Massage is not just a spa service designed to help you be pampered. Did you know receiving massage can help relieve body aches and pains? Research shows this is true.
There are many causes for body aches and pains. Aches and pains can include muscles that are overworked by too much exercise, strained by lifting something too heavy, or injured by repetitive use – such as neck pain from looking down at a hand-held device all day long! Sometimes, people wake up with neck pain claiming they slept “wrong.” These conditions and more can lead to aches and pains that can be helped by massage whether the pain just started or has been going on for some time. Sometimes these problems of tightness in a muscle compress nerves causing discomfort in areas seemingly unrelated. For example, a tight piriformis muscle in the buttocks can pinch the sciatic nerve that runs near it. This can often be felt as pain down the side of the leg.
Keeping this simple, let’s say you do something, like any one of the things described above, that causes pain. The injured or stained muscle probably tightened up in order to protect itself. The tightening doesn’t allow the oxygenated blood to flow in to heal the injury. The lack of blood and oxygen causes further pain. This, in turn, causes further tightening, resulting in even more pain. This becomes a cycle. In some circumstances we might make things worse by guarding against further pain by over-using another part of the body. You can see how this easily leads down a rabbit hole of pain and imbalance. The best thing to do is recognize you have pain and then do something about it.
Sometimes rest and relaxation are enough to alleviate pain. Sometimes pain relievers can help and are enough. Sometimes we need more intervention. This is the best time to consider massage if you haven’t already made an appointment. What do you have to lose? Perhaps some pain?
Many studies show that massage can help. The go-to techniques in these cases tend to be intense therapies that sometimes momentarily increase pain. However, keep in mind that the massage technique used to evoke the mechanical or involuntary relaxation response of the nervous system is as important as the awareness of a client’s needs. So, if you can’t take deep, painful work, that’s okay. If you can’t stomach the idea that someone is going to dig into the hurt muscle to coax it into releasing, it’s okay. We don’t have to inflict further pain to release that knot. Even those with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue can find relief from aches and pains using gentle techniques. Communication with your therapist is the key. No study shows massage to be harmful to those with body aches and pains. However, there are times when receiving a massage is not a good idea. A qualified therapist will review your medical history and advise you on this point.
The important thing is to relax those tight muscles so your blood and lymph can flow throughout the area unimpeded. This will help take toxins away and bring healing blood cells with needed oxygen and nutrients to the area thereby reducing pain. Proper muscle function and relief of pain are the goals. How we get there can vary. Relaxed muscles will also lose their grip on trapped nerves. All this can create a cascade effect of relaxation throughout the body allowing you to find relief and truly let go.
At Sacred Pathways Sarasota we specialize in not inflicting pain to relieve pain. We believe less is more in many cases. We focus on working with the body’s movement and energy systems to facilitate release. We know the painful techniques too and can use them if needed, but we prefer to use less painful techniques, such as those used in Reiki, Ortho-Bionomy, Muscle Energy Techniques, Strain/Counter-Strain, etc. as our first lines of treatment. If that’s what you want, then we are your place. Call us next time you have an ache or pain that won’t go away or if you simply want to know more.