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    Where is your low-back pain coming from?

    November 13, 2017
    The importance the quad and psoas play in lower back pain. Lower back pain is one of the most common physical complaint.  It can manifest in many ways, ranging from localized pain to searing sciatic pain radiating down the legs.  One of the biggest complaints that go along with low back pain are tight hamstrings.  This pain can be misleading. Most of the time the hamstrings feel tight, it’s because the psoas and quadriceps (P&Q) are pulling them taught.  When the P&Q’s contract they pull the torso down, most people don’t like to walk like Quasimodo so the try to stand up straight, pulling their hips forward, flattening their spine, adding tension to their hamstrings and lower back.  This position compresses the discs, tightens all the surrounding muscles and can create low back pain. So, what can you do about it?  The long-term solution is to strengthen your core and glutes, but when you are in pain, strengthening something is usually the furthest thing from your mind! Below are two stretches that can help loosen up the quads and psoas, these moves can take some of the pressure off the pulleys that are adding to your back pain. The Lunge Stretch: Go into a lunge position, grab your back foot and pull it toward your butt.  If you can’t reach your leg, you can use a belt as an assist.  As you pull your rear foot to your butt rock forward increasing the tension on the back quad and psoas.  Hold each rock for 2-4 seconds then come out of them.  Repeat both sides 8-10 times.                   Split Squat Stretch: Put one foot up on a chair (just your shoelaces) pull that knee as close to the chair as possible.  The other leg should be in front at a 90-degree angle.  Lean back holding the stretch for 8-10 seconds and then lean forward taking pressure off.  Repeat 3-5 times.               Here is a video that shows you everything in a little more detail. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments or check us out at www.metatouch.com Thanks for watching, Holden

    Why do you do what you do?

    October 3, 2017
    Why do you do what you do? Have you noticed when you are in a social setting and someone asks, “What do you do?” most of us have a set answer…But what would you say if someone asked you why you do what you do? I was asked this the other day and it threw me for a bit of a loop.  I’ve been healing bodies for over 20 years and have my pitch down to a science. “This is what I do, how it helps people so you should try it!  But what is the real reason I do what I do? My first iteration was, “I do this work because I like helping people and it allows me to feed my family.”  Then I thought, is that really the reason I’ve been doing this for the last 20 some odd years?  As I was racking my brain, I remembered one of my first goals when I started this business, “I want people to leave different than they came in.”  Before I started the business, I did a ton of research, getting treatments everywhere, interviewing different business and spa owners, and the one thing I kept noticing was that I left each treatment the same as I came in.  Sure, I was more relaxed but after that wore off, was anything different?  Unfortunately, the answer was no. So, I made a promise that every client that walks into our clinic, walks out different and better than when they came in. What is my why you ask?  Why I have been doing this work for over 20 years and still am passionate about it?  Because I love the change that can occur!  When I see someone writhing in pain when they walk in our office and walk out skipping and smiling, that gets me higher than any drug ever could! That is my why, I want to rid the world of pain one body at a time.  We accomplish this on an individual basis and in a corporate wellness environment, helping workers be more productive and happy by being in less pain. What is your why?  What gets you out of bed in the morning?  What is your purpose?  What gets you excited and feeds your soul? Tell me!  Leave your why in the comment section, I would love to hear what inspires you.   Holden  

    What are you working out for?

    September 14, 2017
    Today I was having a conversation with my amazing trainer Kurt Elder at www.energyfxfitness.com.  I had mentioned that I want to work my legs more.  And his response was “what for?”  I had to think about it for a minute.  Why did I want to wok my legs more…was it because I wanted them to look bigger?  Or did I want them stronger so that I could kick harder when I do martial arts and jump higher when I play volleyball? Because what I choose will greatly affect the types of workouts I will be doing. If you work out solely for ascetics, you might grow big muscles, but they won’t necessarily be very functional.  Think about a long-distance runner, are they super muscular?  No, because the more muscle they carry, the heavier they will be, more weight=more effort over time under tension.  That’s why most marathon runners are usually very thin and lean. This is compared to a bodybuilder whose main goal is to look good on stage, not perform endurance exercises. So, I decided to cater my workouts to increase my vertical on the volleyball court and increase the speed and flexibility of my kicks.  My legs might not look like tree trunks but they will move the way I want them to.   What do you want to get out of your workouts?  Stability due to an injury, weight loss, looks or conditioning for a sport?  Make sure you cater your workouts to your actual goal. Author: Holden Zalma www.metatouch.com

    Student Athletes, what to do in the off season

    May 31, 2017
    Kids are coming home from college this month for the summer, and a few are student athletes.  If there is one thing I know well it is student athletes.  I started my career at USC working with the football, swimming, soccer, volleyball team and many other sport teams. A lot of these schools, if they are division 1 or 2 have their own training rooms, strength coaches and entire programs to keep their student athletes healthy and in prime condition. So what happens when they get home?  Some continue to train and others take a much-needed break.  The problem I’ve found, as with most professional sports, there is a huge focus on training for the game but not necessarily for the overall health of the athlete. One thing you need to emphasize with your kids is the importance of cross training.  For example a soccer player just wants to play soccer and figures that’s all they need to do to train.  But what happens when they pull a hamstring?  Do you just rehab the hamstring or look at why the pull happened in the first place?  Did your athlete take a quick turn to fast, or was it because his core was so week that it couldn’t stabilize his hips, which threw his back out that then caused an imbalance in his pelvis, resulting in his hamstring being pulled. What I’m trying to show is that there are usually bigger causes to what can sometimes be seen as an isolated injury. How do you prevent this from happening?  Have your athlete cross train in the offseason.  Now this doesn’t mean if they are runners, that they have to hit the weight room and build a bunch of unnecessary muscle.  But instead work on stability and core strength to help make them even more effective runners. Incorporating core movements can help not only make them be better athletes but also function better in their daily lives. If you have questions or would like to do an evaluation of your athlete to help pinpoint imbalances and design a plan give us a call at 310-397-3422 or www.metatouch.com

    To swing or not to swing?

    September 7, 2016
    With this job I listen to peoples hopes, wants and desires everyday.  One that I hear more than others is how they wish they had a job that helped people or made a difference in the world.  I feel very lucky because I actually have the chance to do that every day.  This past week was a good example of that. What I do has not always been the easiest to explain.  I don’t really fall into a specific category; massage therapist doesn’t really properly describe what I bring to my clients.  My technique uses multiple modalities with a purpose, not just to get someone out of pain but also to find out where the true problem is coming from.  Over the next few months I will start posting client stories, video testimonials and video blogs about what happens and the types of treatments I do along with the results I achieve.  I hope that this will help better explain what I really do. The golf pro A man comes into to my office with almost all hope lost.  John is a golf pro.  Golf is his life, he teaches it, loves to play and hopes to get on the pro circuit one day.  John has had chronic neck and shoulder pain for the past 3 years but six months ago something happened and his condition got much worse.  He has now lost the ability to swing the club.  If he makes one or two swings, he is in excruciating pain for the next six days.  John went to his doctor, who prescribed physical therapy.  For six-month John went to PT 3 times a week, did all the exercises, also did yoga 3 times a week and did not swing a club, per their request.  At the end of the six months the PT informed John could finally swing a club again.  John goes out to the range swings the club and is in excruciating pain again for 6 days.  Six months of PT, time and money spend all to be in the same position he started.  This is when he found me.  John’s hopes were low and confidence that I could make any difference were skeptical at best. Just by looking at John in my initial consultation I had a pretty good ideas what was causing his pain.  PT was focusing on strengthening his shoulder in an attempt to make it more stable.  The first thing I noticed was his posture.  His head was forward; his hips were forward and he had almost no lumbar curvature. (Curve in the lower back).  I believed that his shoulder pain had very little to do with his shoulder but had more to with a compressed disc in his neck and a pelvis that was not sitting right. John prided himself on his good posture but what I pointed out, was that his good posture was actually not very good at all and was causing most of his pain. I opened up his

    Why can’t I stretch that far?

    August 3, 2016
    Every day I have clients come in complaining of stiffness that just won’t go away.  No matter how much they stretch, they just can’t loosen their muscles.  For example, they want to bend their leg past a certain point, but it just won’t go.  The thought is that their tight muscles are limiting their range of motion and if loosened, all will be well. When in reality their stiffness has very little, if nothing to do with tightness of their muscles. Their rigidity has more to do with physics and fulcrums then tight muscles! If you forgot what a fulcrum is from high school physics, here’s the simple explanation: The point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots. Most of the major joints in the body, like the hip and the shoulder, are ball and socket joints.  They rotate within a space and move as far as the capsule position will allow.  Now if you noticed I said the “capsule’s position”, if the position is off or displaced then the range of motion will be limited.   So what feels like tightness is actually an alignment issue.  Return the alignment back to normal and so will return the full range of motion. This same scenario can cause the misdiagnosis of many different conditions such as; carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, bursitis and knee pain just to name a few.  So before you opt for going under the knife or getting an injection, make sure you truly understand where your problem is coming from first. Author: Holden Zalma L.M.T, Alternative Health Practitioner and founder of the MetaTouch Technique and MetaTouch Therapeutic Massage and Wellness Center. www.metatouch.com

    Pregnancy: You have a lot more control than you think!

    May 20, 2016
    Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life filled with much excitement and joy.  But along with all the happy feelings come the fear of the unknown, changes in her body, mood and being bombarded with too much conflicting information. I remember when we were pregnant with my son his mother went through horrible morning sickness, swollen ankles, back pain, numbness in her hands not to mention bouts of uncontrollable crying.  When we went to the doctor and asked if there was anything we could do to help with her myriad of symptoms, we were told all we could do was take Tylenol.  This didn’t seem like a good solution at all. As new soon to be parents, we were scared that everything we did might potentially hurt the baby, and searching the internet only worsened every fear and anxiety.  The irony was I had already been in the healing world for 5 years and she was a labor and delivery nurse!  It just goes to show you that practitioners make the worst patients!  But we did learn… Fast forward, my son is now 15 years old, healthy and happy and his mom is too.  But in those 15 years, being in the healing business and seeing thousands of pregnant women in our practice, the one thing I can say is that the human body is very resilient and so is the baby growing inside of you.  It is really hard to hurt your unborn child unless you truly want to; drinking, smoking, drugs and hard impacts or trauma to the body.  Other than that the baby won’t come out unless it really wants to! What I did find out is that most of the conditions that my son’s mother had during her pregnancy were treatable safely and easily without endangering the mother or child. The body during pregnancy goes through massive changes.  With the help of our specialized treatments we can lesson or eliminate back pain, swelling, numbness in the hands and feet along with stopping neck pain quickly and easily.  When pain is decreased and a proper diet and exercise routine is introduced, a lot of the symptoms of morning sickness and mood swings can be lessened. Also with the help of acupuncture and massage we work to balance the body making the pregnancy a smoother and pleasant process.  This same balancing can assist in the fertility process without harsh drugs or procedures to help get you pregnant in the first place. Happy bodies make happy babies! If you would like to have more information about how we can take care of you during your pregnancy, please check us out at http://www.metatouch.com/services/pregnancy-massage Author: Holden Zalma, CEO, Alternative Health Practitioner of MetaTouch Therapeutic Massage and Wellness Center Holden has been treating patients with his specialized MetaTouch Technique for the past 20 years and is seen as one of the top practitioners in his field. 

    The Belly…It’s more than just a button!

    February 26, 2016
    If you’ve read any of the other blogs I’ve written over the years, you’ll tend to see a bit of a trend…  I’m a firm believer that when you think something is coming from one place it usually is coming from somewhere else.  Today I’m going to discuss your belly, not because you have a stomach ache or want to see what new piercing you’re going to get, but to see how it can be a starting point for a lot of your pain. So think about it this way, the belly is in the center of your body.  Anything that happens in this area can effect everything above, below or both!  I know I said we’re not going to talk about a stomach ache but it does work as a good example.   What happens when your stomach hurts?  Because of the pain, you crunch forward, curling your back and flattening your lower spine.  So what if that pain was constant?  You would be constantly crunching forward.  This posture pushes your head forward, flattens your back and shortens your quads.  This can lead to low back pain, neck pain and your hands going numb, just to name a few. So what I’ve found, is if there is any trauma to the mid section (spasm, strain, surgery…etc) you run the risk of developing symptoms that can be completely unrelated to but end up originating from this area.  I had a client that couldn’t turn her head.  She had every treatment under the sun addressing her neck but the pain and mobility would never improve.  I opened up her belly and within 3-minutes her range of motion increased by 40% and her pain went from a 10 to a 2! One thing you can do for yourself when you’re not feeling 100%, is rub your belly!  With firm pressure make circles in a clockwise direction starting with big circles then moving to smaller more focused ones.  If you feel a tender spot, gently go over that spot till it calms down, you can do this with some lotion or dry.  Add a little peppermint oil or menthol rub to help warm up the area even more.   This move will aid everything from digestion to posture and back pain.  For anything else, give us a call at MetaTouch and let one of our expert therapists get to the bottom of what’s ailing you. Author: Holden Zalma, CEO Alternative Health Practitioner MetaTouch  

    The Harm of Static Stretching vs. Rolling

    February 19, 2016
    How much good is your stretching actually doing? This is probably one of the most common questions I get when it comes to exercising and working out.  When do I stretch? Or why should I roll? When I was in high school I played JV Volleyball.  I wasn’t very good, actually my nick name was “Feet o’ Cement” if that tells you anything about my speed and agility! The first thing I remember is that the coach made us do all this stretching before we even warmed up.  After all that stretching I never understood why I felt so exhausted and even slower than I was before.  If my nick name was any indication, I couldn’t really afford to do anything that would slow me down even more! So later in life, research finally gave an explanation for what was happening. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proved that static stretching, which is when you hold a position for a duration of time, can actually decreases strength and power in the muscle.  The study concentrated on the effects that static stretching had on runners but the information can be applied to other activities. Part of the reason strength and power decrease after static stretching is that it relaxes the muscles and associated tendons. This relaxation reduces the stretch response. Because a muscle and its tendons store energy when being rapidly stretched (often called a countermovement), reducing this stretch response weakens the athlete. Essentially, running or exercising after static stretching requires more energy and decreases performance. This study demonstrated that static stretching does, in fact, reduce endurance performance, at least at the beginning of a run. The effect is probably caused by a reduction in running economy, and while it seems to fade over the course of a long run, it’s significant at the beginning of a run. Enough so that static stretching should be avoided even in long distance runners. So an alternative to static stretching is rolling, this can help bring blood to the area and help break up facial restrictions without reducing the stretch response.  This can be done both pre and post workout.  Rolling is also a very good tool to help break up spasms allowing the muscle to function normally again. So what this proved was that even though my coach thought he was helping us warm up and prevent injury, he was actually doing the complete opposite.  So I think that’s why I was so slow on the court….at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 😉 Author: Holden Zalma, LMT, Alternative Health Practitioner CEO MetaTouch www.metatouch.com  

    Service business vs. Product what are the challenges?

    December 3, 2015
    In the next few months I’m going to be talking a little bit more on what it takes to create a successful business in addition to my normal tips and insights….Let me know what you think in the comment section! I think owning a service business comes with its own set of challenges.  Our revenues are dictated by time and people instead of units and products.  For us who charge by the hour, because we can’t add more hours to the day, this means we can only grow by adding staff and increasing the number of people serviced. This comes with its own set of challenges, every time you add additional staff, your overhead increases.  You will then need additional space, supplies and increased personnel costs.  This compared to a product driven model, where if the demand increases you just increase production.  The cost of that increase in production can be factored into the price of the product.   The other difference between a service business and a product driven model, is relationships.  A service business is built on the direct interactions it has with its customers.  Those relationships can make or break the business.  Word of mouth and referrals are the main drivers in sustaining a repeat clientele.  With out that referral stream the cost to constantly generate new clientele would absorb any profits gained. With a product based business; exposure, presentation, need and functionality are the main drivers of sales.  With a product the customer sees it, wants it and buys it.  The guy in the back that is putting it together doesn’t matter.  With a service it is all about the guy in the back!   So the way you create a successful service business is focus on your relationships!  This starts from the first point of contact.  This can be the person on the other side of the phone when they call or how you interact with a potential new client when you meet them in the grocery store.  Professionalism and compassion must be conveyed at all times.  The customer experience is key!  If they are led through the entire process with a white glove and a soft shoulder you will have them for life.  So what do I mean by a soft shoulder?  Humans like to feel wanted and listened to. Make the customer feel like they are the only person in the world and do this with genuine intentions.  If you follow these rules you will be amazed at the results.  Your concern and quality service will differentiate you from the rest of the crowd. Author: Holden Zalma Healer and founder of MetaTouch Therapeutic Massage and Wellness center www.metatouch.com
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