Massage Is Not Just for Relaxing Anymore

Is there really such a thing as medical massage or is it just a temporary “make you feel good” technique?

Who doesn’t love a massage? Typically, it is an entire hour devoted to someone else creating a relaxing experience that is totally focused on you. Aches and pains are, hopefully, coaxed out of muscles and tendons, and the only unpleasant part is that it has to come to an end. What’s not to like?

But, as wonderful as they may be, can massages really be labeled as medically effective? Actually, more and more, they do just that. Included with other alternative and non-mainstream treatment protocols, like acupuncture, yoga and PEMF therapy, massage is part of the growing field of complementary medicine. Healthcare professionals in numerous disciplines are recognizing that not everyone responds or wishes to be treated with traditional approaches, like taking drugs and undergoing surgery. Today, what is becoming more popular and showing encouraging results is the incorporation of integrative care, which becomes the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Massage

There are still those who view “alternative medicine” as anything but medically sound. Their voices are being drowned out, however, by the rapidly growing population of those who recognize the wide range of medical conditions that it can be used to treat. Beyond the generally accepted potential for relieving stress, as well as muscle pain, research has shown massage to be effective for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Injury rehabilitation
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Alleviating side effects of oncology therapies
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Reducing post-surgery adhesions and swelling
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)

Today’s massage therapists combine massage therapy techniques from both Eastern and Western bodywork traditions that offer mental, as well as physical benefits. Some of the methods used are trigger point and neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release techniques, joint mobilizations, Shiatsu, Thai bodywork and the Chinese Tui Na.

Tui Na is a good example of the scope of medical massage. Dating back to nearly 2,000 years B.C., Tui Na is one of the earliest forms of bodywork practiced in Asia. Without using needles, Tui Na is similar to acupuncture in that it focuses on acupoints, which can be used to treat specific issues like sciatica, arthritis, insomnia, constipation, migraines and muscle spasms. Although Tui Na draws upon the principles of Chinese medicine, many of the hand techniques used to correct musculoskeletal issues and restore optimal blood circulation are similar to Western massage methods. Because of its success with musculoskeletal issues, Tui Na can be especially effective with neck and back issues that are the result of poor posture and sitting too long in front of a computer.

Tui Na is just one technique out of many that make up the collection of tools available to massage therapists today. While treatment centers are recognizing and embracing the value of coordinating care between traditional and complementary medicine specialists, there is a very good chance that we have just begun to scratch the surface on how beneficial this can actually be.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our physicians are committed to more than just treating your symptoms. We strongly believe that each individual is best served through an integrative treatment plan. We focus on finding the underlying cause and providing non-surgical, evidenced based solutions tailored to your specific condition and needs. If you are experiencing back or neck pain or have questions about radiofrequency ablations or any of our other treatment methods or services, we invite you to schedule a consultation by simply calling (516) 268-0070 or using our convenient online form by clicking here.