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Muscle Repair Shop Restores Lives, Not Just Tendons

By Pamela Sosnowski

When you sustain a severe enough muscle injury, the first logical step is to visit a doctor, then sometimes a physical therapist. The Muscle Repair Shop of Saratoga, however, offers alternative massage treatments to repair a sprained or torn muscle, general aches and pains that are often attributed to old age or arthritis, or pain resulting from a chronic condition. As owner Butch Phelps explains, the Muscle Repair Shop is not your typical physical therapy or massage center.

"The Muscle Repair Shop is very different from the average massage therapy salon," Phelps said. "We focus on chronic pain that is caused by muscle imbalances. I have created a technique using muscle mechanix to teach my clients how to release and elongate their muscles. Most people attempt to stretch in their gyms or therapy sessions, but traditional stretching does not properly release muscles and take pressure off the joints and nerves that lead to years of chronic pain. Our clients better understand how their muscle system works and how it affects their chronic pain."

The two main forms of treatment offered are deep tissue massage and active isolated stretching. Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage and focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue and tendons. It usually assists in releasing chronic muscle tension as well as helping to break up scar tissue and relieve stress. Active isolated stretching (AIS) focuses on stretching individual muscles in the body instead of groups of muscles, helping to increase flexibility and elongate muscles. The stretches are taught in the office and can be easily and safely practiced at home. Phelps learned AIS first-hand from Aaron Mattes, who developed the practice 30 years ago.

In addition to massage therapy and stretching, the Muscle Repair Shop teaches its clients the importance of the mind/body connection and how to tap into the power of the mind to accelerate healing.

"Your body has a natural ability to heal itself; however, most people are never taught how," Phelps said. "Your brain controls your muscles physically and emotionally. To release you from chronic pain, it is important to release the emotion as you release the physical constraints. There is no magic, only the use of your brain to help your body relax the muscles and allow them to lengthen."

Sessions for deep tissue massage or active isolated stretching can last for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and membership packages are available. The mission of Muscle Repair Shop is to enable people to live pain-free, sometimes for the first time in their lives. The key is actually treating the pain instead of just temporarily relieving the symptoms with a painkiller.

"Injections for chronic pain in the body is a temporary fix of the symptom," Phelps said. "It would be like getting a shot of Novocain for a toothache instead of fixing the tooth. We believe in finding the cause of your pain and not just stopping the symptom for long term relief."

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