Massage…. Luxury or Necessity?
July 27th 2015
Just hearing the word massage can make people smile. So when Physio’s prescribe massage for clients, it’s not like a body spa with hot oils, crystals, fluffy bathrobes and slippers.
Therapeutic massage focuses on relieving muscle tension or releasing a particular area of the body that is affecting your injury. How often have you had a massage for a stiff back only to get 5 minutes on this area and the rest on the healthy parts of your body?
The therapeutic benefits of massage include promoting blood flow and increasing circulation, therefore causing the flushing of painful waste products. It can relax tight muscles, increase flexibility, range of movement and relieve pain. All these can help the Physio to achieve the optimum outcome and often a client will be treated by both in combination.
We often find ourselves putting up with pain or stiffness, thinking this will settle but the longer this continues the longer it will take to remedy once treatment starts.
1. Should I see a Physio first?
Yes, if you have an injury, as a Physio can identify and diagnose injuries and suggest areas to work on..
2. Should massage be painful?
Tight/ injured tissue will be highly sensitive to palpation (I’m sure my patients are all nodding) and manual therapy can be very uncomfortable, but the techniques shouldn’t cause additional pain. It is important that you let the therapist know if it is too painful or if you know you react to massage. You should also let the therapist know if you are taking blood thinners and never have massage over open wounds, blood clots or recent scarring.
3. When should I get massage?
In the first 48-72 hours after an injury, the tissue is in the inflammatory phase and massage can actually do more harm than good.
4. Do I have to get naked?
No! The massage therapist will offer a gown and/or towels to keep your modesty, but they do need to work on your affected area.
5. Will massage cure me??
They are good, but not God. Massage is one component of treatment. To maximise recovery this needs to be combined with appropriate stretching and strengthening programs. Posture is also important. You can have massages weekly but if you sleep on a poor pillow and then sit in front of a wrong height computer all day, then you will be on a vicious merry go round.
6. Do I need to have an injury to have a massage?
No. Many people use massage as a prevention. During our involvement with the Crocs and Fury they have weekly massages for this reason. Office workers or people in high stress jobs use massage to control muscular tension to control neck pain and headaches. This often helps with sleep patterns as well.
7. How often should I have a massage?
This is very much up to the individual. People that suffer from muscular tightness may have them weekly to monthly. They would much prefer to control this rather than suffer tension headaches and take medication.
In the treatment of people’s injuries, working with a skilled and professional massage therapist is an integral part to optimise their management. I think it is now readily accepted that preventative medicine is better than the cure!
Written by Paul Park for DUO Magazine, August Issue 2015
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