Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: February 2020

Is breathing the key to alleviating pain?

We take over 21,000 breaths a day without even thinking about it. But maybe we should. Breathing is directly related to core health and mental stability. It affects our alignment and bodily functions.

The diaphragm is our key breathing muscle. It must do the majority of the work so that auxiliary muscles don't become tight and overused. The diaphragm is shaped like a dome. When we inhale, the diaphragm flattens, creating more space for lung expansion. As we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its dome shape. If the diaphragm is weak, other muscles (such as SCM and the scalenes in the front of the neck) will compensate. Over time, these muscles get tight, altering our alignment and making us susceptible to pain and injury.

A weak diaphragm also causes stiffness in the ribcage and thoracic spine, which in turn adversely effects our breathing. Dysfunction in our breathing patterns can lead to a number of ailments, such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, mental stress and anxiety, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and fatigue.

There are many ways to ensure that you are breathing properly. Massage therapy is at the top of my list. You want to find a massage therapist skilled at working with the diaphragm, mobilizing the ribcage and spine, and experienced with releasing the muscles at the front of the neck. Other ways to practice functional breathing include Yoga and meditation. Following along with some of my breathing videos can be done easily and right away!

Try to do a little breathing practice daily and see how it alleviates pain, stiffness, stress, and fatigue. You'll finally breathe a sigh of relief!

Dalton Myoskeletal

Best tennis elbow self massage!

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, can be very tricky to treat. In this video, I'll teach you a self massage to ease pain in the elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand, and gain back wrist and finger mobility. This self massage is not meant to take the place of standard care, but to assist and promote a faster and more complete recovery.

It is highly recommended that you take a break from any activity that is perpetuating your symptoms, i.e. tennis, typing, and other activities that require repetitive hand and wrist movements. Make sure you see your doctor to rule out anything more serious, and ask about massage therapy to reduce tightness, increase flexibility, and improve recovery. Also ask about physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the wrist and fingers.

Follow along with me as we massage away pain, and get started on healing your tennis elbow!


What's new with me ...

Jesse spent a week in Brazil for work. When he came home Saturday morning (after an 11-hour turbulent plane ride), Sienna and I were thrilled to see him, and Jesse was thrilled to see his bed.

I was fortunate to get to go to one of Jesse's sketch meetups. I used to go all the time before Sienna was born. This one was at the Society of Illustrators. I enjoyed the relaxing flow that comes with putting all of my concentration into my sketching.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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Available now!

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