Seattle Massage, Health and Wellness Blog

Seattle Massage- Beyond Relaxation

by Thrive on 19 August 2012 at 14:08

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When most people think of massage, they envision a dimly room, soothing music and fragranced body oils. However, when massage is used as a complimentary medical therapy it involves much more than that.

Relaxation and the washing away of mental stress is an important benefit of massage therapy, but when treating medical conditions, relief often relates to joints, swelling and physical pain. In essence, massage therapy is not only a great tool to relieve the daily stresses of life, but also the damage that some injuries and diseases cause.

Whether you suffer from emotional or physical stress, massage therapy may be able to provide you with the relief you need. The licensed massage therapists at Thrive Healing Massage have helped countless people attain a better quality of life by helping relieve pain, restore function and provide the relaxation we all desperately need.

Medical Benefits of Massage

Over the past two decades, massage has moved from day spas to medical clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Numerous studies have shown the benefits massage has on pain relief for the general population as well as populations of injured and ill people. The results of the research indicate that massage has proven to be a beneficial treatment for a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Knee pain
  • General stiffness
  • Functional ability
  • Range of motion
  • Walking
  • Joint function
  • Grip strength
  • Acute and chronic pain

Massage therapy is a complimentary treatment for a wide range of conditions and diseases. While massage therapy typically does not treat the underlying condition, it can help alleviate many of the side effects and symptoms of illnesses and conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Muscle pulls
  • Joint sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Disc disease
  • Tendon and ligament injuries
  • Symptoms associated with cancer

As you can see, massage therapy is implemented in treatment regimens for a wide range of disorders and painful afflictions. But how does it work?

Why Massage Therapy Works?

seattle-massage-therapyMore research into how massage therapy helps manage pain, improve function and relieve stress is needed. However, studies indicate that aiding in the production and reduction of naturally occurring hormones is one of the primary healing properties of massage therapy.

For instance, some studies have shown that massage therapy decreases the amount of cortisol the body produces. Cortisol is related to stress levels. While the presence of cortisol does not guarantee a person is experiencing significant levels of stress, scientists agree that excess cortisol in the body is a good indication of stress levels. By helping the body lower cortisol levels, it makes sense that stress levels would be lowered.

In addition to reducing cortisol levels, massage therapy increases the production of serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for regulating a person’s mood. Higher levels of serotonin improve a person’s mood, while lower levels of the hormone associated with depression.

Massage therapy has also been shown to lower the production of a neurotransmitter known as substance P. Research indicates that substance P is related to the sensation of pain. It is believed that part of the reason massage has proven to be effective at relieving pain is due to reduced production of substance P.

All that aside, it is difficult to know exactly how massage therapy works on a chemical level. Some studies have shown positive correlations between massage and chemical changes in the body, and other studies have been inconclusive. The human body is a complicated organism and determining exactly how massage works to ease pain and help improve other maladies is still up for debate. Until further research is conducted and a consensus among scientists is reached, the only thing we know for sure is that millions of people have reported feeling better after massage therapy.

Does Massage Therapy Carry Risks?

No treatment comes without some amount of risk. Typically, there are no side effects from massage therapy, but some people have experienced mild discomfort after certain types of deep tissue massage. However, the discomfort is temporary and is often a result of the massage therapist breaking down adhesions in muscles, ligaments and tendons. Breaking down adhesions helps facilitate regeneration of injured areas, relieves pain and can improve function and range of motion.

There are certain instances when massage may not be the best treatment option. Massage therapy should be used with caution whenever any of the following conditions are present:

  • High blood pressure
  • Late stage or severe osteoporosis
  • Inflammation, fevers, or rashes
  • Joints damaged by arthritis
  • Varicose veins

The presence of any of these conditions does not preclude you from using massage therapy; however, your therapist should be made aware of the conditions so they can alter their approach. Additionally, massage is meant to make you feel better, not make you feel worse. If at any time during or after your therapy sessions you experience pain or discomfort, be sure to inform your massage therapist.

Seattle Massage Therapy

Massage offers benefits for everything from a stress-filled day to pain associated with late stages of cancer. Contact the licensed massage therapists at Seattle’s Thrive Healing Massage and make an appointment today. Our healing hands can have you feeling better in just a few hours.

Categories: Massage Articles


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