10 Reasons Why You Need Massage

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It's Not Just A Pamper Service

There are many reasons why clients come to see me.  Some come in for chronic pain conditions they've struggled with for years.  Others are coming in to enhance their athletic performance.  I also get the occasional client that needs a nice relaxation massage.  The point of this article?  Massage isn't just something you do just because you're on vacation.  It's a viable option for your own self-care needs.  You may not know it yet, but you're probably in need of a good massage.

1.) Reverse Chronic Pain Symptoms

Did you know that massage can help with long standing pain?  For many, it took years to get to the point of chronic pain.  How does that happen?  It could be through repetitive use injuries, side effects from surgery, or a sedentary life-style.  Will just one session of massage fix this?  Of course not.  

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So whats the point if it's not going to fix the problem right away?  Think of it this way; If you gained 50 pounds last year through poor eating choices, would you expect to lose all the weight gained after eating good for only a week?  Change happens slowly in the body.  A massage therapist's job is to facilitate the healing process and help reverse effects of long standing chronic pain.  We do this through client education about their body and how the client can help themselves. 

After proper assessment, many of my clients go on a treatment plan.  That can include referring out to their primary care physician, physical therapy, chiropractic or more follow-up appointments for massage.  As a massage therapist, I've seen massage produce dramatic results in reversing chronic pain symptoms in as little as one or two massage sessions.

2.) Restore Range Of Movement

When there is dysfunction in the muscle, connective tissue, or within a joint, it can reduce your range of movement.  Reduced movement can initiate pain since the body is meant to move unrestricted.  This pain can start anywhere such as the shoulders, back, hips, or legs.  Over time, this can transform into a chronic pain condition.

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Specific massage focus to these areas can slowly restore function & range of movement.  Massage techniques such as Deep Tissue Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, & Myofascial Release has helped many clients increase their range of movement.

3.) Manual Lymph Drainage

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For those recovering from surgeries, this type of massage is very beneficial.  It is advised to be cleared from a doctor after surgery before pursuing massage therapy.  Manual Lymph drainage is a specific massage that can help with extreme swelling, lymphedema, and cellulite.  In my office, I use cupping therapies for working with Lymph.  Through cupping therapies, I've seen great results in reducing swelling. 

If this seems like the treatment for you, google search for manual lymph drainage therapists in your area.  As a therapist that focuses on chronic pain conditions, I refer to other massage therapists in my area that are more qualified in lymph drainage based on the severity of swelling/lymph dysfunction.  This form of therapy is great for swelling from cosmetic/breast surgeries.

4.) Decrease Headaches & Migraines

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Suffering from longtime Headaches & Migraines?  Massage can help decrease these symptoms dramatically.  Headaches can stem from many areas of the head, face, neck & shoulders.  With massage, we identify where the headaches/migraines may be coming from.  After that, we come up with a treatment plan to minimize symptoms and decrease the frequency that the client would experience headaches.  You can read more about how massage can help HERE

5.) Manage Back Pain

One of the most common complaints we massage therapists see is back pain.  Back pain can be pretty complex to treat depending on where the pain could be coming from.  Here's a short list of what can cause back pain; Tight/overstretched trapezius muscles, tight erector muscles, tight quadriceps/hamstrings, hip dysfunction, joint dysfunction, weak gluteal muscles, tight psoas muscles (deep to abdominals), weak abdominal muscles, pelvic floor dysfunction, organ dysfunction...and the list goes on.  That is why one size doesn't fit all when it comes to treating back pain.

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Honestly, exercise is one of the best remedies when it comes to treating back dysfunction.  But what type of exercise?  This is where physical therapy shines.  Physical therapy should give you the best exercises & stretches you may need in helping with this pain.  As a massage therapist, I cannot give you a regiment of exercises & stretches, but I can inform you what muscles need to be addressed in your own self-care.  Massage has helped many of my clients manage their own back pain.  I've written more about how massage can help low back pain HERE.

6.) Help Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain

Massage therapy has helped many of my clients suffering from Fibromyalgia.  Left unchecked, Fibromyalgia can become debilitating for those suffering from it.  Clients with this condition use massage as way to manage their pain symptoms.  I have some clients that come in weekly, bi-weekly, or even once a month to help manage their symptoms.  These clients report decreased pain symptoms, better sleep, and less stress overall.  You can read more about massage for Fibromyalgia HERE.

7.) Prevent Surgeries

There has been a handful of times I've been able to prevent scheduled surgeries through the specific massage work I do.  Most notably, three carpal tunnel surgeries, shoulder surgery, low back surgery, and a surgery scheduled for plantar fasciitis.  I was the last ditch effort for these clients before going under the knife.  I started these clients off with a series of 4 massage sessions 2x a week (which I recommend for aggressive treatment).  I saw relief & lasting results for these clients and they were amazed that massage therapy was what they needed.  

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This approach doesn't always work for everybody.  There are many conditions that warrant surgery; but If it is a musculoskeletal condition you may be able to go with a non-evasive treatment such as massage.  On top of that, surgery may not even solve the underlying issue.  I've treated clients coming in with carpal tunnel symptoms that have had that surgery performed on them several times.

8.) Enhance Sport Performance

 Michael Phelps received cupping therapy performed by a massage therapist prior to his events at the 2016 Rio olympics.

Michael Phelps received cupping therapy performed by a massage therapist prior to his events at the 2016 Rio olympics.

There's a reason most NFL teams have a massage therapist in the locker room.  Massage therapy can improve performance.  Before a game, a fast sports massage can be applied to get the body ready for maximum performance.  After the game, massage can be applied to ease muscle tension to decrease the chance of injury.  Massage therapy is a staple treatment for athletes competing in the Olympics.

I perform sports massage on runners, cross-fitters, body-builders, soccer players and a range of athletes that step into my office.  Massage can help with common overuse injuries such as hip dysfunction, runners knee, IT Band dysfunction, Plantar Fasciitis, and other overuse injuries.  In most cases, massage really speeds up recovery from sports related injuries.  

You don't have to be an athlete to get sports massage though.  I have clients get sports related injuries just trying to get back into a sport.  Pulled a muscle at the gym that is taking forever to heal up?  Maybe it's time to get a massage.

9.) Decrease Stress & Anxiety

Stress & anxiety can really beat our bodies up.  When you're under a lot of stress, cortisol (our stress hormones) levels increase.  When that happens, the immune system becomes more suppressed, blood sugars go up, and muscles become more contracted; which leads to pain symptoms such as headaches.  Not only that, but prolonged stress can lead to higher levels of anxiety, higher blood pressure, and insomnia.

Studies have shown that when massage therapy was applied, serotonin & oxytocin hormones in the body increase.  This in effect decreases stress levels in the body.  Consistent massage for stress can elevate your mood, lower blood pressure, and achieve better, deeper sleep at night.  My clients have seen wonderful results on how massage manages their stress.

10.) Relaxation

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This one goes hand in hand with decreasing stress & anxiety addressed above.  In my experience, it doesn't matter what type of massage you receive, most people still report feeling relaxed & rejuvenated after their massages.  That's because when your receiving massage, it is sedating the nervous system, improving circulation, and decreasing tension in tight tissues.  The body's good hormones such as dopamine and endorphins are released which improve mood and encourages relaxation.

To really feel the relaxation benefit, tell your therapist that you would like your session geared towards relaxation.  There are many types of massages out there, and some are better geared for relaxation.  For example, if I'm really looking for a massage for relaxation, I wouldn't go see a sports massage therapist, unless they offered it.  Always communicate with your therapist about what you want from your massage session for the best experience.

Wow!  Massage Sounds Great!  Now What?

As I've mentioned, there are a lot of different types of massage.  Google is your friend in finding a massage therapist that is the right fit for you.  If you're in the Rochester, NY area, I encourage you to check out my website (www.RocPainMassage.com) for more information, self-care tips, blogs, videos, and more.  Heck, I even have easy online scheduling if you wish to make an appointment. 

So, what are you waiting for?  Book a massage today and feel the benefits it brings!  Now is the time to take care of you.

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