Benefits of Massage and Chiropractic care
Chiropractors and Massage therapists both use the power of touch to help their clients deal with pain and dysfunction. Both focus on helping their clients achieve pain relief and return to their daily activities. A chiropractor is educated in a nationally accredited four year post graduate doctorate program through a curriculum that includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical internship. A massage therapist receives at minumum 500 hours of classroom and hands on clinical study in order to become licensed. So while both practitioners are highly motivated to help their clients, their background education and techniques vary greatly. However, by collaborating together, they are able to help the client achieve optimal results
If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, you could have an underlying problem with your spinal alignment, which can create muscle tension and guarding. This tension can create pressure on nerves and prevent you from moving freely. Chiropractic is really helpful for dealing with functional issues like these, but if you’ve been experiencing the symptoms for a while, you can sometimes find that your body stubbornly resists the adjustments a chiropractor makes, which can result in frustration and even pain.
If you’re experiencing problems with stiffness in your spine there can be an increase in tension in the muscles supporting and surrounding it. Trying to adjust the spine without working on the muscle tightness can pull on the spinal joints. This can make them even stiffer and means that it’s quite likely your pain will return, even if the chiropractic relieves it initially.
Sometimes, a massage prior to your chiropractic adjustment can help make those adjustments feel easier and last longer. Talk to your chiropractor and massage therapist to schedule your appointments on the same day to give you the best benefit.
The impact of stress on your body function
If you feel like you are under a lot of mental stress of perform repetitive physical tasks, massage can be really helpful to you. It’s great for maintenance, getting rid of a build-up of tension in your body before it causes any damage that needs help from your family doctor or chiropractor.
Spinal problems can be painful, and if you are experiencing pain in your arm, tingling or numbness in your shoulders and even sciatica it is recommended you consult with your chiropractor. Whether these symptoms come on suddenly or have been lingering and bothering you for a while, it is always important to seek medical help and not try to diagnose yourself or brush it off as a minor irritation. Your doctor will investigate and rule out major causes and may recommend massage therapy to help manage pain and discomfort.
Chiropractic and massage therapy work really well together. They don’t just correct the functional problem that’s causing the pain or symptoms but also help to relax the muscles and soft tissues so that any work carried out by the chiropractor is more effective and the effects last for longer.
A chiropractic adjustment is typically a very quick appointment that some people find fits in well with their busy lives. A massage however can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes and I highly recommend you take the time once in a while to allow a massage therapist with experience in helping people with pain management really focus on what your muscles need. Taking time allows you to tune in with what your body is trying to tell you all day long….slow down, stretch, take a deep breath and acknowledge what you are feeling.
Massage and Chiropractic care for injuries
Using the two together is really helpful after an accident or sporting injury, even the aches and pains that you might get from DIY or gardening. Injuries treated with massage and chiropractic can often heal faster because the two treatments help to stimulate blood flow, boosting your body’s natural energy to heal.
Chiropractic and massage therapy are also, importantly, natural, drug free, hands on therapies and they don’t have to be restricted just to after injury or when you’re in pain, it can be beneficial to have a session of chiropractic or a regular massage just to maintain your muscular and spinal health and stop problems from occurring in the first place.
Massage for Seniors: The Benefits of Touch
The power of human touch has been known for ages. Babies thrive when they are held and caressed. We all need that physical touch to know that we are safe, loved and cared for. It is a basic human need. As we get older and our opportunities for interaction and socialization decrease due to living situations, illness and limited mobility, the opportunity for human contact can decrease. During times of illness or hospitalization, the tendency is that we receive touch as part of routine medical care and procedures which can sometimes feel invasive or painful.
Taking the time to rest a hand on someone else’s hand or shoulder and provide meaningful interaction can make all the difference in the world to someone.
Do Seniors benefit from massage?
The positive effects of massage on the health of elderly people are well documented by research. A gentle massage can benefit the circulation and nervous system, so if a gentle touch is required for more frail customers, it will still work just as well as deeper pressure on someone younger.
Geriatric gentle massage is known to help stimulate the circulation naturally and without causing any discomfort, so many older people are happy to give themselves over to the hands of an expert massage therapist when they are feeling tense and in need of healing touch.
One important benefit of massage is that it doesn’t have any side effects and won’t interact with medicines that the elderly person is taking for conditions that often affect them (diabetes, depression, Parkinson’s, dementia and other common conditions.) It is important, however, to let your therapist know what medications are being taken as some meds can contribute to thinning skin and easy bruising.
Elderly people often suffer from symptoms caused by conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This can often leave them with limited mobility and poor circulation. On top of this, many elderly people can report feeling depressed or even lonely.
Geriatric massage can help boost physical health and helps to improve mood. It also gives older people access to comforting touch.
I often find that seniors are not familiar with or comfortable with the idea of getting a massage because people of their generation just didn’t get massages. They may also have the opinion that massages are not appropriate to receive because of the tainted reputation the massage industry may have had in the past. They don’t realize there are many wonderful health benefits to receiving a massage.
The benefits of touch
- Help boost quality of life and self-esteem.
- Improve sleep quality
- Relieve stress, depression and even loneliness
- Provide relief for headaches and other aches and pains
- Restore some lost mobility due to Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and other limiting conditions.
How is massage tailored to Seniors?
Geriatric massage uses some of the same techniques you’ll find in general massage, but tailored to the specific needs of elderly people.
- Comfortable positioning during a massage is very important and some elderly clients may not be able to recline due to breathing problems or may need extra pillows and padding. They may also need help getting on and off the massage table. I will assess your moblity and comfort level throughout your session.
- Some people may feel uncomfortable with or have difficulty removing clothing for a massage session. That is not an issue as I can easily provide a great massage over clothing to help my client maintain modesty and a sense of security.
- I can use gentle techniques; gentle movements are used that are designed to be soothing at the same time as improving circulation. This can be especially helpful if someone has a diabetic foot condition or has a build-up of muscle tension.
- Gentle hands and feet massage to sooth swollen joints, and relieve stiffness.
- Stronger movements, friction and pressure can be used with care to help improve flexibility in larger areas like shoulders.
Massage is a lovely therapy that can be enjoyed by people of all ages – if you know someone who would benefit from massage, but thinks it’s not for them because they are ‘too old’ – treat them to a session and see if you can put the smile back on their face.
How Massage Can Help Fibromyalgia?
Being a fibromyalgia or ‘fibro’ sufferer can feel miserable. It is important to learn to manage your symptoms as much as possible to try and avoid it impacting on your everyday life. This can be easier said than done. Massage can be one way to help manage your symptoms.
What is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. People who suffer from this condition are more often female between the ages of 20 to 50.
The main symptom is pain, which can range from mild to severe. It varies from person to person but some people report shooting or burning pains while others complain of a constant deep ache which doesn’t let up. It’s common for joints to feel tender and the pain to get worse at night although some people feel it all day long. Other symptoms can include tiredness, depression, headaches and memory loss.
Why massage for Fibromyalgia?
Massage can boost circulation in your muscles, reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve the range of motion in your joints and increase the production of the body’s natural painkillers, also known as endorphins. All of these effects are positively great for fibro sufferers.
People who have fibro can be extra sensitive to pressure in some parts of their body therefore good communication with your therapist about using the most comfortable pressure. If you’re worried that it will hurt…don’t be. I will always check in with you about the pressure used and can adjust the session to ensure that you are positioned comfortably.
How can sleep help?
Massage can help to promote better sleep, so it follows that if your fibro leaves you waking up tired, even after what you think was a normal night’s sleep, a massage can help. A decent massage will leave you relaxed and promote deeper sleep – and deep sleep helps fibro symptoms because it’s when you enter the deep sleep phase that your body can repair and restore itself.
Boost your mood
During your massage, your body will begin to relax, due to the effects of your parasympathetic nervous system which also allows us to rest and digest. While we are in a relaxed state mentally, we are more likely to experience less tension in our muscles.
Performing myofascial release techniques to your head and neck can offer a gentle way to encourage chronic muscle tension to relax and decrease headaches. Frequent massages can help reduce the intensity of your headaches which can improve your mood and help you to sleep better.
If you’re concerned about whether a massage is a good idea for you, speak to your doctor first.
Myofascial Melt…What is it?
You might have seen Myofascial Melt massage on my services menu and wondered what type of massage that is? This is a type of slow focused massage technique that allows me to target tension in your body in order to “melt” that tissue into a more flexible and relaxed state. I start by performing a visual assessment of your posture and look for chronic holding patterns which helps me to see where your web of fascia has shortened and tightened.
What is fascia?
Fascia is another name for the fibrous connective tissues that you have all over your body. It literally weaves through, is part of, and connects to every type of tissue and organ in our bodies.
It also helps to separate individual muscles within their groups so that they can work independently, and it provides a lubricated surface which allows the muscles to move smoothly against each other.
If you’re inactive for a long time, because of a sedentary lifestyle or have had an illness, injury or emotional trauma, your muscle fascia can start to stick together. This can stop your muscles from moving freely and gives you a tight, stiff feeling. In some cases, this can also limit your mobility. This sticking together and shortening of the fibers can create an immense pressure on your nerves and blood vessels which contributes to your pain and inflammation.
How is it released?
Myofascial Release is a gentle but firm technique which does not force the fascia to move, but instead helps to free up stiff fascia and reduces tension or restriction.
In this type of massage, I feel and stretch slowly down into the tissues, all the time feeling for a glue-like texture which means there’s a ‘sticky’ fascia. In order to create the sustained tension on the tissues, no lotions or oils are used. It’s a very precise massage technique that involves using a gentle yet direct pressure for five to eight minutes while I wait for the tissues to soften and release.
The massage should give your fascia a chance to return to its normal resting length which will feel a lot better, ease any pain or stiffness and allow blood and nerve impulses to flow more freely through the released area. This release allows you to move more freely and helps you to rebalance your posture.
Who benefits from Myofascial Melt Massage ?
If you have issues with your posture, chronic pain, fibromyalgia or past trauma or injury, this type of therapy could be useful. Since most of us have had some type of inury during our lifetimes, this technique is useful for everyone. If the fascial tissue is holding your body in the wrong position, your muscles will struggle to keep you in the correct alignment. Your connective tissue then starts to work harder and this can lead to other problems. A combination of bad posture and gravity lead to extra stresses on your body that can be relieved with myofacial release.
If you have scar tissue from previous injuries, some myofascial techniques might relieve some of the discomfort. In scar tissue, the tissue is laid down in a random pattern, which can cause it to pull on the surrounding tissue. Using fascial therapy can help to release some of the pain and stiffness caused by scar tissue dysfunction.
If you have any questions about how Myofascial Melt can help you, I would be happy to explain in more detail. When sceduling a Myofascial Melt appointiment, arrive a few minutes early as I will do a postural assessment in order to develop a treatment plan before you enter the therapy room for your treatment.
Why Use Essential Oils in Massage ?
Also known as aromatherapy massage, a massage using essential oils not only smells wonderful, but has many physiological benefits as well.
There are two main reasons why I may use essential oils in your treatment.
- They smell nice – but aromas are well known to trigger emotions in the part of your brain that deals with memories, which is why certain scents can take us back in time triggering happy memories. Some scents, like citrusy or lavender oils have a very similar effect and just inhaling them as you’re enjoying your massage makes you feel good.
- The essential oils used in massage can have beneficial effects on different areas of your body and health. Some blends like DoTerra’s Aromatouch contain several essential oils known to help reduce muscle pain and promote relaxation
Essential oils and pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you should always tell your massage therapist before an aromatherapy massage because although essential oils are safe in the vast majority of cases, there are a few specific essential oils that are best avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Essential oils and pain relief
Using essential oils such as wintergreen, peppermint and copaiba in a massage is ideal if you’re experiencing symptoms like inflammation or pain. There are several other essential oils which can give you even more relief than a basic massage.
Essential oils and stress relief
For some people, just breathing in the gorgeously relaxing scent of lavender essential oil can calm you down, while others might find it too strong and stimulating. Lavender essential oil is great for pain relief and widely used in stress-busting massage treatments. Other people may actually prefer lighter scents like citrus or something more invigorating like peppermint.
Aromatherapy is optional and complimentary
It is very important to let me know if you have any allergies or asthma as some oils can trigger an allergic reaction or irritate asthmatic airways. If I know that you have a personal preference or medical reason to avoid aromatherapy, I will schedule your appointment during the part of the day when no essential oils have been used.
As always, I use essential oils to enhance your experience and will use them as requested at no additional charge to you. I just love using aromatherapy and believe in the many benefits they offer and want to share them with you.
I am currently studying aromatherapy in order to learn more about their benefits and uses. Please feel free to ask me questions or let me know if there is an oil that you would prefer that I use during your session and I will order that for your next session.
What’s your favourite aromatherapy oil?