Massage therapy is an ancient form of hands-on healing.
Through the careful manipulation of soft tissue – such as muscle, connective tissue or fascia, tendons and ligaments – the massage therapist, utilizing his or her fingers, hands, forearms, elbows, and feet (in some cases), applies fixed, holding, or movable pressure, to create a healing, therapeutic response from the client.
Massage therapists often utilize active assisted, or passive assisted stretching before, during, or after sessions to determine or improve a client’s range of motion. Clients are often provided with stretches to regularly perform at home to encourage a broader range of motion, to elongate and loosen short and tight muscles, and to strengthen those muscles that are elongated and weak.
Therapists will often suggest a client’s habitual lifestyle patterns, such as poor posture, repetitive movement without rest, and low daily water intake, be positively altered in order to support the goals of the client’s massage treatment plan and produce greater positive results.
The greatest gift a therapist can provide a client is the education and tools to take charge of his or her own health and wellbeing outside of the treatment room. The professional and trusted massage therapist-client relationship is an integral part of the client’s recovery, the former aiding the ladder in muscle misuse, disuse, and overuse prevention.
Massage therapy is scientifically proven to improve a client’s overall health, wellbeing, and sense of self. In fact, a massage therapist can affect a client’s molecular structure simply through touch. For this very reason, this ancient healing modality has and continues to produce groundbreaking results on dis-ease within the human body and its intricate and complex body systems.
Please note, massage therapy can be contraindicated for clients with certain health conditions, or those in the acute stages of an injury. Always be sure to make your therapist aware of all of your pre-existing health conditions and recent injuries – no matter how minor you may deem either.
If your condition or injury proves contraindicated for massage, do not hesitate to ask your therapist for alternative remedies or professional referrals.
For client conditions that fall outside of a massage therapist’s scope of practice, such as the treatment of nerve impingement caused by bone, not muscle or tendon, ask your massage therapist for a chiropractic referral and a treatment plan to coincide with chiropractic adjustment. Your therapist should be willing to work hand-in-hand with your doctors and healthcare practitioners to determine a massage treatment, if any, which will prove complimentary.