Does pain or restricted movement keep you from living the life you want? Sports injuries, household accidents, repetitive actions on the job, and tension from everyday stresses can cause problems that, too often, take up permanent residence in our bodies.
Massage is one of the best-known antidotes for stress, resulting in more energy, a sunnier outlook on life, and reducing your likelihood of injury and illness. Massage can also relieve symptoms of conditions that are aggravated by anxiety such as asthma or insomnia. Because it relieves stress, massage is an excellent supportive therapy for people in psychological counseling or treatment for addiction.
Painful or tight muscles
Massage can relieve many types of muscle tightness, from a short-term muscle cramp to a habitually clenched jaw or tight shoulders. Some massage techniques release tension directly by stretching and kneading your muscles and their connective tissue coverings (called fascia). Other techniques work less directly, but quite powerfully, by stimulating your nervous system to allow you muscles to relax.
Muscle soreness and injuries
After vigorous exercise, buildup of waste products as well as micro-traumas in your muscles can leave you feeling tired and sore. Massage increases circulation, which removes waste products and brings in nutrients to speed healing of muscle tissue. Massage can help heal injuries such as tendonitis that develop over time, as well as ligament sprains of muscle strains caused by an accident. Massage reduces inflammation by increasing circulation, which removes waste products and brings nutrition to injured cells. Certain massage techniques can limit scar formation in new injuries and can make scar tissue more pliable around old injuries.
Massage can relieve secondary pain that outlasts its original cause. Some examples are headaches from eyestrain, low backache during pregnancy, or the protective tensing of healthy muscles around an injury.
Pain restriction in joints
Besides releasing tight muscles that restrict joint movement, massage works directly on your joints to improve circulation, stimulate production of natural lubrication, and relieve pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis.
How will a massage feel?
Massage on normal tissue is almost always a pleasant sensation. Massage in the area of an injury or chronic pain may at first cause some discomfort, which usually lessens noticeably in the first few minutes. Your massage therapist knows ways to minimize pain, and will work carefully within what feels right to you. Always tell your massage therapist if you feel any discomfort so she or he can make adjustments.
Studies have shown prenatal massage therapy may:
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Sleep
- Reduce length of labor and need for pain medication
- Reduce lower back pain and other common discomforts of pregnancy
Is massage always appropriate?
There are some conditions for which massage is not appropriate. Always tell your massage therapist if you have a medical problem, even a minor one. Also, let your primary health care practitioner know you are receiving massages. Some conditions require close communication between your massage therapist and your doctor or other health practitioner. Your massage therapist will gladly provide regular progress reports.
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Massage: A Great Gift for All
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