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Three Pillars of Massage Therapy

People come to massage with many preconceptions. Some are true and many are false. None are particularly harmful unless they get in the way of healing. No, massage is not just for rich people. No, massage is not just for vacations and spa getaways. No, massage does not have to hurt to be effective. No, massage is not a one stop cure for body pain. Yes, massage can work out ‘knots’. Yes, massage can reduce stress and body fatigue. Yes, massage can be an integral part of an overall plan for good health. Massage works on the body in three distinct ways, in tandem with other modalities, to bring the body into healthy stasis. It works on mechanical responses, neurological responses, and contextual responses within the body helping you feel better and heal faster.

Mechanical responses are those within the soft tissues themselves. Physical manipulation of the soft tissue, mainly muscles in the case of massage, releases held tension which in turn can reduce painful contraction and spasm of muscles and possibly even deeper connective tissue. In addition to the release of muscle tension, massage mechanically improves circulation of both lymph and blood.

Neurological responses to massage are involuntary and yet also predictable. Most people will naturally rub at an injured area. They do this because unconsciously they are aware that it will ‘feel better’ in response. What is known is that physical stimulation of the skin, muscles and other connective tissue will cause the transmission of pain signals from the brain.

Contextual responses to massage are all too often overlooked and underestimated. Context in a massage setting can refer to anything from the type and volume of music playing and lighting in the massage room all the way to practitioner confidence and time spent discussing outcomes with a client.

These three pillars together will form a triad of treatment designed to treat the whole person, decreasing tension and stress, releasing adhesions in soft tissues, and, in conjunction with other healthcare professionals start to alleviate pain and dysfunction in the body.

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