Get in Touch with the Benefits of Massage
Oct 31, 2017 05:17PM
● By Clare Heekin Lynch
Many people think of massage as a great way to relax and pamper yourself. While that’s definitely true, it’s not the only reason to get one. Massage, in and of itself, offers a number of health benefits.
Justin Scott, a North Hills’ sports chiropractor and owner of Tranquility WellSPA in Wexford, said that he often suggests massage not just to treat injuries, but to alleviate the buildup of microtraumas to soft tissue that can occur in daily life or while taking part in athletics. “The therapeutic touch alone can have a positive impact,” he said. “For a healthy person, it can help with joint mobility, flexibility, and tension and stress relief.”
Massage therapy can also promote healing. “The vast majority of musculoskeletal pain–almost 80 percent—is due to repetitive use of the muscle, which causes trauma,” Dr. Scott explained. “Initially, these muscle irritations are not painful; however, when we continue to overuse or misuse a muscle, it creates a cumulative effect that leads to full-blown injury and pain. Massage can be used to break the cumulative cycle and potentially prevent the injury from occurring.”
Amanda Zacchia, senior massage therapist at OSIRIS Wellness and Day Spa, agrees that the benefits of routine massages are not well understood. “It’s understandable that many people see a massage as a ‘splurge,’ but they should look at it as a way of healing their bodies,” she explained. “Sore muscles are overdeveloped, tight and shortened. They have a ‘memory,’ and the more often they are worked on, the looser and more elongated they will become. That muscle memory will change, in a sense, and heal more quickly.”
One of the more typical movement dysfunctions that Dr. Scott sees is when the front of the body, including the chest muscles, becomes tight. “This can be caused by lifting weights, exercising in an unbalanced way, or even bad posture sitting at a desk day in and day out,” he explained. “So much of what we do is in front of us, and we sit in a collapsed posture.”
He added, “We’re finding that cumulative muscle trauma and more severe injuries can be prevented, even in a small way, by routine massage maintenance and preventative education including proper posture.”
Zacchia also emphasized that results may not be immediate. “Many clients expect to feel good immediately, but that’s not always the case,” she said. “It’s my job to first find out why their muscles are tightening up. Why is there pain? Is it because of trauma or as a result of a damaging behavior?
“Depending on the reason, it’s important to remember that whatever imbalance is going on didn’t happen overnight,” she added. “Healing the imbalance often takes a few sessions to help straighten it out.”
In addition to muscle repair, massage therapy has also been shown to improve a variety of health-related conditions, including stress. “Massage releases toxins from your body tissues and muscles through the blood and the lymphatic system,” Dr. Scott said. “This is the reason that many therapists stress that after a massage, it’s important to drink plenty of water in order to help flush those released toxins out of your body.”
If you’re not seeing results, Zacchia recommends trying a different massage modality. “All massages are beneficial in different ways—it all depends on the issues you are having. It’s possible that your muscles have become accustomed to one technique and are not responding to it as well as they have in the past,” she said. “That’s where I would suggest trying a hot stone massage to stimulate the muscles in a different way.”
If you’re interested in not only feeling relaxed, but
letting your body benefit in other ways, consider making massage therapy a part of your wellness routine. Call or visit www.tranquilityspawexford.com and www.osiriswellness.com for more information on all of the health and wellness services provided.
Your body will thank you!