We Need Massage More Than Ever!
By Antonio Colletti, DPT
Have you ever had a massage where it seems like the Masseuse knows where all the knots are? And what exactly are those knots? The truth is that just like massage therapists, physical therapists know how to use the “intelligent touch”. In fact, we can mold our hands, magnify the knots, and since all the areas where patients have what David Hawkins describes as “tensile disagreements” within the muscle tissue. In the following paragraph, you will learn why soft tissue mobilization, A.K.A. manual therapy, A.K.A. isolated muscle massage, plays more of a role in getting in shape, staying in shape, and joint health than you think!
Can you let go?
The role of the Physical Therapist is often misunderstood. We have a variety of tools that we can utilize to optimize movement in our patients and there is no doubt that manual therapy is one of the most powerful. We call it the Healing Touch! When we put our hands on our patients, we are not just massaging the muscles. We are receiving messages about how you use your body and more specifically, muscles. We are looking for patterns of tension, typically from overuse, ultimately caused by poor movement patterns or habits, most of which we are not even aware of. At the same time, we understand that letting go of the tension, finding a new space/posture, developing a new understanding of what is happening inside your body, and opening to a new perspective can be challenging.
Two Peas In A Pod!
Did you know that massage therapy and regular exercise are Two Peas in a Pod? By now, we all know that exercising regularly has been proven to reverse aging and disease, literally. Challenging ourselves to move more or improving our capacity to move often comes along with some other friends:
- Excessive soreness around joints
- Feeling heaviness in the extremities
- Pain in the spine or “pinching” pain in the joints
Manual Therapy (isolated and intentional muscle massage) targets nutrients within the cells of the muscle to stimulate cellular movement. Coined by the term “motion is lotion”, manual therapy has a rapid and tangible effect on joint movements. Creating real chemical changes and shifts in fluid, during manual therapy, your muscle is literally taking a breath- they are flushed with oxygen and cleared of the harmful cells that accumulate with aging!
When you are massaging a sore muscle, ”behind the scenes” the stressful muscles signal the brain to release endorphins (good, natural painkillers and cell builders) that are cast directly to that muscle and the surrounding area. The spasms are seen by the brain for what they really are, a cluster of different chemicals, created from overuse of that particular muscle. By targeting the right muscles at the right time, this powerful tool opens the door to the conversation with our patients about muscle coordination and sequencing that control even the most basic of everyday human movements. When isolated, intentionally, and performed by Doctors of Physical Therapy at ProMet, manual therapy is the gateway to self-awareness, longevity, and overall health! Call us today in Glendale, Briarwood, or Manhasset to find out more!
Hawkins, D. Letting Go: the pathway of surrender. Hay House Inc., 2013.