When is the last time that you had a massage? We often think of massage therapy as a luxury we may give as a gift to a stressed-out friend, or a relaxing treat we may enjoy on vacation. However, within the ALC Integrative Domains Model, massage therapy is one way to address the structural mechanics of the body by working directly with the muscles, bones, connective tissues, fasciae, and nervous system which in turn, effects change in the entire body.
Many of us experience tension and pain in our neck and shoulders after a long work week. Extensive use of computers, tablets, and cell phones can cause repetitive motion injuries and overuse of neck muscles and wrists from straining to see our digital screens and constant typing. Poor posture at our computer desk can add to our discomfort by rounding our shoulders, and putting extra strain on our lower back. Day after day these stresses can add up until our body is stiff, painful, and just doesn’t move like we would like it to.
Our muscles contract to move our bodies to perform the daily functions of our life. But if we don’t take the time to allow our muscles to relax and lengthen through exercise, stretching, taking a warm bath or other self-care methods, eventually they will stay in a state of contraction that can result in tension and pain. Tension in body tissues can also result from emotional stresses that we hold within our physiology because we can’t always express what we need to express. The anger that we felt at the crazy driver on the way to work, or worry over not having enough time in the day to finish all that we planned to do creates emotional energy that resides within our body when we don’t let it go.
There are many different types of massage therapy and each has its benefits. In general, massage therapy techniques relax muscles and soften tissues, increase circulation within the body, move toxins out through the movement of lymph, increase flexibility, and nourish the body’s tissues through increased blood flow and respiration. In addition to mechanical effects, massage also nourishes us mentally and emotionally through the healing qualities of touch and encouraging calmness in our overstressed system that rejuvenates the body. Instead of a luxury, consider massage as a good addition to your integrative health care plan, another avenue to bring wellness to your being.
Kathy Shipley, MS, LMT, phone 614-203-9493, and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.