There is one thing that I often find myself saying to new patients and others who ask me about the effectiveness of massage. "If every person could get a massage, if even just one time per month, the world would be a better place". In all honesty, I had never planned to become a massage therapist. The thought did not cross my mind until beginning my first year of medical school. It was at that time that I received my first massage. Within 5 minutes I began to realize that I desperately needed to be right where I was at that moment in time. It was not long after, that I decided to enroll in massage therapy school. If massage therapy could have such a profound effect on me in such a short period of time, maybe I could help others in the same way? While learning about hands on therapies, I soon came to realize just how important and influential our hands really are. Yes, they are important for all of the obvious reasons. We eat with our hands, and we write with our hands. With our hands we have the ability to create beautiful works of art or ride a bicycle. Our hands also have the ability to profoundly affect the lives of others. With our hands we can cause harm to those around us, or we can use them to help those in need.
A massage therapist knows all too well just how powerful the hands can be and can tell a lot about his or her client within the first few minutes of the massage. Muscles and tissues have a story to tell . When you are injured, tired or sore, the skin and underlying muscles will be tight and may even radiate heat. Muscle knots, spasms, and areas of weakness and imbalance will come to the surface. A well-trained massage therapist can locate and make a significant impact on a variety of complaints, whether it be low back pain in a pregnant woman, or a case of whiplash following a fender bender. He or she knows how to effectively use their hands to bring about change in the tissue as well as in the nervous system. Massage is not simply a means for relaxing on a vacation getaway as some might picture it, but it is an important part of maintaining health and wellness in our modern, fast-paced society. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I often incorporate treatment techniques that I learned during my time as a Massage Therapist, and have made the choice to dedicate myself, my hands (and elbows), to bringing health and wellness to all who walk through my door.
Some conditions that massage therapy may be helpful in treating include:
Temporomandibular joint pain
Insomnia related to stress
Myofascial pain syndrome
Soft tissue strains or injuries
For more information on massage therapy and to determine if it might be right for you:
American Massage Therapy Association: