Medical Massage Therapy: it will relieve your pain, but did you know about all the other benefits?
Meghan Krupka dives deep into the plethora of ways medical massage therapy can change how you live.
Not long ago, studios that specialize in the benefits of medical massage therapy in New York City were few and far between. Massage therapy was not widely viewed as a rehabilitative practice for managing musculoskeletal pain. It was viewed as a luxury. And certainly not a luxury that was aimed at providing pain relief.
Flash forward to the present day. Massage therapy has become a sought after holistic modality for addressing an array of pain conditions. In fact, the main benefit of medical massage therapy is pain relief. But what if you’re not in pain? What if you’re not dealing with any current injuries? Or what if your pain is quickly resolved? Can you still receive or continue to receive Medical Massage Therapy? OF COURSE!
Medical Massage has a host of peripheral benefits. Whether you are seeking relief or simply want regular massage sessions tailored to you and your needs.
First, Some Basics about Medical Massage
Medical massage therapy is designed to target specific client complaints. Also, medical massage serves to supplement and complement one’s personal lifestyle and activities. It’s not just one technique. It is a combination of techniques and styles that address these specific conditions or lifestyles. It’s also outcome-oriented. The massage therapist and client typically want to achieve certain goals by the end of a session as well as after a series of sessions.
Check out a previous post on medical massage therapy by Rachel Simhon, LMT, if you’d like to know the finer details about what can happen in a medical massage therapy session.
What else could I want besides pain relief?
Whether you are in pain, rehabbing an injury or looking for that extra edge, you’ll win with the additional benefits of medical massage below. We not only want you to walk out the door feeling better. We also want you to gain more knowledge about YOU! Medical massage therapists want to empower you to make the most of your lifestyle.
Body Awareness: Get in touch with what’s beneath the surface!
The powers and mysteries of touch are still under the microscope in the scientific community. The intangible aspect of touch therapy has certainly proved to withstand the test of history–massage has been around for CENTURIES. When someone else provides therapeutic touch, they are communicating with your nervous and neurofeedback systems in ways that you simply can’t. It can be likened to trying to tickle yourself. It just doesn’t provide the same sensations or response.
Have a highly trained clinical or medical massage therapist work on you! It will provide far more specific insight into what might be going on with your body than you can find on your own. You’ll leave your session knowing about your own muscles or other structures. Most of which you’ve probably never heard of 🙂 Or maybe you just didn’t know THAT muscle was THERE. And now your pain pattern suddenly makes so much more sense. What a beautiful benefit of medical massage!
Being aware of your body and how it feels are key components to getting pain relief. And also for staying out of pain. Your body is with you for your whole life, get to know it more 🙂
Posture and Coordination: Stand tall, move well
A good medical massage therapist will start your first session with postural assessment. We’ll take a look at how you sit, stand, or how you go through certain movements. We might have you side bend, touch your toes, reach in the air, walk, squat. Anything we think might help us help you.
Massage therapists use bony landmarks on your skeleton to show how parts of your body relate to each other. This then gives us information about what your muscles and joints might be doing. Ideally, we would look like the image below, with head balanced on top of our major joints. Most of us no longer show such a pure alignment 🙁
Plumb line posture view from the side (Image from The Gap Physio)
During your sessions, your therapist will likely even make some adjustments to your positioning. Didn’t know your head was tilting to the right? Or that your pelvis is shifting to the left?
When we get injured, our brain creates compensations by shifting our body and movements to take weight off of the injury.
These shifts begin to feel acceptable and “normal” to our nervous systems. The neuroplasticity of the human brain, as well as the resilience of our bodies, allows us to adapt to a heck of a lot.
However, the misaligned movements take far more energy to sustain. It’s not until we experience pain or physical/emotional trauma that we realize something is wrong. Somewhere, our alignment is deviating from what is considered anatomically neutral and efficient. Over time, the days seem to get longer, workouts seem to get harder, stress seems harder to manage. A huge benefit of medical massage is that we’re able to help your brain understand that the compensation that was once needed to protect an injury, isn’t needed anymore.
Bringing your body back towards a more pure alignment will not only relieve aches and pains. It will actually conserve caloric energy, freeing up your energy for helping you move forward in your goals.
Flexibility and Range of Motion: Maintaining for the long run
The benefits of massage therapy do not necessarily last forever (but they are cumulative in nature). However, you can still reap from the more transient side effects. Typically, after a massage therapy session, you will have areas of your body that feel more “open” or available to you. For someone looking to work on gaining range of motion, this is a great time to capitalize on that. Your neuromuscular system has been primed to allow your body some flexibility it may not usually have access to.
Additionally, your therapist might incorporate advanced techniques that specifically target opening up a joint capsule. Or lengthening a certain muscle. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation? Reciprocal inhibition? Active Release? You will find all of these techniques used by our therapists! Just another benefit of medical massage!
Calm your nerves!
Massage therapy is most often associated with stress relief. Just because medical massage therapy is usually targeting pain, doesn’t mean it can’t provide benefits to your nervous system too. In fact, all massage therapy is really aimed at affecting the nervous system. If your nervous system isn’t on board, it’s unlikely your body is going to readily accept the work of your therapist!
Medical massage therapy might simply be more specific in its communication with your nervous system. Rather than aiming for a global relaxation response, your Medical Massage might instead target a certain area of restriction. AKA a place your nervous system is guarding! Additionally, medical massage therapy will often utilize breathwork more substantially to achieve this result.
Prevent pain in the first place
Combining all of the previous benefits really gives you the upper hand at staying out of pain. When you are aware of what is going on in your body and you are taking care of your body, the better you are able to stay pain-free.
Come meet our team of medical massage therapists!
At Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy, our therapists are highly trained medical massage therapists. They uphold the highest standards of bodywork in the industry in order to get you out of pain or to keep you pain-free.
Whether you are looking for a medical massage in Midtown or downtown in the Financial District, know that you have access to a knowledgeable and highly skilled group of therapists.
Would you like to schedule a medical massage therapy session with one of our massage therapists to help keep you feeling and performing your best? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at either of our locations!
Hi Bodyworks DW,
Do you take medical insurance for massages?
Hi Grace, unfortunately NYS does not allow massage therapists to directly take insurance. We can write a receipt for medical massage for the cost you pay for our services to submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement but it’s really up to your plan. We recommend checking with your plan to see if it might be covered and what the process would be.
My brother has been rock climbing, and his forearms have been really tense. He would really like to get a massage from a professional to relax his muscles. I liked what you said about how he can be more flexible after a massage and they can have a greater range of motion.