The Who, What, When, Where, and Why’s of Massage Therapy

When you’re in pain there are so many options for treatment it can be overwhelming. Advice from friends, family and the internet can make navigating treatment difficult and confusing. There are many different types of medical practitioners to choose from, all of whom claim to be the right treatment for you. I am going to cover the “who, what, when, where and why” of massage therapy. This will help you decide if massage therapy is the right treatment for you.

The who- Those who practice massage therapy are licensed massage therapists or LMT’s for short. All massage therapists must be licensed in the state of Illinois. This means they have completed a rigorous training program of at least 750 hours and passed a national certification exam. LMT’s study the body and its anatomy, including muscles, bones and joints. This provides LMT’s with a vast knowledge of kinesiology, pathology and education on how to treat a wide array of patients.

The what- By definition, massage therapy is the manual manipulation of soft tissue, including muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. While there are many different techniques, or methods of massage therapy, there are two main types, relaxation and rehabilitation. Relaxation massage therapy is typically practiced in a spa, resort or wellness center setting. It usually includes a full body treatment and focuses on overall stress and anxiety reduction. Rehabilitation massage therapy is typically practiced in medical clinics, hospitals and chiropractic offices. This type of massage therapy is focused around a specific injured area and works to reduce pain and improve range of motion. Both types of massage therapy offer enormous benefits to a person’s health and well-being.

The when- The most difficult part about choosing treatment from any medical professional is when to go, when to finally make that call and set up the appointment. It is so difficult to know when a minor ache is going to disappear in the next couple hours, or stick around for a few months. Fortunately, massage can help with both new and chronic injuries and ailments. However, there are a few guidelines to follow. First and foremost, if you are under the care of a doctor it is important to get the “okay” from them first. Secondly, if you have had any type of trauma, it is a good idea to get checked out by a doctor before coming to a massage therapist. For example, if you’ve fallen down the stairs, been in a car accident or slipped and hit your head, your first step should be to see your doctor. Also, if you have any active swelling in a new injury, you are not quite ready for massage yet. For example, if you twisted your ankle 24 hours ago and are experiencing swelling, redness and heat, hold off on massage. Other than that, the sooner the better! I always explain to my patients that the longer you’ve been in pain, the longer it takes to return the body to normal working order.

The where- Strelcheck Chiropractic Clinic has been in the community for almost 60 years. Not only do we employ skilled massage therapists, we also have 2 experienced chiropractic doctors and a physical therapy department. This means we are able to offer a total body approach, massage to loosen the muscles, chiropractic care to return the bones to their proper alignment and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles. At Strelcheck Chiropractic Clinic our motto is “feel great, get moving again, live life again,” and the first step of that can be through massage therapy. We offer many different massage therapy modalities including Swedish relaxation, deep tissue, trigger point therapy, myofascial release and raindrop therapy.

The why- The ‘why’ of massage therapy is the most important part! I get asked all the time “what does massage do?” An easier question would be “what doesn’t massage do?” Massage therapy offers physical, emotional and mental benefits to patients of all ages. Everyone knows that massage therapy helps release tension and relax tight muscles. It is a great modality for sports injuries, sprains and strains and chronic pain. It also helps improve posture and prevent overuse injuries. What many don’t know, however, is that massage therapy is amazing for treatment of depression, anxiety and stress. Other indications for massage therapy include insomnia, fibromyalgia, headaches and digestive disorders. Massage is also shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. So if you’re asking yourself if massage therapy would be beneficial to you, the answer is (almost) always “yes!” Our massage therapists at Strelcheck Chiropractic clinic would love to answer any further questions you have and get you feeling great again, moving again and living life again!

By Candace Gardner LMT

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