For many years now, massage has been gaining in popularity as a way of reducing stress, and treating numerous conditions. Massage use is widespread in the US, and is increasingly viewed as part of integrative health care. This is due to a rapidly expanding evidence base (Moyer & Dryden 2012, Moyer et al. 2009) and Massage Therapy’s popularity for treating common health complaints. Forms of massage have been utilized in the treatment of illness and injury for thousands of years by health care practitioners. Chinese writings dating back to 2500 BC describe the use of this modality for a variety of medical purposes. Massage has been promoted as a treatment of choice for numerous conditions including musculoskeletal injuries, cancer, Fibromyalgia, stress, relaxation, pregnancy and post-operative rehabilitation.
Lifestyle factors, such as long work hours or physically demanding and repetitive tasks, can cause muscle soreness and tightness and adversely effect ligaments. Many report significant improvement working with skilled medical massage therapists. A seemingly minor injury can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to stay physically active, participate fully in life, or even make a living if it becomes chronic. Massage therapy is one way of preventing that kind of outcome and can be part of a coordinated treatment approach to treating injuries from minor to severe.
Some massage therapy techniques are specifically recommended to address sore muscle and sore tissue, these are discussed below. An overly sore or irritated muscle cannot function properly so by alleviating or preventing pain through massage therapy, dysfunction can be eliminated or reduced.
Many people don’t realize how much a tight muscle can impact the body such as its posture. A tense muscle can throw off your body’s natural balance and before long, muscles that were not initially tight begin to tense as they try to compensate. Unfortunately, this becomes a chain reaction that can spread far from the initial problem spot. A talented massage therapist can identify the source of the problem and start working to alleviate the problems true origin.
We’re all becoming more aware of the role stress plays in health. People who are stressed are less healthy than people who are relaxed. Stress has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and many other serious health conditions. Massage therapy is an effective and enjoyable way to reduce stress. The effect of massage therapy on anxiety has been researched more than any other outcome. It has been shown to reduce both “State Anxiety” (current level of anxiety) and “Trait Anxiety” (the tendency to become anxious) in both adults and children (Moyer et al 2004, Dryden & Moyer 2012).
What is the difference is between a ‘regular’ massage and a ‘clinical’ or ‘rehab’ massage? If you are getting a massage because you enjoy receiving them but don’t necessarily have a chronic injury or problem area, then this is considered a regular or relaxation massage. Whether relaxation or clinical, there are great benefits in seeing the same practitioner. A licensed massage therapist who sees you regularly will get to know your body and could help you identify potential issues.
A clinical or rehabilitative massage has a specific focus or outcome in mind. Clinical massage therapy (or rehabilitation massage therapy) means that the massage is a site-specific treatment (or multiple site-specific) with a precise goal. Curiously, this often means working in an area of your body that does not have pain. A pain area is not necessarily the source of the issue. So, similar to receiving physical therapy for a specific need or issue, you would go to a clinical massage therapist with a specific complaint that you would like treated.
At ROI, most patients arrive for various levels of rehabilitation and pain management. With rehabilitative massage, we use techniques to address your particular rehab needs. While it may include a full body swedish massage, or some deep tissue techniques, treatment is usually more specific and specialized. Other modalities are often more appropriate. Lymphatic drainage, for example, will be used if you have swelling, craniosacral therapy to treat an overstimulated nervous system and trauma, fascial and neuromuscular release for bound tissue and muscular imbalances. If you have a history of overtraining or repetitive work activities, focused ligament therapy may be optimal for you. We pride ourselves in offering you the right techniques to help facilitate your return to health and we work as a team to do so.
Our massage therapists are Pete Connolly, Kiley Roesch, Mandy Tapp and Leah Goldberg
Massage for Fitness
If you are resolving a sports injury, massage is an ideal way to help your body perform its best. Sports-specific massage focuses on the muscles used most frequently during exercise as well as draws attention to other muscles that can contribute to muscle soreness or injury. Massage can effectively improve range of motion, decrease muscle and tissue tension, aid in muscle recovery, prevent and treat injuries. By stretching and broadening shortened muscles as well as increasing attention to the joints, both muscles and joints are able to move more freely. Specific massage mobilizes scar tissue and can release adhesions that play a role in muscle tightness and soreness. In addition, massage can release tight muscles and painful trigger points in the muscle. Our therapists use a variety of techniques to improve body function, including Myofascial, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular and Ligament Release.
What to Expect During a Medical Massage Session
The therapist will discuss your levels of pain, tightness and what areas you seek relief in. They will perform some assessment to help foster the best results. The therapist will also have your physician’s referral and treatment plan. We encourage good communication during the session. If you are feeling pain at any time, please share this with your practitioner. The concept of ‘no pain, no gain’ does not fit well into medical massage, where deep tissue can be helpful in certain areas, yet often counterproductive on the whole. We want to enhance your health, not challenge it. Our massage therapists should be able to work within your comfort level and achieve therapeutic results. Do not be afraid to talk with your therapist about any concerns you might have.
You will be taken into a private massage room where you have the option of undressing to your level of comfort. We say option, because not all treatment types require undressing. Depending on your needs you can receive very effective work clothed. If disrobing is the preference you and your therapist decide between you, you will be guided how to lay on the table and you will be draped with a sheet and blanket to ensure privacy and comfort. Depending on the areas that are to be worked in a massage, you may start face up or face down on the table. Sidelying is also an excellent option too. They will leave the room while you undress and get on the table.
Massage Therapy, the bigger picture.
This is an exciting time for the massage therapy profession. It is growing in many ways. Research is finally beginning to make inroads in this area, with a tremendous surge in the last decade. The first International Fascial Congress took place at the Harvard Medical School in 2003 where scientists gathered from points on the globe to share and learn about latest research. Since then two additional Congresses have met, the latest in Vancouver Canada. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, is currently spending $2.7 million on massage research, up from $1.5 million in 2002. The Massage Therapy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds massage research, held its first scientific conference in 2005.
New areas in the profession are being explored such as the treatment of nerves, ligaments and fascia. The National Institute of Health recently awarded a sizeable grant to a scientist to study the effects of Visceral Manipulation, specialized massage to the abdomen, organs and thoracic rib cage. An increasing number of conditions are showing benefit from massage including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s.
The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society now include massage as one of their recommendations for treating low back pain, according to guidelines published in 2007. Recently the massage profession in this State of Washington was asked to respond to the government’s recent challenge of providing documentation towards the efficacy of massage for the Affordable Care Act . The response, by a particularly savvy group of practitioners was a document compiling almost 1000 research sources. The findings are revealing. Research is helping to move massage therapy out of the alternative category and more into mainstream healthcare. We here at ROI are following such research and are integrating appropriate findings into our treatment plans. For more see
Massage Techniques offered at ROI
Myofascial is a term that describes working both the muscle and and the fascia, the binding connective tissue that runs through and covers all our muscles. Layers of tissue that are designed to move and slide along each other can get stuck and adhesed. These techniques help mobilize tissue, increase function, movement and decrease pain. There can be much cross over between this and deep tissue massage and it is applied both superficially and deep depending on where the restrictions are.
Deep Tissue is a technique that releases chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep pressure on contracted areas, either following or going across the grains of muscles, tendons and fascia.
Swedish – this is a technique that can be applied for either relaxation to treatment. It usually involves an emollient of either oil or lotion. This is what many people think of when they hear massage, with long sliding strokes of effleurage, the lifting with the petrissage and friction strokes deeper in the muscles.
Ligament Therapy – Research is showing that ligaments may play a significantly greater role in governing and regulating muscle tension than generally believed. There are new techniques that address ligament dysfunction that result from joint overuse, repetitive activity, inactivity and injury. L.I.F.T., or ligament influenced fascial techniques are used to release muscles that are limited and tight from this.
Craniosacral therapy: is a light-weight, non-invasive form of touch that focuses on the health of your craniosacral and nervous system. Our craniosacral systems are comprised of the deep membranes and cerebral spinal fluid that surround our brain and spinal cord. As with any connective tissue in the body, this deep fascia is susceptible to tensions, strains and adhesions. The craniosacral system also irrigates and chemically balances our nervous system. Stress, injuries, posture can all affect this system. For those who cultivate their palpation skills, it is possible to feel the internal rhythms of movement that manifest as cerebrospinal fluid bathes and irrigates the tissues of the head down through the spine. Therapists can listen in and feel these rhythms to find areas of restriction and holding in the body.
Restrictions located in these deep regions of the body can create pain, anxiety and dysfunction. A skilled therapist can help identify and release these restrictions, providing release, often where other modalities do not. Craniosacral Therapy can be a powerful technique for head trauma, headaches, sinus conditions, low back pain, and post-surgical rehabilitation.
Lymphatic facilitation reduces swelling in the body’s tissue (interstitial space). If you are managing swelling due to a traumatic injury or a chronic orthopedic condition or surgery, this may speed your recovery, possibly dramatically.
This work is light and non-invasive. The amount of pressure it uses is comparable to the pressure it takes to slide your eyelid over your eyeball. As such, and contrary to most forms of bodywork, it can be used immediately following an injury and will support the body’s physiology in what is called the acute stage of healing.
For almost every injury the body encounters, swelling is part of the body’s normal recovery process. There are two kinds of swelling involved in traumatic edema. The first is ‘primary’ edema which is the swelling that is the direct result of the initial injury. The ‘secondary’ edema is the swelling that gravitates to an injury site as a result of the primary edema. It can take up to 24 – 48 hours for secondary edema to fully manifest following an injury, as many of us who have had significant sprains/ strains can attest. Lymphatic facilitation can stimulate the drainage and removal of this secondary edema, in essence creating more ‘breathing’ room around the primary edema, thus expediting recovery of the tissue.
This technique has many applications. If you are an athlete in training, this can support your body’s preparation for its next big training or competition event by removing micro swelling associated with training and workouts. It simply accelerates what your body would do on its own. If you are dealing with an annoying chronic condition that won’t seem to go away, part of this might be excess fluid in your tissue, inhibiting your body’s normal recovery process, (stuck in sub acute healing phase). Fibromyalgia patients whose tissue is tender to the touch have benefited significantly from a session or two of this work.
Our clinic offers massage therapy for stress relief and other disorders. We confer with our specialists within the clinic to develop a unique program of massage therapy to help relieve the patient of their stress and pain. Contact us or call us at 425-394-1200 to start you on a pain and stress free life.