For centuries, people depended on massage to improve circulation, ease aches and pains and promote a sense of well-being. Physiotherapists also use massage to deliver all these benefits and more to patients who suffer from chronic pain, poor circulation, sprains and strains. Combined with an exercise program, massage therapy can be an important adjunct to any physiotherapy program. Tendonitis, arthritis, asthma, lower back pain, migraines and sports injuries are just a few of the conditions that can benefit from this.
Massage therapy is the place where art and science meet to enhance the healing process. As with all other visits, your physiotherapy treatment begins with an evaluation of your health problems, lifestyle, and your reason for coming to the clinic. You can then be given an outline of the progress and the beneficial results. Some benefits of massage therapy are:
- Improved circulation
- Decreased stress levels through promoting relaxation
- Decreased muscle tension and pain
- Improved blood pressure
- Improved range of motion
- Reduction of post-injury scar tissue that limits range of motion
- Improved recovery rate
- Feeling of well-being as a result of released endorphins
- Improved sleep pattern
Depending on your needs, different techniques may be combined. The degree of touch, pressure and movement may vary depending on your sensitivity to the massage. For example, to relieve trigger points (knots of muscle tension), deep pressure is often required to loosen the knots, increase blood flow and relieve pain.
Lighter touch with long, gliding strokes in the direction of blood flow to the heart is another effective technique. When combined with a passive and active range of motion, it can greatly improve circulation, promote relaxation, restore range of motion and relieve muscle tension.
There is no disputing the enormous benefits of massage, but as with any form of bodywork, certain precautions are necessary. For example, someone with open sores or skin infections will not get massaged and in other cases, you may be advised to seek your physician’s advice first. Conditions such as pregnancy, osteoporosis, dislocations, unhealed fractures, cancer and advanced heart disease may mean massage therapy is unsuitable for you. However, if done correctly, it can be the doorway to improved health and well-being for the rest of your life.