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The Impact of Massage Therapy

massage therapy

Statistic : As per a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine, over 100 million individuals in the United States experience ongoing pain, resulting in an estimated annual cost of $600 billion.

One of the primary reasons individuals seek the services of a massage therapist is because it accounts for approximately 40% of all visits.

Rehabilitation of sports injuries, reducing stress, anxiety, and nervousness, alleviating pain from accidents or muscle strains, and using it as a preventive measure for healthcare are other frequent justifications for seeking massage therapy.

In addition, there is the familiar relaxation that can only be achieved through human contact. A massage not only has physical benefits, but also has psychological benefits.

What exactly ismassage therapy?

Individuals who possess specialized education in massage therapy must have completed a 500-hour program in the state of Texas and acquired proficient guidance on the physical manipulation of the body’s supple tissues, such as muscles, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments.

The concept underlying massage therapy is based on the belief that a calm and supple muscular system facilitates the movement of energy within the body, allowing it to sustain wellness and self-healing without the need for surgical procedures or medication.

It is common knowledge among athletes that receiving a massage is crucial in order to achieve peak performance during the season. This is due to the fact that a massage is specifically designed to alleviate muscle tension caused by rigorous training and prepare them for upcoming events, while also enhancing their flexibility. As a result, an athlete’s muscles will be in prime condition, allowing them to give their all during their performance.

Listed below are several frequently used massage techniques that you may come across, varying from basic relaxation to addressing intricate pain problems and adjusting connective tissue.

Swedish Massage Therapy

This massage is a typical form of relaxation. Swedish massage is widely favored in spa environments and is commonly referred to as the “Fluff and Buff.”

Swedish massage is a highly sought-after form of bodywork that aims to achieve complete relaxation of the body. It is highly effective in relieving tension and eliminating environmental toxins that are stored in the body’s fat and epidermis layers. Additionally, it increases oxygen levels in the blood while also enhancing focus and concentration, resulting in an overall feeling of well-being.

Significant reductions in the stress hormone, cortisol, have been demonstrated by Swedish massage as well.

Therapy for Trigger Points

A tight and knotted muscle can create a trigger point, which is a small area that can cause pain in a different part of the body when pressure is applied. An instance of this is when a trigger point in the rhomboid muscle located in the upper back can lead to pain resembling a headache at the base of the skull.

Frequently, trigger points are mistakenly identified as migraines despite their actual nature. These points can vary in intensity, causing mild discomfort to severe incapacitation. The muscle fibers in these points are in a constant state of shortened tension and can even compress nearby nerves, resulting in additional symptoms that can potentially escalate into fibromyalgia, a condition affecting the body’s connective tissues.

Massage therapy has a unique benefit over all other treatments in this particular field. The conventional approach of medicine to trigger points often involves injecting a local anesthetic or a corticosteroid. However, these methods are only temporary and not natural. In fact, the corticosteroid can be harmful to the tissues.

Massage therapy addresses these issues by applying pressure directly to the trigger point, gradually increasing from light to deep pressure during the same session. This approach allows the trigger point to gradually release and relax.

Ongoing therapy is typically required to train the muscle fibers to elongate and regain their smoothness. A skilled massage therapist can often achieve close to a 100% success rate with trigger point therapy, even in cases where other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful.

Release of Myofascial Tension

Myofascial release is a technique that focuses on addressing trigger points in the body and aims to improve the function and mobility of the connective tissue found in all muscles. This method can also enhance lymph circulation, promoting cleanliness in the blood, and stimulate the natural stretch reflex of muscles, resulting in a flexible and strong body.

It is important to mention that these forms of massage therapy differ from a soothing Swedish massage and may occasionally cause discomfort as the body loosens up, releases tension, and re-establishes its balance. It is crucial to inform us during the session if you experience any discomfort.

Benefits of Sports Massage

Sports massage, as its name suggests, is specifically targeted towards athletes. Whether they are competing at the highest level or just participating in recreational activities, sports massage therapists can be found in a variety of settings, ranging from local 5k races to professional sports team locker rooms, recovery stations at triathlons, and even at the Olympic Games.

The primary focus of sports massage is to assist with pre- and post-event training as well as recovery.

An event preparation, for instance, could include triggering a stretch reflex in a runner’s quadriceps muscle to improve their stride length. With multiple sessions, this can lead to a faster runner who is less susceptible to injuries.

Post-event massage can be a beneficial technique that involves gentle pressure to promote the circulation of healing blood to a strained muscle group. This can aid in a quicker and safer recovery for athletes, allowing them to return to their peak performance level sooner than they would without this treatment.

Sport massage does not consist of a distinct technique like trigger point or myofascial therapies. Instead, it has a dual focus on both enhancing athletic performance and promoting recovery. To achieve these goals, it may utilize a variety of modalities.

However, there is more to consider.

This is not an exhaustive compilation of massage therapy methods. There are numerous variations of massage, catering to various needs such as lymphatic drainage, body realignment, and even neuromuscular therapy which aims to harmonize the nervous system.