As I mentioned at the end of my last blog post, massage therapy can greatly benefit anyone looking to maintain or recuperate range of motion in their joints. Your age, activity level, injury history, and other factors will determine your unique needs in a session, but here are some general benefits to your ROM a massage can provide:
- Massage Therapy relaxes overworked muscles, reducing pain that may be hindering movement.
- Massage increases circulation to joints through active and passive stretching techniques, allowing more nutrients to access the joint for maximum function and health.
- Connective tissue is thixotropic, meaning it softens when heat and friction are applied. Massage therapy warms tissues, and treating ligaments and fascial restrictions with friction techniques helps to release those restrictions, which can limit movement.
- Remember the conflict posed in the passive stretch- how our bodies respond to a deep stretch by contracting the muscle MORE? Massage therapy can bypass this problem when a therapist elongates your muscle in a relaxed state.
- Injury and the repetitive overuse of a joint can result in unnatural muscle-firing patterns, and a Massage Therapist can help to reset these neuromuscular patterns to a healthy, balanced function.
- Silent culprits: sometimes our pain and restrictions are being caused by issues in neighboring muscle groups or joints that we don’t even realize, since we are not feeling pain or other sensations in that area. Massage therapists can help identify any of these areas, decrease the restrictions, and discuss self-care techniques that may alleviate the problem or even prevent it from recurring.
Thai Yoga Massage
One massage modality that incorporates a lot of movement and stretching is Thai Yoga Massage (also known as Nuat Boran.) Originating more than 2500 years ago, it is based upon the Indian healing arts of Ayurveda and Yoga. The therapist works combining compressions along acupressure points (referred to as sen lines) and gliding the client’s body through a series of yoga poses.
What to Expect
- This massage is administered on a mat, rather than a table, and you will be moved into various positions (on your back, belly, side lying, and seated) by the therapist, using their hands, elbows, knees, and feet.
- You will remain clothed for the entire session, so be sure to wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you maximum movement! Also, due to the nature of this work, you will not be covered in a blanket, so if you are cold natured, layers or longer pants/sleeves may be a better option for you.
- No oil or lotion is used.
- While a table massage may address specific areas of concern, a Thai Massage addresses individual issues from a holistic approach, working the entire body during a session. (Certainly if there are areas you’d like your therapist to avoid, please let them know!)
- Increases circulation throughout the body
- Increases joint ROM and muscle flexibility
- Improves immune system response
- Relaxes the body and mind, decreasing pain and anxiety
Contraindications/ Thai Massage may not be right for you if…
- You are pregnant
- You have a spinal injury
- You have immobility in an area (or areas) of your body (i.e. recent surgery)
Here is our massage therapist, Paige, demonstrating a couple of Thai yoga stretches….
Haley Sullivan, NC Licensed Massage Therapist #12309