At Complete Chiropractic, we’re much more than just a chiropractor – for us, building and maintaining optimal health in all areas is the real goal, since it’s only through taking a complete view of ourselves and our wellbeing that we think it’s truly possible to “live well”. It’s for this reason that we offer far more than just chiropractic treatment, and in response to patient demand, we’re always looking to add new services and approaches. This week let’s take a look at one of the most popular compliments to chiropractic care – massage therapy.
Massage therapy at Complete Chiropractic
In case you didn’t know, massage therapy is now available to all clients at complete chiropractic! While many people do look at massage as a pleasant and relaxing form of therapy which can help reduce aches and pains and promote a sense of calm, there are actually a wide variety of clinically important effects which massage can have. It’s with these benefits in mind that we primarily offer our massage services …(but then again, there’s nothing wrong with a nice relaxing shoulder massage after an adjustment!). Let’s take a look at some of the real benefits which massage can give.
Of course, massage is great for our muscles, that’s why it feels so good – and just about everyone who has ever had a professional massage will certainly tell you that! What you might not know is that massage actually has a real structural benefit to the muscles. Muscles are made up of fibres that slide over each other to contract (shorten and fatten) and pull on the bone the muscle is attached to – this is what creates movement in the body but also works to counteract forces – hence the muscles around the spine, in particular, are constantly at work, just resisting gravity!
Over time, through overuse or as a result of stress, your muscles can become stuck in a contracted state, causing stiffness, imbalance and pain. Muscles which are very tight and constricted can even reduce blood flow and impact overall posture.
Massage therapy can help to undo this damage by:
- Increasing flexibility by stretching and relaxing the muscle and encouraging it to return back to its’ normal relaxed length.
- Removing waste products, such a lactic acid, from the muscles. Left to build up, lactic acid can cause significant muscle pain.
- Reducing the formation of scar tissue. Through training and exercise, and just through wear and tear, microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibres. Massage encourages the body to repair these tears properly, rather than forming inflexible scar tissue.
- Reducing cramps We can increase the flexibility and tone of the muscle and reduce waste products within the muscle, which may reduce cramps.
The Skeletal System
Most clients who come to the chiropractor do so looking for relief from painful conditions, typically involving the spine, and usually caused by misalignment – naturally, we, therefore, assume that the “best” way to treat spinal problems is through chiropractic adjustment of the spine itself. While this is true in the immediate sense, if the case of your spinal misalignment lies with tight or unbalanced muscles, failing to address this cause will likely see your painful complaint reoccur. Massage is therefore often a great way to complement treatment for back pain and can play a major role in stopping it re-occurring.
Primarily, the effect of massage in this regard is to improve posture. Tight muscles can hold the skeleton in a sub-optimal position, and in some cases can cause conditions, such as vertebral subluxation. Once the muscles are relaxed and lengthened, posture can improve.
Furthermore, massage improves mobility, especially if combined with stretching and exercise. In fact, some cases of poor mobility or limited range of motion can be attributed solely to muscular problems. Typically, the cause is either tight muscle or a “drying” of the joint, caused by the synovial fluid in your joints becoming too viscous, massage causes a release of fresh synovial fluid into the joint.
Massage is also an excellent way to deal with any discomfort which you experience after your adjustment and can be especially helpful for patients suffering from very painful conditions.
The Cardiopulmonary system
Because of its positive impact on the cardiopulmonary system, massage can have a large number of positive effects on everyday health but can also be a great boost for sporting performance. Massage encourages blood flow to the extremities, organs and superficial blood vessels all of which goes to promote proper circulation – always have cold hands or feet? Give a full body massage a go!
A massage session can also help to improve venous return – ordinarily, blood must work against gravity to return from the extremities back to the heart. Whenever possible, particularly on the limbs, we massage towards the heart to assist the return of venous blood.
Massage also helps to encourage deep and relaxed breathing, improving the overall quality of gas exchange in the lungs. When people are stressed, in pain, or restricted by tight muscles they breathe rapidly and shallowly, tending not to get enough oxygen and not to breathe out enough carbon dioxide. Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which slows and deepens breathing. Improved posture will also make breathing deeper – and over time these effects can have a noticeable effect in terms of stress reduction, and indeed, sports performance.
Massage for the Lymphatic System
Massage is almost uniquely suited to assist with the drainage of lymph from the cells to the lymph nodes – Lymph circulation is essential in the body but is difficult to assist and improve with most other treatment. The gentle application of pressure in the correct direction during massage improves the circulation of lymph and the removal of toxins from the cells. In addition, massage reduces oedema (swelling), which is common either from Injury or inactivity. Since oedema is often associated with the pooling of lymph this can be reduced by careful massage techniques.
Massage for the Skin
Finally, yes – massage does improve your skin! While many clients feel that massage helps them to look and feel younger, it is a matter of fact that massage does have many confirmed benefits for the skin – a proper massage increases the blood supply, which carries nutrients to the skin and may be seen as a redness (erythema) immediately after massage. In some cases, the elasticity of the skin can also be improved – this is especially the case with existing scar tissue.
Massage can also have an exfoliating effect and removes dead skin cells. In addition, massage oil contains nutrients, which are infused directly into the bloodstream through the skin.
Try Massage Today!
Massage is available at the clinic throughout the week, and we can usually schedule your appointment right after your adjustment if you so wish. Massage is also offered as a standalone service, so don’t need to be a chiropractic patient to book!