by Kari Lake, LMT
As a massage therapist in a busy physical therapy office, I occasionally see patients with recent injuries or surgery to a hand, leg, foot or arm, and they ask me how long it will take until I can safely massage directly on the injured body part, increasing circulation, promoting muscle growth, and decreasing fascial restrictions. This is especially true in the case of an immobilizing injury where a cast prevents body contact for six weeks or longer. However, the benefits of massage can start immediately — patients are usually surprised to hear about the "cross-over effect" of working on the uninjured (contralateral) side having significant benefits to even immobilized limbs, as outlined in a 2017 study in the Journal of Physiology. Researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Kentucky found that immobilized laboratory rats showed an 18% improvement in leg muscle growth when regular massage was applied; and here was the surprise: Even in the leg that was not massaged they noted a 17% improvement in muscle growth!
A very good summary of the study, in layman's terms, can be found on Dr. Joe Muscolino's blog on the Art and Science of Kinesiology website. He outlines the implications for the study not just specifically for acute injuries, but also for preventing muscle loss associated with aging.
I love to have the opportunity to educate patients on human physiology and the mechanics of massage, and I have always felt that I'm not a healer, I'm a facilitator — the healing comes from within the patient, and all I do is figure out a way to unlock their own path to wellness. The human body's capacity to return to homeostasis — a state of balanced health — never ceases to amaze me, and the "cross-over effect" is just one more example we can put in our educational toolbox to explain our methods to our patients.
If you would like to schedule a massage therapy session with Kari in our downtown Eugene location, please give us a call at 541-505-8180.
At Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center, we are committed to treating those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. We don't just treat the symptoms, we look at the root of the problem. We treat your whole self through a variety of disciplines, depending on your particular needs. Check out this video and learn more about how we can help return you to the life you love.
The vast majority of headaches that plague people fall into the category of muscle tension headaches. These headaches can be eliminated or significantly reduced with a comprehensive physical therapy approach.
Massage therapy has been used therapeutically in China for more than 3,000 years. Chinese practitioners believe massage can help ease feelings of alienation because touch releases hormones inside us that bind us to another human being. It's very rare that you hear someone regret getting a massage, but there are a number of additional benefits of a massage apart from the comfort of the relaxation of your muscles. Below are some key characteristics and medical benefits of getting a regular massage.
1. Massages can help prevent and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 people suffer from symptoms of depression. Depression is a mental illness that can be debilitating and costly to sufferers. Research indicates that massage improve mood and reduce depression through loosening muscle tissue and reducing inflammation. Massage is linked to reducing trait anxiety and depression by providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
2. Massage is a fantastic way to prevent sports-related injuries. For anyone who have ever experienced a physical injury, there seems to be chronic pain that stems from it. The idea that "I can just stretch" is not always going to work. Deep tissue massages can relieve chronic muscle tension.
3. Massages are good for relieving chronic conditions. A TRI study addressed fibromyalgia (a chronic condition characterized by muscular pain, aching, and/or stiffness and afflicting an estimated 3–6 million Americans). A portion of the study group received 30-minute massages twice a week for five weeks. The rheumatologists that evaluated the results determined that this group experienced decreases in pain, fatigue, stiffness and improvements in the quality of sleep.
4. Massages are great for increasing circulation in your body. The pressure created by massage therapy moves blood through congested areas. This causes new blood to flow in, resulting improved body function.
5. Massages are linked with strengthening the immune system. Studies indicate that regular massage can naturally increase the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity–the activity level of the body’s natural "killer cells".
Whatever your ailment may be, we have the ability to help relieve your pain. If you want a simple massage for relief of pain from a chronic symptom or if you would like to simply find relaxation in a massage, please contact us today!
The term “massage” conjures thoughts of relaxation, pampering, and luxury. While the art of massage proudly embraces the words often associated with its title, it is important to note that there is more to massage therapy than meets the eye. This wellness technique carries with it a multitude of benefits that can improve one’s health. Massage therapy helps alleviate and treat many health problems including arthritis, back pain, migraine problems, and muscle spasms – but it isn’t just for the unwell! What can massage therapy do for you?
1. Boost your immune system by stimulating the flow of fluids through your lymph nodes. Lymph node function as the body’s defense against illness and disease.
2. Reduce stress, which is perhaps your body’s worst enemy. A decrease in stress reduces anxiety and fatigue, improves sleep and energy, and results in better concentration.
3. Aid with pain management by reducing and alleviating post-surgical adhesions, swelling, back pain, arthritis, muscle tension, and headaches. Massage therapy even improves health conditions such as PMS, asthma, high-blood pressure, and premature birth!
The bottom line is that no matter the state of your physical health, massage therapy will benefit you. For more examples of the benefits of massage therapy, visit our Massage Therapy page.
Interested in giving it a go? Whether it’s pain management or pampering that you need, contact us to schedule an appointment!
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