Latest Scientific Evidence Regarding Massage Therapy
In antiquity, the “laying on of hands” was used to bestow blessings and for healing. It is likely one of the oldest ways we have helped each other. Today, massage therapists expand upon this ancient art with contemporary advanced study and licensure.
Most people who enjoy massage therapy know that it releases endorphins, the positive neurotransmitters in our body. This is a natural way to trigger healing and pain relief. Yet, you may not know that massage also reduces the stress hormone cortisol and releases other positive neurochemicals: serotonin and dopamine.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of NIH, reports that a great deal of research has been done on massage therapy and its effects on health in the last few years. Many studies have found clear benefits for pain reduction in patients with back pain, depression, and even cancer.
Researchers note that the beneficial effects are often of short duration, and patients need to continue the therapy for health benefits to remain. NCCIH refers to newer studies and clinical trials funded by the governmental agency, from 2009 to 2012, that show that massage helps reduce pain in those with low back pain, chronic neck pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee. A review of studies in 2012 found that massage provided some pain relief for women in labor as well.
A meta-analysis of clinical trials offers evidence that patients suffering from depression improve with massage therapy, but there isn’t enough evidence for mental health benefits for pregnant women receiving massage. In fact, there are some challenging issues for expectant women receiving massage. It is not contraindicated for all, but there are some conditions during the months of gestation that might preclude massage. Speak to your health care providers and massage therapist if you wish to have massage during pregnancy.
Still, nearly everyone can enjoy the health benefits of massage. Some patients may want to request a lighter touch. Conditions which warrant avoidance of deep tissue massage are patients taking anticoagulants and those with tumors, wounds, low platelet counts, and bleeding disorders.
Our three massage therapists are experienced, dedicated, and talented. They offer a variety of types of massage. Discuss your needs to create the best plan for you.
Doctor Cure Thyself
Massage has always been one of the best complementary modalities for chiropractic adjustment. Some of my patients choose to get their adjustment before their massage. Others would rather have the adjustment after. Both methods are fine, and you may want to experiment to find what works best for you. You will want to combine them both though for maximum benefits. My patients who schedule both often improve faster than those who choose one or the other.
A quick reminder of how chiropractic adjustments work: The brain controls all the functions in the body, and it does this through a network of nerves. The spinal cord is connected directly to the brain, and nerve roots exit at each level between the vertebrae. These nerve roots have three types of fibers: sensory fibers transit messages such as pain, heat, cold, and pressure; motor fibers control muscle movements; and autonomic fibers control the functions of our internal organs and systems. When a patient has interference in the transmission of these messages due to misalignments or injuries, they can experience pain, dysfunction, and/or disease. The chiropractor adjusts these vertebral misalignments or subluxations improving nerve transmission. The body is then able to activate its natural healing capacity.
So, you can see how nicely that dovetails with the benefits of massage.
As you know, we do some soft tissue work outside of the massage room too. Yet, there are many conditions that improve with a longer period of massage besides those above that have been studied extensively. Feel free to speak to me or one of our massage therapists if you have any questions. And consider taking advantage of one of our massage packages.
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