Massage is best known to help you relax and relieve stress. A gentle soothing massage can reduce stress, relieve muscle aches, improve your sleep and improve your mood. Lesser known is the fact that massage also has benefits far beyond mere relaxation. Massage therapy in a clinical or hospital setting is given by licensed professionals who are trained to find and focus on problem areas. This therapeutic type of massage involves more focused work on your body’s soft tissue — the muscles, tendons and ligaments that move and support your body. Your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist might recommend that you receive a therapeutic massage to complement other therapies you’re already receiving to treat a particular area of your body. Or you may not be getting the results you want from other traditional treatments. Receiving massage therapy on a regular basis may help in this case, too.
It can ease discomfort and pain
A massage therapist can work on a number of medical issues that are either chronic (meaning they last a long time) or acute (a medical issue that has happened recently and can be cared for in the near future.)
These issues can include:
Repetitive stress injuries from sitting or standing postures that are held for several hours a day.
Migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches or sinus headaches.
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder.
Strains and sprains (after inflammation has gone down).
Low back pain.
Post-surgical scar tissue (with doctor’s approval).
What to expect at a massage therapy visit
When you first call to make your appointment, it’s important to explain to the massage therapist exactly what you’d like worked on. Talk to the therapist about what your specific needs are. For example, why did your doctor recommend you have a therapeutic massage? What are the areas of concern, and why or how did it happen? The more info you provide, the better, and if the massage therapist is unfamiliar with your issues, you may be referred to a colleague who can better serve your specific needs. During your visit, your therapist may have soft lighting and music playing, just like with a relaxation massage. Instead of a whole-body treatment though, a therapeutic massage session tends to focus on your targeted area of concern — for an extended period of time. If you schedule a 60-minute massage (this is a longer session), the massage therapist will dedicate most of the time to your areas of concern but may also include other muscle groups to support a more comprehensive outcome.
How medical massage is different from relaxation massage
The massage work in a medical massage may feel deeper than a relaxation massage. You also may experience more tenderness as the therapist works through the tissue. The therapist may use various techniques during your treatment session. Depending on their training, they may incorporate deep-tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger point work, various movement therapies or passive-resistive stretching techniques.
We lead the cutting edge with medical massage therapy, this means our massage therapists practice condition based treatment that has goals and outcomes for our patients that dovetails with our chiropractic treatments. Our chiropractors will often prescribe or refer patients to the massage therapists with instructions. The massage therapist and chiropractor will collaborate on the care, response, goals and progression of results. Many people have a tandem problem with the musculoskeletal relationship. When chiropractors work with spinal joints and extremity joints we find that there is a chronic muscle imbalance also. We have found the healing progress is faster with lengthening of the soft tissue fibers through massage therapy. We use trans-friction massage, stretching, lengthening and balancing of the musculature to addresses the whole neuro, musculoskeletal package including joints, disks and nerves. Combining chiropractic care and massage therapy is the optimal tandem therapy for treating most musculoskeletal problems and the approach we take at Houk Chiropractic & Medical Massage Therapy.