Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Massage Help?
Therapeutic massage helps the body recover from the stresses of strenuous exercise, and facilitates the rebuilding phase of conditioning. The physiological benefits of massage include improved blood and lymph circulation, muscle relaxation, and general relaxation. These, in turn, lead to removal of waste products and better cell nutrition, normalization and greater elasticity of tissues, deactivation of trigger points, and faster healing of injuries. It all adds up to relief from soreness and stiffness, better flexibility, and less potential for future injury.
In addition to general recovery, massage may also focus on specific muscles used in a sport or fitness activity. For example, areas of greater stress for runners and dancers are in the legs, for swimmers in the upper body, for tennis players in the arms. These areas are more likely to be tight, lose flexibility, and develop trigger points.
Adequate recovery is also a major factor in avoiding the over-training syndrome. Over-training is characterized by irritability, apathy, altered appetite, increased frequency of injury, increased resting heart rate, and/or insomnia. It occurs when the body is not allowed to recover adequately between bouts of heavy exercise. Therapeutic massage helps you avoid over-training by facilitating recovery through general relaxation, and its other physiological effects.
Trouble spots?. . . You may also have your own unique trouble spots, perhaps from past injuries. A massage therapist can pay special attention to these areas, monitor them for developing problems, and help keep them in good condition. An experienced massage therapist can also compliment treatment received from other health care professionals for various injuries.
What Is A Maintenance Massage?
An effective maintenance program is based on the massage therapist's understanding of anatomy and kinesiology. By zeroing in on particular muscle groups and working specific tissues, the massage therapist can help maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility.
How Can Massage Treat My Injury?
Even with preventive maintenance, muscles cramp, tear, bruise, and ache. Therapeutic medical massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process.
Soft tissue techniques employed by the massage therapist are effective in the management of both acute and chronic injuries. For example, adding lymphatic massage to the "standard care" procedure in the acute stage of injury will improve control of secondary, hypoxic injury and enhance edemous fluid removal throughout the healing cycle. Trigger point techniques reduce the spasms and pain that occur both in the injured and "compensation" muscles. Cross-fiber friction techniques applied during the subacute and maturation phases of healing improve the formation of strong and flexible repair tissue, which is vital in maintaining full pain-free range of motion during rehabilitation.
In all cases, such massage techniques are employed in collaboration with other appropriate medical care. For example, encouraging circulation around a bruise, but not directly on it, through the use of compression, cross-fiber techniques or even long, deep strokes is only used after appropriate medical referral and diagnostics indicate that there are no clots formed in the area which may embolize.
Will Massage Ever Hurt?
In general, massage is a relaxing experience that feels good. In some cases, treatment of a tight muscle or treatment on a painful injury may at first cause some discomfort, which will lessen after several minutes. A trained therapist knows that to have the most profound effect, deeper is not always better. Pressure is suited to your comfort level and does not go beyond.
How Often Will I Need Treatment and For How Long?
Frequency and length of treatment will depend upon how long you have had the injury, severity of injury, and how your body responds to treatment. Initially, your therapist may need to see you twice a week for several weeks to reduce pain levels and start your recovery. After that, you may need weekly massage until you reach a maintenance level of care. The sooner you receive massage after an injury the quicker your healing will progress.