Massage Therapy for Healing

Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of healing those tissues. Massage therapists use manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of the body. While massage therapy is applied primarily with the hands, sometimes the forearms or elbows are used. These techniques affect the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, and other systems of the body.

Back in Action Wellness Center recommends massage therapy in concert with chiropractic to aid the body’s ability to heal itself. We recommend first utilizing chiropractic treatments to resolve the root causes of many musculoskeletal problems. Following chiropractic, massage therapy serves as a vital component of the healing process.

Massage can (and should) be an important part of your healthy and well-rounded lifestyle, and has many documented clinical benefits:

  • Promotes faster healing of soft tissue injuries, such as pulled muscles and sprained ligaments
  • Reduces related pain and swelling and the formation of excessive scar tissue following soft tissue injuries
  • Relieves muscle spasms, muscle tension and stiffness
  • Improves posture through changing tension patterns that affect posture
  • Increases flexibility, range of motion and efficiency of movement
  • Restores healthy circulation of blood and movement of lymph
  • Soothes tension-related conditions, such as headaches and eyestrain
  • Relieves stress, aids relaxation and reduces anxiety
  • Enhances immune system functioning

Touch is the fundamental medium of massage therapy. While massage can be described in terms of the type of techniques performed, touch is not used solely in a mechanistic way in massage therapy. Touch used with sensitivity also allows the massage therapist to receive useful information via his or her hands about the client's body, such as locating areas of muscle tension and other soft tissue problems. In practice, many massage therapists use more than one technique or method in their work and sometimes combine several. Effective massage therapists ascertain each person's needs and then use the techniques that will meet those needs best.

Call today for an appointment with Staci Cousert, our Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). Staci practices light to deep pressure therapeutic massage with great sensitivity to each patient’s personal preferences and needs for relaxation and healing. She incorporates stretches, myo-fascial, trigger point and selected Eastern (Shiatsu) principles and techniques into her sessions as needed by each patient.

Types of Massage

  • Swedish massage uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles, generally in the direction of blood flow toward the heart, and sometimes combined with active and passive movements of the joints. It is used to promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion, and relieve muscle tension. Swedish massage is the most commonly used form of massage.
  • Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic patterns of muscular tension using slow strokes, direct pressure, or friction directed across the grain of the muscles. It is applied with greater pressure and to deeper layers of muscle than Swedish, which is why it is called deep tissue and is effective for chronic muscular tension.
  • Sports massage uses techniques that are similar to Swedish and deep tissue, but are specially adapted to deal with the effects of athletic performance on the body and the needs of athletes regarding training, performing, and recovery from injury.
  • Neuromuscular massage is a form of deep massage that is applied to individual muscles. It is used primarily to release trigger points (intense knots of muscle tension that refer pain to other parts of the body), and also to increase blood flow. It is often used to reduce pain. Trigger point massage and myotherapy are similar forms.
  • Acupressure applies finger or thumb pressure to specific points located on the acupuncture meridians (channels of energy flow identified in Asian concepts of anatomy) in order to release blocked energy along these meridians that causes physical discomforts, and re-balance the energy flow. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of acupressure.

Treatment Planning

If a patient is receiving massage for a specific problem, frequency can vary widely based on the condition, usually once a week. Some people incorporate weekly or monthly massages into their regular personal health and fitness program.

To receive the greatest benefit from a massage, the person being massaged should give the therapist accurate health information, report discomfort of any kind (whether it is from the massage itself or due to the room temperature or any other distractions), and be as receptive and open to the process as possible.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage for massage therapy varies widely. There tends to be greater coverage in states that license massage therapy. In most cases, a physician's prescription for massage therapy is needed. Once massage therapy is prescribed, authorization from the insurer may be needed if coverage is not clearly spelled out in one's policy or plan.