I have faithfully been going for massages for the past few years and the therapy has been very beneficial. With all of the back and neck problems and with the pain I have, getting frequent massages helps keep my muscles loose and my body relaxed. The massage therapist has told me that getting frequent massages will also help to tone the body, help rid the body of toxins, and keep the skin youthful and more refreshed looking…all bonuses!
I always notice that after I get my massage, for the next few days I am having to urinate a lot more frequently. I told the massage therapist I always experience this and wondered if somehow the massages were causing my IC to flare. She told me that it is normal for that to happen because the body is removing the toxins. I find that I always lose a couple of pounds too afterward. I guess it is water weight I’m retaining and the massage gets rid of that.
Massage therapy not only helps relieve pain but it is also beneficial because it helps to improve blood flow, relieve stress and tension, and can help encourage relaxation.
I used to always think that a massage was a luxury, something that only the “privileged” or the “pampered” should get. But when my pain and stiff muscles got to the point where nothing was helping, I decided to give massage therapy a try. I have found it to be a necessity in my life. It is something that I have to get on a regular basis to keep functioning.
I normally try to go about every four weeks for a full body, 70-minute massage but I will have her focus heavily on my neck, back, hips, and legs – the areas where I have the most pain. There are times, however, when I have to call in and get an emergency 30-minute session squeezed in because my lower back will tighten up and I know I can’t wait until my next appointment. Yes, it gets expensive. But being in physical pain is a lot harder than the financial pain, that’s for sure.
My massage therapist has noticed that since I started working out last December that my muscles are not as tight and that my body is overall more “flexible”, whatever that means. Everytime I see her she can’t get over how much improvement she can feel in my muscles and joints, particularly my arms, neck, and legs.
Massage is also really good for Fibromyalgia patients. I know there are Fibro patients who fear getting massages because they are afraid the touch will hurt, but the therapists are well trained and they will ask you if the pressure they are applying is okay or if you want them to work harder or deeper. Sometimes it will have to hurt a little worse in order to feel better, especially if there are knots or tight muscles – those areas are going to have to be worked over. Once they get the knots out the pain is gone and it is an amazing feeling.
I always get the hot rocks on my back and neck. The hot rocks will help to loosen up the muscles and the feeling is absolutely heavenly. My husband always jokes and says if we ever strike it rich the first thing I will get is my very own massage therapist to come to the house on a weekly basis…and I would, too!
The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals say the benefits of massage can:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
- Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
- Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
- Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
- High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
- Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
- Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
As I always suggest, please check with your physician before trying any new form of treatment.