So this year, I am going to start dedicating some of my free time to writing again. As so many of you may already know, Writing is my first love. No offense to Massage, that is my second deepest bond with the Earth I have. But writing has always been a part of me. My first language. People often ask me, "What do you write about?" EVERYTHING.
I write about everything.
From journalism on what's happening in the community, to wellness, to politics, to inspirational pieces, to fictional pieces that will one day become published books. Here, in particular, it will be limited to wellness, community news, and inspirational articles. Part of you becoming independent in your health is taking that first step and educating yourself. Knowing your body is the most important thing to understand in this life. It is the only body you have, and if you don't give it what it needs, it will stop giving you what you want.
So in these articles we will go over techniques & tips for your health, small steps you can take everyday, and providing some anatomical explanations as to why our bodies tend to operate the way they do. If there is ever something you are curious about and can't find here, message us! Comment on our articles and create discussions - that is what this is for. Let this be your Wellness platform to discover alternative health options, resources for other practitioners, and groovy words that spark the fire in you.
To start off, we're going to discuss just the concept of Massage in this article. Because, why not right? What is it and why is it important to get? Why is it so overlooked in the health industry? Why don't a lot of insurances cover it? And why aren't we allowed to diagnose even though we are experts in muscles? So many questions...
Massage is an action and self-relationship promotion on a deep level. What it really is, is a physical tissue manipulation technique and one that, hopefully, leaves you understanding your body more as each session passes. Yes, our bodies actually have their own "voice" and they DO communicate with us every single day. They love us, they betray us, they give us warning signs all the time. As a Massage Therapist, a student is required to learn Anatomy and Kinesiology (how the muscles move and what their attachments are) - we are required to spend roughly 100 hours on learning Anatomy because.... we manipulate tissue for a living. Which means, we're actually trained more on the anatomy than most basic medical doctors, unless they take it upon themselves to study it more. If you have a therapist that is unsure about their anatomy, I'd probably ask them to take an anatomy refresher for your benefit. When you ask me what muscle I am on or why I am working on it, I should be able to answer you. It's a wonderful thing to view the body in a mechanical form, it is also quite a big responsibility.
Massage is overlooked in the health industry because for many, many years it was only promoted as a luxury relaxation benefit for those who could afford it. It wasn't available to everybody the way it is today. It wasn't until 2013 that Massage was "officially" recognized as an alternative health/medicine option that even some insurances could offer reimbursements and coverings for. Doctors finally started prescribing it. Chiropractors started having them in their offices. Gyms welcomed tables and sports therapists, and almost every professional sports team has therapists. People are beginning to realize there are MUCH more modalities than just Swedish, but we still have a ways to go before it's unquestionable. For this reason, insurance companies still don't cover all massage as a medical expense unless written prescription by a Chiropractor or MD. There are ways around this: your practitioner can either have what is called a VPI number or have a specific license that allows them to be apart of a critical healing process (such as Structural Integration or Medical Massage or Lymphatic Drainage).
We are not allowed to diagnose because we are not doctors. In my opinion, this is silly, because we are trained to feel what things are. Although we study roughly 50 hours of Pathology (the study of disease) in just our regular schooling curriculum and although we are trained to know the body inside and out and the signs and signals it gives you to warn you - we are still not allowed to say "your spine is crooked and given my knowledge of the tissues, muscles, and bones, it looks and feels to me like Scoliosis, I would make an appointment with a Chiropractor ASAP." Instead, we will say something like this to you, "Your back felt a bit off, your muscles are trying to pull your spine in different ways, I highly recommend you see a Chiropractor to get a second opinion."
We can also confirm things if you ask, "Is this a lipoma or a knot? It really bothers me and gives me pain when I touch it, but it bulges out." We can respond with something like, "Well, it certainly doesn't feel like a knot to me, but if you are worried about it being a lipoma, I recommend getting an ultrasound with your doctor." We could not say, "Yes. That's a lipoma. But no big deal, they're mostly benign." Because 1. We are not sure how many lipomas are actually benign. We cannot give you a dissection, as much as we'd love to, and we cannot tell you it's a lipoma incase it's really something else....
2. You should have already made an appointment with a dermatologist to get a biopsy. You should never leave a worry to the mind like that, because our brains are crazy muscles and they will drag us down the rabbit hole.
Lastly, Why is Massage important to get? Well, because if you're in pain, your best bet is asking Massage Therapists. Chiropractors know the spine, regular medical doctors know symptoms and medications, surgeons know surgery solutions, dentists know teeth, and just like doctors who specialize in their preference of medicine, we MT's KNOW the body. Like the back of our hand. If you are having Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, it's your best bet to see a Massage Therapist faithfully working on your neck, arms, and chest for X amount of sessions that are scheduled closely together before you decide to get a surgery. If you don't know what happens in a CTS surgery, I'd highly recommend looking it up ;) If you are sore and achy, you want to seek out a Massage Therapist.
If you think one leg is longer than the other, you want to seek out a Structural Integration Therapist and do yourself a favor by going through the 10 session protocol.
If you are trying to recover from a recent injury or being continuously taunted by an old chronic injury, you want to seek out a Massage Therapist!
If you are plagued by migraines, have little range of motion, low energy, never stretch even if you are a workout a holic, or suffering from chronic issues and pain -
YOU SHOULD SEEK OUT A MASSAGE THERAPIST.
This is what we do. This is what we thrive to help you with. These are the issues we absolutely CAN help you with. Picking your Massage Therapist is so important, and on that note, picking a back-up therapist is equally important. In Connecticut, I have 3 people I trust to work on my body. In Utah, I also have 3 to choose from. This way, when my favorite is booked until kingdom come, I don't lose all of my marbles. It's that important to me and it's your body; these things should also be important to you. Everytime you leave a session, you should know your body a little bit more. The more you know, the more you can prevent. The more questions you ask, the more answers you get. The more you direct, the more you become satisfied with the work being done. If your therapist's pressure isn't what you want, tell us. If we are working on the feet and you'd rather have more working time on your hands, tell us. We go off our intuition as much as possible during a session, but we do always hope you stay awake enough to be in communication with us.
Massage is a relationship of health held together by practitioner and client. We only get 1 session with you anywhere from twice a week to once a month. What you do outside of a session IS SOOOOOOOO IMPORTANT! If you feel your MT is constantly and ruthlessly calling you out on stretching and water intakes or homework, you should probably start listening to them. They're looking out for you. They love you! I love my clients and it pains me when I see them slowing down their potential due to whatever reason they have. But that is another discussion for another time, because there are a billion reasons why somebody isn't wanting to do the homework or take the advice from their MT. We believe we can help everybody out of pain or at least manage it. It's a very custom situation. No session is the same unless you discuss it with your practitioner.
I truly hope you've enjoyed learning a little bit of facts about Massage and the World it resides in. If you've like this post today, please share it with those you believe would benefit from! Create a discussion in the comments section, fill up your water, and let's get conscious.