What is Massage Therapy?
Massage Therapy involves a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body by a registered practitioner. Soft tissues that may be involved include muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage Therapy can prevent and relieve physical dysfunction while maintaining, improving and developing physical function by working with the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Different techniques are used to reach the desired effect, and be anything from very light touch to deep pressure or tissue stripping. A thorough history and discussion of your therapy goals is imperative to assist you with your health concerns.
Who could benefit from Massage Therapy?
Massage Therapy can help anyone by working to alleviate the many discomforts that can be associated with everyday stresses, overuse of muscles, physical injuries, and a number of acute and chronic pain conditions. Feeling stiffness in your muscles following a workout? Are you the weekend warrior type? Past injuries keep reminding you to reduce your activity? Poor or prolonged posture causing significant physical change in your body? All of these could be helped by therapeutic massage by a registered massage therapist.
Are there different types of Massage Therapy?
Yes, there are many different techniques utilized alone, or in combination with other techniques to achieve the desired outcome for your concerns. Many therapists will transition from technique to technique with varying degrees of pressure, stroke, depth and stimulation, to help you reach your optimal health.
A light/ gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping- more for relaxation and revitalization.
Deep Tissue Massage
This massage technique uses more penetrating, deepervstrokes to target the many deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from sports, work or motor vehicle injuries- whether new or old.
This is similar to Swedish massage, but more invigorating and may involve lifting/pulling of muscle tissue- usually for individuals in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries. It may also be beneficial for the physically demanding jobs in our work force.
Trigger Point Massage
This type of massage focuses on direct points of tight muscle fibers or points that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse. Trigger points often project or radiate pain to another are of the body (eg. Many neck muscles will often ‘trigger’ headaches).
How does Massage Therapy work?
Massage Therapy creates two different physiological changes in your body that work together to produce both physical and emotional benefits. These two changes are the relaxation response and the mechanical response.
The relaxation response is an involuntary response that comes from the nervous system when the body is being touched and massaged. During this response, your heart rate and breathing rate begin to slow while your blood pressure and hormone levels decrease. All of these changes allow your muscles and their associated joints to relax. The relaxation response helps to ease the physical effects that stress has on your body while aiding in the elimination of risks associated with prolonged stress (i.e. hypertension, anxiety, fatigue, digestive disorders, insomnia, and other psychological issues).
The mechanical response is a physical response that includes increased circulation of blood and relaxation of the body’s soft tissue. Increased blood circulation promotes the body’s healing by increasing oxygen supply and waste removal in the muscle cells, making these processes more efficient. Through soft tissue relaxation, nerves and deeper connective tissues are allowed to release any tensions. When muscles are used, they can compress or pinch the nerves that are nearby. When these same muscles relax, the nerves are no longer being compressed or pinched and can return to their regular function. Sometimes our muscles do not properly relax; applying pressure and touching the skin around them can help to bring about this proper relaxation.
Which Massage is Right for Me?
Following a physical examination and detailed health history, your registered massage therapist will discuss in great detail their findings and decide on the type of massage technique(s) to use. Short term and long term goals will be discussed and a treatment plan will be implemented to meet your health care needs. The therapist may also discuss additional on-site therapies or provide you with home instructions to enhance your recovery. Following the recommendation made by your therapist is essential to a positive outcome. Contact our clinic and make an appointment to see a registered massage therapist. Please remember that if you have multiple areas of complaint, you will likely benefit from booking a longer massage therapy session.