Myotherapy at Intercare

Friday, 6 March 2009  |  Therapy + Injury

Thank God for thoughtful friends.  Concerned about my injured state, Kim, our 2nd mommy during the Singapore Marathon last year who is currently training for the Bataan Death March Ultramarathon, called yesterday to offer some wise advise: Get a deep massage…regularly.  Her doctor advised her to get a massage after EVERY run and she swears that were it not for this one-hour indulgence she would’ve been sidelined by tight leg muscles by now.

I followed 2nd mommy’s advice.  In a little over two hours (I move fast, don’t I?), I was already lying on the massage table of Intercare Center, awaiting my very first Myotherapy session. 

Myotherapy, according to the Intercare website, aims to isolate specific problem areas and fixes it, something that your typical massage therapist is not trained to do. Myotherapy is a muscle treatment and relaxation therapy that results in the reduction of tension; with the direct effect of releasing muscle spasms, improving circulation and bringing about proper functions and a healthy tone to ailing muscles.

I was excited.  I thought this could be the answer to finally popping those stubborn nodules that weren’t hit by dry needling.  At the same time, I was nervous and apprehensive.  Thoughts of me screaming in pain, collapsing, or fainting floated about in my head.  I shut my eyes and repeated the mantra, no pain, no gain.  Then, to add to the anxiety, my therapist enters the room and he is…a man!  I had never been massaged by a guy before!  Clad in a robe with only my underwear underneath, I lay on that massage table, closed my eyes again to repeat a new mantra:  Bahala na!

The therapist first asked me to lie on my stomach while he placed heavy heating pads on my back for around 10 minutes.  I felt like I was melting; I actually fell asleep here.  

He re-entered the room to begin the deep massage session.  He used slow, steady strokes, as if he was squeezing all the tightness out of my body.  He started on the right leg and found nodules in my calves and hamstrings.  What?  That wasn’t even my injured leg yet.  As he tried to pop those bubbles, he asked me if it was painful.  He said I could scream if I wished, as others have done in the past due to the pain.  Surprisingly, the pain was manageable for me.  I learned that taking deep breaths as he pressed on a nodule helped to ease the discomfort.

Now for the exciting part.  He started massaging the left injured leg.  He found nodules almost everywhere: calves, hamstrings, ITB, hip, and up to the back.  I pointed out some lumps on my ITB and asked if he could pop those nodules too.  He pokes at them and says “Oh they’re not nodules ma’am.  They’re just fat deposits.”  Great.  I believe that was the one time I wish I had nodules instead.

He went on to massage my back and shoulders which were all, as expected, very very tight.  I end the session in exactly one hour, completely relaxed and satisfied.  

By the time I got home, the kneecap pain which bothered me for two full weeks (even at rest) was completely gone.  GONE!  Not even a hint!  I woke up this morning and cheered as I realized that it wasn’t a dream.  The leg is still completely pain free as I write this.  I could do cartwheels right now but I run the risk of tightening my ITB again, plus being laughed at by the baristas here at Starbucks, so maybe I’ll do a little happy dance in a week or so.

The Myotherapy session at Intercare is P1,100 a session.  Pricey, if I may say so, but truly worth it.  I have promised myself a massage session (not necessarily at Intercare unless I win the lotto) every other day until Condura race.


MAKATI – Intercare Bldg.,
8420 Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City.

Tel Nos: 890-3378 – 79           
Fax: 890-2547
Mobile: 0922-811-3651, 0920-953-2309

ALABANG – Unit D, Upper GF, Westgate Tower, Investment Drive, Madrigal Business Park, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Tel Nos: 807-6863    
Mobile: 0922-811-3649, 0917-866-4156

GREENHILLS – 26A Eisenhower Street 
Greenhills, San Juan. 

Tel Nos: 724-6631

Telefax: 722-1846
Mobile: 0922-811-3650, 0917-859-9479

Big big thank you to Kim!  You didn’t have to call, but you did.  And, it made such a big difference!

Promises Shwamises

Tuesday, 3 March 2009  |  Bullish Insights

So, I didn’t make it to Doc Fit last Sunday.  I was afraid of aggravating the ITBS, I was exhausted from work that morning, and quite frankly I was simply too lazy to drive all the way to U.P. for a run that I couldn’t even really race in.  Blah…

I did make it to a gut-wrenching yet satisfying dry needling session last Friday.  It successfully loosened up the ITB and tight quads that were pulling on the kneecap.  But, after a 50-minute run-walk-yawn-run-walk-yawn session on the treadmill on Sunday, the injury reared its ugly head again.  Double blah…

I truly think that negativity yields to more negativity and, at the rate I’m going, I may just look at the mirror one day and see a fat, ugly witch (with ITBS, runner’s knee, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis) staring back at me.  So, I’ve made the following promises to myself:

  1. STOP RUNNING. Some of you may be saying “FINALLY!”  But, it really did take me forever (three months of running with injury, to be exact) to accept the fact that rest is really the only answer for me at this point.  
  2. STOP THINKING ABOUT THE INJURY. Oh, I can’t even count how many times I’ve browsed through my running journal evaluating my training.  How much time I’ve spent researching ITBS online.  How much effort I put into making my own foam roller (using a PVC pipe and yoga mat).  Or, how many text messages I’ve sent to friends for regular injury updates.  That’s it. I’ll just do my stretches, drills, and hope that things improve from hereon.
  3. CUT LESSEN JUNKFOOD. No running leads to weight gain.  Once I stop running, the weight just comes crawling back despite swimming and spinning.  I’m currently at what I call my “injured weight”: the number that pops up on the weighing scale once I decrease my mileage and increase intake of chocnut due to depression.  Hopefully, I have enough self-discipline to cut back on my favorite snacks.  I bid you farewell, Cheetos,  Munchies, and Stick-o!
  4. BE HAPPY. For now, I’ll just keep myself busy with family, work, spinning and the elliptical. (Can one truly be happy on the elliptical? Blech!)  Oh well, it’ll be fine.  So, I can’t run.  It’s not the end of the world.  Now, if I don’t get to run on the Skyway in Condura Race, that’s an entirely different story!

To Doc Fit or Not

Saturday, 28 February 2009  |  Bullish Insights

Should I run or not?  I’m registered for Doc Fit 10k tomorrow and I’m still undecided about showing up.

Let’s see.  Since January, I’ve sought the advice of two of the more popular ortho surgeons, two acupuncturists, and a great PT.  All have advised me to CONTINUE RUNNING, with a matching reassuring look whenever I ask “Are you sure?”  Yes, they’ve said the Runner’s Knee/ITBS problem is a muscle imbalance that will disappear with stretching and strengthening.  In the meantime, they advise me to continuing training especially, as my PT advises, if I want to run well for Condura Half.  (Talk about pressure!)

Then, there is Runner’s World.  If you browse through the articles and forums (which is, uhm, a daily habit for me), almost everyone will tell you to REST if you want to fully recover from ITBS.  I also have a well-informed and super helpful runner friend, Alvin, who is not just a marathoner, but one who did it after recovering from ITBS.  He knows his stuff and he’s been telling me to REST, REST, REST.  He said that over and over even when he caught me running at Bonifacio High Street last Thursday.  (He knew I was on a secret two-week hiatus from running, which I failed because I gave up on the 9th day!)

What to do?!  Why the conflicting tips?!  Times like this, all I can believe in is Dean Karnazes.  He was right in saying: “Listen to everyone.  Follow no one.”

At the end of the day, a runner can only listen to one’s body and decide from there.  So, I shall remain silent for the rest of the day, patiently waiting for my tight thighs and misaligned kneecap to tell me if they want to join Doc Fit tomorrow.  They better decide soon because there are only a few hours left in the day.

See you if I see you!

Injuries are Nothing

Wednesday, 25 February 2009  |  Bullish Insights

For the past three months, I have spent huge amounts of time wallowing in frustration, anger, depression and self-pity over this ITBS injury.  For an addicted runner, there’s nothing like a stubborn injury to give you the blues.  

This morning, as I was massaging my tight ITB, my sister calls to deliver the horrible and disturbing news. I learn about Amiel Alcantara, the 4th grader from Ateneo, who passes away after a tragic accident at school yesterday.  I was close to tears over the sudden death of this boy and I could only imagine the anguish that his parents must be going through.  I realized that it could have been my son, or my daughter, or any other parent driving.  And, I realized how everything in life is fleeting, how in the snap of a finger, your life could change in an instant.

Amid all those thoughts and emotions, I receive an SMS from my friend, Jun, asking this: How’s your knee?

My kneecap was still bothersome, but suddenly it didn’t matter at all.   What was level 2 pain (as we like to rate our injuries from 1-10, 10 being hellish) after hearing about the death of a child?  How can one complain about a tight ITB or a slow 5k run last night when there are parents who will never see their child again? 

All I wanted to do at that point was to thank God for my husband and kids, for work, for the cup of coffee I was drinking, for the ability to run, and for life itself.  Injuries are but a speck of dust in the larger scheme of things.

Missing Asian Hospital’s RUNew

Tuesday, 17 February 2009  |  Bullish Insights

After a fairly good 8k Sunday morning run with the hubby, I was psyched.  We had lunch at The Fort Strip and, over lunch, all the positive energy in my body told me that I could join Asian Hospital’s RUNew this coming Sunday.  Since there’s no 10k in the race, we decided that we would run a relaxed 5k + 5k after the race.  Woohoo!

In less than an hour, I was already at  Nike Bonifacio High Street filling up the forms.  That’s when all things turned sour.  On the form, it said the assembly area was McKinley Hill.  On a normal day, that would have added a spark of excitement to the upcoming race.  But, with my ultra sensitive knee, the steep ascents and worse, downhills, would have my kneecap acting up.  I left the store dismayed.  

To make things worse, by the end of the day, my kneecap had flared up again.  Probably my knees way of telling me:  What makes you think you can race already?  Relax.  Be patient.  I’m going to get better soon.  Well, what can I do, I’m bullheaded.