The physical and emotional benefits of massage therapy are well documented throughout history. Massage can improve blood circulation, reduce stress, improve flexibility, enhance your immune system and improve sleep patterns. Massage therapy can also easy pain, speed up the healing process, reduce anxiety and help with headaches.
Continue reading to find out more about these any other reasons massage therapy should be part of any health and wellness program.
What is Massage Therapy in Modern Times?
Massage Therapy, as we know it today is a paramedical and alternative healing practice that involves the use of special hand movements, and pressure points to facilitate relaxation and healing of various physical and mental health problems such as:
- Tense Muscles
- Various Body Pains
- Circulation Problems
- Sports Recovery
- Headaches & Migraines
- Sleep Disorders
- Repeat Injuries
Today, there are over ten massage therapy modalities including but not limited to: deep tissue massage, Thai massage, shiatsu massage, sports massage, myofascial release massage, hot stone massage, etc.
At Dunn Healthcare Center we offer all the above massage modalities and more, in order to help clients with different health problems recover faster, as a part of their medical treatment and well-being routines.
The History of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years for healing purposes and especially by the Egyptians and some Asian civilizations e.g. the Chinese and the Hindus.
Probably the first saved book on massage therapy and guidelines is named after the Yellow Emperor in China and is known as “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine” which involves the practices of acupuncture, Chinese massage movements, acupressure, and reflexology.
Reflexology was also adopted around 2500 BC by the Egyptians, which included the practice a part of their healing modalities and traditions and inspired Greeks and Romans later in to follow. Ayurvedic massage has been a widespread practice in India ever since 3000 BC and Hindus frequently combine it with other ayurvedic healing systems such as the use of herbs, aromatherapy, and yoga to heal both the mind, body, and spirit.
Massage therapy has been incorporated into western medicine since the 1800’s when people started to realize it’s many benefits as an effective method of treating a wide range of health issues. Health-related quality of life includes physical, mental and emotional health, combined with social functioning. Pain is a constant agitator and affects all four of these aspects of life and finding the right relief can make a world of difference.
Here at Dunn Healthcare Center, our specialist consultants are qualified in a variety of hands-on techniques, to ensure we deliver the highest level of care. A considered discussion with your consultant about physical pain and any mental health indicators is the first step to mapping out the best route to pain relief and, beginning the healing process.
Are Massages Good For Your Health?
Massage promotes health and wellness and several key ways. Getting regular massages will helps to improve your body posture. Massage therapy can also helps sports injuries to heal faster. Massage can help lower your blood pressure and increase your blood circulation.
Keeping reading to find out more about these and other ways that massage is good for your health.
Body Posture Benefits
Slight posture abnormalities can often slip under the radar and are often at the heart of muscle tension and strain in regions such as the back, neck, and hips and are associated with unwelcome muscle spasms. In several cases, posture issues are caused by an injury, or over a long period of time associated with working in a non-ergonomic environment. If you happen to work at a factory or perform any type of manual work, you will most likely encounter problems with your body posture.
Our consultants at Dunn Healthcare will recommend one of the several massage and chiropractic options available to promote realignment for these symptoms, such as the “Myofascial Technique” which primarily focuses on releasing pinch points, also known as the bodies trigger points. Physiological trigger points are areas that can be found within a muscle but cause the pain to be felt in another region of the body. Myofascial technique therapy is a hands-on treatment technique that has been discovered to increase the immune systems Cytotoxic Capacity and increase the production and release of antibodies to boost the immune system function.
When your body is neglected and not in tip-top condition, it’s easy to become more susceptible to other illnesses, so this is something you have to consider when discussing treatment options with your personal consultant / therapist. A skilled therapist will examine your condition and pressure the right points to promote healing.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Sports Injuries
For both professional and semi-professional athletes, the risks of injury are part and parcel of the game and are actually pretty common. Massage Therapy has proven to be of benefit to people of all ages who participate frequently in sports or exercise.
Many people who are committed to an exercise program often choose to incorporate Massage Therapy as a preventative measure and as a way to keep muscles flexible and supple. Other reasons behind this choice include the capability of increasing the range of motion in the extremities and; it can be used as an effective way to monitor and manage muscle tone and increase muscle endurance. As a matter of fact, there are several studies which confirm that sports massage is very effective in reducing muscle strain, increasing flexibility and improving athletic performance.
It’s no wonder why it is becoming increasingly popular among both professional and amateur athletes.
In addition to the above benefits, sports massage can also encourage healing in cases of sports injuries.
The most common types of sporting injuries are often associated with overuse and general wear and tear.
Deep Tissue Massage focuses on the layers of tissue underneath the muscles and can reduce recovery time by increasing blood flow and, encouraging vital Oxygen and nutrients to reach afflicted areas. This treatment option can also help manage ongoing pain from both new and old sporting injuries.
Massage Can Help With Injuries from Accidents and Operations
Recovering from something like a car accident or a major operation can have both mental and physical effects on the health of a person. Any surgical procedure comes with risks of complications. In addition, recovering from surgery can be a slow and painful process, which can significantly limit your functional abilities for a period of time.
Muscle strains, various body pains, headaches, and difficulty of movement are common side effects of accidents and operations following an accident.
Restorative massage, in this case, could be used to reduce all kinds of outer body symptoms that are triggered by an accident. Specifically, in various studies, post-accident massage sessions that last between 30-45 minutes were found to decrease whiplash, ease back and neck pain, relieve headaches and migraines, improve pain of spinal cord injuries, and control the stress, fatigue, and emotional trauma that comes with a sudden accident.
Blood Pressure and Circulation Benefits from Massage
Apart from the obvious muscle pain benefits, massage has been proven to be very beneficial in boosting blood circulation and balancing high or extremely low blood pressure, especially long-term (at least 10 sessions a year).
The hand-on pressure applied during a typical massage and acupuncture session can stimulate the body’s points and encourage better blood flow to the body’s vital organs. As a result, any circulation or abnormal blood pressure problems will improve, and the body will be able to flush out toxins more efficiently.
Anti-aging Skin Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage on the face and body can be a very effective yet not invasive way to slow down the aging of the skin through numerous ways: it stimulates blood flow to the skin which results in more plump skin that absorbs nutrients better, it encourages collagen synthesis, and exercises the muscles to stretch and look more lifted. In fact, there are several reports on the effects of facial and body massage after a few months of sessions.
Even if you don’t have any signs of aging, massage can be a wonderful preventive measure against wrinkles, cellulite, and saggy skin in the face and body.
Is Massage Good for Emotional Health?
Massage therapy is widely recognized for both its physical and mental health benefits. Massage Therapy for emotional health and balancing the mind though isn’t a new concept like many people think, but an ancient healing modality who has been practicing for thousands of years that we have the privilege to enjoy today all over the world.
Stress and anxiety are a normal feature of our daily lives but for some, they can become difficult to manage and may result in more serious health problems in the long run. Stress in particular, according to several studies can induce or heighten the risk of developing the following health problems:
- Heart Problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Headaches and migraines
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Premature Aging
- Shorter Life
Stress and Anxiety can also creep into sleeping habits and being tired can further exacerbate pain and tension. These Psychological triggers often result in muscle tension, pain and, various types of headaches.
Whether we want to realize this not, stress can have a detrimental effect on our health–it slowly “eats” us out in various ways and we better keep it under control, before it’s too late.
But the good news is, there are some specific chiropractic and alternative massage techniques that will help you ease your stress symptoms, especially when done on a regular basis.
When these therapy techniques are done effectively, they will result in an emotional release such as an elevated mood or even the need to cry. Here are some specific massage techniques, offered by our healing center to help release stress and blocked emotions, both temporary and chronic:
What are the Best Types of Massage?
There are many types of massage which can be beneficial. Each type of massage can help with a different problem. Knowing what the various types of massages can subsequently do for you is a vital step in effectively maximizing the benefits you get from it. The types of massage that we most commonly see help people are
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Myofascial Release Technique
- Lymphatic Massage
- Active Release Technique
- Active Assisted Stretching Massage
- Hot Stone and Cupping Techniques
- Thai Massage
- Trigger Point Massage
- Sports Massage Reflexology
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage technique that borrows elements from Chinese medicine to facilitate healing. The Japanese word ‘Shiatsu’ translates to “Finger Pressure” as it uses the fingers and not the palms to apply pressure on various regions and meridian points of the body. The pressure on these points is performed to release any energy and blockages and encourage the system to heal and regenerate itself.
If you have stress symptoms together with various body pains, shiatsu massage will be a very beneficial option to keep them under control and speed up your body’s own healing process.
Even if you don’t have any signs of aging, massage can be a wonderful preventive measure against wrinkles, cellulite, and saggy skin in the face and body.
Thai Massage is an old massage modality that combines elements from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practices. Instead of simply rubbing the muscles, just like in Western massage techniques, the therapist compresses, stretches, and pulls the muscles to facilitate healing.
The founder of Thai massage is believed to be Shivago Komarpaj, who was reportedly Buddha’s healing physician for 2500 years.
Releasing these emotional blockages is an essential component of Thai Massage, which is perfect for realigning the balance of the mind, body, and spirit. Thai Massage requires a hands-on approach from your specialist, as they will use parts of their body such as the feet, to really reach the areas that require attention in order to re-align the bodies energy.
Despite being a relatively non-complex practice, a typical massage healer has to spend over 800 hours of training to be recognized and licensed to operate professionally.
Reiki is another re-alignment therapy which allows the therapist to channel energy into the patient by means of touch or no touch and activate the natural healing processes of the mind and body.
It is said to originate from Japan and particularly master Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk who reportedly taught Reiki to 2K students before his death in 1926.
The ultimate purpose of Reiki is to restore physical and emotional well-being and balance and heal the root causes of health imbalances.
Unlike other massage modalities, it doesn’t use any hand-on touch or pressure but a sense of touch. It’s this sense of touch that your body registers as the sensation of pressure and the feel of textures which help to establish a connection between you and your consultant.
A hot stone massage, which involves the application of hot stones over the back in combination with hand movements, is also useful for releasing stress and build up tension in the muscles as well as regulate essential hormone production. Therefore, if muscle tension and hormonal imbalance problems accompany your symptoms, a hot stone massage session can help.
So whether you are looking to ease your body pains, reduce stress, boost your immunity or simply relax, there is a massage technique for nearly everything. If you leave the matter to the hands of professionals like us, you will feel much better, especially after a course of sessions!
Deep Tissue Massage
Typically, deep tissue massage represents a focused, therapeutic type of massage which primarily targets ‘adhesions’ (muscle knots) and particular problem areas in the deeper layers of connective tissues and muscles. By utilizing deliberate, slow friction, or strokes across the muscle grain, the therapist addresses painful or chronic tight muscles, postural problems, repetitive strain, or injuries.
Deep tissue massage is especially helpful for individuals with lingering injuries or chronic pain, which result in limited mobility. It is particularly useful in healing repetitive stress muscle injuries and can also help minimize osteoarthritis symptoms.
During a regular deep tissue massage session, a massage therapist will usually use deep finger pressure and slow strokes to alleviate tension from the deepest layers of your connective tissues and muscles. Often, you can either be fully naked or wear some underwear.
This massage usually lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. Nonetheless, you should avoid deep tissue massage if you are exceedingly sensitive to pressure.
Myofascial Release Technique
This is arguably the most basic massage type. Myofascial release technique represents the breaking down of tight fascia (the fibrous layer of your body’s connective tissue above the muscle and just under the skin).
Fascia is responsible for enabling your body to move as well as hold different body positions. As such, when we feel some surface-level muscle tightness, this is usually the fascia which is bunched not the muscles underneath.
Usually, myofascial release can be done using various instruments including foam rollers, rumbler rollers, body bar, tennis/lacrosse/golf or softball, hypervice, and rollers.
Myofascial release technique comes in two different methods, mainly: passive and active. Active release therapy generally represents a massage technique where the client is subsequently tensing the affected regions, and it is usually used using any of the instruments above. As for passive release therapy, it is when the muscle is fully relaxed and is typically used during a trigger point massage and tissue mobilization.
The process of myofascial release technique is as follows:
The massage therapist will usually apply sustained or gentle force on a body area or light and gentle stretching, depending on how severe the strain is. The therapist will use their knuckles, fingers, elbows, as well as any of the tools above to subsequently and slowly breakdown the manipulated fascia.
When it comes to direct myofascial release therapy, the therapist will slowly work through every fascial layer until he/she apprehends the strain. On the other hand, with indirect myofascial release therapy, the therapist will apply both active and passive muscle tensing to alleviate any fascia strain gently.
Typically, this massage can last up to 30 minutes and is effective for individuals with tight muscles.
Usually, known as lymphatic drainage therapy, this is a therapy that focuses on draining the lymph that carries waste products from the tissues to the heart. This massage style uses both rhythmic and pressure movements to promote lymph drainage. Since both hard and smooth muscles are needed in draining the lymph, this type of massage soothes the muscles and permits lymph to drain.
Currently, lymphatic massage is generally done in clinical settings, and the sessions vary in duration depending on how severe the lymph nodes are. It is usually used mainly for short-term relaxation of smooth muscles and is a good option for individuals with a clinical inability to normally do lymph drainage.
Active Release Technique
ART was initially developed to allow professional athletes to get back to their peak performance quickly. It treats various minor soft tissue problems within the ligaments, muscles, fascia, tendons, and the nerves. Nonetheless, this technique can benefit virtually anyone.
ART aims to release build-up scar tissue in the deep muscle that occurs when muscles are overused for a relatively long period. In fact, this massage technique is the only distinct soft tissue manipulation style, which directly repairs the full range of muscle motions since it directly targets the underlying tissues in the muscle.
In general, the protocol for ART massage is as follows:
The therapist uses his hands in identifying scar tissues within the body muscle. The ART therapist will then apply several trigger point techniques using either small instruments or his/her hands to release tension built in the scar tissues. What’s more, the patient is usually asked to move the specified muscle through various motion ranges.
ART sessions typically last between 30 to 60 minutes and should only be done once in a week.
Active Assisted Stretching Massage
Assisted stretching or Assisted Myofascial Neuromuscular/stretch Therapy represents a unique bodywork modality where a therapist uses a range of motion movements to a body, with the spine positioned in a supported and safe position.
A therapist can move the body into various positions which breakthrough distinct hard fascia obstructions which may have been caused by a sedentary lifestyle or injury to gain a range of motions and flexibility which would otherwise be impossible devoid of expert intervention.
In particular, active-assisted stretching is a form of therapy that necessitates the muscle that is opposite the muscle being stretched to be contracted during the stretch. This significantly helps a person with a tight area caused by an imbalance in the opposite muscles.
In essence, when a body muscle is not properly functioning or firing with the antagonist’s tissue, resulting in pain, this therapy effectively wakes up that non-functioning region and effectively alleviates the pain and imbalance.
Trigger Point Massage
This type of massage is best suited for individuals suffering from chronic pain, injuries, or a specific condition or issue. Sometimes, the areas of tightness within the muscle tissues called trigger points can result in pain in various other body parts. Nonetheless, since trigger point massage focuses on alleviating trigger points, it effectively reduces pain.
This massage type utilized broad, flowing strokes which are relaxing and gently combined with deeper, stronger, pressure. This massage usually includes work on your whole body although the therapist will focus on distinct areas of the body which need releasing.
Trigger point massage usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
Established to aid with muscle system used for a specific sport, this type of massage applies various approaches to support athletes in training-prior to, during, as well as after sports events. It is an excellent choice for individuals with repetitive use injury to muscles, like what individuals get from participating in sports.
It also works well for individuals that are prone to various injuries since it is useful in preventing sports injuries. What’s more, it is excellent for boosting performance and flexibility, not to mention relieving anxiety, muscle tension, and pain.
This type of massage can be done as a full-body massage, or the therapist can focus on various body parts that require the most attention. Usually, deep pressure can be altered with specific soothing strokes depending on the particular needs.
This massage usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
Also known as ‘zone therapy,’ this non-traditional massage therapy uses the natural reflexes of the body in the feet and hands of a participant through a distinct series of specific finger, thumb, as well as hand techniques devoid of using oil or any other balms.
In a typical reflexology massage session, the body is categorized into ten unique zones: with five on the right and the other five on the left. The belief is that pressure applied to the feet subsequently travels via these ‘zones’ through the nerve signals that help in relieving muscle pain and tension across the body.
Moreover, it is thought to release various hormones like endorphins and dopamine to help relieve pain. Reflexology is used for mild and short term pain relief and can usually last between 30 to 60 minutes.
Massage Therapy for Health and Wellness
Massage can be a great way to help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and of course, physically. If you are searching for massage therapy, you are spoiled for choice between the more than 70 available options.
Nonetheless, before choosing which massage best works for you, ensure that you explore different massage practitioners and go for the massage technique that offers the benefits you are looking to get. Also, before you begin any massage session, be sure to discuss with your therapist about any allergies, to allow your session to be both beneficial and relaxing without any concerns. For the best massage services, be sure to get in touch with us.
At Dunn Healthcare Center for Health and Wellness, we strive to offer our clients the option best suited to support their customized treatment plan. all under one inclusive and affordable price. Call now and book an appointment at our primary Nashville location. We look forward to hearing from you.
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