Massage: More Than A Relaxation Technique

MassageMassage closeup

“I love a good massage — I don’t need to be wrapped in herbs like a salmon filet but I do love a massage!” - Jason Bateman

By Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP

Valentine’s gift fell short? There’s still time to redeem yourself!

Massages are appropriate for any occasion, or no occasion at all! The Mayo Clinic sites studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. While more research is needed to confirm this, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for everything from anxiety and depression to digestive disorders.

Choose the massage appropriate for you based on your goals of treatment. Following are some some different options with some better for stress relief while others are effective in restoring overworked muscles. Be aware that depending on where you go for a massage, it may involve oil, lotion, aromatherapy, rocks and even hot bamboo sticks.

  • Swedish Massage–Swedish massage is often referred to as relaxation massage. It consists of long, flowing strokes, often in the direction of the heart. Therapists use massage lotion to minimize friction —or pulling on the tissue— and may incorporate circular movements and kneading of the muscles. This is very effective for releasing tension and stress despite typically held in a spa.
  • Deep Tissue MassageThis is targeted at muscles that have been strained or are related to chronic pain or posture problems. The therapist targets deep layers of muscles and connective tissue by using short strokes and intense pressure. It’s not uncommon for clients to feel sore for several days after such a session, but the benefits can be worth it. Therapists at chiropractic offices are extensively trained to target the muscles that are contributing to your diagnosis to help resolution take place as quickly as possible.
  • Trigger Point TherapyTrigger point therapy is similar to deep tissue massage in that a specific area of the body is focused on and may cause some discomfort during the procedure. A trigger point is a tight area in a muscle that may refer pain to other areas. For example: a trigger point in the neck can cause headaches while one in the upper back can cause chest pain. While not a pleasurable experience, the results can be system wide. With a little equipment —such as a lacrosse ball or a theracane— this is a therapy that you could provide yourself.
  • Sports Massage–Consider this an all of the above treatment. It is the best of all worlds — stretching of over worked muscles, trigger point eradication, cross friction pressure, and even flowing strokes to conclude. A sports massage can help not only keep you in the game but recuperate from the last competition.

If you didn’t deliver 100 percent this weekend surprise your valentine with a massage, just because. Most facilities will allow input from both the buyer and receiver to determine which massage is appropriate for their needs. And if you didn’t have someone to  celebrate the weekend with, treat yourself. Believe me, they (or you) will thank you for it!

Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP, is a licensed chiropractor and a certified chiropractic wellness practitioner from Libertyville, Illinois. Her goal is to educate the public on how to Eat Well - Move Well and Think Well.

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News, features and information posted by the managing editor of the Illinois News Network.
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