We generally apply massage therapy to combat soreness and tightness in muscles and ligaments, but it can also be used to minimize inflammation, improve blood circulation, and through relaxation, cut anxiety and stress. Perhaps one of the most useful applications for massage therapy is in the treatment of intellectual and physical disabilities where patients benefit not only from the corporeal effects of massage but also from the impact is has on their emotional stance. Massage involves the manipulation of layers of muscle, sinew, tendons and tissue to enhance function and promote relaxation and wellness and can lead to improved social interaction and a positive outlook.
Massage is regularly leveraged to help treat the symptoms of many different debilitating conditions, including spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and cerebral palsy, and is also used to help people confined to beds or wheelchairs.
For example, studies have demonstrated again and again that regular massage intervention can help people with spinal cord injuries increase their muscle strength and range of motion, leading to improved physical and emotional conditioning. In studies where a group of patients went through a regimen of exercise therapy and later, a regimen of massage and exercise therapy together, patients expressed that they felt more relaxed and happier with the combination than with only exercise.
Other studies have shown that pain and spasticity can be managed through regular massage for sufferers of multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. In both cases, patients reported improved range of motion, better limb function and substantially reduced pain, leading to an increase in social engagements and, as a result, patients saw social, emotional and intellectual benefits.
For people confined for long periods of time to a wheelchair or bed, sores can develop under legs and buttocks which can lead to infection. Massage combined with an exercise program can help improve upper-body fitness, giving patients the ability to ‘push-up’ off their chairs, greatly improving comfort and avoiding injury.
Massage can help you improve the quality of your life. By eliminating the restraints of tight, painful muscles, your body will generate less stress hormones and you will feel better, have more energy and be more productive and confident.