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Brent Jackson Lesson #1

Massage school began in September 2009 and would last through April 2010. Although we had an occasional guest instructor, our class was taught mainly by Brent Jackson. I like to think of him as the massage Buddha. He seemed to know everything there was to know. I was twenty years old and a sponge.

There are a few classes that I can clearly remember. Thai massage day, wet treatment day and the time that we ordered pizza and took naps during our lunch break. There are however two classes that really stuck out to me. The first of these classes I would like to call "Lesson One."

I remember vividly one morning when Brent walked in to class. He slowly opened the door and dramatically stepped inside. He did not utter a word or offer any facial expression. He was on a mission.

Brent simply walked to the front of the room, put his things down and walked to the dry-erase board on the left side of the room. He proceeded to pick up a black dry-erase marker and wrote something on the board. We could not see what he was writing until he stepped away. Once he did we saw that he had written

Pain is the absence of space.

This statement is one that I have repeated to many of my clients over the past few years. When it all comes down to it, this is really what massage is all about: creating space to eliminate pain.

Over time, our bodies take a considerable amount of abuse. Stress, injury, lack of movement and overuse of muscles throw the body off balance. This can be from even the tiniest muscle fiber being out of place. Generally speaking, the majority of us are healthy enough that we do not suffer excruciating pain at every one of these instances. However, over time these tiny infractions can lead to an even bigger problem.

For example, let's talk about something most of us can relate with: the simple task of using our phones. For a lot of us, we use our right thumb to type on the phone. The muscles in our thumb work to type. We do this day after day. This is a good thing for the thumb because it is getting a work out. The muscles are building from the usage. Where the problem occurs however is when the muscles are being used too much without proper stretching and conditioning. Once the muscles are large enough, there is only a certain amount of blood and oxygen that naturally flow to them. The muscle fibers that have been working so hard to send your text messages are now tightly compacted next to one another in the spaces where blood and oxygen used to flow. This is where the lack of space occurs. This causes pain.

Your thumb is not going to fall off because you use a cell phone. However, you might notice discomfort in your hand that radiates in to the wrist or even through the arm. This also could lead to arthritis.

The simplest ways to prevent this from happening are massaging the muscles in the thumb and stretching the thumb to bring blood and oxygen back to the muscles.

Brent explained how massage brings blood and oxygen back to an area so perfectly. He used the image of pressing down on the skin when it is sunburned. The skin is red at first, and when we apply pressure to it for a few seconds and then pull away, the skin is a much lighter color. What happens is when we are pressing down, blood and oxygen are restricted  from that area. When we let go, fresh blood and oxygen rush back to the area, allowing for new healing to happen.

Getting a muscle MOVING is how we HEAL it. Stretching it, massaging it, beating on it, whatever you want to do. It just needs to be woken up.

Kerin Nicole BowenComment