If you haven't been in a car accident, consider yourself lucky! Most of us have been in at least one.
Depending on the severity of an auto accident, one can have no injury or be hospitalized, and between that is a range of injury which may occur. I find more often than not, people get into auto accidents, get injured and don't realize it.
I got into a roll-over accident back in 2009 and felt some pain afterward, but it wasn't till a few weeks after that I realized just how much it affected my body. I couldn't lift much over 15 pounds and it hurt to stand for long. I started getting massage and chiropractic care, and within 6 weeks I felt normal again.
I work with several people who have chronic tension that developed after an auto accident. They didn't feel it at the time, but their body slowly created a holding pattern because of the trauma; (usually in their neck and back).
One of my long-standing clients came in for her monthly massage and the left side of her back and neck felt quite different than the usual tension. There was a feeling of extreme guarding and resistance. I asked if anything was different this month, and she told me the left side of her car was hit a week ago. There is a palpable difference to injuries!
There is a reason auto accident insurance covers massage therapy! It is extremely effective in treatment, especially with whiplash which most often occurs in auto accidents. Without treatment, the muscles stay continuously guarded even when the pain subsides.
When an injury is addressed right away, it is fairly simple and quick to reset the muscle fibers so they don't create a holding pattern. If a lot of time goes by, massage still helps revers the tension, and it just takes a lot longer.
One client had chronic pain in her neck and didn't know why. Upon more inquiry she revealed that ten years ago she had been in a severe car accident. At the time she wasn't in any more pain than she could handle, so she just let it be. We are working it out now...
Do you ever wonder why your massage therapist uses the lotion or oil that they do?
Let’s talk sensitivity first. Many people are sensitive to certain scents; mineral oil makes a lot of people break out; and some people are deathly allergic to nuts. The trick then is to find a lotion or oil that is most likely to suit everyone (including myself), and certainly won’t harm anyone! Personally, my skin hates anything synthetic, so if I can use an oil or lotion it’s likely that most of my clients can as well.
Since some people are allergic to nuts, I have to rule out the use of almond oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, and even olive oil. A good substitute I found is sesame oil. It has been used in Auyervedic medicine for thousands of years. It has detoxing and anti-inflammatory properties and I have never heard of anyone being allergic to it.
Another thing to consider with a lotion or oil is how well it absorbs. If it doesn’t absorb at all, my client will leave feeling greasy, and nobody wants that! If it absorbs too quickly, I have to reapply it too often. Many lotions will “ball up” when glided over, and this is a problem with most store bought lotions. Massage-specific stores are the best option to buy lotions.
When I use lotion, I use an organic lotion by Biotone which is specifically designed for rehabilitative and deep tissue massage. It is scent-free and made for sensitive skin.
Here is something most clients don’t know about the pros and cons of lotion verses oil. Lotion has processed stuff in it, so for those who are more health conscious it’s best to use raw, organic oil. The down-side to this is it’s much more difficult to get oil out of clothing and sheets. Many therapists have come up with a mixture of different soaps and detergents to use to wash sheets. In my experience, the life of sheets is two years at best when I use oil. However, I think it’s worth replacing them more often because I much prefer to use oil.
As we all know, most medications can cause side-effects, especially if taken for long periods of time. Why take them then? Is it the only way? What if receiving regular massage could reduce or even eliminate the need for long-term use of medications like analgesics and antidepressants?
Pain in the body is an indicator that something is out of balance. The more pain, the more imbalance. Massage Therapy and other bodywork focuses on correcting the imbalance which in turn takes away the pain. Analgesics work to block the pain receptors to the brain and to reduce inflammation. This covers up the problem temporarily, and for a minor imbalance it may be all that’s needed. If the pain keeps coming back, however, the cause needs to be addressed and this is what massage can do.
A client I worked with recently was taking pain medication for pain in her neck and back. She works at a desk all day, and needed relief from the pain just so she could function. After several months of taking these medications off and on she decided to try massage therapy. We worked together every other week for a couple months and her constant pain soon dissipated. She was able to go off the pain medications three weeks after starting her massage treatments.
As for depression, what if massage could take the place of antidepressants? Many studies have been done showing how skin stimulation helps produce the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and depression is related to a deficiency of these brain chemicals. Massage helps the brain in other ways by reducing stress and increasing concentration and memory.
I rarely get depressed, but when I do it takes me out of action completely. This last time I experienced depression, I asked my husband Colten to massage my back. After half an hour of that I was able to get up and we went for a nice walk outside, and then I was back to feeling normal! Try it. Next time a friend or family member feels depressed, ask if it would be okay for you to massage their back, hands or feet. And ask your loved ones to be aware and massage you next time you get depressed.
The best thing about massage is it has no negative side effects, it's sustainable and renewable and it's impossible to overdose!
Do you ever wonder what to do after a massage to get the most out of it? Here are a few tips that will help your body adjust and keep you feeling good long after you go home.
Drink lots of water
When you get a massage, your tissues get flushed or cleared. Old, stagnant blood, along with any toxins, gets pushed out of the muscles and into the blood stream. This is good as it will then get filtered and sent out as waste. Water aids in this process more than anything. If you don’t drink enough water -- and especially if you had deep massage -- the toxins stay in the body and can make you sick or sore.
Take an Epsom Salt bath
This also aids in flushing toxins from the body (a very good thing if they’ve just been shifted out of the deep tissues). Epsom Salt also aids as an anti-inflammatory. This helps so you don’t get sore. It’s the same principle as when you have an intense work-out. Inflammation often occurs and needs to be reduced afterward.
Rest and Take it Easy
If your muscles are used to holding a certain level of tension, after a while that becomes homeostasis. This means the body thinks this holding pattern is “normal”. Because of this, the muscles are unsettled for about 24 hours after the massage. They need time to settle into their new loosened state. In the meantime, if you overexert or stay in a cramped position for a long time, the muscles may easily get locked up, go into spasm or get sprained. Twenty-four hours after massage is the most important time to be aware of what you do with your body.
Stay in touch
It's always best to stay in communication. If you experience pain after a massage or have questions, ask your therapist! A professional therapist will be happy to answer questions and resolve any concerns that may arise.
Welcome to my blog. I aim to use this space to not only explain how massage works, but to help you take better care of your own body.