"I don't need massage"

I was sitting at the front desk waiting for my next client the other day when this older patient walks in.  He was coming in to get adjusted by the chiropractor for his lower back pain.  Going about my business, I overheard the chiropractor asking "Why don't you get a massage?  It would help with the adjustment"  His reply was simply "I don't need a massage, just the adjustment will do".  His response was very familiar to me as I've heard this excuse numerous of times before.  If I wasn't waiting for a client, I would have showed him how effective massage could be in relieving his low back pain.

I'll have to say that my profession doesn't do a good job in advocating how massage can be an effective tool in one's own healthcare.  It is still widely perceived as a pamper service for those people rich enough to afford such things.  Does massage cost an arm & and a leg?  Sure, if your consistently going to day spa's where they charge you $120-$130 for a 50 minute spa massage.  At my office thats equivalent to a 120 minute massage or a package of four 30 minute treatments (to work specific areas such as low back).  In New York State massage therapists are actually under the umbrella of healthcare providers, unfortunately we're unable to bill insurance for the treatments we provide (only MD's, PT's, and DC's can do this with employed massage therapists).  

Many spend thousands of dollars yearly in co-pays (even with insurance) at their doctors office, co-pays on prescription medication, physical therapy, chiropractic, and other forms of treatment.  So why not even consider massage?  Massage may be anywhere from $60-$90 per hour, but add up what your spending on other therapies.  You would see it being almost comparable, if not less expensive over a long period of time.  Sure most massage therapists do not take insurance in New York, but considering the cost of co-pays and medical care not covered by insurance, it can actually even out in cost for consistent care for chronic pain. 

Massage can make life better for those who suffer from muscle dysfunction such as low back pain.  I find this 2011 study on massage for low back pain interesting.  You can read the article HERE.  They used normal relaxing Swedish massage for low back pain in two groups that received massage.  After 10 weeks, those who received regular massage, 36% and 39% of the two massage groups reported that their pain was nearly or completely gone.  This was a general non-specific relaxing massage to the low back.  For a massage therapist trained in neuromuscular therapies, the percentage of those reporting little to no pain in the low back probably would have been much higher.

So before you dismiss what massage may be able to do for you, do a little homework first.  Just like doctors specialize in certain areas within their fields, so do massage therapists.  Some massage therapists specialize in hot stone massage, ashiatsu, reiki, rolfing, lymphatic massage, myofascial release, trigger point massage, to name a few.  If you are planning on using massage to address your pain, make sure you do your homework first and find a therapist that can address the problem you have.  Of course I am biased, If you're in pain I'd want you to come see me; but hey I'd be happy that your taking that step needed to help yourself get out of pain.  Does massage always help?  No, but it just depends on whats going on in your own body.  Physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, doesn't always help either, thats why we have our medical system.

In closing, if you ever hear yourself saying "I don't need a massage" your wrong.  Everyone needs massage.  No more excuses!

Shawn BellesComment