Micro-blog post looking at the psychological & physiological responses to massage therapy
Massage therapy has been shown to be an effective way to relieve pain, decrease stress and promote overall well-being. Understanding the basic science behind massage and the guiding principles of adaptability enables massage therapists to think flexibly about what's going on, both in terms of specific and nonspecific effects. Based on available evidence, it is my opinion that the best way to describe the effects of massage therapy, is not in a single unified response, but as a collection of interconnected adaptive responses within the nervous system and soft tissue structures.
Most massage therapists use a combination of - loading, stretching, compression and shearing. Despite being called different names, these techniques create the similar responses, namely:
• neuroimmune responses - for a brief introduction see Rapaport et al. 2012
• biomechanical responses - for a brief introduction see Best et al. 2016
• psychosocial responses - for a brief introduction see Moyer et al. 2004
Could massage therapy be more widely utilized?
Massage therapy has been shown to be a safe, effective non-pharmacological therapeutic intervention that is simple to carry out, economical, and has very few side effects. With the many documented psychological & physiological benefits to a massage therapy, we are uniquely suited to help those who suffer from sport related aches and pains.
More to Explore
Begovic, H., Zhou, G., Schuster, S., & Zheng, Y. (2016). The neuromotor effects of transverse friction massage. Manual Therapy.
Berrueta, L., Muskaj, I., Olenich, S., Butler, T., Badger, G. J., Colas, R. A., . . . Langevin, H. M. (2016). Stretching Impacts Inflammation Resolution in Connective Tissue. Journal of Cellular Physiology.
Best, T. M., & Crawford, S. K. (2016). Massage and postexercise recovery: The science is emerging. British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Best, T., Gharaibeh, B., & Huard, J. (2012). Stem cells, angiogenesis and muscle healing: A potential role in massage therapies? British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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