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Massage therapy has been around for centuries and has been used for medicinal and/or healing purposes around the world.
Has your doctor prescribed chiropractic massage therapy in Wasilla? Are you wondering if chiropractic care with massage therapy could help heal your injuries? Perhaps you have heard or read stories about chiropractic massage therapy and wondered if there were any massage therapists near you in Anchorage and Juneau?
Depending on your situation, you probably have questions regarding both chiropractic care and chiropractic massage therapy, including:
✓ What are the pros and cons of massage therapy?
✓ Should I receive my massage before or after chiropractic adjustments?
✓ Can I see the chiropractor and have a massage the same day?
✓ Are both practices safe?
✓ How does massage therapy affect my body?
✓ Are there any side effects to chiropractic massage?
You might have additional questions, but the above are the most commonly asked.
We would like to spend a few minutes introducing you to chiropractic massage, answering some of your questions, and look at the pros and cons of this type of treatment.
The use of massage as therapy goes back for centuries. This treatment can trace its roots to the ancient medicinal practices of Egypt, China, and India. Even the Father Of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, described massage therapy as “the art of rubbing.”
During the Renaissance, this type of healing therapy reached Europe and in the 1850’s, a pair of American doctors, who had spent time in Sweden studying other forms of medicine and healing, returned to America with what is now called The Swedish Massage.
While almost everyone knows about the classic Swedish Massage, few people know that there is a substantial number of different massage techniques, including a few that are a mixture of massage techniques.
Chiropractic massage techniques will vary from clinic to clinic and even from person to person, depending on what type of massage will work best for the individual.
The most used massage techniques are:
Regardless of the type of massage you receive, the benefits of regular massage are many.
✓ Reduction in stress
✓ Deep feelings of well-being and relaxation (the exception being Thai or Shiatsu massage)
✓ Improvements in blood circulation
✓ Quicker healing from improved blood flow
✓ Improved range of motion and flexibility
✓ Reduction in pain
✓ Deeper, more restful sleep
✓ Improved mood
✓ Fewer episodes of depression
✓ Improved immune function
Chiropractic massage therapy, especially, offers healing and benefits for reducing or preventing muscle pain.
The University of Miami Medical School Touch Research Division has performed over 100 studies proving the benefits of regular massage therapy, with a few of these studies showing benefits for those with anorexia, lower blood pressure readings, fewer PMS symptoms and more.
When you think of a spa massage, what comes to mind? Scented candles? Zen music? Low lights and perhaps a tabletop fountain?
A spa massage is a wonderful way to relax and feel good. Taking care of oneself with these types of treatments is important to our self-esteem and image. Stress is more harmful than we realize and spa massages are a great way to relieve stress.
However, spa massages differ greatly from chiropractic massage, which is overseen or performed by a trained doctor of chiropractic medicine. Chiropractors have years of education regarding the spine, muscles, and biology. Their training allows them to diagnose and then focus on your problem areas. The doctor will then direct the therapist as to the type of massage you need, including other treatments you might require to help heal injuries.
If you are simply overworked, are on vacation, are looking for some self-care and “me” time or need stress relief, a spa massage is right up your alley.
If you are in pain, have low back, neck, shoulder or joint pain and need relief, if you have suffered an injury or have been told that you need to see a physical therapist, or if your doctor has actually prescribed massage as part of your treatment plan, then you should see a chiropractic massage therapist.
As with chiropractic care, massage therapy has a long history of being safe and effective. There are a few cautions you should be aware of, but the number of serious injuries reported is quite small.
Things to be aware of and that you should talk to your doctor and massage therapist about include:
The good news here is that there are almost no side effects. This holistic means of helping the body heal has very minor issues that might include:
There are a few other points we would like to make regarding chiropractic massage, such as:
While the body is comprised of several systems, chiropractors and massage therapists both focus on the muscular-skeletal system. This area includes the spine, soft tissues, muscles, tendons, and other connective tissue.
By manipulating these areas, the body is stimulated to heal itself.
Chiropractors focus on the spine and joints in the body. Massage therapists focus on the muscles and connective tissues. Since muscles connect and surround the spine and joints, it’s plain to see how the two therapies mesh well together, much like socks and shoes or hands and gloves.
Muscles have the capacity to tighten, tendons can shorten or become irritated and inflamed. These can pull the spine and other joints out of position. Chiropractors can perform adjustments to put the vertebra and joints back in position, but muscles that need to be relaxed and/or tendons that need stretching can pull the joints out of place again.
This is where chiropractic massage comes into play. By relaxing the muscles and stretching connective tissue, the adjustments your chiropractor makes will stay in position longer.
This is the tricky question and the truth is that it varies depending on the person and their needs. Both are good choices but most people have their massage before their adjustments. However, for some people, a massage after their adjustments works best.
Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons of this:
Pro: Receiving a massage before your adjustment can help to relax the body so that adjustments are easier to perform.
Pro: Receiving a massage after an adjustment relaxes the muscles so the adjustment will stay in place longer.
Con: Receiving a massage before your adjustment could lead to adjustments that aren’t long-lasting. If you tend to tighten up or go back to a stressful job, you could pull the adjustment out of place quickly.
Con: Receiving a massage after the adjustment might also have similar results, depending on the person. If your muscles are very tight, the adjustment doesn’t always stay in place.
This is why we recommend that you discuss your lifestyle, exercise, and work habits with your chiropractor. They are professionals who can determine when you should receive the massage in order to get the best results.
In a word? Yes! Chiropractic care is one of the safest, non-invasive, drug-free therapies in the world.
This isn’t to say that chiropractic care, like all medical treatments, has no reported adverse effects, but the number of incidences are very, very small.
Almost all patients report that they feel a tremendous sense of relief after their chiropractic adjustments and even more report feelings of well-being and relaxation after their chiropractic massage.
While it’s true that there have been a few reports of people experiencing a rare type of stroke after neck manipulation, the evidence shows that these clients had a pre-existing disease of the arteries. A neck manipulation, performed by a skilled and highly trained chiropractor, is a very safe procedure.
In fact, chiropractic care is safer than taking over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers, according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology and the American College of Cardiology Foundation, who state in this paper that NSAIDs increase the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events.
The answer to both questions is yes! Yes, you can and yes you should. Unless you can’t fit both into your schedule, then have the massage done either the day before or the day after your adjustment. Speak with your chiropractor about this so they can advise you about which time might be best.
A brief overview of the pros and cons of chiropractic massage, both before and after treatment, and chiropractic care in general:
✓ Chiropractic massage has multiple benefits including relief from insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, stress, TMJ pain, and much more
✓ Improvement in the range of motion
✓ Faster healing
✓ Lower blood pressure
✓ Improved immune function
✓ Improved blood circulation
✓ Feelings of well-being and relaxation
✓ Improved mood
✓ Fewer PMS symptoms
✓ Fewer episodes of depression
✓ Improved energy levels
As you can see, the pros of chiropractic massage therapy are numerous!
✓ Minor side effects including allergic reactions to some essential oils or massage oils
✓ Discomfort in problem areas
✓ Possible soreness or light bruising (especially in the case of deep tissue massage)
✓ Requires more than 1 visit
This was a shortlist! Chiropractic massage is good for what ails you. Actually, if nothing ails you, it’s good for you anyway!
✓ Reduction or elimination of pain in the spine, neck, and joints
✓ Improved sleep
✓ Less stress
✓ Improved nervous system function
✓ Increased feelings of well-being
✓ Reduction in symptoms and pain of sciatica, fibromyalgia, bursitis, carpal tunnel, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and more
✓ Improved range of motion
✓ Relief of prenatal discomfort and symptoms
✓ Relief or reduction in migraines and headaches
✓ Lower inflammation levels
✓ Safe and effective pain relief without medication
✓ Offers advice on exercise or workout routines
✓ Offers advice about supplements or other natural holistic treatments
✓ Requires more than 1 visit
✓ Not always covered by insurance
✓ Not suitable for some patients (cancer patients, joint fractures, bone cancer, etc)
✓ Sore muscles
✓ Feelings of dizziness or vertigo
✓ Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications if needed
Chiropractic massage is more than just a feel-good type of indulgence. If you want a powerful tool that can address current health and emotional issues that is holistic and non-invasive, you would be wise to talk to your doctor or chiropractor about the multiple benefits that chiropractic massage, especially in combination with chiropractic care, can bring to your life.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.