There’s no denying that receiving a massage feels great. Working kinks out of achy muscles is probably one of the best feelings in the world. Massage therapy is typically regarded as a luxury spa service, often accompanied by a body wrap and categorized as a spa or beauty service. Of course, the nature of a massage session – a dimly lit room with lovely music in the background – certainly plays in to this theory. And, of course, in a society where we associate taking care of bodies with torturous diets, rigorous workouts, and anxiety inducing doctor visits, it’s hard to imagine that something that feels as good as receiving massage does could actually be beneficial.
But it totally is! The benefits of receiving regular massage reach well beyond feeling good and working out kinks. Last year, through a series of blogs I call the “Body Systems Series,” I explored the benefits massage has for each system of your body. The more research that is done on the benefits of massage therapy, the more health care professionals begin to realize that massage therapy is an amazing form of complementary medicine (never to be confused with alternative medicine). So this year, through a series of blogs, I would like you to join me in the exploration of how massage therapists can work with other medical professionals. This month: chiropractors!
WHAT DO CHIROPRACTORS DO?
Chiropractors address the neuromuscular system, which includes the skeletons and soft tissues (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). They do not use medication to treat any illnesses.
They are specially trained to manipulate the skeleton to (Richardson, 2016):
- Relieve pain
- Restore function to joints
- Return normalcy to the patient’s posture
Using methods such as spinal decompression and spinal adjustments, chiropractors treat a number of ailments relating to neck or back pain, migraines, and sports injuries (Richardson, 2016).
HOW DOES MASSAGE THERAPY COMPLEMENT?
Massage therapists and chiropractors address many of the same injuries. Many people seek out massage therapy in an attempt to alleviate pain (including migraine pain), and recover from injury or surgery. Massage therapy also has many of the same goals and outcomes. For example, receiving regular massage can also improve one’s posture, increase range of motion, and relieve pain. In fact, some chiropractors perform massage therapy on their patients (Richardson, 2016).
When your body sustains and injury, the soft tissues in the area tighten up in response. This is to keep the area from moving too much to prevent further damage.
While chiropractors can manipulate the skeleton to improve posture, those tight muscles are going to pull your skeleton out of whack again. This is why massage therapy is so important in the chiropractic field. Releasing tension from the soft tissues will help keep your skeleton aligned properly when you visit your chiropractor.
It is important to remember that massage therapy should not be considered an alternative form of health care. While receiving regular massage can have a vast impact on a person’s health, massage therapists cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any illnesses. Massage is only a complementary form of health care, and studies on its benefits are undeniable.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Chiropractors,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/chiropractors.htm (visited February 02, 2017).
Richardson, B. What Types of Conditions and Injuries Do Chiropractors Treat?. [Internet]. [updated 2016 Sp 22]. Summit Medical Care Center, Broomfield, CO, [Accessed 2016 Feb 02]. Available from: http://www.coloradospineanddisc.com/coloradospineanddisc.com/blog/b_70362_what_types_of_conditions_and_injuries_do_chiropractors_treat.html