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Why Massage is Good Medicine!

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

If you have put off the sometimes awkward first visit to a massage therapist because you don't feel you deserve to be pampered, then its time you recognize what pampering yourself is really worth. If peace of mind isn't enough motivation to get in for that massage, look no further than the team here at IMBT for permission to receive the benefits of bodywork. To make it even easier, let me give you all the excuses you need to receive a massage as a vital component of your medical maintenance routine. That way you can enjoy that pampered feeling knowing that it is all for your health.

Massage therapy has taken many forms since first being implemented as a healing modality for Royalty in China and Egypt more than 2000 years ago. As time has passed, massage therapists have refined their techniques to help you live a healthier and more balanced life, and has become even more accessible to anyone looking to improve their health. In the last 50 years massage therapy has began to make progress reclaiming the true merits of the techniques with research showing massage to be effective for a wide range of health factors such as; reducing stress, pain relief, improving immunity, and lowering blood pressure .

Most people accept the premise that massage therapy is useful for stress reduction, however it is still underutilized by many people who would benefit from it. When you consider that chronic stress can lead to disease by hindering the body's natural healing systems, managing stress becomes less a privilege, and more a vital part of staying healthy and happy. Relaxation and recovery are looked down upon as lazy in our fast paced society. All too often we are encouraged to tolerate high levels of stress, and we fail to recognize the damage that chronic stress can cause to our body. Simply shutting of the fight or flight response of our nervous system doesn't seem like it would do much to affect our health, but coincidentally, relaxation is the key to unlocking our ability to heal from disease, and should be motivation enough to schedule that massage.

The proven connection between stress and disease, and the validation of massage therapy through modern research, certainly helped shift perceptions of massage beyond a simple self indulgent luxury. Pain relief, stiffness, spasms, injury recovery, migraines, and many others make the list of researched reasons why consumers seek out a medical massage. Massage has the ability to improve a variety of conditions, and the reason why is simple. When you relax, your digestive and healing systems are active, allowing your body to replenish depleted tissues and repair any cellular damage. The proper massage therapy techniques also have the correlated benefits of enhancing circulatory and lymphatic flow. This allows your body to efficiently detoxify congested tissues, and brings in fresh nutrients your body needs to rebuild any depleted or damaged tissue.

After experiencing the results provided by massage, people prioritize their treatments in a whole new way, utilizing massage as a powerful option to prevent or manage their symptoms. Massage therapists are usually humble and empathetic people, this is what makes them compassionate healers. You'll often hear them giving the credit of success to the natural healing potentials of the human body, after all, if you're truly healing your body is doing all the work. But even in their humility, therapists have started to see more clearly the value of offering massage therapy as a service. It is also becoming more clear that the time tested techniques of massage therapy do actively support the natural healing systems of the body, and are critical to achieving long lasting health.

In western cultures, The Swedish Movement System protocol is the most commonly applied treatment mode used in massage therapy. It was developed in the early 1800's and has maintained its place as the most common massage therapy technique because it effectively addresses the foundations of massage that contribute universally to health improvement. The Swedish Movement System focuses on light to medium pressure strokes, pushing stagnant blood and toxic lymphatic fluid towards the heart where it can be cleaned, re-oxygenated, and recycled throughout the body. Stagnation in the body is never good. The body ruqires movement at all levels, so stagnation is a good predictor that disease will follow soon. Guided by this principle, the fluidity of blood and lymph is the primary focus of the Swedish Movement System. In order for you body to make efficient use of the improved circulatory and lymphatic movement, it is also strongly encouraged that the parasympathetic nervous system be supported during treatment. Which means your massage therapist may implement techniques like breathing and visualization to help you relax even more deeply.

Finding the right therapist for a Swedish massage comes down to how you respond to the pace, pressure, and personality of the person. Once you find a therapist that fits with your personality, just relax. Unless you have a more specific massage goal, your going to be getting everything you need to improve your health from your Swedish massage.

The circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous system impact of massage is the core health inducing foundation of massage. Beyond those core healing functions there are muscular and skeletal techniques that are sought out commonly, primary as a result of neuro-muscular pain. Repetitive motions, injury, and hypertension can all lead to the need for muscle focused treatment. Deep Tissue is the most commonly requested technique for those with specific areas of muscle dysfunction, all though there are a number of others that are helpful. Deep Tissue focuses on lengthening specific muscles, and releasing muscle tension through increased pressure and focus. Trigger Point therapy is used to break up trigger point adhesions where scar tissue has formed from injury or chronic fascial strain. Trigger Point therapy also utilizes deep focused pressure necessary to break up unhealthy tissues. Articulated trigger point therapies, or therapies that target trigger point areas that effect range of motion, utilize passive and active movements while releasing adhesions. Articulated trigger point therapies include ART (active release technique), PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), and Myotherapy. Many people have it in there mind that in order for massage therapy to be helpful it has to be painful. While trigger point releases can be slightly uncomfortable, making sure to effectively consider the lymphatic, circulatory, and nervous system components that form the foundations of massage will help boost the effectiveness of deep tissue therapies and reduce the need for uncomfortable trigger point therapy experienced during treatment.

Although there are a variety of other treatments and practitioners that do muscular-skeletal work, the support provided by a great massage therapist can't be found in any other setting. Physical Therapists and Chiropractors implement similar techniques, but will rarely spend the time to support such a wide range of goals as a massage therapist. A great massage therapist is also trained to consider multiple health recovery systems in order to make progress on your health goal. You would expect an understanding of the bones, muscles, and connective tissues from any reliable massage therapist, but what about the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems that support each of these muscles. Are the affected areas getting enough blood supply? Is the lymphatic system congested or unable to clear toxins? Is the sympathetic nervous system engaged in a way that limits recovery? What does each symptom mean in the context of your greater health goals? These are ideas that promote whole body health and wellness, and lead to the preventative benefits of receiving massage.

There are obviously many reasons to consider making massage therapy a part of your regular health maintenance program, but if your like many others you might still feel some resistance to the feeling of being spoiled and pampered after each massage. After a while you will get used to taking time for the easy things that are good for your health. We all know the list of challenging things we can do to be healthy. Eat well, exercise, get good rest. Now knowing the benefits of massage, you can schedule your time to receive a massage as a simple step on a quest to even greater health and wellness.



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