When it comes to massage, there are two very distinct styles of treatment- Spa and Therapeutic. For the average person, they may not know the difference between the two. While what we typically envision as a massage service- dim lights, soft music, maybe some candles burning, and time to unwind while you get a relaxing back rub- is certainly typical of spa massage treatments, a therapeutic focused massage does a whole lot more. Massage therapy treatments focus on releasing muscle tension for improved mobility, flexibility, and balance. Conversely, a spa massage treatment is simply focused on the experience (and art) of relaxation. The goals are different- relaxation versus rehabilitation.
While we all love a relaxing spa service, there are times when you should opt for problem-focused massage therapy. Here are a few reasons you might want to consider choosing a therapeutic massage treatment next time you head to the spa or chiropractor.
Frequent Headaches or Migraines
The pain of chronic headaches and migraines can be debilitating. Muscle tension can often be the cause of your recurring headaches or migraines, and massage therapy can pinpoint areas for relief. A typical massage therapy treatment for headaches will include trigger point therapy in the neck and shoulders as well as myofascial release stretching techniques. With focused work in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, any source of muscle tension that is contributing to your headaches will begin to disappear. Your licensed massage therapist can also show you targeted stretches to practice at home for relief between treatments and to improve your rehabilitation.
Low Back Pain and Sciatica
We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, massage therapy is an excellent modality for relieving sciatica and low back pain. Therapeutic massage techniques in the low back, hips, glutes, and quadriceps will address the muscle tightness associated with pain in these areas. Sciatic and low back pain can cause pain to radiate through the legs and to the feet, which can result in additional areas of muscle tension. Massage therapy can help immensely by focusing on the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve and low back, but also by stretching and releasing the IT band, using trigger point therapy in the glutes, and breaking up adhesions and calcifications in those muscle groups that are contributing to the pain and dysfunction.
Upper Back and Shoulder Pain
Technology use, desk jobs, and lack of exercise are major contributors to muscle tension in the upper back and shoulders. We often sit hunched over, jutting our head forward, contorting our bodies in to unnatural positions that put abnormal strain on our spine and muscles. Add some stress on top of that, and you find yourself with your shoulders raised clear up to your ears throughout the day. Massage therapy is the best way to work out knots in your shoulders and upper back, and a variety of techniques can be used by your licensed massage therapist to address them. Your therapist may stretch your arm in specific directions while massaging problem spots to aid in releasing muscle tension, as well as traditional trigger point and myofascial release techniques.
Recovery from Athletic Training
If you are an athlete, therapeutic massage can keep you at the top of your game. There is a reason professional athletes employ licensed massage therapists as part of their training- massage aids in athletic recovery. A light lymphatic massage to help muscles heal from a strenuous workout or long run can minimize injury and speed recovery.
These are just a few examples of how massage therapy can be of benefit to your body, beyond the relaxation of a spa service. As with any medically necessary treatment, we recommend consulting with the your chiropractor or medical doctor to determine the best therapy for you. Ask if therapeutic massage, with a licensed massage therapist, is the right type of massage treatment for you.
Senara Health and Healing Center, located in Peoria, Illinois, offers a multidimensional approach to chiropractic and wellness care. Using the latest advancements in spinal and holistic health, they advance their mantra, Live Life Well, to their guests. Established as Kramer Chiropractic in 2002, the facility moved and expanded it’s services in late 2011 to Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa.