For anyone that has experienced pain, whether due to an injury or overexertion, you know the benefits of going to a licensed massage therapist and the incredible relief that the visit brings. Massage therapy has been a natural source of pain relief used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years, but while the massage therapist might be considered a ‘miracle worker’, there is actually a science behind the modality.
Western culture medicine has not always adopted any treatment that they did not consider to be mainstream and this is especially important when it comes to pain relief. Physicians have maintained a philosophy of the distribution of medicinal pain relievers which often bring about harsh side effects and can interact with other products as well as catapult a patient into additional disorders that were not associated with the original pain. Thankfully, some mainstream medicine physicians are finally recognizing the health benefits of massage therapy.
The American Massage Therapy Association has indicated that seventy five percent of the people that were surveyed stated that the primary reason for receiving massage therapy in the last twelve months was due to a medical situation. This included relief of pain for soreness, injury recovery, spasm or stiffness, injury prevention and migraine headaches. Additionally, sixty one percent of those surveyed indicated that the recommendation for the massage therapy came from their physician. Those people that received massage were seeking medical environments to receive the message therapy at higher rates than ever before. These settings now include chiropractic offices, physical therapy offices and orthopedic offices.
The more ready adoption by the medical community may be due to increased licensing requirements for massage therapists, but the main reason is in the research and studies. The latest results of research is showing that massage therapy helps the body in the healing process on a cellular level. After only one massage session, the human body begins to respond and researchers doing blood and muscle tests showed that post-massage muscle and blood tissue demonstrated an increase in a gene that is responsible for the development of mitochondria. The mitochondria is well-known for cell energy and growth production. Additionally, the kneading and lifting of muscle tissues which is known as the deep tissue or Swedish technique, was shown to ‘turn off’ those genes that are associated with inflammation. The results of the research contradicted an old belief that the process of massage therapy actually affects the muscles by pushing out lactic acid.
The mere fact that more physicians are now recommending massage therapy as a modality for healing as well as pain, soft-tissue recover and inflammation is indicative that they believe the therapy will assist in improvement in a number of problems including injury or exercise recovery time. The increase in the number of massage therapists that are working closely with primary care physicians, chiropractors and clinics is a demonstration in support of the therapeutic benefits of massage therapy.
Always confer with a primary care physician before making any changes or additions to your medical regiment.