The human body was built to move, to be mobile, to be ready for action, so why do so many people experience aches, stiffness, or inflexibility? A look at our environment can provide many of the answers. Each day we are faced with many physical challenges - as office workers holding arms over a keyboard, as construction workers hammering repeatedly, or as a bus driver sitting for long periods with insufficient support. Workstations are often built to accommodate equipment, not different body shapes and sizes. Society demands performance, but workers don't get the needed warm-up time before activities. Deadlines, traffic, air quality and many other factors lead to physical and mental stresses that eventually become evident as physical pain. Massage Therapy seeks to address some of these symptoms.
While there seems to be universal agreement that massage "feels good", it also offers many specific benefits. The therapeutic use of massage affects all systems of the body, most particularly circulatory, muscular, fascial, and nervous systems. Massage Therapy is also effective in the control of pain - both chronic and acute, in stress reduction and in creating a sense of relaxation and well-being.
Historical and current research document the parse physiological effects of massage, many of which are due to the movement of the therapist's hands over the body, physically stretching the muscles, encouraging circulation, inhibiting muscle spasm, and sedating or stimulating the nerves to ease pain or promote function as necessary. Many effects are equally preventative in nature. When muscles are loose and circulation is sufficient, the result is better health and less chance of injury or dysfunction. Some other effects are not well understood, such as decreased anxiety following treatment. Some physical and psychological effects may be due to the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
A trained massage therapist focuses on the normalization of the soft tissues affected by stress, injury, and illness through the use of manual techniques that improve circulation, enhance muscular relaxation, relieve pain, reduce stress, enhance immune function, or promote health and well-being. You don't need to be injured or in pain to experience massage, it can be used as a tool to help facilitate your general well-being. Many people seek massage therapy regularly to help them perform at their best and feel positive about themselves.
An increasing number of clinical research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from injury or illness. It can also hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.
MASSAGE THERAPY AS PART OF YOUR MAINTENANCE PLAN
Massage therapy benefits people of all ages. While it benefits the injured, the ill and the stressed, the real strength of massage therapy lies in prevention.
SOME CONDITIONS THAT CAN BENEFIT FROM MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage Therapy is safe and effective for stress management but is also highly effective for various other ailments and conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Headaches and Migraines
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
- Parkinson's Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Kyphosis and Scoliosis
- Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE FIRST APPOINTMENT
I ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled time (and at least 5 minutes prior to every appointment thereafter) as you will be required to complete a medical health history form on your first appointment. The health history will require you to fill out your personal contact information, all medical conditions (past and current), any pharmaceutical drugs and botanical medicines, lifestyle questions, and your areas of concern. In the privacy of the treatment room, I will review your health history with you and ask you some questions. Because massage therapy can affect multiple body systems, such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, it is important that you are honest and disclose as much information as possible. It is also important to let me know of any pharmaceutical drugs or botanical medicines you are taking, such as blood pressure medication, since massage can enhance or reduce the effects of these drugs. All information obtained is kept confidential. Knowing your history allows me to determine if there are any reasons that you should avoid massage or any particular technique. I will then ask you to discuss your areas of concern in more detail, as well, you may bring up any areas that you would like me to avoid. Depending on the nature of your complaint, I may wish (with your consent) to do further evaluation and assessment to identify what is causing the problem and how we can best treat the issue. We will then work together to create a massage therapy treatment plan that best fits your personal goals and expectations, tailored to your individual body needs.
DURING THE MASSAGE
Before we get started I will give you some privacy to undress to your comfort level, position yourself on the table and cover yourself up with the sheet and blanket provided. Depending on the area being worked and the goals you have for the session, any clothing left on may limit the massage treatment. You will remain securely draped throughout the entire session, while only one particular area being worked on is exposed (back, arms, legs, abdomen). The amount of pressure used is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with. During the massage, I will ensure that you are comfortable at all times. If you are not comfortable with the treatment at any time, it can be stopped or modified. Deep breathing is encouraged especially on areas of tenderness. This will help alleviate stress on the muscles and promote whole-body relaxation.
After the massage session, I will suggest some things you can do at home on your own time, such as therapeutic exercises, stretches, or postural correction techniques, so you can continue to improve your overall health. Depending on your condition, I may suggest further massage therapy sessions until the condition of your muscle and tissue improves. While periodic massage enhances your well being, the real benefit of massage comes from multiple therapy sessions.
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Cerebral Palsy
- Sports Injuries
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Increases flexibility and joint range of motion
- Improves immune system functioning
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Increases body awareness
- Reduces or eliminates pain
- Improves circulation and lowers blood pressure
- Increases lymphatic drainage
- Reduces tension within muscles