In traditional Chinese medicine, pain and tension are the result of blockages of both qi and blood. If the body is likened to a river, health is defined as the free and unimpeded flow of water (qi) through the body. Just as debris builds up behind a rock in a river impeding the water flow, qi can become blocked in the meridians of the body. This results in pain and tension. A similar effect occurs when there is too much or too little water in the river (deficiency or excess qi). Acupuncture restores the proper flow of qi and blood by tonifying deficiency, reducing excess and relieving stagnation, all of which are causes of pain.
Traditional Chinese medicine can treat both chronic and acute pain. In acute cases, fewer treatments are typically needed, whereas more chronic cases usually require follow-ups. Practitioners will ask about the type of pain (hot, cold, sharp and stabbing, dull and achy) as well as the duration, and conditions that may exacerbate it such as damp weather or certain movements.
The basic goal of massage therapy is to help the body heal itself and to increase health and well-being.
Stress takes a detrimental toll on the body. According to the American Medical Association’s website, stress is the cause of up to 85 percent of all human illness and disease, and each week 95 million Americans suffer from stress-related symptoms. In our fast-paced society, there are obvious benefits to lying still, calm and quiet on a massage table. In addition to that, touch conveys a sense of caring, which is beneficial in the release of stress. When a muscle is stressed, circulation is reduced and both oxygen and nutrients are blocked.
Pain usually results when muscles are overworked, causing the buildup of waste products such as lactic acid to accumulate in the muscle. The result is soreness, stiffness and even muscle spasm. Massage and bodywork improve circulation and increase blood flow, thereby bringing fresh oxygen to the muscles. This can help eliminate waste products, speed up the healing process after and injury, and enhance recovery from disease. It may also release stored toxins, which is why your massage therapist will recommend flushing out your system with plenty of water after a session.
Research has shown that massage therapy helps relieve stress, aids in relaxation, relieves muscle tension and stiffness and increases flexibility and range of motion in joints.