The joys of a massage or the relief of a chiropractic adjustment?and the stresses of physical work?play out partly in the muscles. Learn just what pumps the body up with Groupon?s guide to the muscular system.
The human body has more than 630 muscles keeping it upright and mobile. They make up almost half its weight and power the movements of the bones, the blood, and even the food in the stomach. Perhaps the most familiar muscles are those seen in bodybuilding contests and facial-expression contests: the skeletal, or voluntary, muscles. They?re attached to our bones and controlled by our brains, which zap them with electrical signals to cause their fibers to contract. During a muscle contraction, filaments inside the muscle fibers slide together, stacking up on one another so that the larger fiber shortens. In shortening, the fibers gain thickness?a phenomenon we notice as flexing. Whatever muscles do, they accomplish by this single pulling action. If a bicep (part of a category of muscles known as flexors) flexes to lift a barbell, it needs a tricep (an extensor), pulling in the opposite direction, to bring the arm back down.
The other two types of muscles are smooth muscles and cardiac muscles, and both are beyond our conscious control. Cardiac muscles control the beating of the heart, contracting the chambers to push blood throughout the body. But the blood doesn?t ride to the toes on that momentum alone. Lining the blood vessels are smooth muscles that help push it along. These also line the esophagus, stomach, and intestine to move food through the digestive track, and can even help regulate the body?s temperature by opening and closing capillaries near the skin surface, all without conscious effort. The subconscious brain is also happy to turn muscles to ends beyond their apparent purpose: for instance, what we experience as shivering from cold is simply the brain causing the muscles to spasm so they will generate heat and keep your blood and any baby chicks in your coat pockets warm.
Luke Maynard, founder and head therapist of Therapeutic Release, graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 2008. He uses his knowledge of physical anatomy and body movement to identify and correct muscular imbalances with three types of massage?anti-stress (Swedish), deep tissue, and sports.
Luke works alongside Samantha Troilo, a licensed massage therapist who specializes in anti-stress and deep-tissue massage. Personalizing her massage techniques for the individual client, she wants to be able to augment her massage therapy with therapeutic release.
Massage therapist Claire Nortz throws a new modality into the mix: Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, which involves delivering long, broad strokes and firm pressure with her feet. She also relies on acupressure, trigger-point release, and stretching to release muscle tension and boost mobility.
With more than 3,000 varicose vein procedures under his belt, Dr. Jeffrey Goldblatt, a diplomat of the American Board of Surgeons, leads the staff at Shoreline Medical Spa in blotting out bodily imperfections with up-to-date technologies. Lasers play starring roles in several treatments, with the CoolLipo system breaking up and removing fat cells from necks and jowls, and elos technology precisely ousting visible veins and hair from all skin tones. The staff puts down the lasers to evict bodies of toxins with body wraps, smooth wrinkles with dermal fillers, and soothe complaining muscles with therapeutic strokes or compassionate back pats.
Luz Pinto knows what looks good when it comes to nails, and she's happy to share that expertise with her customers. At Elysium Massage of Old Saybrook, the resident nail technician buffs fingernails and toenails, shapes cuticles, and sweeps vibrant colors across nails in regular or gel form. She also customizes looks with nail art, granting clients new ways to express themselves.
The stylists of The Grateful Head stay updated in the latest beauty trends by constantly educating themselves. Their training has included classes at Vidal Sassoon and L'Oreal in Paris. Inside the salon, they put their knowledge and experience to work while cutting away split ends and adding dimension with highlights.
At Elysium Therapeutic Massage, a licensed massage therapist helps patients overcome stress and tension with customized treatments. The repertoire of modalities includes Swedish, deep-tissue, scalp, and prenatal techniques.