How can massage therapy benefit you?
Massage has many benefits beyond the obvious feelings of relaxed muscle tension after a treatment.
The reduced tension in our soft-tissue structures promotes blood circulation; increases lymphatic flow (improving immune system functioning); increases joint flexibility and therefore mobility; promotes deep relaxation resulting in improved restful sleep patterns and healing; increases awareness and connection to distal parts of the body not usually touched or acknowledged; aids in stress management through reduced heart rate, resulting in lower blood pressure, reduced respiratory rate, reduced levels of stress hormones produced, mental and emotional balance and less anxiety; soft-tissue injury recovery and rehabilitation; helps improve poor posture aiding strengthening of weakened musculature, and releasing tight muscles.
What does massage therapy actually do to your soft-tissues?
Your massage therapist will choose an appropriate variety of techniques, determined by the condition of your soft-tissues and nature of your reason for choosing massage – to promote circulation of fresh oxygenated blood into the tissues to increase heat, oxygen flow, nutrients and a calming effect to the appropriate region targeted. These benefits in turn will help allow release of tension or stiffness of muscles, help re-align muscle fibres, deactivate Myofascial Trigger Points resulting in relief of or reduced pain, add flexibility and mobility, flush toxins and metabolic waste products from the tissues and reduce scar tissue formation and restriction. Inflammation and pain messages from nerves related to the joint or structure treated also calm down.
What will happen during a massage session – what can I expect?
The initial consultation will involve you filling out a comprehensive Health History form – this is normally filled out prior to your initial 1 hour session and enables us to gather as much background information about you and your condition including: previous medical/surgical/injury information; basic dietary details (dependant on condition/reason for massage, a more detailed diet diary may be requested by your therapist as nutrition can play a huge role), sleep patterns, stress levels and other important background information. Some of your information will determine the type of treatment we can or cannot offer.
During the initial treatment, your therapist will conduct a brief interview, clinically assess where appropriate, explain how they will be treating you and why, then explain what feedback they will require from you to create the most effective and enjoyable experience for you. At the end of the session, your therapist will explain to you their intention surrounding your care including: homecare recommendations, advice about your condition, and frequency of visits if required.
In subsequent visits, if following a treatment plan related to an injury or chronic issue, your therapist will carry out on-going re-assessment, monitor progress, adjust homecare and treatments accordingly and discuss options for the future. We like to aim to make the process as enjoyable, relaxing, effective and educative as possible.
Is massage therapy a legitimate form of healthcare?
Both as a preventative measure and curative formula, massage therapy is widely accepted around the world as part of the healthcare system. Indeed, in many cultures it has been used for thousands of years as a healing or well-being philosophy, assisting child-birth, as well as soft-tissue pain relief.
It many countries massage therapy is considered a vital part of good-health: whether supporting and treating athletes; supporting the medical field in hospitals, rest homes and hospices; being part of a multi-faceted approach to an individuals’ chronic pain goals integrated with other modalities including osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture and western medical science; supporting and treating emotional and physical stress; or an active participant in general well-being and a balanced lifestyle.
Massage is not just a luxury – but it can be this too!
Who can massage therapy help?
Anyone and everyone!
Whether you are an athlete requiring training support or recovery and rehabilitation from an injury; a highly stressed corporate office worker suffering from pressures of deadlines or shoulder pain from sitting at a computer all day; a pregnant mum needing relief from aches and pains related to carrying the little bundle of joy or post natal related to breast feeding, lifting baby or post pregnancy blues; a taxi/bus/lorry driver suffering neck and low back pain from sitting all day long; a weekend gardener suffering from diggers back or landscape gardener suffering from the strain they have put their body under all week; post-surgical scar-tissue pain or restriction or rehabilitation from surgery; or you would just like to enjoy a regular massage as part of your balanced “lifestyle”’ the list is endless.
What are some of the terms my therapist may use and what do they mean?
- Orthopaedic tests – These are manual assessments designed to rule out or confirm the possibility of damage to certain soft-tissue structures that may be causing your pain or limitation. You may be asked to move the affected limb or your therapist may move the appropriate region passively to determine results.
- Postural Analysis – This is a static, standing and lying assessment where your therapist is determining any imbalances in your posture away from the norm that may be perpetuating or have lead to your injury or complaint and may be reducing your body’s ability to heal, recover or move through the problem. You may be asked to wear shorts, leggings and non-baggy clothing for the duration of the assessment. Poor posture may be the cause of your pain as imbalanced musculature struggles to align your joints correctly. Poor posture can also lead to faulty movement patterns that in turn can cause pain.
- Range of Motion (ROM) – This is the ideal range of movement that a healthy joint should be able to achieve. Improper movement patterns, inflexibility can reduce this ROM and result in or be the cause of pain, which often occurs through imbalanced muscle tone and length.
- Myofascial Trigger Point (MTrp) – This is a localised point of high neurological activity that can result in localised tenderness, deep or referred pain, restrict ROM or create weakness. Often these MTrps can be the source of your actual pain symptom but are rarely the cause. After treating the MTrp to reduce or remove the pain, your therapist’s skill is in determining why this MTrp has developed at this site and why it keeps returning. Your therapist will then work with you to reduce perpetuation of the MTrp through a specific treatment plan discussed and agreed upon with you.
- Muscle length & strength testing – These are manual tests to determine and confirm imbalances in your musculature that are creating poor posture, improper ROM and faulty movement patterns. These, individually or combined may be contributing to your condition.
- Movement or biomechanical testing – These are specific tests where your therapist will ask you to move the affected region(s) through a particular ROM, to determine faulty movement patterns as a cause or part of your condition.
- Fascia – Connective tissue that joins muscles to other muscle groups, organs vessels and muscles to bone. Myofascial release techniques may be incorporated into your massage therapy treatment plan as part of your condition, especially in cases of scar tissue formation, or chronic adaptive processes including poor posture, tendinopathy or inflammatory pathologies.
- Chronic – A condition that has been evident over a period of more than 3 weeks.
- Acute – Often related to a trauma or injury. The term relates to your condition or injury occurring within the last 2 or 3 weeks.
- Pathology – Term used to describe a disease or condition where the integrity of the soft-tissue structure targeted has been compromised. Whether inflamed, strained, sprained or inflamed due to trauma, aggravation or chronic adaptation.