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Massage: An Alternative to Pain Management?

At an early age, we learned that the touch of a hand can ease the pain. Remember that time when you fell down on the ground and got bruised? You instinctively rubbed the sore and painful spot didn’t you? And now, whenever you experience stiff shoulders, you most probably tend to knead them.

A well-placed and trained hand can do so much in terms of pain management. The healing power of it is so apparent that almost every culture in history has been using massage as a way to relieve pain. However, with the introduction of modern medicine, massage somehow faded into the background. But then again, an increasing number of people are going back to this type of pain reliever. Statistics say that about 25% of adults have had a massage at least once in the past 12 months. Moreover, 50% used massage therapy for health-related reasons such as relief for pain or stiffness.

Despite being well-known as an “alternative medicine”, massage is now gaining respect from the medical community. As a matter of fact, more than 70% of doctors confirm that they refer patients to massage therapists and surveys show that ⅔ of Americans want massage therapy to be covered by their health insurance. So if you’re suffering from pain, whether brief or chronic, you may want to give massage a try. However, it is still strongly recommended that if you’re suffering from persistent and acute pain that you have a doctor evaluate your condition to identify the real cause of the pain.

How can massage alleviate pain?

It has been observed that a good massage can ease the pain in several ways as follows:

  1. It can warm sore, stiff joints, and muscles by increasing the blood flow thus improving your body’s overall blood circulation.
  2. It triggers the release of opioids, which are our body’s natural painkillers.
  3. It speeds up the flow of oxytocin. A hormone that relaxes muscles as well as encourages the feeling of calmness and contentment.
  4. The short and sharp sensations of a good massage can temporarily make the brain forget about other aches.

Is massage safe?

Massage is generally safe, especially if it is performed by an experienced and licensed massage therapist. However, in some who has health problems, it is strongly advised that they check with a medical practitioner first before getting a massage session because is not entirely risk-free.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a massage is not recommended for anyone who has any type of skin condition, deep vein thrombosis, burns, skin infections, eczema, open wounds, broken bones, or advanced osteoporosis. Cancer patients also need to consult their oncologist to ensure a massage is safe for them as it can have adverse effects such as internal hemorrhage or the dislodging of blood clots.

One important thing to note during a massage is that it shouldn’t cause you any pain. If you feel pain during a session, tell your therapist immediately.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain and confirmed with your doctor that a massage is fine for you though, don’t hesitate to visit a massage therapy center near you.

 

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