Massage…some may think of it as just a luxury service for vacationers, but it is quite an effective tool for musculoskeletal health. It works very well in tandem with chiropractic care, in that it promotes healing in the muscles and circulation in the lymphatics, all of which surround the skeletal structures that are adjusted during chiropractic visits. Muscles may be sore from a specific injury or tight after prolonged and repetitive use. In either case, the therapist will work toward restoration of the tissues and work toward getting the muscles back in good working order. If the patient goes to a massage therapy session before a scheduled chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor may have an easier time putting the vertebrae back into alignment without having to deal with the contracting of tight muscle tissues, which pull at the bones.
In a typical massage therapy visit, the therapist will ask if there are any acute concerns. The patient may wish to have a specific area worked on, or the entire body. There will be a special table that enables the patient to comfortably lie either face up or face down. The atmosphere will typically lend itself to relaxation with amenities such as low lighting and soft music. The goal is to have the patient release tension and allow the therapist to penetrate the inner tissues of each muscle area. Western countries typically utilize what is called Swedish or classical massage. It has shown excellent results with the promotion of blood circulation and lymphatic flow, both of which help built-up toxins exit the muscles. Many therapists will recommend drinking water immediately after the visit as well to further flush those toxins out of the body.
Massage therapy can have incredible mental benefits as well. With the lowering of the blood pressure and the lessening of tension, tightness and soreness, the brain will then release dopamine and serotonin. With those elevated levels comes a greater sense of wellbeing and a decrease in irritability and low mood. And with relaxation comes a greater amount of oxygen intake and lower cortisol levels.
If you are interested in adding massage therapy to your regimen to further maintain your musculoskeletal health, talk with your chiropractor about how this may benefit you. The chiropractor and the massage therapist can recommend the best schedule of frequency and duration of visits and can make a plan of care for you. They may additionally recommend a stretching routine that will help prolong the effects of the therapies and keep the soft tissues loose.