The healing hands of massage therapy
29 Aug 2022
Massage is a manual release therapy that can help relieve tension and pain using manipulation techniques to muscles and tissue. As we know it today, massage is one of the most widely used and effective tools to enhance wellbeing and support healing. Massage therapy can be a great tool to aid in injury recovery, helping with acute pain, tight muscles and scarring. As a result, this healing form of manual therapy may also compliment someone's rehabilitation following an injury. Today we dive deep into the benefits of massage therapy and how it can help you recover from an injury.
Massage therapy for injury recovery
Following an injury, muscles tend to tighten up surrounding the damaged tissue to protect the area. Over time, without any movement or therapy, this may cause fascia restrictions (a build-up of the thin connective tissue surrounding the muscle caused by limited movement), resulting in pain. Massage assists in the healing process by mobilising connective tissues, stimulating blood flow, delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to this damaged tissue.
Types of injuries massage therapy help with during rehabilitation include sprains, strains and muscle tears. It can complement rehabilitation by relieving pain, tight muscles, and scarring making your rehab exercises more accessible2. Depending on your goals and the type of injury you have, your therapist may use various techniques, including Swedish massage, myofascial release, ‘Tuina’ (Chinese medicinal massage), sport and deep tissue techniques. Speak with your health professional first to determine whether massage therapy is right for you.
Other benefits of massage therapy
Research is showing lots of positive effects massage therapy can have and many of us will have experienced some of these results. One being the deep feeling of relaxation it initiates. But that's not all! Check out other benefits massage may help with below:
- Decreased anxiety
- Enhanced sleep quality
- More energy
- Improved concentration
- Reduced fatigue
- Increased range of movement
- Enhanced injury recovery
- Support in sports training
Massage can also help athletes of any level prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts as part of their endurance training. Studies have shown that sports massage assists athletes with improving form, enabling an increased range of movement and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that occurs following a strenuous workout (Louisa Davis et al., 2020).
What to expect at your massage therapy session at Habit Health?
On your first session, your therapist will cover a few screening questions, including your medical history, injuries and your goals, to determine the best care plan for you. They will then take some time to explain the treatment process, learn your preferences and gain consent before getting into it.
Following your short consultation, they will quickly explain which muscle areas they need direct access to and then step out of the room, allowing privacy to change. Plenty of towels will be provided for a safe and private setting. We understand that this form of therapy is relatively intimate and we do everything we can to ensure we create a safe space for you to enjoy your session.
Once your massage has concluded, your therapist will step out of the room again to allow privacy to change. They will offer advice for aftercare and more information about your care plan moving forward.
Depending on the type of massage received, you may feel a slight tenderness the following day as your body adjusts and releases pressure. This sensation is normal and surpasses after a day or two.
Book a massage at Habit Health
As you can see, there are many benefits to massage therapy and we’ve only just named a few! As mentioned above, we recommend discussing your options with your health professional to learn what treatment is right for you.
Our Habit Health massage therapists are available at our Majestic and Evans Bay clinics. Book in with us today!
Conditions massage may not be appropriate for:
While massage therapy has many benefits, we thought we'd share when massage may not be appropriate. We don't recommend massage therapy for those who have the following conditions:
- Viruses and contagious disease
- Cuts, open wounds or burns
- Unhealed broken bones (fractures)
- Some skin conditions
- Uncontrolled hypertension
If you have any of the following conditions, please speak with your health professional about when massage therapy could be safe for you.
1 Field, T. (2014). Massage Therapy Research Review HHS Public Access. Complement Ther Clin Pract, 20(4), 224–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp...
2 Furlan, A. D., Giraldo, M., Baskwill, A., Irvin, E., & Imamura, M. (2015). Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 9. https://doi.org/10.1002/146518...
3 Louisa Davis, H., Alabed, S., James Ainsley Chico, T., & James Ainsley, T. (2020). Effect of sports massage on performance and recovery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Sp Ex Med, 6, 614. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem...
4 Massage Therapy – the evidence for practice. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2021, from https://www.massagenewzealand....
5 Massage Therapy: What You Need To Know | NCCIH. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2021, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/heal...