We’ve all seen it in movies; the dim lighting, the candles and the soothing music.. But don’t let that fool you. The classic perception of “getting a massage” leaves out many of the incredible benefits that this modality has to offer. Registered massage therapy has numerous direct and indirect effects on not only the musculoskeletal structures but also the neurological, hormonal, immune and digestive systems, just to name a few.
Our body is composed of 650 beautiful muscles that contract every second of every day. They control each movement, each breath and each heartbeat without us even paying attention to their function. Our muscular system makes up 40 percent of our body composition; we’re basically walking sacks of muscle. This alone should be a reason to not neglect their care.
Registered massage therapy can address a whole spectrum of bodily dysfunctions from acute injuries to simply reducing stress levels.
Do you suffer from upper back fatigue? That one sore spot in between the shoulder blades that just won’t go away. Or experience intense pressure in you lower back after a long day at work? Do you notice your neck getting kinked while waking up? “But I didn’t do anything, I must of just slept on it wrong.” If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re most likely suffering from postural imbalances due to repetitive stress and strain. Our bodies are made to move, to express themselves with the most variety possible and not to stay in the same position 8 hours a day. Our muscular system is parted in two sections; the anterior or front muscles and the posterior or back muscles. Today’s world enforces a lot of anterior muscle activation and lack of posterior chain use. Most of the things we do are in front of us. Our neck is tilted forward to allow us to text, our shoulders are rounded and hips are flexed when we sit at our desks. It’s so incredibly important to address these dysfunctions to improve postural habits. Massage therapy can help treat postural imbalances by releasing the shortened or tight muscles and strengthen the elongated or weak muscles to help you stand up straight and feel good and balanced.
We’ve all experienced them from rolling an ankle to over-stretching a shoulder joint. The after effects of an injury are brutal. Muscle damage occurs when the force on the muscle is greater than the tissue’s integrity. When muscle fibers experience trauma, the body works miraculously to recover and heal by sending stem cells to the area; therefore causing ÷≥˘inflammation and forming scar tissue. The scar tissue is able to mold and remodel but the muscle rarely fully regenerates, which is why we often see repetitive injuries to the same joints. Registered massage therapy can help break down these myofascial adhesions or scar tissue, as well as increase circulation to promote nutrition and detoxification of the lesion. Treating the affected area can increase range of motion and allow proper contraction and support to the joint to decrease the chances of re-creating the injury.
The big S word we all know way too well. We live in a non-stop, fast pace, chaotic world, where our wellbeing seems to often take the back burner. When cortisol, aka “the stress hormone”, experiences sudden variations, the body reacts negatively. This triggers the feeling of stress, alongside many other side effects. Cortisol is stored in the outer layer of our adrenal glands and is released to raise blood sugar levels. This may cause long-term destruction of tissues, and guess what? Muscle is tissue. Numerous studies show that massage therapy is able to lower cortisol levels, as well as increase dopamine and serotonin, aka “feel good hormones”. A study by T. Field has found that massage therapy decreases cortisol levels on average by up to 31%.
Registered Massage Therapy is a holistic approach to treating the body and can be beneficial to anyone. Whether it is as a preventative measure, to help with balancing postural chains, to reduce some strains and past injuries or simply to reduce overall stress levels. Realize the importance of self-care and make getting a massage part of your wellness routine!