Interview with Beth Baron, Massage Therapist in Berkeley, CA

3.) KP: I’m curious about whether there are specific injuries, types of chronic pain, etc. that you feel your particular bodywork modalities are best suited for?

Beth: Yes, repetitive strain injury is a big one, that’s the one I cut my teeth on. I had a repetitive strain injury in my early twenties that was quite debilitating. I worked hard to heal from it. I was very determined and tried a lot of different things, that’s how I first exposed to bodywork.. That’s also how I got into some of the emotional aspect of bodywork. I had the experience of unexpected distress coming up on the table and not being happy about how it was handled. I wanted to know how that happened, and how it might have been handled better. And, I started doing a lot of amateur work on friends who were also had repetitive strain injuries based on what was helping me. That was 16-18 years ago.

KP: By repetitive strain work, you are referring to people who are working a lot on computers, doing the same movement over and over again?

Beth: Yes, repetitive strain from things like computer work as well as with people who are lifting a lot, doing construction work, things like that where you do a lot of repetitive work and you don’t necessarily have the chance to relax the muscle you are using.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint pain) is another one. There are not that many body workers who know how to go inside the mouth and get those muscles to release. I really love doing that; it’s so effective when it’s what’s needed.

I can help a lot of people with chronic lower back painthat’s from sitting a lot The hip flexors get very tight from that, and it’s hard to know how to get to those yourself, to just stretch those without treatment. Myofascial therapy can work really well there, and for other kinds of low back pain too. I will say, though, that for persistent low back pain, skilled core strength and balance training is often crucial for ongoing relief. I have great physical therapists and pilates instructors I refer to for good team work.

I also work with fibromyalgia andthe ongoing pain from that kind of systemic condition. When working with people with fibromyalgia, part of it is adjusting the tissue and part of it is getting the nervous system to regulate differently.

KP: I’m glad you brought that up, because fibromyalgia seems to be a growing problem for lots of people. That’s great to hear that your bodywork modalities can help provide relief from fibromyalgia.

Next: Are there certain types of conditions or injuries that myofascial therapy is not appropriate for?

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