Medical Massage Therapy - What is it?
Medical Massage is a type of Massage Therapy that takes a clinically focused approach, utilising advanced massage techniques to provide therapeutic & remedial relief from a range of physical issues. The techniques used are a combination of Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy.
In Medical Massage, the focus is to realign and promote healthy function of the deeper layers of the muscle and connective tissue.
The Benefits of Medical Massage & How it Works
Medical Massage allows the therapist to locate and address dysfunction within the Musculo-Skeletal system.
Dysfunction within this system can be caused by a range of factors; such as muscular injury, incorrect postural habits, muscle overload, stress, chronic illnesses/syndromes and more.
When these problems are present, there are often adhesions (tight bands of painful and rigid tissue) in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Adhesions can cause pain and inflammation, limit movement, block circulation and aggravate the surrounding muscular systems.
Medical Massage focuses on relieving pain and restoring normal movement, by breaking down these adhesions and allowing the muscle to return to normal function.
Medical Massage works most effectively when experienced as a course of treatments, tailored to break the cumulative cycles of muscle injury and dysfunction.
Medical Massage - how can it help me?
Medical Massage can assist you in relieving and managing symptoms related to chronic illnesses as well as symptoms arising from musculo-skeletal dysfunction. Medical Massage can help you if you experience any of the following:
|the following list is not exhaustive|
Lower Back pain
Chronic Headaches and/or Migraines
Shoulder & Neck Pain
Injury Recovery (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
Repetitive Strain Injury, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
Muscle tension, cramps or spasms
Support of healthy muscle repair & growth after an intense work out
Massage Therapy - The Benefits overall
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft-tissue structures of the body to alleviate and prevent pain, discomfort and stress; as well as to promote health and well-being.
There are many modalities of massage and people seek massage therapy for a variety of reasons – to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles, rehabilitate injuries, reduce pain, and promote overall health and wellness.
Depending on your needs and requirements, Medissage Therapies can provide tailored massage treatments to help you reach your health & wellness goals.
The main benefits of professionally administered massage therapy are:
For further information on each of these benefits, please click the benefit you would like to know more information about.
These main benefits can be achieved due to the functionality and effect massage has on the body:
- Reduce stress and increase energy;
- Improve circulation and free-up body posture;
- Release restrictions in muscles and joints;
- Release muscle spasms;
- Stimulate production of natural lubrication;
- Flush muscles of built-up waste products;
- Reduce inflammation and heal injuries;
- Limit scar formation in new injuries;
- Make old scar tissue more pliable;
- Reduce the likelihood of future injury and illness;
- Improve your outlook on life.
Massage Therapy - Effects on the Systems of the Body
Massage Therapy can provide relief from a range of issues due to the way that it affects the many systems of the body. Massage therapy improves functioning of the musculokeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, digestive, respiratory and endocrine systems; these effects improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness.
Musculoskeletal System/Soft-Tissue structures - Massage Therapy manipulates the soft-tissue structures of the body (muscles/fascia, tendons & ligaments); these structures can often become tightened or over-stretched, both of which cause dysfunction in the way the muscoloskeletal system works, and often results in pain, tenderness, numbness and/or tingling. Massage addresses this dysfunction and through a range of techniques, helps to relieve the excess tension or over-stretching within the soft tissue structure, and thus relieve the discomfort being experienced.
* Increases blood and nutrition without adding to the load of lactic acid (lactic acid forms in muscles as a result of muscular activity and too much can result in muscular fatigue and/or cramps);
* Decreases lactic acid, causing muscles fatigued by this to be restored sooner;
* Lessens amount of fibrosis or adhesions which develop in immobilized or injured muscles;
* Creates a mobile scar and helps restore muscles to their original condition after injury;
* Can cause relaxation of voluntary muscles;
* Can break up adhesions and scar tissue;
* Relaxes muscle spasms (sudden involutary muscle contractions) and relieves tension in the muscles;
* Aids structural alignment by relaxing over-contracted muscles, which can pull bones out of alignment.
Circulatory System - Through the manipulation of the soft-tissue structures, massage therapy can have a significant affect on the circulatory system. The techniques utilised help to increase the circulation/blood flow, and thus aid in the transportation of oxygen, hormones and chemicals through the body. Clients suffering from High-Blood Pressure can benefit a lot from massage therapy as the treatment will aid in the circulation of the blood and thus lower the blood pressure.
* Stimulates circulation in the tissues involved and promotes substance exchange between the cells;
* Aids in reducing the venous fluid back toward the heart;
* Dilates bood vessels which can decrease blood pressure;
* Causes contractions of the heart to be more forceful and complete;
* Stimulates blood through the heart faster, thereby getting blood and nutrients to the cells faster;
* Has a normalizing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System, which is beneficial to the heart;
* Improves general circulation, as blood passes more rapidly through tissue being massaged.
Lymphatic System - Massage promotes healthy functioning of your lymph system by directly stimulating and relaxing your muscles. It flushes metabolic wastes and helps distribute nutrients to the body. Normally, 1.5 to 3 liters of lymph fluid are drained each day. Massage increases this up to 10 to 30 liters per day. Massage therapy also creates a response within the body that affects the cardiovascular system, lymphatic system and immune system. Massage increases the count and function of white blood cells, thereby strengthening the immune system. Stimulating the lymphatic system provides energy, better health, better rest, weight loss and decrease in inflammation.
* Assists the flow of lymph throughout the body, thereby assisting the immune system to prevent disease;
* Aids in reducing edema (swelling);
* In chronic inflammatory conditions in which fibrosis (scar tissue) is sure to advance if tissue fluid and lymph remain stagnant, massage is important in moving lymph and fluid.
Nervous System - Massage Therapy stimulates the nervous system to produce hormones that have tremendous benefit on the entire body while at the same time reduces unwanted or out of balance levels of chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on us. The human body is amazingly aware of change and responds via the Nervous System, which has the ability to activate millions of appropriate chemical reactions in order to establish homeostasis or balance in your body. The Nervous System which is made up of the brain, spinal chord and the nerves and their minute nerve endings, works hand in hand with the Endocrine System which regulates all the functions of the entire body by releasing hormones, or chemicals that produce the desired physical response in our bodies in order to achieve homeostasis.
* Brings about invigorating effects to the entire nervous sytem due to improved circulation and nutrition;
* Can relax or stimulate nerves, depending on the type of treatment;
* Has a biofeedback effect, giving the mind more information as to where tension is being held in the body;
* Has a normalizing effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the Automatic Nervous System;
* Releases spasms of tissue surrounding the spinal cord which can take the strain off nerves;
* Possibly effects coordination centers through massage of the head and face;
* Can be effective in pain control by effecting the release of secretions, such as endorphins.
Massage Therapy can aid your body in recovery, pain relief and general wellbeing improvement, due to the stimulation effects it has on the nervous and endocrine systems. Massage can help to increase the Endorphin’s in the body, as well as the hormones Dopamine and Serotonin, and then also decrease the levels of Cortisol.
Dopamine - The Happy Hormone Dopamine influences mood in terms of inspiration, joy and enthusiasm. Low levels of dopamine can result in clumsiness, inability to focus and a lack of motor control. Massage increases the available levels of dopamine and explains the pleasure and satisfaction experienced during and after a massage.
Serotonin - The Calming Hormone Serotonin regulates mood in terms of appropriate emotions and has a calming effect, reducing irritability and a number of different cravings. A low serotonin level has been implicated in depression, eating and obsessive compulsive disorders. Massage seems to increase the level of available serotonin, producing an overall sense of calm.
Endorphins - Pain Relief Chemical Endorphins are produced by the body to reduce pain and give an overall sense of well being. Massage increases the available levels of these natural chemicals and can promote healing, reduce swelling and speed recovery.
Cortisol - The Stress Hormone Cortisol is a stress hormone used to arouse the senses in the face of danger or opposition. High levels of cortisol have been linked to many stress-related symptoms and illnesses including sleep deprivation, anxiety, inflammation and aggression. Massage has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, returning the body and mind to a more balanced state. Many people who suffer from anxiety and depression, report that massage has an extremely beneficial impact on their state of well being.
Digestive System - Massage Therapy can provide many benefits to the digestive system, whether by treatment of other areas of the body or direct treatment of the abdominal/digestive area. Massage Therapy can help to regulate the digestive system and thus aid with digestive issues such as IBS, Crohns Disease and Weightloss.
* Indirectly normalizes digestive functions through normalization of the Autonomic Nervous System;
* Improves tone of the large and small intestines;
* Stimulates peristalsis, which can aid in relief of constipation and/or diarrhea;
* Has a stimulating effect on the digestive organs, which helps improve digestion;
* Improves mixing actions;
* By stimulating the small intestines, massage can aid in the absorption of fat.
Respiratory System - During massage therapy, an emphasis is put on the rate and depth of your breathing; this, coupled with the phsyiological effects of the different masssage techniques, has a profound effect on the respiratory system.
* Normalizes breathing through a balancing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System;
* Encourages deeper breathing and a more complete breath through the relaxing effect of massage;
* Can loosen the intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs) and free the rib cage to allow greater chest expansion, thereby deeper breathing and therby more oxygen to all cells;
* Can release congestion and aid in lowering blood pressure;
* Generates heat to raise body temperature and respiratory rate;
* Stimulates proprioceptors in the joints and increases respiration through range of motion in an inactive person.