Updated: Sep 9
Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most effective forms of alternative healing. With recorded origins of massage therapy dating as far back as 3000BC in the ancient cultures of Egypt and China, massage therapy has been used to heal the body's ailments naturally and holistically.
Continue reading if you are curious to learn how massage therapy can help with pain!
What are the benefits of massage?
Massage therapy has many wonderful benefits including (but not limited to) improved circulation, increased range of motion, stimulation of the lymphatic system, an overall sense of improved well-being and relaxation, a reduction in anxiety and depression. The list goes on! One of the most impactful benefits of massage therapy, however, is relief from pain that may be caused by muscular tension.
How does massage help with pain relief?
Have you ever had one of those super annoying and nagging tension headaches at the base of your skull that radiates down your neck and into your shoulder? You take over-the-counter pain meds (maybe even prescription meds) in hopes to find relief. The medication may help for a period of time but then the pain returns, and you find yourself in need of another dose. You end up repeating this never ending cycle for days… and possibly even months (or years!) How does this relate to massage therapy?
When you experience pain as a result of a particularly tight muscle group or area and you take over the counter or prescription painkillers, your entire body including your organs, are impacted. Painkillers work by inhibiting your brain's perception of the pain. You have merely temporarily dulled the intensity of the sensation of the pain. Your pain will return once the painkillers have worked their way out of your system. The cycle of only masking your pain with over the counter and prescription painkillers continues. Between the depressant effects on the central nervous system and the effects on the detoxifying organs such as the liver and kidneys, long term use of pain killers wreak havoc on the body. There are over 600 muscles in the body. Certain massage modalities such as deep tissue massage, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy identify and then release the specific muscles which may be the actual source of your pain.
Massage therapy can address the root cause of your pain because of its ability to target the precise muscles that may be contributing to your pain. Still using the example of tension headaches, if the muscles of your shoulders and neck are chronically tight, they are going to radiate that sensation of pain upwards to the base of your skull which results in that pesky and relentless tension headache. Receiving a massage that successfully returns your muscles to a relaxed state is one of the most effective and holistic ways to address your pain.
How often should you receive a massage to start seeing pain relief?
Receiving consistent massage therapy makes for an excellent preventative and maintenance wellness routine. Much like eating healthy or working out, massage is best if it’s received on a regular and consistent basis. For most people, receiving a massage at least once a month makes significant improvements in their pain reduction, mental health, and overall quality of life.
Make sure you take the time to schedule your next massage appointment while you're thinking about it. If you are in Northern Virginia, we are located in Alexandria, VA. Feel free to call or visit our website to schedule your appointment online.