Massage Therapy Can Help You!
Nicole Basque, B.A. RMT
As a Registered Massage Therapist I feel that a thorough treatment includes educating my clients about their bodies. Most people are curious to know how massage can help, and what suggestions I have for them as their health care professional. I am always eager to suggest different ways my clients can maximize their massage therapy experience, and work with me towards well being. Here are a few tips I like to share:
Our bodies react and adapt to repetitive actions
It may sound bizarre, but muscles have memory. The more you put your body through a motion, the easier it will become to perform that motion. For example, as soon as you learn how to walk, you practice and practice, and it eventually becomes automatic. Other examples of muscle memory include learning to play a sport, learning to play a new instrument, or writing.
Many of us have been trained to sit at a desk for five to eight hours a day, allowing us to be at ease in the seated position. As a result, standing becomes difficult, and at times even painful. Performing any activity for more hours than not on a daily basis creates habits in your body. These habits manifest as constant muscle contraction, and can perpetuate even when you aren’t performing specific activities. The most active muscles in the body therefore tend to remain contracted even at rest.
Our bodies crave balance
Simply, the muscles in our body can be categorized as pushers and pullers. Ideally, both groups are equally strong, and can compensate for each other. Commonly, one set is overused, the other underused or even weak.
If the pullers work hard all day, the pushers become lazy. When it is time for the pushers to take over, they are unable to do so properly. This usually causes pain, improper motion, and can trigger other unrelated muscles to become involved.
Our bodies are adaptive, so muscles will constantly compensate for each other. This can continue until the root problem resurfaces and we are forced to seek treatment.
Massage Therapy can help you
Swedish Massage Techniques (which most RMTs use as base techniques), aim to increase circulation, decrease anxiety and increase well-being. The strokes flow from the origin and insertion points of the muscle towards the heart so that the muscles can be brought back to their resting length. Massage calms tense muscles and helps the client feel centered within their body.
The goal of massage therapy is to help return the muscles of the body to their resting length. It can help remind the body that it should be at ease with its muscles working in balance.
Massage can also help with anxiety. Stress is often the main cause for muscle tension. Massage therapy is a way to calm the muscles manually, which in turn will help ease the mind. The increase in circulation helps you feel refreshed and soothed. The dissolved muscle tension helps you feel connected to your body.
YOU can help yourself too
Self care is the key for massage therapy to be fully effective for clients. Because massage therapy appointments are generally an hour every 2-6 weeks (depending on the condition), the rest of the healing is mainly done by the client at home. Suggested strengthening and stretching exercises are paramount in helping clients maximize the benefits of massage therapy. It doesn’t take very much time to do (usually 15-30 minutes a day, maximum), and it will help you achieve your pain-free goals quickly.
Attitude is also essential in helping yourself deal with physical pain. If stress is the main cause of muscle pain, find the cause of stress and deal with it. It is never too late to create a happy life for yourself.
Nicole Basque has been working at The Pacific Wellness Institute since November 2009. She loves to treat the body as a whole and believes in holistic wellness. She is experienced in many treatments including simple relaxation, injuries, chronic conditions, and pregnancy.