This week we’re highlighting some key benefits of our services that you may not be aware of. If you’re wondering if acupuncture, chiropractic or massage might be for you, here are just a few ways in which these modalities improve people’s lives.Read More
You may have heard the words “trigger point” used by your chiropractor or massage therapist, or seen it in a description as a type of care, as in “trigger point massage.” But what is a trigger point?Read More
We all know we should be drinking water since our bodies are made up of over 70% of it. But did you know that it's important to drink water after your chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture treatment?
A chiropractic treatment puts your body back into alignment and releases tension that's been held for a while. As a result some toxins and nutrients that were held are also released. Drinking water helps to flush those items through to your kidneys and liver to help remove the toxins from your body.
A massage is a way of working your muscles; not dissimilar to a workout. The therapist is working on your muscles, stretching and manipulating them so there may be delayed soreness. Drinking water prevents dehydration of the muscles as they are using fluids to rejuvenate.
Don't forget to hydrate!
The pain experienced post-surgery can last several months. Research has shown that massage therapy can help alleviate that pain and therefore improve sleep, mood, and overall health.
Massage soon after surgery can improve pain management not just around the surgery area. As people compensate for the pain at the surgery site, other muscles and tissue get tighter and move less easily causing additional aggravation. Your Massage Therapist can help soothe those tighter places and get the blood flowing to promote healing.
In addition to helping speed the physical healing process, massage therapy can help promote mental healing by decreasing stress and anxiety around the post-surgical process. When you are less anxious about healing, it's easier for your body to concentrate on getting better.
The Mayo Clinic recently released a study about the health benefits of adding massage and acupuncture to your healing plan. The study found that not only is massage beneficial for pain relief, but with the therapist's hands on approach, they may be able to feel areas of pain not otherwise recognized. It also found that acupuncture can have similar benefits. When the acupuncturist is palpating to find sensitive areas, they may be able to find additional areas of soreness or other abnormalities and discuss them with the patient's physician.
Our stress response is highly adaptive and functional: it helps us stay alert and focused during times of emergency and increases our strength and stamina, all in preparation for the fight or flight response. The nervous system responds to a sense of threat by releasing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which help enact a chain reaction: blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and muscles tense. These physical responses prepare the body to defend itself or to quickly flee danger. Body systems not needed for survival of an emergency become a lower priority: Digestion, immune response, and tissue repair all begin to slow down.
While the body’s stress response acts expertly to protect the body from danger, it has a more difficult time discerning whether that danger is real or imagined. You may experience all of the physical symptoms of fight or flight response during a confrontation with a coworker or if you are rushing to meet a deadline. If we don’t allow our body to return to homeostasis, the calm and balanced state we thrive in, these daily stressors can accumulate and manifest as disease, pain and chronic stress conditions.
Common Physical Symptoms of Chronic Stress:
• Constipation and/or diarrhea (lowered digestive response)
• Insomnia, or waking up feeling unrested
• Rapid heartbeat
• Lowered sex drive
• Muscular pain and/or headaches
• Changes in weight
Stress & Pain
Chronic stress that leads to chronic muscle tension may play a role in the development of myofascial trigger points- or the muscle “knots” that often cause us a lot of agony. A trigger point is a palpable nodule within a taut band of muscle that is sensitive to touch and pressure. It may respond to pressure with localized pain or refer pain to another area of the body.
Tension headaches and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain are two common conditions that can be caused by stress and trigger points. Research has indicated that trigger point manual therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment can release tension within trigger points, resulting in lowered frequency and severity of tension headaches and muscle tension surrounding the TMJ, alleviating jaw/facial pain.
Managing Your Stress Levels
There are several daily activities you can integrate into your lifestyle to help keep stress in check and prevent it from becoming a literal pain in your neck.
- BE PRESENT. Spend at least 20 minutes a day unplugged from the phone, computer and TV, and allow time to mentally process your daily stresses, instead of avoiding them.
- EAT HEALTHY. Maintain a balanced healthy diet by incorporating as many whole foods into your meals while limiting sugars and processed foods. A healthy body is better equipped to handle stress, and helps bolster a suppressed immune system.
- PRIORITIZE SLEEP. Make an effort to get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and stick to a sleep routine. Try not to alter your sleep routine by more than two hours on the weekends.
Massage, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic for Stress & Pain
Manual therapies have long been known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is considered the antidote to the “fight or flight” response. This “rest and digest” mode is a major stress reducer. It helps boost immune response, stimulates peristalsis (increasing the digestive and excretory process) and slows the heart rate.
In addition, these therapies can directly target myofascial trigger points, resulting in a decrease of muscular and joint pain. Simply making time for yourself to receive a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic treatment can be the first step in committing to a lower stress lifestyle. Contact Equilibrium today to get started!
Arendt-Nielson, L. 2015. Headache: Muscle Tension, Trigger Points and Referred Pain. International Journal of Clinical Practic.69(8-12).
Professional massage therapy is designed to optimize the body’s performance and to be included as part of one’s preventative health maintenance plan. Why a plan? Because you deserve it. Your body works hard for you every day of your life. With regular care and maintenance through rest, proper nutrition, daily stretching/exercise, and massage you can greatly extend the life and well-being of your faithful companion, your body.
Receiving a professional massage once a month (considered a basic maintenance schedule) will improve your health on many levels. Think of it as an investment in yourself! As the saying goes: Put the money into preventative care now, or put it into repair care later. The repair care is much more costly and not nearly as enjoyable.
Below is a sample list of all the amazing health benefits you can receive from a regularly scheduled, professional massage:
Receive healthy touch • Reduce stress • Decrease physical pain • Increase physical performance • Enhance mental focus and productivity • Reduce occurrence of injuries • Relieve muscle tension and stiffness • Increase flexibility • Promote general well-being • Reduce emotional pain • Reduce anxiety • Improve circulation • Encourage sound sleep • Reduce edema • Increase stamina • Accelerate injury rehabilitation • Experience relaxation • Feel pampered • Improve overall health • Enhance mobility
Feeling motivated to treat your body right? Call Equilibrium today to schedule your professional massage. It’s possible that your insurance might cover part of the cost so ask us about checking your benefits.