With holistic medicines surge in popularity, we are seeing more and more services becoming partnered. Acupuncture, Reiki Healing and nutrition are becoming more and more entwined in treatments for patients looking for an alternative to traditional western medications. Although studies have yet to prove the effectiveness of such pairings, one coupling has begun to lead the others as a proven effective treatment in pain management. That coupling is chiropractic and massage therapy.
Dr. Scott likes to use the analogy, “Your body is like your car. When it breaks down, the adjustment can fix the part but the massage rotates the tires, changes the oil and fills the tank to get you running at the height of efficiency, thus prolonging the use you get from it. One without the other just isn’t enough.”
Though both modalities are great on their own, with their powers combined, it takes your treatment to the next level. Getting you feeling better faster. Here are the main ways massage therapy is the cheese to chiropractic’s macaroni.
Massage focuses on the soft tissue issue: Chiropractic gets to the root of problem. Instead of just treating the symptoms of your pain, we get to the source. In order to achieve musculoskeletal health, we have to treat not only the skeletal and nervous system but also the soft tissue and surrounding supportive structures. While chiropractors have some skills in their arsenal to treat soft tissue problems, it is really an area more tuned to a massage therapist’s degree. The therapist can get deep into the tissues to administer more of a focused and dedicated treatment than what the chiropractor can offer. The ACA shared a quote from Jay Greenstein, DC on this topic.
“Because soft tissue is an important component of improving musculoskeletal health, to the degree again that a patient requires more time and more focused attention getting that work done is when they get referred to the massage therapist,” says Dr. Greenstein. “I think that just the mental side of it, the relaxation part of it, the person who is working 60 to 70 hours a week deserves an hour of time dedicated to something that feels good. Even that can have a positive physiological impact on a patient’s overall health. Some of it is tied directly to musculoskeletal health, and some of it is tied to stress management.”
Relaxation: Our days are busy. Whether you are a 9 to 5 corporate career person or a multitasking stay at home parent, your day is filled! Anxiety and stress can wind you up tight and make you feel stiff, not the best environment for an adjustment. Massage, through its calming setting, hand to skin contact and manual releasing of muscles, can loosen wound up patients and make a more receptive canvas for the manipulation the chiropractor administers.
Laughter is the best medicine: Massage therapy can improve your mood and reduce depression. How can you feel better if you are down in the dumps? Depression can affect your health in a variety of ways including weight gain, insomnia and an increase in chronic aches and pains . Massage with chiropractic will help you FEEL better faster.¹
It treats the same things in new ways: From prenatal care, to post and pre op preparation, to sports injuries, there is a massage technique to treat it. Massage has been around for thousands of years, and in that time, therapists have developed specific treatments and techniques for almost any situation. Here are just a few specialized massage treatments offered at most clinics:
- Prenatal massage: A deep body work style of massage that focuses on your circulation and on relieving the minor aches and pains brought on by pregnancy. It was designed to relieve stress in your joints and with the focus on circulation, help energize you.
- Sports massage: Focuses on areas of the body that are overused and abused by repetitive movement and aggressive training methods. This treatment is great for athletes recovering from an injury or preparing for a big event.
- Neuromuscular/Trigger Point Therapy: A type of massage in which the therapist uses cycles of isolated pressure and release to work on painful areas without causing the patient more discomfort. In this way, the therapists can alleviate chronic pain relating to an old injury.
- Intra-Oral massage: A technique that works on muscles inside and outside of the mouth, neck, and throat. It is very beneficial for people suffering from TMJ dysfunction, clenching, head injuries, whiplash, headaches, chronic ear congestion, tinnitus, emotional trauma and chronic face and neck pain.
Massage can prolong the effects of your adjustment: When you get a massage after your adjustment, it loosens the fascia around the adjustment site which prolongs the effects of the treatment. Since that isn’t a word most people throw around daily, fascia are similar to ligaments or tendons and they wrap around everything, so when they are tight, they can undo all the good work the adjustment just did for you quicker than if they were relaxed through massage.
Therapists and Doctors Working Together : Many chiropractic offices have begun hiring licensed massage therapists to work directly with them under the same roof. This is a huge benefit to your care because they can now talk face to face with each other about what treatment they should be administering and which areas to focus on. With therapists off campus from your providers, they can still communicate but it’s through diagnosis and faxes, less personal with a higher chance of miscommunication. Another benefit is getting two professional opinions on your treatment. Even though therapists can’t diagnose patients, they can bring up issues they see arise to the doctors for review. A second set of eyes never hurt!
These are just a few reasons massage and chiropractic care benefit each other. Studies are beginning to emerge more and more now that people are starting to catch on to this pairings positive effect on alleviating chronic pain!
¹.Hou WH, Chiang PT, Hsu TY, Chiu SY, Yen YC. Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010; 71(7):894-901.