When we schedule a massage, it’s usually because we want to relax, or there is an ache that has been running up our back then down our leg. Massage therapy is the best solution for all of that, but what kind of massage do we want?
A general answer for the massage we are expecting, often, is Deep Tissue or Swedish. However the pressure may be, if we are asking for an effective massage, it will be therapeutic. Therapeutic massage is a type of massage modality that relieves pain, eases stress and focuses on correcting a specific issue/problem.
What is Therapeutic Massage?
The Oxford Dictionary defines therapeutic (ther-a-peu-tic) as:
relating to the healing of disease
1. the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease and the action of
2. a treatment, therapy or drug
Therapeutic massage can best be described as an effective massage that gets results and gives relief. The purpose of a therapeutic massage is to restore the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, fascia, etc.), keeping them properly functioning and feeling good. To look at it further, our body is designed to heal itself. So, a therapeutic massage adds to that healing and really improves our health, addressing and fixing our discomfort.
A therapeutic massage is provided to achieve a structural change or remedial benefit in the body. The amount of pressure isn’t what works on the muscles, but rather, how long they are activated and given that pressure. When pressure is applied to the fascia (covering the muscle), it takes roughly 20 seconds to “melt” that fascia and restore elasticity. As the fascia melts, our muscles are released from that bind and the muscle fibers are able to get smoothed out. No matter the preference of pressure, a therapeutic massage will work on the superficial parts of the muscle to effectively and efficiently repair the issue. Therapeutic massage addresses the issue to fix the issue, not mask it. You should expect to feel better for longer, have more energy and flow throughout the day. 🙂
The human body is a skeletal system that is held together by the muscular system and controlled by the nervous system. It is so complex, yet so simple. We just need to love and care for our mind, body and spirit, and we will shine. Our body does so much for us, and it just needs a little tending to keep it going. You truly and, absolutely, are capable of anything and everything you set your mind to.
Issues That Therapeutic Massage Can Help:
Aches and pains from muscle tension, back pain, neck, shoulders, knees & elbows
Arthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
The warmth from the stones help to soothe the muscles and relax them as the soft tissue is smoothed out. Hot stones rock!
As a Massage Therapist, I first noticed the impact that water after a massage has while I was working at Tapatio Springs Resort. I would offer water to my clients, and they would drink some, then head to the pool to have fun and, most of the time, drink alcohol. That has been my only experience when a client has reported not feeling too well the same day of a massage.
There’s no doubt that it is important to drink water after a massage. Our bodies are so perfectly designed, they know what to store, what to remove and how to use all of that to function. That is a good thing because we are faced with physiological processes and environmental pollutants, that our body must deal with daily. And though it has been a popular explanation, our muscles don’t store toxins and we don’t need water to flush toxins out of our body after a massage.
What Does Our Body Do with Toxins?
Most likely, after a massage, you have been told that you need to drink water to flush out the toxins from your body. That is a myth.
Our body is set up with six systems (Endocrine, Immune, Lymphatic, Reproductive, Skeletal and Urinary) that help us to breathe, keep moving, eat and digest food. It is within those systems that our body is able to handle environmental and body-produced toxins. Environmental toxins are found in our water, air, soil, homes, cars, places of employment and just about anywhere. When these toxins enter our body, they are excreted, stored or bio-transformed. Bio-transformation is a chemical change that the body uses to eliminate or store chemical substances; the liver, kidneys and lungs are the primary bio-transforming organs. If the body cannot effectively break down these chemical substances, they cumulate and are stored in tissues, not the muscles.
The primary sites for accumulation of these chemical substances are in the adipose tissue, bone, liver and kidneys.
That would be awesome if massage were to help in the removal of these toxins, but it doesn’t. Not even lactic acid.
Why Does Our Body Need Water After Massage?
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of soft tissue, and that dehydrates the muscles. In explanation, that means that the pressure applied to the muscles will increase the blood and lymph circulation. This circulation causes the fluid to pump out of the soft tissue and into the circulatory system, naturally moving onto the kidneys. That is why, often, we need to urinate after massage.
The reason we need to drink water after massage is simple, to restore the water that was lost in the muscle tissue during massage. Our body is amazing, and it is capable of anything we put our mind to. Take the best care of your body and keep the juices flowing!
Most of our daily activities and routines cause us to get behind the wheel, to get us from one place to another. Some people have jobs that even require them to be in the car for most of the day. Driving has become a big part of our lives, and we keep going with the flow. The unfortunate news about driving, however, is that it can put strain on our back and start to cause backpain. When we sit down in a car, we overtax our lumbar spine, which can refer pain and discomfort in other places of the body. Our back muscles are pulled and put into a constant position that cannot be supported while we drive. And though, we all try to maintain perfect posture, it gets harder as we get older and it’s a challenge to keep your head high in a moving vehicle. On top of that, the vibration of our vehicle impacts our whole body, causing frequencies that put more pressure on our back. When we experience whole-body vibrations, other conditions may protude, such as, sciatica and lower back pain. And with our feet on the pedals, they are not able to support nor stablize our lower body. As a result, we are straining our entire backside when we sit in a car, and that pain can start to run down our leg. To go further, we also have to keep our hands on the wheel, which creates a whole other issue.
In a typical day, most people will drive, get on their phone, work at a computer or write some notes down on paper. We go with the flow to keep it going, but we don’t always do it with intention and keep our head up. This constant motion and position that we use to handle what is in front of us is, really, pulling our shoulders forward. Our shoulders need to support our arms and hands, so subconsiously, they lean into the movement. And overtime, our body will try to adjust to that position, pulling our neck forward and causing a hunchback. The pectoralis major is attached to the clavicle and it becomes shortened as the shoulders are pulled in the front. And when the pec major is shortened, in this case, muscles of the scapula are being lengthened, also affecting the levator scapulae. So with our everyday tasks, we have put quite some pressure on our body.
How can massage make driving easier and the body feel better?
We put different types of stresses on our body every single day. Some may be the stress of work, and a lot will be when we ask our body to keep up. Really though, this is awesome and it’s a great thing that we keep the good times rollin’. Keep the body feeling awesome, too, and take care of it. Start your morning with some light stretching, get your blood flowing and joints moving. Also, walk as much as possible, take a break from the desk when you can, and smooth out aches and pains with massage. Our body was designed to climb a mountain top. Every move we make, however, does move through our body and that’s when we build up knots and make muscles tight. The best way to work out these knots and get the muscles feeling good is by caring for them. We can care for our muscles by stretching them out, strengthening them and manipulating the soft tissue, which is massage. Massage improves the muscle fibers and helps to repair the fascia, the covering of our muscles that gets tighter as we work harder. Massage helps to smooth out the muscle fibers and get blood and nutrients flowing. With proper circulation and nutrients, our muscles are able to recover and revive and start feeling great again. Our body does so much for us. The least we can do is take the best care of it.
The body needs proper circulation to stay healthy and efficient. Proper circulation allows veins and arteries to provide the body with oxygen and nutrients to keep it running smoothly. We are able to keep our circulation flowing by our daily habits, lifestyle and food intake, which influences our health so greatly. How we move throughout our day and how much we move can impact the flow of blood in our body. It is important to keep our body moving and blood flowing, because that is what keeps us going. However, the body does need to rest even while it keeps working. That is why it is so important to care for our body and keep the body fueled with the right stuff.
“Take care of your body because it is the only place you have to live,” is one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn. It is a simple truth and reminder that the better we treat our body, the better it will feel. We want to feel good throughout the day, so how do we do it? First, start off by choosing a baggie full of walnuts instead of chips for a snack. Make a mindful attempt to cut out added sugars, unhealthy fats, sodas and processed foods from your diet, and fuel your body with leafy greens, lots of fiber and more water. In addition to a healthy diet, take a few minutes each day to stretch and show your muscles some love. Not only will this soothe your muscles, but it will help you be in tune with your body and notice any tightness that may be holding you back. Always remember to keep your body moving and heart pumping, even if it’s by a stroll to the mailbox or dancing in the kitchen. You will do the most good for your body and it’s blood circulation if you are active throughout the day, care for your muscles and fuel your body with the right stuff.
How does massage help circulation?
Massage promotes blood flow to the muscles, providing them with the oxygen and vitamins they need to heal and feel awesome. There are many different kinds of massage that will help to get the blood moving, such as, friction and kneading. Massage benefits circulation so much, even the direction of massage stroke can improve blood flow and help the heart. For example, a study done at the University of Illinois at Chicago was performed on two different groups, a group that worked out with no massage and a group that received massage after their workout. Both groups had soreness after their workout. But the group who receieved massage felt in top shape after 90 minutes of working out, while the exercise-only group was still sore the next day. The study was able to show that the Brachial Artery Flow Mediated Dilation (FMD), a measure of vascular health, improved blood flow at all time points with massage, thus, making the body feel better (www.sciencedaily.com). Massage is great for the body and it benefits circulation, and most every function of the body.
University of Illinois at Chicago. “Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125434.htm
Get Back on Track with Massage
We tend to put more stress on our body during the Christmas time and end of the year. It’s a common tradition to make healthy choices a part of your new year. In addition to eating right, we try to get into a workout routine and staying active. There is no doubt that these changes are awesome, but again, the extra activity will but stress on our body that it’s not used to. When we come up with a self-care routine, it’s a good idea to include caring for your body. While we keep up with cardio and strength training, we need to care for our muscles and our holistic health. Massage Therapy will help smooth out the muscles and allow better movement. Smooth muscles will help us move through the day with ease, and they will help us sleep better at night. Our body moves better when it isn’t constricted by tight muscles. We can benefit our body so much when we stretch often, take hot baths and add massage to our self-care routine.
Massage Therapy is the best thing we can do for our body. Massage is extremely relaxing and, also, greatly beneficial to our body. Every system of our body is improved with massage, and, that is just what our body needs! We can spend time making sure we eat well and get enough exercise. But as our body ages, it takes more than vitamins to keep our body running smooth and feeling great. Keeping a healthy immune system is the key to great health, and massage helps to boost your immunity. Including massage therapy into your self-care routine is a sure way to look and feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
As Christmas approaches, we start to put a little more stress on our body, making our body more susceptible to illness. However, a massage will increase your endorphins, serotonin and dopamine levels, thus, helping you feel happy and relaxed. And more relaxation is perfect for the holidays. It is also important to keep your immune system health, and massage is the trick. Receiving regular massage helps to flush out the toxins our body likes to hold onto. This increases blood flow and circulation and helps everything run smooth. As an extra benefit, massage increases white blood cell activity, and that helps our body to fight diseases and cortisol reduction. There are so many ways we can protect our body, and we need to, so we can stay busy and feel awesome.
We need to care for our body, as we expect it to keep going. Fall in love with taking care of yourself and start feeling your best.