Pain will affect the quality of life and it is important to pay attention to it so as to ensure the inner cause does not worsen. Various pain medications are available but regular consumption of the same might have serious side effects on our health. There are safe ways of countering pain and massage therapy is one such. Massage therapy is commonly suggested for lower back pain relief, neck pain, joint stiffness etc.
Till a few years, back massages were only considered as an indulgence for pain relief but today with various methods and their effects being the focus of studies and research we understand that massages can have therapeutic effects as well. From relaxing stiffness in joints and muscles to relieving anxiety and stress, a session of massage therapy could dawn its effects on you. These treatments have the ability to shut the pain gates and stimulate the competing nerve fibers in our body. The effects are significant that people suffering from various chronic pains are turning towards massage therapy for rescue.
Massage therapy and pain relief:
Various researches have indicated that massage therapies are capable of reducing and managing pain in various parts of our body for both short and long terms. Immediate pain relief and long-term pain relief are both possible with massage therapy. A study published by Complementary Therapies in Clinical practice suggested that hand pain and overall grip was enhanced in people who followed a 4-week massage schedule and also followed up with few massages at home. They were also observed to have lower levels of stress and anxiety and it also elevated their mood. Chronic neck pains, postoperative pain, headaches, neck, leg and back pain in case of pregnant women etc, have been seen to show a considerable reaction to regular massage therapies that were scattered into 2 to three sessions a week or more based on the need.
A study at Flagstaff medical center in Arizona involved patients who were subjected to massage therapies for pain relief. The study concluded that massage therapy when embedded into acute care settings is capable of creating a positive ground for patients to heal and to relieve the pain of physical as well as psychological conditions. They had better sleep patterns, faster recovery, and significantly low pain levels than before.
The varying degrees of pressure used during massage therapies are related to the type and intensity of the problem being treated. While certain people require deep tissue massage which is painful by itself, varying levels of pressure is usually given based on patients willingness. Lighter massages tend to have a more relaxing effect and are more beneficial. In fact, certain conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome will require only such light and soft touch massages.
Many people look for massage therapies especially in case of chronic pain as it helps in the release of serotonin which is our body’s natural mechanism to protect us against pain. Arthritis and fibromyalgia are some of the common syndromes that are treated with massage therapies where there have been significantly positive results of pain relief. In fact, apart from reducing pain in the sites, enhancing the quality of sleep and elevating the mood both positively influence in treating these conditions which are by-products of massage therapy.
Massage therapy can:
- Reduce the inflammation especially around joints that cause discomfort during motion as well as swelling around the nerves.
- It improves the blood circulation in the sites which enables faster healing process. It lubricates the joints and improves delivery of necessary nutrients and oxygens required by the tissues here.
- It also develops the levels of circulating hormones in our body and helps us develop more tolerance to pain overall.
Other Benefits of massage therapy:
- Helps you relax: Stress has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline release during this time and this make your heart beat faster and your blood pressure to rise and eventually causes your muscles to feel stiff and tight. A calm massage will help relax your muscles and enhance your concentration and build back your strength. While massages are quite effective for acute stressful situations prolonged conditions will need more therapy or treatment that can be performed in combination with massage therapy for great results.
- Better sleep: Massage therapies are capable of improving sleep and decreasing fatigue. Massage with essential oils can relax your muscles and improves the mood. Alternatively having an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom can further enhance your relaxation.
Points to keep in mind:
Intensity and frequency of massage vary for different conditions and patients. While certain people have said to benefit from even 1 or 2, 30- minute session a week, a few required longer sessions and higher frequency for pain relief.
Increase intake of vitamin D as this will help in improving your body’s natural mechanism for pain relief. Sun exposure, cheese, egg yolk, fatty fish are some natural sources of vitamin d which needs to be included in your diet for better results.
It is important to know that resorting to massage on inflamed skin or in infections could turn out causing spread of infections. Hence diagnosing the situation and getting professional help before choosing a massage therapy is very important.
Massage therapy may not be a hundred percent effective solution for all situations and hence if the problem does not get better even after regular session consult for alternatives or combine it with other therapies as suggested by a professional.
Jessica smith is an avid reader who enjoys getting lost in the world of books. Holding on to her passion for fitness, She Believes that a healthy diet is a key to healthy living.