"What sorts of issues can massage be an effective treatment for?"
Massage and soft tissue manipulation can have a desired effect on most all of the body's major organ systems. The indications for this form of therapy are practically endless.
A few common practical applications for manual therapy include, but are not limited to:
Muscle Spasms, Inflammation, Headaches, Hypertension, RLS, Insomnia, Depression, Swelling, Chronic Pain, Sciatica, TMJ, FibroMyalgia, Rotator Cuff Dysfunction, Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Scoliosis, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Range-of-Motion limitations, Frozen Shoulder, Plantar Fasciitis, Scar Tissue, Tennis Elbow, Golfer's Elbow, and MUCH more...
"Can massage improve recovery time and/or decrease pain?"
Massage can effectively facilitate the body's natural ability to recover and heal. Here are a few examples of times when massage would be beneficial:
Pregnancy, Radiation Treatment, Cosmetic Surgery, Detoxification, Muscle Tears, Sprains or Strains, Strenuous Exercise, and many other various injuries, surgeries and pathologies.
"How does it work?"
Massage and soft tissue manipulation can have desired effects on every major organ system in the body. Here I will describe how the Muscular system, the Circulatory system, the Endocrine system, the Nervous system, the Integumentary system, and the Lymphatic system can all be positively affected.
The Muscular System:
Massage assists the muscular system by stimulating the circulatory system, stimulating the nervous system’s sensory neurons, enhancing cell activity, helping to facilitate waste removal in the lymph system, releasing facial constrictions, increasing flexibility, decreasing fibrous adhesions from muscle tissue injury or immobilization, increasing range of motion, promoting healthy muscle tone, promoting proper posture and balance, and releasing facial constrictions.
The Circulatory system:
Massage therapy can help improve blood flow to the tissues, muscles and vital organs, improving the transportation of oxygen and important nutrients throughout the body.
"Massage can help improve the health of your fascia, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds and penetrates muscles, bones, organs and other tissue throughout the body. All major blood vessels are connected to these sheathes of fascia, so if the fascia is properly aligned and healthy, your circulatory and nervous systems will benefit." -National Institute of Massotherapy in Cleveland.
Massage can also reduce stress and the release of stress chemicals in the body which will help lower blood pressure!
The Endocrine System:
This system controls the release of hormones and neurotransmitters. Research conducted at the TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami revealed that massage increases the availability of all neurohormones affecting brain chemistry.
Massage stimulates the release of endorphins, natural pain relieving chemicals in the brain, according to the Florida State Massage Therapy Association. This hepls relieve pain for many people, including those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, back injuries, migraines, sports injuries and many other conditions by reducing muscle tension and also by triggering the release of endorphins.
Massage tends to elevate levels of dopamine, a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Dopamine influences fine motor activity like painting or playing a musical instrument. It affects intuition, inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm. Those lacking in dopamine will likely exhibit clumsiness, poor focus, and be easily distracted.
Massage can also raise the availability of serotonin, a neurohormone that regulates behavior in terms of emotions, acting to quell irritability and cravings for sex and food. Those low in serotonin often have difficulty sleeping and tend to suffer from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
A vigorous 15 min massage can elevate epinephrine (adrenaline) levels by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This can increase a person's alertness. OR, a slower, longer, deeper, and more rhythmic massage can reduce epinephrine levels, creating a feeling of relaxation, and facilitating deep sleep.
The Nervous System:
Stimulation of the nerve receptors have reflex reactions affecting the vasomotor nerves, internal organs, pain perception nerves, and the underlying joints and muscles of the areas being massaged.
Massage can have relaxing, yet stimulating effects on the nervous system depending on the type and length of massage treatment given. Anxiety and depression are alleviated due to the calming of the nervous system and release of neurotransmitters.
Massage stimulates the touch, pressure, and proprioceptive receptors of the skin (and underlying tissues) helping to balance the autonomic nervous system. Massage relaxes the muscles and helps to re-establish proper tonus through its effect on the neuromuscular reflex pathways.
Massage is known to affect the neurotransmitters of the brain and increase endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Massage can help decrease nerve entrapment (pinched nerves) and can reduce nerve root compression (caused by muscle tension).
Massage can even help in treating restlessness and insomnia as well as help to regulate sleep patterns when administered before bed.
The Integumentary System:
Integumentary is a long word for "skin". Massage stimulates the sebaceous or "oil glands" to produce the secretion of sebum, better know as oil. This reduces dryness and giving you moist, healthy skin. The condition, texture and tone of skin also is improved.
When circulation is improved, the flow of nutrients to the cells of the organs is increased, therefore improving the health of the entire organ system! This facilitates tissue repair, healthy scar formation, and assists with waste elimination through pores in the skin.
The Lymphatic System:
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs comprised of the lymph, the lymph nodes, and the lymph vessels, which carry fluid throughout the body. The lymphatic system is an important part of our Immune System and helps to ward off germs, infections, illness and disease while also balancing the body fluids. It helps to remove waste from tissues and plays a huge part in detoxification. This lymph system can be manually drained to relieve sinus congestion, reduce inflammation and swelling, or flush toxins from the body.
And there is much more... Discover massage therapy today!