This post is Grassroots, meaning a reader posted it directly. If you see an issue with it, contact an editor.
If you’d like to post a Grassroots post, click here!

March 28, 2020

Massage Is Not A Guilty Pleasure

Getting massage is not something that you should feel guilty about as if it is an indulgence. Unless of course you’re paying for the $220 deep tissue massage at the Grove Park for a full day of spa, relaxation and cool bubbly drinks. Moments like that are important too, but for a different need.

Granted, it is difficult to find the perfect massage therapist who fits your needs. For that, you should have a quick verbal interview to determine if you are both approaching massage with similar intentions. Meeting them in person is even better. I find that my clients come to me for many reasons. Energy is a big one. Do you like the person who is about to intimately altar your body? Can you relax around this person? Do you trust their knowledge? Do you feel comfortable talking intimately about your body, your life, and the reasons you need help? It’s all entwined. The emotional manifests itself physically. It’s best to feel ok with a person holding all of this.

Massage will help you unravel those injury patterns that your body has adapted to after its many altercations with life. The ankle sprain when you were 12 is effecting you. I promise. How many other things happened since then? Drunken backhand springs on the beach in your 20s? The sledding incident in your 30s? Even just months of a strained muscle can cause new strength patterns to develop. Our bodies miraculously adapt to all of the changes. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it causes new problems. Not now, but a few years later. Even after rehabilitating our injuries through surgery, physical therapy, massage, chiropractic and yoga, the unconscious subtle movements remain. We continue to favor, not because it hurts, but  because we’ve developed our muscles in a way that favor without a reminder from our brain synapses.

A massage therapist specializing in sports, medical, or rehabilitation will know which muscles to loosen, which tendons and ligaments to lengthen, where to break up scar tissue, and which areas need strengthening in order to return symmetry of movement and strength. You do the work on your own in between massage sessions so that it takes fewer sessions to resolve the pain, while teaching you new muscular habits that will dissolve the discomfort. Foam rollers, tennis balls, lacrosse balls, strengthening and stretching. Massage provides an investigative aspect as well as a jumpstart to resolving issues. The work is yours though. Ask yourself if you are ready to participate in the healing process, or if you are trying to get someone else to do it for you. I will not succeed as a therapist, and you will not be able to make a change, if you aren’t participating.

When you are embarking on a new endeavor, and your body is balking at the new regime, massage will help you recover quicker. Quicker recovery, means quicker strength/speed/positive results, and fewer overuse injuries. It is a healthy and productive way to advance in your training.

Massage is a great way to avoid surgery. When there is pain, we go to the doctor, they order X-rays and CT scans, they learn there is damage, which by the way is inevitable, but wait…that damage was probably there from a long time ago and now your muscles for some reason are no longer adapting to it. Unless there was a sudden, obvious and acute injury. There’s been muscular change. Something is tighter on one side of the joint and looser on the other, revealing another problem that was previously silent. Loosening those muscles may allow the joint to realign once again. Is the damage still in there? Yes. Does it need surgical repair? Not as long as you keep the surrounding muscles both flexible and strong enough to support it.

I once had a client preparing for knee surgery due to a meniscal tear. She pointed to where it hurt the most, and it was her hamstring attachment. She had changed her workout and overworked her hamstrings, straining the tendon on the inside of her knee. I massaged it, she stretched it, she strengthened her quadriceps, which are antagonist muscles to the hamstrings, and the pain disappeared. Did she have a meniscal tear? Yes. Does it still need surgery? Not right now. Not as long as the surrounding muscles are supporting proper alignment.

Massage is preventive and rehabilitative medicine. I look forward to you all feeling comfortable enough adding it into the repertoire of health needs so that it is financially and emotionally validated.

See you soon!



Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Bettina Freese  |  Contribution: 5,295