Bruce Berger, LMT

Why Massage Part 1

Part 1
By Bruce Berger, L.M.T.

Massage is a Celebration of Life.

Up until the 20th Century massaging patients was an integral part of a doctor’s practice. A doctor was not considered competent or reliable unless his massage technique was effective. Unfortunately due to time constraints and the boundaries of medical insurance the medical profession has lost touch with touch.

Nowadays, more and more doctors are turning to Massage Therapists as well as therapists of other touch modalities to treat their patients.. There are many reasons why massage and touch therapy are making a comeback. One is to provide alternative modalities to those suffering with chronic pain. Another is to exhaust remedy before referring the patient to a specialist for an operation. It has also been recognized that often physical pain is caused by emotional stress and anxiety which massage greatly helps to alleviate.

Massage is the system of repetitious touch that allows healing and balance to develop in the body and mind of the receiver. The intent of therapeutic touch is not to affect change in a specific area of the body, but rather to affect change in the whole body. Thus, every cell of the body after a treatment of therapeutic touch can be working more efficiently.

By working in this wholistic manner the therapist is more likely to rid the patient of pain and stress found any where in the body. For example, one may have neck or back pain induced by sore feet or ankles. By addressing the lower extremities during the massage the therapist can discover that the cause of the patient’s back pain was from an uneven and unsteady gait created by untreated calluses on their feet.

Therapeutic massage involves the soft tissue release of the muscles, tendons and ligaments which enables the patient to realize greater flexibility. When passive stretching is included in a session, the receiver will experience a further release and improved range of motion.

An experienced massage therapist employs a variety of strokes and methods of palpation during the session that help to open up the body’s many nerve pathways and muscles that surround the nerve network. Tight muscles lack blood and thus cannot function properly until this condition is reversed. The nerve network, the muscles, and soft tissue are nourished with oxygen during the massage as more blood is entering these areas.

It is helpful when the massage therapist has a coordinated knowledge of exercise and movement, diet and nutrition, hydrotherapy, herbology, homeopathy, and any other healing modality that can help the patients help themselves between treatments.

At times patients experience such relief that they may develop a dependency on their massage therapist. This is not helpful to the healing process. Instead, they should view the therapist as a catalyst who induces the healing process. Thus, the patient is an active partner in their own healing process and needs to understand that for sustained balance of their body, mind, and spirit they need to do their part as well. This daily maintenance of proper exercise, diet, and relaxation is essential between massage treatments.

Some of the beneficial effects of massage therapy are the following:

1/ Dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion throughout the body.

2/ Increases the number of red blood cells which is very beneficial in cases of anemia.

3/ Helps to return venous blood to the heart, thus easing the strain on this vital organ.

4/ Acts as a cleansing agent, stimulating lymph circulation and hastening the elimination of toxins.

5/ Increases the excretion via the kidneys of fluids and waste products of protein metabolism, inorganic phosphorus, and salt.

6/ Relaxes muscle spasms and relieves tension.

7/ Improves muscle tone and helps prevent muscular atrophy caused by inactivity.

8/ Aids in the retention of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur necessary for tissue repair for those recovering from bone fractures.

9/ Improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and speeds up the elimination of harmful deposits that can settle there which lessens the likelihood of inflammation and swelling in the joints.

10/ Helps to reduce edema to the extremities where swelling and fluid retention of the hands and feet becomes much less severe.

11/ Disperses edema following injury to ligaments and tendons which helps to lessen pain and fosters easier movement.

12/ Stretches connective tissue which improves its circulation and nutrition which aids in the prevention of the formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.

13/ Causes the release of special pain killing chemicals known as endorphins which are neurotransmitters which help elicit an euphoric feeling of contentment, well-being, and relaxation.

14/ Stimulates and nourishes the digestive organs and is very useful for large intestine blockages.

15/ Aids the body’s feeling of tactile sensation when there is numbness or tingling.

Bruce Berger is a hospital experienced N.Y. State Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist whose practice is in Long Island, N.Y. Among his practiced modalities are Therapeutic massage, Swedish massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Pre-natal massage, Hot Stone massage, and Yoga. He has offices in Greenport and Southold. He can be reached at 631) 477 - 6372.