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Pain Awareness Month: How Medical Massage Therapy Helps Manage Pain

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 50 million Americans suffer chronic pain. This is more people than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined. September is Pain Awareness Month and was established to increase public knowledge of the impacts of pain and how it can be managed. Chronic pain not only profoundly impacts an individual’s abilities, quality of life, and physical and mental health, it can affect loved ones, families, friends, communities, and more. Over the years, prescription medicines have been mainly used to treat pain. However, the side effects and risks of addiction are severe. That’s why more research is being done to look into the causes of chronic pain and alternative ways to manage pain, like medical massage therapy.

The Benefits of Medical Massage Therapy

Medical massage therapy is becoming a popular treatment method for integrative medicine and pain management. Using varying degrees of pressure and movement, massage therapy can help manage both acute and chronic pain by relieving sore muscles, tendons, and joints, as well as reducing stress and anxiety. During a massage, the pressure and movements can lessen muscle tension caused by pain, break down lactic acid build-up, and improve circulation. Additionally, massage can enhance your body’s ability to produce endorphins, which can help reduce pain, as well as help drain your lymph nodes, ridding your body of toxins and improving your immune system health. Medical massage therapy may be part of a treatment plan for the following health conditions:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Back pain
  • Cancer management
  • Cardiac rehab
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-operative aftercare
  • PTSD
  • Scar management
  • Strains or injuries
  • Substance use recovery
  • Terminal illnesses

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Tuina Medical Message Therapy

The most common massage technique offered at Family Integrative Medicine is called Tuina (pronounced “twee-nah”). This is a therapeutic massage that has been practiced for thousands of years and is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine.

The word “tuina” literally translates to “push” (Tui) and “grasp” (Na), which describes the primary techniques used in this practice. Tuina therapists use their hands, fingers, palms, and elbows to apply pressure, knead, roll, and stretch the body’s muscles and meridians (energy channels) to promote balance and harmony in the body’s energy system.

Tuina therapy is used for various purposes, including:

Pain Relief: Tuina can help alleviate musculoskeletal pain, such as back pain, neck pain, and joint pain, by promoting blood circulation and relaxing tense muscles. At times you might need pain relief at home. Consider investing in the UTK Quantum Heat Wave Pad to alleviate discomfort. When used in conjunction with tunia therapy, you’ll notice amazing results. 

Stress Reduction: The rhythmic and soothing techniques used in tuina can reduce stress and promote relaxation. 

Improving Qi (Energy) Flow: Tuina aims to balance the flow of Qi (vital energy) in the body’s meridians, which is believed to be essential for overall health and well-being in TCM.

Treating Specific Health Conditions: Tuina is often used to address specific health conditions, including digestive issues, insomnia, headaches, and more. The therapist may focus on particular acupressure points and meridians related to the condition.

Injury Rehabilitation: Tuina can be used as part of rehabilitation programs to help individuals recover from injuries and surgeries by improving range of motion and reducing scar tissue.

Promoting General Wellness: Even when there are no specific health complaints, tuina can be used to maintain and enhance overall wellness.

A typical tuina session involves the client lying on a massage table or sitting in a chair while the therapist applies various massage techniques. The therapist may also use herbal ointments or liniments to enhance the therapeutic effects. medical massage 4

Other Common Medical Massage Techniques

Several other massage techniques could be utilized as a complementary treatment to pain management, depending on your health condition and history. The most common medical massages for pain management include:

Swedish Massage. What most people think of as a traditional massage, a Swedish massage uses kneading, long strokes, rolling muscles, circular movements, and occasionally vibrations and tapping to relieve pain and tension. The level of pressure used depends on your health needs and comfort level. A Swedish massage also improves blood flow and relaxes the nervous system, which can ease pain.

Deep Tissue Massage. This method of massage therapy uses slow, powerful strokes that target deep layers of muscles and tissues to treat musculoskeletal issues and relieve tension. Promoting healing, this type of massage is typically used to treat injuries and chronic muscle pain. It can sometimes be a little painful, and you could feel sore for a few days.

Sports Massage. Usually for those involved in physical activities, like athletics, sports massage therapy treats pain from injury or soreness from repetitive use. It can focus on specific areas or the entire body to improve flexibility and performance and relieve muscle tension and pain.

Trigger Point Massage. Also known as neuromuscular massage therapy, this treatment targets painful knots that form in muscles. These knots form when a muscle cannot relax, and direct pressure to the area can stimulate blood flow, helping to release the knot and tension of the muscle. This massage therapy can sometimes feel painful and discomforting.

Myofascial Release Massage. The fascia is a thin band of connective tissue that covers and stabilizes muscles and organs. Fascia should be flexible, but tension in the fascia can cause tightness and pain. Kneading and stretching fascia can release pressure and bring relief. This technique is usually combined with other medical massage therapies, especially in the back, neck, and shoulders.

Can Regenerative Medicine Help with Pain Management?

Regenerative medicine explained: In the realm of pain management, regenerative medicine holds great promise. By harnessing the body’s natural healing abilities, this innovative approach aims to repair and restore damaged or degenerated tissues. Through techniques like platelet-rich plasma injections, regenerative medicine seeks to alleviate pain, promote tissue regeneration, and enhance overall quality of life. With ongoing advancements, it has the potential to revolutionize pain management practices and offer hope to those suffering from chronic pain.

Find Effective Pain Management at Family Integrative Medicine

The team at Family Integrative Medicine includes certified health professionals who are trained experts in medical massage therapy for responsible pain management. If you are experiencing pain for any reason, our compassionate and knowledgeable team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan to help you find relief to get back to living the life you love.

Note: All medical massages should be performed by trained and qualified practitioners who have a deep understanding of each treatment method.

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