Therapeutic Massage for Wellness

Trending vocabulary can be difficult to interpret.  Both therapeutic and wellness are terms popping up more frequently in healthcare and when paired with massage often cause confusion for clients seeking appropriate bodywork.  

Many times I hear from clients who did not get the soft tissue treatment they expected simply because they unknowingly went to a source specializing in service differing from their need at the time.  In other cases a client might not know the terminology or descriptive words necessary to communicate that need.  So when seeking therapeutic massage for wellness it’s important to understand what is encompassed. You can then look for a good match with the right therapist.

Difference in Technique

Webster defines therapeutic as relating to or curing of disease or serving to maintain health.  In that context  therapeutic massage covers a broad spectrum.  For thoseMassage at Carolina Health Innovations with dis-ease conditions of the body, whether it be cancer or other diagnoses, appropriate therapeutic massage might include application of general long light strokes as seen in Swedish techniques.  When trigger points, scar or adhesive tissue need to be released then therapeutic work would include deeper more focused technique as seen in Deep Tissue or Myofacial Release.  To apply the appropriate treatment to the appropriate condition, then, it’s important that clients are fully descriptive in communicating what they are seeking and that the massage therapist take a careful look at client history and current health.

“Wellness” refers to a condition of good physical and mental health.  Clients might be in a position to take action to attain more wellness or maintain present wellness.  Therefore, a good program for persons seeking therapeutic massage for wellness should be individually assessed and tailored by both the massage therapist and client in order to restore, improve or maintain soft tissue function.  For restorative work, more frequent sessions are initially appropriate.  As tissue health improves, regular work to maintain and continue improvement can be done on a less frequent, but regular basis.  In all cases it is beneficial for clients to establish a frequency of bodywork sessions that suits their own individual needs.  While some clients might need weekly sessions others might require monthly sessions.

Benefits of a Therapeutic Maasage

 What are some ways that therapeutic massage increases wellness?  It will improve blood and lymph flow which brings nutrients to tissues and flushes them of waste products.  Release of trigger points, congested areas and adhesions stretches and lengthens tissues so that range of movement is improved.  Parasympathetic nervous system activity increases resulting in a better sense of well-being and relaxation. Over time, with healthier soft tissue clients note better range of movement and pain reduction.  They can more fully participate in activity and an exercise and stretching program. 

This activity, in turn keeps tissue healthier.  To keep this cycle going it is important not only to receive regular bodywork but to address any developing problems early.  If a client awakens with a neck spasm from sleeping in a poor position then getting massage quickly can eliminate additional complications such as further contraction of surrounding tissue to guard areas or postural imbalance in order to try to compensate for pain.

 Remember that a good therapeutic massage program is flexible, individualized and goal oriented.  You should feel comfortable with your therapist and be able to discuss your needs openly and thoroughly.  When done regularly, bodywork as a part of your total wellness program (including good dietary habits, exercise and stretching) can enable you to enjoy soft tissue health long into your senior years.