Stress doesn’t just affect the mind, it also has a negative impact on the body.  It can cause chronic pain in the back, shoulders and neck, as well as tension headaches and migraines.  Most of time over the counter or even prescription pain medication is used for a quick fix, but if stress has got you feeling like you’ve been hit by a car, perhaps you should consider a massage.  A professional massage used to be considered a luxurious indulgence, often accompanied by a trip to a spa or high-end hotel.  But now that it’s proven to do more than just relax loosen up your muscles for a little while, many doctors are recommending massage as an alternative treatment for pain and stress relief.

Massage has roots in ancient civilization, including Rome, Greece, India, Japan and China.  There are nearly 30 different styles of massage, with the most common being Swedish, deep tissue, sports and trigger point.  Swedish massage involves gentle motion and kneading, and is most often used to promote relaxation and overall comfort.  Deep tissue massage, which involves more intense pressure on specific muscle groups, is usually used to treat pain and damaged muscles.  Sports massage, as the name indicates, is used by physical therapists to treat athletic injuries, while trigger point massage focuses on especially sensitive muscle groups.

Massage has been successfully used to manage pain, reduce muscle stiffness, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and even help with anxiety and depression.  It’s even used on infants to stimulate muscle growth.  It is unknown how massage helps with anxiety and depression, though it’s suggested that people by nature find another person’s touch soothing and immediately relaxing.  Acupressure, which is similar to massage, is a suggested calming technique for panic attack sufferers.

Massage is recommended as supplementary pain management, not as a substitute for professional medical treatment.  Though some light massage can be performed at home with appropriate equipment, deep tissue massage should only be performed by a licensed massage therapist, and is best avoided by people with blood clotting disorders, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis.  Most people can consider this a safe treatment, however, so if you’re feeling sore or out of sorts, instead of overdoing it on aspirin or other painkillers, consider a good rubdown instead.  The effects last longer and are better for you!

Gena Radcliffe

Medex Supply Blogger

Be Sociable, Share!