When people find themselves in pain from overdoing an activity, experiencing extreme stress, or waking up with a bad back, Massage Therapy is one of the first solutions that come to mind.
There are a number of other situations, however, when Massage Therapy can do a great deal to help and unfortunately is often overlooked.
Let's take a look at just a few of the common ailments that you may not have known are very responsive to Massage Therapy.
Tension headaches can be caused by all sorts of situations including prolonged stress, anxiety, poor sleep, and emotional trauma.
During most tension headaches, what's happening in the body is that the muscles in your jaw, neck, and even scalp are remaining in a constant state of contraction.
Addressing it: Swedish massage is well known for it's ability to reduce stress and likewise, anxiety. Techniques are also used to focus on relaxing the neck, jaw, and scalp muscles; thus getting them out of that state of contraction. The result is an incredible sense of relief that is often experienced right away. The final aspect that's worth noting is that most believe massage therapy encourages the body to release large amounts of Serotonin. Serotonin is one of our body's magical substances that promotes good sleep.
Car accident victims can invariably tell you all about whiplash and more importantly, how much pain it causes.
Essentially, muscles that extend from the neck to the mid-back become hyperextended during the impact. It can be a long road to recovery if the plan is just to give this condition time and expect it to heal itself from rest. One thing worth pointing out is that whiplash isn't always from a car accident. Any sudden stop of the body during forward momentum can produce some degree of whiplash.
Addressing it: Massage Therapy has a lot of tools that can be brought to bear when addressing whiplash. In addition to therapies making use of heat or ice, the massage itself is very capable of aiding in restoring the muscle's pliability; helping the muscle function correctly again. And of course, any muscle that has been exposed to the types of trauma produced from whiplash will be aided by a positive increase in circulation to the area. Massage is all about improving circulation.
Diabetes is a result of severe problems with the pancreas and it's ability to manage insulin-producing cells the body needs. Diabetics struggle daily on many fronts and experience a wide range of effects from this disease.
Addressing it: Massage Therapy again uses it's incredibly positive affects to circulation to aid in maintaining the body. Diabetes does a great deal to make circulation a problem and massage is one way to help manage that. Additionally, massage therapy helps joints a great deal, too.
Different from the effects of prolonged stress, depression tends to be it's own ugly problem. It can also come about as the result of such stress and chronic pain. Regardless of "how" depression occurs, the person suffering it is left with a feeling of hopelessness and despair.
Addressing it: Massage Therapy should be considered part of a comprehensive treatment plan that might include counseling and a medical physician. But for it's part, Massage helps tackle the darkness of depression by simply by lending it's uplifting qualities and it's stress reduction advantages. There is some data that suggests Massage reduces Cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol builds up when a person is under great stress and it's one of the things in the body we want to have very little of. Between lowering Cortisol and increasing Serotonin, there is a strong case for at least trying massage therapy in an effort to combat depression.
I'm going to be adding a post dedicated to this ridiculously difficult, frustrating, and life-altering disease. For now, I'll simply highlight it like the others and let you consider it. Fibromyalgia causes terrible all-over-body pain in varying degrees and at varying intervals. Much is not fully understood about Fibromyalgia in the medical community and therefore, there is relatively little out there that is known to help fight it.
Addressing it: At a minimum, and this is partly because there will be a full article posted shortly, people suffering from Fibromyalgia spend much of their days in some level of above-normal pain. Pain invariably causes blood pressure to rise and muscles to contract. It's just the body's response to it all. Again, while not a magic pill, Massage Therapy when applied during non-flare periods can make strides to reduce the abnormally high blood pressure and return contracted muscles to a relaxed state. Given the very limited pharmaceutical options and lack of an overall understanding of Fibromyalgia, it's good ol' Massage that still offers tangible benefits to the person suffering.
This list could have included a great many other conditions; all still within the realm of massage therapy in terms of getting some degree of relief. I chose these as they happen to also be the top-5 conditions Oswego Massage Therapy has seen during new client intakes over the past two months. If any of these conditions are important to you personally, contact your massage therapist and discuss the many treatment options that are available.