19 May, 2010

Solving a mystery at The Sutherland-Chan Centre

19 May, 2010

Yesterday I had the weight lifted off of my shoulders. You see, for the past 2 1/2 years I have been carrying around the most horrible tension in my upper back, shoulder and neck area. Almost every time I get a massage there are comments on how tight I am and I kind of feel bad because as hard as they try they usually leave the massage room feeling a bit dejected because the tension won the battle again.

I have used this to my advantage over the past few years though. I have basically justified every massage I have gotten since I arrived in Hong Kong as a necessity and I know that my husband was thinking I was making this whole thing up just to maximize my pampering experience on a regular basis. Out of all the massages, very rarely did anyone ever give me specifics or reasons as to why I would be like this. It wasn’t until my recent trip to Cebu that a therapist sat me down and told me that I needed to do something about it and perhaps applying a heating pad on a regular basis would help release the tension. This comment made me realize that perhaps I needed a bit more then a relaxation massage. I did some digging and thought I had found the answer – I needed a deep tissue or therapeutic massage to get rid of those pesky knots once and for all.

So, that led me to the Sunderland Chan Centre last Thursday afternoon. I woke up that morning full of promise. It was the day that I finally got an answer as to what was going on and I felt certain that a therapeutic massage was going to be it. If you read Hester’s post last week, then you already know that Sunderland-Chan is not your run of the mill massage centre. Their whole approach is more individual and you feel like it is a personalized appointment just for you instead of a person that is slotted into a schedule.

When I arrived for my therapeutic massage, they had me fill in a form that outlined my problem areas and my medical condition. Other then this issue I am pretty healthy so my only input was a huge circle on the upper back/shoulder area on the body they provided which basically said – “Show us where it hurts”. My appointment was with Justin and to begin he looked at my paperwork and said that I seemed to be pretty healthy with no major issues. I said yes, EXCEPT this one area. Later on, he realized that this one area was more then enough work for him for the hour timeframe we had. The massage was very good and was definitely more therapeutic then others I have had in the past. Justin was very knowledgeable but at the end my tension was still there. The whole feeling of Sutherland-Chan made me feel so comforting though. I am not one to talk during my massages (I even hate it when friends try to chat to me during foot massage at Happy Foot!) but all I wanted to do was chat away and ask the why’s and how’s behind what could be making me feel this way. Since the tension was still there even after an hour long deep tissue (actually we went over the hour because Justin was determined to try as hard as he could to help me) we decided the next course of action was to see the Osteopath at Sutherland Chan. Even though the mystery wasn’t solved yet I felt great about my visit to Justin. He did an excellent job at the massage and he cared enough to figure out what my next steps should be.

So, that leads me to my first ever visit to an Osteopath. My appointment was right after my Tuesday morning Hot Yoga class which means my muscles should have been very relaxed but no, they were still as tense as ever. Jonine, the Osteopath at Sutherland-Chan, started off the session just looking and feeling my body to see where there may be misalignments. Very quickly she was able to see that my problem was not muscle related but joint related.

Finally…mystery solved!! She said that my back ribs were all out of alignment specifically the top ribs which in turn was causing major tension on my shoulder, neck and even collarbone area. She said no amount of massaging could have healed this and basically what was happening is that since my joints were restricted the rest of my body was adapting and compensating for this which lead to the pain and stiffness I was feeling. Instead of just focusing on the upper back area though she focused on my whole back and even found some other trouble spots which were out of wack as well. The session was an hour long and included a number of adjustments that tweaked me back into the right place. My range of motion increased a huge amount just during that session and I finally feel as if I am cured. I was on cloud 9 walking out of the Centre today and I am so looking forward to my next yoga class as Jonine said my Down Dog will now feel absolutely amazing compared to before!

I know this is a long post but it was really important to me to let you know that Sutherland-Chan is a special place.  I have been unconsciously searching for them for some time now and I feel like a whole new person. Yesterday I was a bit sore from all of the adjustments but that is to be expected. I would without a doubt recommend Justin or Jonine at Sutherland-Chan.

Sutherland-Chan Centre, World Trust Tower, 19/F, 50 Stanley Street (2544-5838)

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