Massage therapy is a holistic approach to health and wellness that has been used for thousands of years to alleviate physical discomfort and promote relaxation. In recent years, it has gained increasing recognition as a complementary therapy that can help heal or manage a wide range of medical conditions.
Massage alleviates the tension around the joints which typically aggravates arthritis leading to pain and swelling. Softer muscles around the joints mean a reduction in swelling and less pressure on the joint day to day. Though this doesn't cure arthritis, massage can help manage it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Often inflammation of the tendons that run through the carpal tunnel in the wrist will swell up and crowd out the nerve that runs through that narrow space. Working the muscles of the arm to alleviate tension can ease the swelling and free up the nerve again.
Though still not very well understood, studies done on fibromyalgia seem to indicate that massage therapy helps to soothe the nervous system and, when adjusted to suit an individual's pressure needs, it can help manage the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Massage is a great pairing with physical therapy for this issue. Muscles locked up around the shoulder can be softened over time and gently worked to create more movement and flexibility with each session.
Many headaches either come from tension in the muscles of the head and neck or cause tension in that area as a result of the pain, which in turn makes the headache worse. Softening up the muscles in the head and neck can help free up bloodflow in the area so that inflammation can be cleared away and the headache can be eased or future headaches prevented.
Much joint pain is made worse by tense, aggravated muscles around the joint. Even joint issues stemming from something massage can't solve (like a bone-on-bone joint, or a meniscus tear) can be helped by minimizing the additional pressure the muscles will inevitably bring to the joint as they are aggravated by pain. Smoothed out, all that remains is a fraction of the original pain.
Tension from tight muscles can sometimes press down on nerves, causing irritation and inflammation in those nerves. That in turn causes tingling, numbness, and pain along that nerve path that can be incredibly uncomfortable. Releasing the tension in the muscles around the nerve can give it room to breathe again and allow the inflammation to calm down so the nerve can return to a normal state.
The sciatic nerve runs right along the bones of the hip/pelvis complex and crossing closely over it is a muscle called the piriformis. A common cause of sciatica is when the piriformis becomes too tight, it chokes off the sciatic nerve and causes terrible symptoms like numbness, tingling, and intense pain down the leg. Getting deep into the hip and releasing the tension in the piriformis releases the pressure on the sciatic nerve, and allows it to recover and function normally.
Massage activates the parasympathetic side of the nervous system, which is the opposite side of the fight-or-flight response. This helps boost digestion, lower blood pressure, and minimize the production of stress hormones which have such harmful long-term effects.
Though massage can't cure scoliosis, it can certainly help manage the symptoms associated with it. The curvature of a scoliosis spine will cause some muscles to be overextended and others to be overly shortened and tight. Working the muscle tissue gives it a break and brings the muscles out of constant tension and spasm, giving them space for normal bloodflow to resume and inflammation to decrease. This tool for managing the tension associated with scoliosis can make an incredible impact on everyday pain, mobility, and discomfort.
It is important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, but rather as a complementary therapy that can work in conjunction with conventional medicine. If you are considering massage therapy for a medical condition, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider first to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
That said, massage therapy can be a valuable tool in managing a wide range of medical conditions like those listed above and many more. Whether you are experiencing chronic pain, stress-related problems, or simply looking to promote relaxation and wellness, massage therapy may just help you much more than you think - give it a try and find out for yourself!
Want to amp up the benefits even more? A Sauna + Massage combo session lets you warm and soften your muscles so they can then be more deeply worked in the massage, smoothing out all the knots and tension. Click HERE to learn more and get our offer for a FREE SAUNA SESSION with your first massage with us!