Massage therapy is regularly offered in clinical settings due to its many health benefits

How Massage Therapy Is Beneficial Combined With Physical Therapy

When you think of massage, usually the gentle and relaxing sort you would find in spas and luxury health clubs comes to mind. However, massage therapy is also offered in clinical settings due to its many health benefits. Because clinical massage therapy consists of injury assessments and injury treatment, it is especially significant alongside physical therapy. Some specific types of clinical massage your physical therapist may prescribe are deep tissue massage, sports massage, and trigger point therapy.

Deep tissue massage is used to release muscle tension by targeting deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Opposed to the soft strokes created by the palms of the massage therapist during a relaxing massage, such as a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage incorporates the use of the massage therapist’s finger tips, knuckles, forearms and even elbows to apply a necessary and deeper pressure. Deep tissue massage increases circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and organs of the body. This increase of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles ready the muscle for any exercise you may be given during your physical therapy session or any other activity. Increased circulation also carries away any metabolic waste product in the muscle, helping the muscle to recover after exercise.

More injury-based sports massage is either used as a preventative measure or is incorporated in a post-injury treatment plan. As a preventative measure, a clinical massage therapist works to flush out any metabolic waste product built up in the muscle after exercise by continuing to stimulate blood flow through the muscle. Also, as the muscle relaxes, joint flexibility increases allowing for better range of motion through the joint. Sports massage can also be used to treat any spasms or cramping athletes may come across during their sport. With stretching, friction, lymphatic drainage and other massage techniques, sports massage decreases post-injury and post-surgery adhesions and swelling. Muscle elasticity, joint range of motion, and reduced inflammation are also goals of physical therapy.

Whether you play sports, exercise, or neither, trigger points can affect anyone. A myofascial trigger point is described as a hypersensitive spot in a palpable nodule of a taut band of muscle fibers that causes a referred pain to another area of the affected muscle or to another area of the body. Trigger points are activated when a muscle is injured or overworked. These hypersensitive nodules can be “released” by applying the right amount of pressure in the correct area, a practice performed by many massage therapists. With trigger points, a muscle loses its ability to stretch and contract to its full potential, making it hard to perform necessary tasks and exercises. Without proper treatment, they can hinder any rehabilitation process.

As you can see, massage therapy can be a crucial part of your physical therapy treatment plan. Deep tissue massage, sports massage, and trigger point therapy all have significant effects on your muscles and joints. Therefore, massage therapy, alongside physical therapy, results in a better and faster recovery.

Kristen Markett, P.T.: Citing Sources: []: [April 20, 2016]

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