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The Benefits of Bodywork

by Chelsey Gilbert LMT on May 2023

As a Licensed Massage Therapist that has been practicing since 2017, I have learned a lot of enlightening information on my journey as a bodyworker. One thing that has always amazed me is just how many types of bodywork styles are out there. Not only that, the benefits of receiving regular bodywork are just mind blowing. A huge reason I got into massage was the realization that I can help to affect positive change in a body by just using my hands. Using blogging as a platform for sharing, I can go a little more in depth with the information that I am able to give. I hope the following will help to educate, inspire and empower you.

More than Just Massage

Massage and Bodywork, despite being present in cultures worldwide for thousands of years, has just recently begun to get the credit it deserves as a wellness treatment in western culture. We are all aware of how massage is a relaxing feel good treat, but most people are stuck on this aspect. When applied regularly, massage can do much more than just push away the tension of the day. Many studies have shown that massage can be utilized as a preventative treatment, or a treatment to manage chronic ailments.

Massage can also be utilized as a supportive treatment in conjunction with other health and wellness services. Modalities such as MFR and Craniosacral can help the body process emotions that may be difficult to access in Counseling. Deep Tissue and Pfrimmer may help expedite the healing process when done in close proximity with Physical Therapy treatments. Thai and Sports Massage may help to improve results from Chiropractic treatments. The application of bodywork can vary depending on the needs of the client, but overall it is a beneficial and much needed treatment for most.

Every System of the Body is Effected

When you break down the actual physiological effect massage and bodywork have, the results are profound. From lowering blood pressure to helping regulate hormones, intentional hands-on treatments can be extremely beneficial.

  • Circulatory

Studies have shown a significant effect on blood pressure immediately after massage, and long term benefits can be noticed with regular massage

  • Lymphatic

The lymphatic system is like the waste management system of the body. Receiving massage can help to stimulate lymph flow, reduce and manage swelling, and help with overall detox.

  • Digestive

Abdominal massage can help to get things moving and aid in detox and elimination. It is a surprisingly effective and relaxing area to have worked on.

  • Muscular

One of the more commonly known benefits, massage can help stubborn tense muscles relax and relieve chronic muscle pain. By working into the tight tissue, trigger point or fascial restrictions massage can create a noticeable relaxing of the muscle.

  • Skeletal and Joints

One of the culprits of stiff joints is lack of regular movement. Massage allows for passive movement and stretching of the ligaments and tendons connected to the joints. This not only creates improved range of motion of the joints, but it encourages fluid movement from the area around the joints. This can reduce pain and stiffness associated with sports injuries and arthritis.

  • Nervous

The body and nervous system are intrinsically entwined. When we perceive an external stressor, our bodies will react. Massage can help to stop the fight or flight response and get our bodies into a more receptive state for healing and relaxation.

  • Skin

Massage can help increase circulation to the skin, helping to keep its tone and elasticity,

Getting in Touch with Your Body

One of the most noticeable effects that massage can have is increased body awareness. When we are in a state of chronic pain or discomfort, our nervous system will go through great lengths to protect us. This can look like many things. Dissociation or zoning out, physically feeling numb or hypersensitive in parts of our body, or being clumsy and accident prone. All can be a result of lack of body awareness. Allowing our body to lie still and letting our mind and body reconnect to create a baseline for us to heal is so important.

Receiving regular bodywork can help to bring our attention to things like posture, what affects stress is causing the physical body and having the ability to pinpoint where discomfort is being felt. Having this awareness is so critical in being able to take self care and healing to another level.

Why isn’t this the Norm?

For a good portion of the population, cost for treatment is a huge factor. Even though the medical system has begun to acknowledge massage as a legitimate treatment and preventive care for people, not everyone is on board yet. Getting massages at a hospital, doctors offices, physical therapists or chiropractic offices can help to diffuse the cost by allowing for submission to insurance companies. Most independent massage therapists or spa environments do not submit to insurance. Some businesses will accept HSA or FSA as forms of payments. It is always a good idea to communicate with your insurance company beforehand to see if there is an option for reimbursement, or a way for them to cover the cost outright.

Another reason for the lack of regular bodywork is that people are not aware of how beneficial touch therapy is. We have been conditioned to think of massage as a splurge or something for special occasions. While that may be true in some cases, the effect it can have on our overall well-being overtime may be worth the financial investment. Educating people on the extensive benefits of regular bodywork is one of the most important pieces of the equation.

So, what types of bodywork have you experienced? How has massage helped you in the past? What are some ways it can help you now?

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