our perceptions of pain are involved, the intricacies of biomechanical relationships in the body, neural patterning, golgi tendon organs, muscle proprioceptors, the mind body connection, and on and on.

Yes, massage therapy, with it all it offers, is a excellent healing modality that often works where conventional medicine does not. However, beyond the technical and advanced techniques of manual therapy, and beyond the immense benefit of safe, compassionate, caring, touch, there is a basic, powerful benefit from massage, that is often overlooked and under appreciated. It is the benefit of circulation, moving metabolic waste materials from the tissues and moving fluids, blood, oxygen, nutrients, into the tissues. This alone can support sigificant improvement in ones health and wellbeing.

Lets look briefly at just one aspect that can have a significant impact on how you feel and the quality of health overall, that is lactic acid.

lac•tic ac•id

a colorless syrupy organic acid produced in the muscle tissues during strenuous exercise.

a three-carbon organic acid produced by anaerobic respiration. L-Lactic acid in muscle and blood is a product of glucose and glycogen metabolism;

How does this translate to in how I feel or my overall health?

In terms of what I am writing about here, A temporary buildup of lactic acid can be caused by vigorous or prolonged exercise if your body doesn’t have enough available oxygen to break down glucose in the blood. This can cause a burning feeling in the muscle groups you’re using. It can also cause nausea, weakness, exhaustion/fatigue, muscle cramps, pain.

By definition “vigorous or prolonged exercise’ can mean different things for different people. Whats more important is “if your body doesn’t have enough available oxygen to break down glucose in the blood”. Lactic acid buildup occurs when there’s not enough oxygen in the muscles to break down glucose and glycogen. This is called anaerobic metabolism, where the cells start using the glycogen for creating energy more than using oxygen. Not only is this less effecient and create lower levels of energy output, it changes the cell environment more acid pH. It is this environment that is responsible for the symptoms you feel listed above.