The road to recovery is often not a straight line. And in between, rest stops are often needed. Massage — whether it’s a deep tissue sports massage, or a gentle lymphatic massage — is often what a person needs to remember how good their body can actually feel.
Why does massage therapy get recommended? People often don’t realise how many layers of muscles and fascia exists in their body. Let’s say you feel tension in your upper shoulders from stress and working in front of the computer daily. As the tension builds up, you start feeling an aching pull at the base of your head and neck. Eventually, your head feels heavy or you develop a headache. That’s a result of the many layers of tension that builds up over time!
There are about 7 layers of muscle in your body, starting from deep inside near your spine, to the outermost layer where you may feel your muscles holding the greatest tension. These two pictures are an illustration of how deep some muscles can be!
The first picture shows the Splenius muscle, in the third layer. It often causes headaches after extensive computer work. The second picture shows the Levator Scapulae highlighted, which is often the culprit when people experience tension in their shoulder AND neck, with difficulty turning their neck. It is actually located in the 4th layer of muscle, and you can see the bigger muscles overlying it.
Your therapist needs to be able to assess the correct muscles to target for maximum relief. With the right amount of touch, pressure, and stretch, your body will be able to relax deeply and recover. The tension from injuries or the stresses of life can melt away, and you allow your body to start healing again.
Does massage therapy have any risks?
The risk of harmful effects from massage therapy is low. But there have been reports of serious side effects: Nerve injury, tendons tearing, excessive bruising and abrasions, etc. This is why having a licensed professional and a proper initial consultation is so, so important. We cannot emphasise this enough.
There are clients and conditions that do not benefit from certain types of massages, and you need to have someone experienced enough to know when to slow down and adjust the type of techniques used for your body. Here at Spinefit, our clinicians have passed all their licensing exams and have had years of experience dealing with many types of clients and conditions to ensure a safety and comfortable session for you.
As with most of our posts, we always end with a cautious reminder:
- DO NOT use massage therapy to postpone seeing a GP or Specialist for underlying medical problems that you may be having! Massage therapy may get you feeling good, but it is NOT always a cure for medication and further treatment.
- DO ask about the experience, training, and credentials of any practitioner who is going to perform a massage for you. Your body is unique in its needs and underlying tensions — someone who is inexperienced or may not have proper anatomical knowledge can cause more harm, and you may walk out the door feeling more discomfort than when you first walked in.
- If you’re unsure whether massage therapy is what you need to help recovery, discuss your worries with us. We are always ready to help provide direction and clarity. 🙂