No longer is massage a luxury service that's only for the sake of pampering. Although bodywork may still be considered an indulgence for some, massages can be as important as a check-up at the dentist. They contribute to our overall wellness and help us to maintain and optimize our mental and physical health.
There are many types of massages and the benefits they offer. Traditional massages such as the Swedish full-body massage and hot-stone treatments are great for stress relief. They can relieve soreness and induce relaxation. There are also massage types that provide these benefits and address specific medical concerns. This is what "corrective massage therapy" does.
"Corrective massage therapy, as the name suggests, is a therapeutic session where the goal is to restore equilibrium to the body in situations where there may have been misalignments, physical issues from daily life or past injuries," states Lessie Wethington. She is a LifeSpa massage therapist at Life Time Frisco, Texas.
Wethington firsthand knows the power of this type massage therapy. "My daughter's pregnancy misaligned my hips, which severely limited my mobility. I sought out help and received amazing care from a massage therapist. I was able to walk again after one session of corrective massage therapy.
Soon thereafter, Wethington enrolled in massage school and began to learn about the science behind the body so that she could offer the same relief to others.
Wethington explains what corrective massage therapy is to help you better understand it.
What makes corrective massage different from traditional massage?
People expect to feel relaxed or "zoned out" when they get a traditional massage. These massages reach deep into the parasympathetic nervous systems (our "rest-and-digest" state). Your blood pressure may drop as your body is feeling nurtured and receiving the strong benefits from touch. Many people drift into a peaceful state.
Wethington says that corrective massage therapy may offer similar benefits, but it is more focused on a specific issue or problem and helps to fix it. It uses customized techniques and massage modalities that target specific ailments to restore functionality to the body. For example, I can help to retrain the hip muscles and around the spine, just like I did for myself, so that a person can walk better without pain. Or I could increase range of motion for a stiff shoulder.
Corrective massage therapy is still considered relaxing.
Although moments of relaxation are possible, Wethington says that corrective massage therapy does not aim to achieve a state of relaxation. This massage is not as relaxing as a "zone out" type. As I will be monitoring my clients' pain levels and how they respond to the techniques I use, I expect them to be alert.
Although every stroke is not comfortable, the therapy can be very productive. You will feel less stressed later on because you are able to manage your pain better. Wethington states that the goal is to improve your body's function so that your mind and stress levels are not activated by pain. This will allow you to live a more enjoyable life.
What should I expect from a corrective massage therapy session?
Your therapist will conduct an intake interview. This allows your therapist to assess your posture and/or feel your muscles in order to determine the best treatment options for you. Corrective massage can include myofascial release and reciprocal inhibition stretching.
Before the session starts, the therapist will inform you about the modality and explain how it works. This will allow you to feel at ease and give permission to proceed. Wethington says that trusting your therapist and feeling at ease in your surroundings are essential to receiving this type massage.
Communication between a massage therapist, a client and a massage therapist is crucial.
Wethington stresses that communication is key to a massage session, from the consultation through the end.
She says, "If the client communicates their goals in the consult with me, I'm then capable of giving them my best approach or plan." We both need to be open to adapting if things go differently during the session. Although I am a massage therapist I have a good idea of what I'm doing and how to get the results I want. However, if my client is uncomfortable with the work, I will find a solution. Communication between the two of us is essential."
How can I prepare for a corrective masseuse therapy appointment?
Wethington suggests that you check in with your body before you go to a massage. This will allow you to be more present and aware of what is going on.
Two other important elements are setting a goal and being open to the suggestions of your therapist. Wethington recommends that you bring water to your appointment. Wethington says that a well-hydrated body is more likely to function at its best. Hydration allows healthy blood to reach the tissues which aids in faster healing.
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