What kind of massage therapist should I look for?
While the type of massage will differ depending on the condition or symptoms present, every licensed massage therapist should abide by the following:
- Has the massage therapist obtained all of the required state licenses?
- Every massage therapist should carry proper insurance coverage
- Is the office where the massage therapist practices licensed and approved by the state board?
- Has the massage therapist stayed up-to-date with advancements in massage therapy through continuing education courses?
- Beyond their physical skills, you should always feel at ease when working with your massage therapist
- Lastly, massages that are overseen and directed by a licensed doctor are preferred
How Can Massage Therapy Help Me?
As mentioned previously, massage therapy treatment plans are directly tied to your current condition or concern. Therefore, the results of massage therapy vary largely on an individual basis. Below are some of the benefits that our patients at Chiropractic Wellness Center have experienced following massage therapy:
- Improvements in digestive problems
- Reductions in anxiety and stress
- Improved sleep
- Decreased frequency and intensity of headaches
- Faster and more efficient healing following sports related injuries
- Better circulation
- Corrected posture
- Reductions in the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome
- Less pain and symptoms for patients suffering from fibromyalgia
- Improved back and neck pain
What are the different types of massage therapy available?
Prior to beginning care, your massage therapist will spend considerable time discussing your current problem and expectations. The best massage therapists begin with a complete history and examination followed by the development of a treatment plan. Below are a few examples of the types of massages that may be used depending on the findings of your exam:
A swedish massage is what people generally think of when they picture themselves visiting a massage therapist. The swedish massage has been around for nearly three hundred years and has grown to be the most popular massage utilized by massage therapists. People seeking stress relief and relaxation are the perfect fit for a swedish massage. The principle of swedish massages lies in deep compression and motion throughout the musculature, typically following the direction of blood flow in the target area. The massage therapist will alternate through 5 different strokes known as friction, vibration, tapotement, petrissage, and effleurage while communicating with the patient to determine how much force to utilize when massaging the damaged or tense tissue.
As the massage therapist utilizes the above techniques while following the direction of blood flow in the area, the amount of oxygen delivered to the damaged area is increased. This plays a vital role in decreasing pain and the amount of time required for recovery. As blood flow is restored, there is a general balancing of the nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems which has been shown to help with digestive problems, headaches, and a number of other health related complications.
The benefits that pregnant mothers can achieve from massage therapy should not be underestimated. Anyone who has gone through a pregnancy can attest to the degree of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems experienced during pregnancy. With the vast amount of hormonal changes that occur to accommodate the growing child, many pregnant women experience swelling throughout their extremities, low back pain, stress, and many other unexpected bodily changes. Since many mothers try to minimize the amount of medication taken during pregnancy, they have few available treatment options. Massage therapy when combined with chiropractic care has been proven to not only help with the symptoms associated with the pregnancy, but also decrease complications during the birthing process.
Trigger Point Therapy
Do you have a painful spot on your body that is best described as a knot? If so, it is more then likely you are suffering from a trigger point. Trigger points are actually areas along a muscle that have become irritated due to a variety of reasons. Once irritated the muscle becomes extremely sensitive and even experiences a decrease in the function of the muscle itself. As a result, pain is typically felt throughout the entire muscle and not just at the trigger point site. The pain experienced from trigger points varies and has been described as ranging from achy to sharp.
A massage therapist will identify the location of the trigger point and apply varying amounts of pressure to relieve the irritated and damaged tissue. Unlike swedish massages that are intended to be relaxing, trigger point therapy requires active involvement from the patient. Contraction of the tight muscle is required and maintaining deep breathing throughout the process is necessary. You should prepare for trigger point therapy by expecting some level of discomfort and due to the amount of time it took to develop the irritated area, more than one treatment is often required.
Participating in athletics places different types of stress on the tissues throughout the body than are experienced during routine daily living. Therefore, specialized massage therapy techniques are necessary to promote healing, rehabilitation, and reductions in symptoms. This is where sports massages come into play. Not only have sports massages been shown to decrease the amount of time required for rehabilitation, but they have also proven to minimize the chance of the injury happening in the first place.
Since people can experience injuries at work or home that are similar to those seen in athletics, sports massages can be beneficial for people other than athletes. Unlike a swedish massage that focuses on the entire body, a sports massage is designed to focus on one or two specific regions. Over time the patient will experience reduction of pain and increased range of motion in the damaged region. These changes will help reduce the chances of injury happening again in the future.
Our group of health care professionals at OC doctors are dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals. If you or someone you know could benefit from massage therapy, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.