What comes to mind when you think of massage? Perhaps you associate a massage with a spa day, sports therapy, or an hour to relax in the midst of your hectic schedule. While those are excellent reasons for massage, it has many benefits beyond relaxation and soothing overworked muscles. Research shows that massage is an important component of treatment plans for chronic pain management, behavioral health treatment, and rehabilitation of injury, surgery and physical training. It is even effective for acute medical treatment in the areas of cancer management, post-operative pain, lifestyle diseases, and maternity and newborn care (1).
While massage therapy has long been considered an essential element of self-care, it is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for many medical conditions. Since research has provided significant evidence that massage assists in healing and wellness, more insurance companies are covering the cost in a wider assortment of situations.
What are the benefits of Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy manipulates your soft tissue, which includes skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There are more than 80 kinds of massage therapy which have been developed all over the world. While each type has its own technique, they all share a common purpose of relaxing tissue, decreasing pain, and increasing the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the area being massaged.
The American Massage Therapy Association has gathered extensive data on the results of peer-reviewed, published studies on the impact of massage therapy in a variety of conditions and situations. Chronic pain, surgical pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Oncology care, low back pain, burn scars, cardiovascular health, and improved mood and sleep are a few of the areas proven to benefit by massage therapy. It is also useful in eliminating toxins, enhancing immunity, and reducing swelling after an injury or surgery.
According to the Mayo Clinic, massage is recognized to reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension. They also state it may be helpful for anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia related to stress, myofascial pain syndrome, soft tissue strains or injuries, sports injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that massage also facilitates muscle recovery after exercise. After four days of exercise followed by massage, massaged muscles recovered approximately 60 percent of strength compared to only 14 percent in muscles that received rest after the exercise. The muscles that received a massage also had fewer damaged muscle fibers and almost no sign of white blood cells, which indicate that the body is working to repair muscle damage.
Why are there so many types of massage and which is best?
Certain types of massage have specific benefits. Pregnancy massage is one example. Pregnancy massage helps a woman’s body adapt to the major changes and stressors it goes through. It helps reduce swelling and relieves muscle and joint pain. It can reduce anxiety and depression, and many women experience improved labor outcomes and health of the newborn.
Most massage modalities are not that specific but are more effective in promoting wellness or healing specific types of injuries or conditions than others. For example, there is a distinct difference between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage. Deep tissue massage targets the inner layer of muscle and connective tissue and is excellent for treating muscle and tendon injuries and breaking up scar tissue. On the other hand, Swedish massage is much gentler and reduces muscle tension from everyday activities, while helping you relax physically and mentally.
There is not one best massage modality since each person is unique and has different needs. Therefore, we offer a broad range of massage modalities at TCIM including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Table Thai, Lymphatic Drainage, Oncology Massage, Cupping Therapy, Trigger Point, Reflexology, and Pregnancy Massage. Each therapist brings their own unique talents to the table and communication will help us determine which approach is right for you and your body.
What to Expect.
Whether this is your first time ever receiving a professional massage, or simply your first massage at Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine, you may have questions and concerns about what happens during a massage.
Below we explain what you can expect during your massage appointment with one of our massage therapists. Communication is a key aspect of comfort. So, if there is anything you would prefer or are not comfortable with please let us know. We want you to have the best experience possible, so you can gain maximum healing from your massage.
Before your massage, the massage therapist will leave the room so you can undress. We want you to be comfortable, so only take off as much clothing as you feel okay removing.
Once you are undressed, lie on the massage table under the provided sheet or blanket. It will cover your whole body for modesty and warmth. Therapists excel at draping, so an area of your body will only be uncovered while it is being massaged.
During Your Massage Therapy Session
Soft, relaxing music will be played. If you would like the volume adjusted, please let your therapist know. You may converse with your therapist during your session if you like. However, focusing on your breathing while receiving your therapy is most beneficial. The session is yours; you are the leader.
The massage table is padded and also has a heating pad for optional heat at your request. If you feel you require additional pillows or padding to prop yourself comfortably or need to have your head elevated more, please let your therapist know.
We use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. If you're allergic to a particular ingredient, essential oil, massage oil or lotion, please tell your massage therapist beforehand.
Depending on your needs and your Doctor’s recommendation, your massage therapist will massage either your full body (except private areas) or only specific areas that need attention, such as your shoulders, neck, or hips.
Your massage therapist should check that the pressure is right, and you are comfortable throughout your session. If you are uncomfortable at any time, please don´t hesitate to let us know.
Remember to breathe normally. Regular breathing, even deep breathing will help your muscles relax and unwind for maximum benefit.
Table massage usually lasts between 20 and 80 minutes.
After your massage, the massage therapist will allow you privacy to get up and get dressed. Be sure to get up from the table and move slowly.
After Your Massage
Be sure to drink plenty of water afterward.
Work with your massage therapist to customize a plan to meet your health and wellness goals. The benefits of massage therapy are cumulative, and your therapist may also recommend at home self-care, such as heat and stretching. Follow through with additional visits and home self-care for optimal healing. Remember, we should work as a team for the best possible outcome.
Extra Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Massage
Try not to rush to your massage. If you are on time, you will not feel the stress of hurrying and it will be easier to relax.
Avoid eating immediately before your massage.
If you plan to keep some clothing on during the massage, make sure it is loose and flexible enough to allow the therapist to massage the covered area.
Remember to breathe and relax your mind and muscles during your massage.
Massage therapy is an excellent option for improving your health and reducing pain. Whatever reason you have for scheduling a massage we are here to help you achieve optimum wellness through the health benefits gained from massage therapy.
Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine
The Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine is an Integrative Medical Clinic specializing in all aspects of Functional Medicine. Our focus is solely on the treatment and prevention of chronic disease and we specialize in helping patients with serious, life-altering illnesses. We designed our clinic to be a place for patients to come to receive a level of care they are not used to experiencing anywhere else. It is our mission to provide our patients with a deep healing experience on all levels, mind body and spirit. Our office was created to eliminate the fear and uncertainty that sometimes surrounds healthcare. We are focused on helping the most desperate and frustrated patients that have been seen by other physicians and practitioners and have not had success in treating their condition.
1. "Massage Therapy in Integrative Care & Pain Management." www.amtamassage.org. 2018. American Massage Therapy Association. 09 July 2019 https://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/mt_in_integrative_care_and_pain_management.pdf.