The Benefits Of Massage: And Whom It Can Help
By Jaci Delahanty
Some look at massage therapy as a luxury — something they get at a spa or on vacation. But massage therapy can be simple healthcare and preventative maintenance for many people. I have had many clients over the years become able to eliminate or reduce medications and function pain-free after setting up a regular schedule of massage therapy.

How does massage therapy work?

Pain and/or physiological dysfunction originate from identifiable points within muscles and their fascial tissues. These locations are known as trigger points because they often trigger distant reactions.
Fascia can be compared to the body’s own version of “saran wrap.” It covers most of the body in large, continuously connected sheets. Injury, postural patterns and chemical imbalances can cause these sheets to distort and bind to themselves and nearby tissues. Since all major blood vessels and nerves follow these fascial sheathes through the body, properly aligned and released fascia is vital to good health and to the proper operation of the circulatory and nervous systems.

Massage provides deep relaxation. It relieves muscle tension, spasm and stiffness — all of which contribute to pain. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen, because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it what the muscle needs — oxygen and other forms of nourishment. The muscle then relaxes, and pain decreases.

Massage also calls up the body’s natural painkillers, called endorphins. It stimulates the release of this morphine-like substance into the brain and nervous system, inducing a feeling of well-being.

Massage relieves mental stress and anxiety. Massage provides benefit through the therapeutic value of touching, which in turn soothes a person in pain. Research shows that touch lasting for less then one second has the ability to make people feel better. Obviously, an hour-long touch provided by a massage therapist has the ability to make you feel really good!

Who can benefit from massage therapy? Anyone with:

• Chronic muscle or joint pain
• A known condition of referred pain (such as “when my neck gets tense I get a headache.”)
• Any recurring symptoms that seem to accompany, or are precipitated by muscle tightness.
• Tight muscles that are limiting the mobility of a joint and their range of motion
• Chronically fatigued muscles
• Low energy level, especially when accompanied by muscle aches and pains.
• A recent muscle injury that generates pain or dysfunction in areas not seemingly involved in the injury
• Athletic tendencies; runners, cyclists, swimmers, golfers, dancers; basketball, football, soccer, baseball, volleyball and tennis players
• Muscle pain that recurs in an area with no apparent new cause.
• A tendency for pain to spread to other muscles whenever a simple strain or injury occurs

I have also helped many people through therapeutic massage with a wide range of medical conditions such as:

• Physical, mental and emotional stress
• Anxiety and depression
• Pregnancy and postpartum related issues
• Prematurity (in infants)
• Arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
• Chronic and acute pain
• Myofascial pain (a condition of the tissue connecting the muscles)
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Circulatory problems
• Plantar fasciitis
• Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders
• Headaches and migraines
• Pinched nerves
• Sciatica
• Insomnia
• Immune function disorders such as fibromyalgia, lupus
• Sinusitis
• Sports injuries (including pulled or strained muscles and sprained ligaments)
• Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction

Book a massage with Jaci

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