Massage and Pain Relief — Does it really work?

In terms of our work here at The Good Life Massage, we have found that massage therapy can have a significant impact on certain kinds of pain, especially when the source of that pain is strained muscles or repetitive stress on a certain area.

Sure, thank goodness for aspirin, but if you want to feel better in the long term, there’s no substitute for treating the underlying source of the pain. Massage has long been known as a good option for¬†getting to some of the underlying causes of the persistent pain that can result from injuries, or just the everyday stresses of life.

But massage can also play a role in helping you get control of pain above and beyond the familiar aches, pains, and minor injuries.

The last thing you need is headaches
Headaches generally fall into one of two categories: tension headaches and migraines. Massage can help both, but the approach is somewhat different for each.

Tension, or muscle contraction headaches come from tightening of muscles in the neck, head, and face. This can come from stress or poor posture. Massage can loosen those tight muscles and release the tension that builds up because of poor posture. If posture correction is your goal, keep in mind that it will take time, both in practicing the correct posture, and in using massage therapy to help retrain your muscles to find a new, more natural position.

Migraine, or vascular headaches come from a slight build-up of pressure in the head, which can somewhat restrict oxygen-rich blood flow. By soothing and relaxing the muscles of the face, head, and scalp, massage can help reduce this kind of pain

A substitute for heavy pain killers?
As a piece of the overall picture in health care, the subject of pain and how to help sufferers get control of it has been through a lot of ups and downs in the past several years. With the introduction of stronger opiate pain killers, things seemed to be looking up for patients. Now, practical experience and studies have shown these wonder drugs to be highly addicting, and have triggered a plague of addiction across the country.

As a result, doctors have gotten much more strict and careful about prescribing opioid pain killers like oxycontone. Protocols at hospitals and clinics have tightened up to keep these drugs in the right hands, but no system is perfect. It’s probably true that many have been protected from addiction because of these measures. Unfortunately, as a result, many patients are finding it difficult get the pain relief they legitimately need.

The system isn’t likely to budge on this any time soon since the widespread addiction is only getting worse. So how can patients get the pain relief that they need?

Recent studies show that non-traditional treatments, such as massage therapy, can provide significant and noticeable relief, either in conjunction with medication, or as an alternative.

One study conducted in a hospital setting showed a decrease in the average pain levels in patients by 28.5%–a significant improvement. This study also showed that patients showed improved sleep and a greater ability to cope with physical and psychological challenges as a result of receiving massage.

Right hands, right time, right place
And not just any massage will do. A literature review of several studies found that empathy, an on-going connection with the massage therapist, and even the setting and time of day were all significant factors in the massage’s effectiveness. The takeaway: the best results come from regular care from someone you trust rather than a cheap one-and-done experience.

At The Good Life Massage, we do our best to create a relaxing, healing environment for all our clients. Our therapists want to build a relationship with every client. Whenever we can do that, we find that we’re able to provide customized care with the best possible results. Learn more about our staff of massage practitioners on our staff page.

Personal experience
We know of what we speak. Our own Amy Gunn, LMP suffered terrible abdominal pain for years before finally researching a massage solution to the problem. Her research resulted in a new treatment regime we offer to clients called visceral manipulation that has helped her and others like her. Read her story.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

What non-medication methods have you used to get pain under control? What has worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Do you struggle with pain regularly? Have you considered regular massage treatment as a part of your arsenal in fighting it?

You can book with us online or by phone:

425-243-7705

Tom Gunn is a freelance writer and social media marketing specialist. He is also the Marketing Director for The Good Life Massage. You can see more of his work, or even hire him at www.TGunnWriter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @elmanoroboto.

Get Free From Abdominal Pain: A Primer on Visceral Manipulation

The following is a guest post by one of our founders and practitioners, Amy Gunn, LMP. To learn more about her, please see our previous blog post or our website.

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Amy Gunn, LMP, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my personal experience with endo. I also wanted to tell you about what a massage technique that changed everything for me–and which could change everything for you if you suffer from any kind of chronic abdominal pain.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis after suffering years of severe chronic abdominal, hip, and back pain. I was also unable to conceive. While abdominal surgery and hormone-altering injections helped with my pain, the benefits didn’t last.

I started to use my knowledge of massage to create a treatment plan for myself. I directed others as they performed bodywork on me. After just a few of these treatments, I had the first pain-free period of my life. I continued these weekly sessions for a year, at which point I was able to conceive naturally and carry a child full-term.

While I can’t promise an identical outcome for everyone who receives these treatments, I’ve made it my mission to offer an alternative to others with chronic pelvic pain. I’ve seen amazing results. I love helping my clients find the relief they’re looking for.

What is visceral manipulation good for?
Many people suffer from chronic pelvic pain from female disorders (e.g., endometriosis or fibroids), surgical scarring, old injuries, or other underlying conditions. Some have to put their lives on hold because the pain gets so bad, nothing they try seems to help.

If you fall into this category, you may be looking for some alternative to pain meds or surgery. Some people have found regular abdominal massage to be an effective pain management tool.

Studies have shown that massage can:

  • Reduce pain spasms and cramping
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce post-surgical adhesions and swelling

The benefits of massage compound and multiply with consistent sessions over time. A single treatment can be beneficial, but regular massage will have deeper and longer-lasting results.

What can I expect during these sessions?
A typical abdominal treatment at The Good Life Massage only takes 30 minutes. Since we want to be able to spend the entire session length on the actual treatment, we ask that you arrive a few minutes before each scheduled appointment. That way we can take the necessary time discussing your health and treatment plan before we start.

Our goal is to help you feel safe and relaxed on the treatment table; you are encouraged to let us know if you are uncomfortable with the pressure or focus of the treatments at any time. Professional draping techniques are always used to keep you warm and secure.

Firm pressure and friction are used throughout your abdominal region to break down adhesions and scar tissue. The pressure can feel temporarily uncomfortable to some, but your practitioner will work to help you breathe through each stroke so you can get the most benefit out of every session.

While your abdomen will receive treatment every time you come in, each session will have a different focus (e.g., lower back, hips, side wall muscles). Because of this, you will probably notice more freedom in your movement over time through your back, legs and hips, as well as a decrease in your chronic pain.

What sort of treatment schedule will I need to set up?
It takes regular treatment to break down scar tissue and adhesions, so it is essential that you start up a consistent treatment schedule. Most people start out with weekly sessions and then cut back on the frequency as they feel more relief from pain between visits.

We have discounts on pre-paid packages available in either a 5 or 10 week series, depending on your needs. For more information on these packages and how they work, you can visit our website or our previous blog post.

Please feel free to contact us with any quesions or to set up a free consultation. Let’s get started on a treatment plan that works for you so you can get back to living the life you’ve been missing out on.

Our email address is thegoodlifemassage@gmail.com
Our phone number is 425-243-7705.

You can also contact us or book your first session on our website.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.