Understanding Massage with Sean Pamphile, LMT

by Libby Jennison

Sean Pamphile is a very talented Licensed Massage Therapist that I have the honor of receiving treatments from.  His touch and massage are always purpose driven and intentional.  I love it!  Here is an email conversation from Sean and myself where Sean discusses “what it happening” when one receives a massage physiologically within the body.  Thank you Sean!

(Not too sure why my text won’t change to a larger font.  Use the zoom tool under View on your toolbar, or command +… my apologies.)

1. What do you think about most when someone is on the table?

When a client lays on my table I am thinking about muscles.  My hands are relaying a mental picture for me which allows me to plan my treatment.  The conversation is to distract from the intensity of the triggers being released, however after this process happens I do drift and my thoughts can dwell on my family, friends, food.  Sometimes I get what I call a spiritual connection where I feel a greater sense of compassion.

2. What is your approach?  We spoke the other day about there being many different modalities.  What is yours?

     My approach is very simple.  First I practice Neuro Muscular Therapy (N.M.T.).  Its principles teach that muscle pain is caused by poor blood flow, nerve entrapment or compression, postural distortion, biochemical dysfunction and trigger points. So, lets look at each one of these concepts.
Poor blood flow-
     Blood flow is very important.  It is how our cells get rid of waste, get energy, oxygen, and other nutriments and chemicals.  When blood flow is compromised muscles can become toxic and don’t function properly.  The brain treats this as an injury sending neurotransmitor substance p to simulate pain nerves so you wont move the muscle.  What compromises blood flow? Tight muscles and fascia.
     Fascia is connective tissue that wraps around muscles, organs, and creates structural planes in the body for support.  It is sticky in nature.  It forms to repetitive movement and can become hard and restrict movement.  It can also entrap nerves and blood supply.  If you have ever cleaned raw chicken it is the white film that is on the meat.
Nerve entrapment and compression-
     There are many nerves in the muscle that make it function, and like blood flow, if it is compromised muscles won’t operate properly.
Biochemical dysfunction-
     This deals with the brain producing neurotransmitors that control muscle.  Three main nerves in the muscle gogli nerve (limits length), spindle nerve (controls contraction), and motor nerve (action).  If the brain doesn’t produce enough of these neurotransmitors then the muscle is limited.
Postural distortion-
      Most common is leg height or scoliosis.  This will cause one or several muscle to work harder.  This type of stress will cause the muscle to over develop and over power the complementing or opposite muscle and cause pain.
Trigger points-
     A trigger is a neurological center in a muscle which causes it to contract the muscle.  By applying pressure to it you can break up the signal and cause the muscle to release.
     So first I warm the body/soft tissue area by deep gliding stroke.  This will promote blood flow, loosen any scar tissue or fascia.  Deep gliding also stimulates the brain causing neurotransmitors to be created which helps in the function of proper muscle and nerve function.  So just by deep gliding in the right direction you can release tension and sometimes this is all one needs.  However, trigger points may need to be released in the muscle.  Postural distortion can sometimes be corrected if it was caused by tight muscles.
     I like using this technique because it gives results.  My clients at first complain about the intensity of the therapy (the pain) however after a few treatments they don’t even notice.  However, I base my pressure on how it is stimulating the body.  I also revisit an area several times to get it to release and muscles release when they want too or when the brain haves produced enough neurotransmitors for this to happen.
      There will be side affects.  Sometimes, depending on the therapy, soreness is normal.  It may last up to four days, though usually it will last no more than 48 hrs.  This is due to toxins (waste in the muscles) that have been released during therapy. You may even feel flu like symtoms too.  All normal.  That is we always say drink lots of water to help flush these toxins out and rehydrate the muscles.  Resting is important, taking it easy for the next couple of days, allowing your body to heal.
3. What are the benefits of massage?
Well the benefits are numerous.  I like to explain it like this: what you touch on the outside stimulates the inside.  So real simple- skin and muscle, nerves, and the brain are the key componants here.  We stimulate the skin and muscles which activate different nerves.  Now we have nerves that feel different types of pressure (light to deep), temperature, space (balance), pain and the best pleasure.  All this information goes to the brain where neuro-transmitors are created.  Neuro transmitors are chemicals the brain creates and it is specific for that person.  So dopamine which controls muscles and emotions we all make but our body has its own recipe for making it.  So when we are feeling down or our body feels slow our brain is not producing enough dopamine. Neuro transmitors also stimulate the nerves that control every system in our body.  To name some of these systems: digestive, endocrine, cardio, these are the main important ones.  When these systems are functioning properly then they indirectly help other systems in your body function properly. Massage can help manage most physcial and mental ailments barring disease and fractures and tears.  Therefore when you get a massage you are causing the brain to re-tune the body completely.  The human body is meant to be touched everyday, so getting a professional massage and making physical contact with people daily is key to our well being.
4. Do you think that people under utilize massage?
     Yes!!!  In ancient times massage was done daily.  It sometimes was done communaly.  What better way to bond as a group then to tend to each other.  The number one reason why people don’t get massages is they don’t know what it’s about.  There is a massage technique for whatever pains you.  I feel that we in the industry haven’t done a good job at promoting ourselves and services.  Regular massage can make a big diference in your well being.  Think of it as a tune up.  Especially as we get older, our body slowes down– its a fact.  It needs the help to stay at proper functioning level.  Massage can help.  Even once a month can make a difference.  And don’t be afraid to get a long session.
5. What are things of to take note of when finding a massage therapist?
     Its trial and error.  Sorry.  Even for me I have a hard time finding a good therapist.  You can ask other people who had a good experience who to go to but other than that it is hard quest.  Its like finding a good hair dresser lol!!!!
6. How can people reach you if they would like to have a session with you?
Contacting me directly is the best.  My cell is 352 256 0799.  I am an independant contractor and I work at two places.  The first is Deerwood Country Club in the fitness center for the members and their friends and second at Paradice Palms Massage in Ponte Vedra.  My second place is open to the public and has reasonable pricing. Actually both places have reasonable pricing.  I also am available for house calls.
A big thank you to Sean for diving into all of these questions!