MatthewBoswellLMT

The Why and How of Massage

How massage manages pain.

Cropped image of physiotherapist massaging man in hospital

I first became interested in massage therapy when I found people hurting and finding no relief from seeing doctors, physical therapists, or chiropractors. They did, however, stumble upon massage therapy which was the only method that did help. Intrigued, I jumped to massage therapy as my career. I have found massage to be an effective therapy for people in pain because it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) and addresses the entire body, allowing time and attention to be spent on soothing each muscle.

The key factors that turn unhealthy muscle into healthy muscle are increased blood flow and stimulation of the body’s tissue repair mechanisms. To produce these benefits muscle tissue must be patiently worked on and results are better achieved when the nervous system is relaxed. Different massage techniques target relaxation and a variety of pain symptoms. Some are used for relaxation (Swedish massage) while others are used for pain like sciatica or shoulder pain (trigger point therapy). I use massage to offer the attention each muscle needs along with high quality manual manipulation techniques to work out pain caused by muscle dysfunction.

Woman With Painful Wrist

 

When pain is relieved, it is a big ah ha moment. If you have nagging pain for a length of time, whether it be a week or more than a year, it eats away at you. Things you like to do or the potential to find enjoyment in each task is hampered. Each time you set out to accomplish a goal the pain may block it, sapping your motivation. Massage guarantees at least a full hour where you can tune in to your body, have chronic pain mitigated or eliminated, and find inspiration.

 

Thriving in a busy world, relaxation is your scaffolding.

Fall Label With RelaxWhy do you want to relax? In a busy world it seems normal to boast that you have no time, or energy because you are are working too hard, perhaps unable to find the time for proper sleep. Despite the workaholic paradigm that we are habituated to, this is not how humans thrive.

Living a life that will lead to burnout is not efficient for your work and it is not good for your wellbeing. The quality of your work and relationships will eventually suffer. By relaxing and taking time for yourself you can develop a more efficient self. A self that can grasp what is important and intuitively knows what will and will not be effective. A self that has more time and wisdom.

Massage has the ability to reboot a person; it gives your mind and body scaffolding to build a healthier and happier lifestyle. I have seen clients receive massages and then tell me that it has inspired them to be healthier. They start exercising, having more energy, kick unhealthy habits, and feel more emotionally stable. Most of this has to do with the way massage relieves stress.

Touch is incredibly important. Infants need touch to live; if they are denied physical contact they will suffer from failure to thrive and given the choice, they will crave touch more than food. While adults are more resilient to a lack of physical contact the presence of it can greatly enhance their sense of wellbeing. Massage is a pleasant and structured way of receiving the psychological benefits of touch.