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Massage Therapy Benefits

Massage therapy has a history that dates back to many areas of the world including ancient China. Hippocrates defined this form of treatment as “the art of rubbing”.  It became very popular during the Renaissance era in Europe and it never really gained any traction in Canada or the U.S. until the 1970’s. Even then it was viewed more as a method of helping athletes.

So what exactly is massage therapy? This is a modality of treatment that encompasses various techniques. Trained therapists manipulate the muscle and soft tissue areas by rubbing and pressing. Hands and fingers are the most often used but some therapists also use their forearms and elbows.

When massage therapy is done by a properly trained therapist then there are virtually no safety concerns.  There may be some side effects due to the nature of the treatment and this generally includes temporary discomfort, minor pain, some possible bruising and for some, sensitivity to the massage oils used.

Health Benefits

In today’s society there are many people who spend a huge amount of hours sitting because of their jobs and their lifestyle. As a result postural stress can occur and this stress tends to manifest in the neck and in the shoulder area. Interestingly, advanced postural stress will cause a lot of pain or weakness in the gluts and lower back. Massages can counteract the negative effects of having a desk job.

Massage increases and improves blood circulation and this helps to ease muscle pain. In fact, there was a 2011 study that discovered massage therapy is as effective as other treatment methods for back pain.

Another huge benefit is that massages can sooth anxiety and help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. It won’t cure these maladies but massage can help a patient feel better.

A 2010 study found that massages boost white blood cell counts and this helps to boost the immune system.  White blood cells help to defend our body from disease.

Other benefits include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Myofacial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

There are four common types of massage techniques used depending on what is required. They are:

  • Deep massage: This technique uses slow, forceful strokes to target the deeper muscles and connective tissue.
  • Swedish massage: Long, slow strokes, deep circular motions, vibration, kneading and even tapping are techniques that this massage technique uses.
  • Sports massage: This is very similar to the Swedish massage except it is used for those involved in sports to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage: After an injury occurs (or overuse) tight muscle fibres can develop. This massage targets these areas.

Can Anyone Have a Massage?

Massage therapy is not for everyone although most people can benefit from massage. It is not recommended for pregnant women; they need to consult their health care provider before having massage therapy.

People with bleeding disorders or low blood platelet counts are not candidates for massage; nor are those taking blood thinning medications.

Massage should not be done on an area of the body in which there may be blood clots, burns, infections, open or healing wounds or on a person who has had surgery recently.

Other conditions that warrant an individual unable to have a massage are those with:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Fractures
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Severe thrombocytopenia

 

Given the huge benefits that can be gained through massage therapy there are only 35 percent of Canadians who have used massage therapy in their lifetime (according to the 2007 Fraser Institute report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Canada). The reasons they sought massage therapy were for back and neck problems (39%), relaxation (8%) and for muscle problems (6%).

Why wait for a problem to happen or for a problem to get worse? Contact Chiro Med Rehab Centre if you want more information on whether or not you may be suited for massage therapy. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill has professionals on staff that can help you with many of your health needs. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located at 10144 Yonge Street, just north of Major MacKenzie Drive in the heart of Richmond Hill. Visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 for more information.