Massage in Pain, Movement Dysfunctions and Sports Performance
MASSAGE THERAPY AND THE PMAT
BODYWERKZ : THERAPEUTIC, CORRECTIVE AND RESTORATIVE TISSUE HEALTH PROGRAMME
EFFECTS OF MASSAGE ON GENERAL HEALTH
HOW DOES MASSAGE BENEFIT CHILDREN
HOW DOES MASSAGE BENEFITS SPORTS-PERFORMANCE
CAN FOAM ROLLING A CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE REPLACE MASSAGE?
WHAT THEY DIDN’T TELL YOU ABOUT SPORTS MASSAGE AND FOAM ROLLING
PRECAUTIONS FOR POTENTIAL SIDE-EFFECTS
The word “massage” brings to mind images of luxurious, relaxing, gentle touch done by anyone with merely good-feel at the end. Not many know that professional massage therapy has tremendous healing properties.
A proper massage therapy can reduce the symptoms of autism, eczema, ADHD, bulimia, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cancer patients, those recovering from injury, babies born prematurely, and depressed people can also benefit from such therapy. It may also alleviate sleep disorders and reduce blood pressure. Random controlled studies show that massage speeds up recovery after exercise, notes a 2008 issue of the “Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.” Despite all these benefits, a massage therapy isn’t the appropriate treatment for everyone, and in rare cases, it may even cause negative side effects.
There are several massage types available depending upon your health and your goals and knowing the difference between them can help you find the best option for you. Thus it is important to turn to professionally-certified massage therapists who have the knowledge of medical conditions and sports injuries to maximize the benefits and to reduce the risk of negative effects from a massage therapy.
In general, massage therapy involves manual stimulation and manipulation of your muscles and skin. It should not be painful but has to be effective enough to cause a physiological change in the tissues that had been worked on. The after-massage feel and effects are highly dependent on the state of your soft tissues, the skills and knowledge of the therapist, as well as the type of massage chosen.
Deep-tissue and sports massage are much more intense usually but should not be intolerable. You may experience discomfort during the session and could be sore the next day. A study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” in 2007 found that, of 100 people who had massage therapies, 10 percent experienced minor discomfort in the 12 to 36 hours following a session.
Keith Grant, head of the Sports and Deep Tissue Massage Department at McKinnon Institute in Oakland, California, said that your body may respond to massage as if has just completed a challenging workout. The muscles aren’t accustomed to being manipulated, and respond with inflammation and discomfort. Soreness following a massage shouldn’t last more than a day or two.
After many years working with world top professional tennis players, golfers, marathon runners, cross-fitters and Olympic lifters, we could understand why some of these athletes suffer from chronic recurrent injuries even though these are preventable, especially in non-contact sports. These non-traumatic overused injuries are more likely because of wrong concepts of the human movement, training and fitness program and lack of recovery.
Under the PMAT (Physiowerkz Movement Analysis & Treatment) system, we also have designed specific techniques to treat majority of pain and movement disorders. Using the Body Mechanix analysis, Bodywerkz Therapeutic & Restorative techniques and Mobility Fitness (Mobifit) programs, we came up with new concepts and treatment approaches in shaping one’s physique and influencing functional and sports performance. Being first-of-its-kind in the world of movement rehabilitation, sports & performative wellness, our method is very effective in optimizing energy efficiency and perfecting one’s movement using solid clinical reasoning in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics and physiotherapy.
If you are someone who does a lot prolonged low-thereshold functional activities, our Bodywerkz techniques used here then focuses on:
a. Realignment of your joints at its resting state
b. Reduce tension and intra-tissue pressure for micro-circulation
c. Flushing of deep muscles to prevent build-ups of metabolic waste
If you have a pre-existing injury, Bodywerkz will help you with:
a. Reducing pain and scars
b. Improving on myofascial pliability that could have caused the injury
c. Boosting soft tissue and joint flexibility
d. Normalizing tone and intra-tissue pressure for better blood flow and reducing toxins
e. Restoring the tissue state of health and pre-requisite for basic functional movements
f. Re-training of basic functional movements
g. Reconnecting mind-body when at work or home
If you do not have any injuries yet and looking for the optimal movement efficiency during high-threshold activities in sports, Bodywerkz’s focus then is geared towards:
a. Assessing and getting you to achieve the pre-requisites of basic functional movements in both your soft tissues and joints
b. Analysing and prepare your body for the specific demands of your high-threshold activity in injury-risk prevention. Our techniques follow your kinetic-chain of movements as demanded by your sport.
c. Pre-warm-up to ensure that your body is able to perform the sports-specific movement patterns smoothly to prevent early fatigue, unnecessary muscular over-activation and overloading of a joint.
d. Flushing out toxins and promote general relaxations to manage psychological and chemical stress as a post-training/event recovery
General massage merely follows the logic of protocol, by the book, which is helpful with a good-feel after-effect. They may not necessarily deal directly with the therapeutic components nor regard tissue response as important.
Our Bodywerkz technique is first-of-its kind uniquely designed massage programme that has in-depth physiological reasoning behind each stroke with different visible and tangible results. It is specific to the different type of tissues one present with which is linked to the DNA or ethnicity of the person.
Bodywerkz I, the first or therapeutic phase, is carefully applied to achieve the therapeutic goals of treating musculoskeletal complaints, orthopaedic conditions and movement dysfunction.
For second corrective phase in Bodywerkz II, techniques chosen are highly dependent on your tissue type, body morphology, personality traits and mostly, on the demands needed for your body. This can be the continuation from Bodywerkz I and it can be on a stand-alone for injury-free individuals to cope with daily demands or for athletes who want to take their body to the next level in their sports.
Lastly but most importantly, Bodywerkz III, the maintenance stage aims for prevention in injury-free or recovered individuals where they want to focus on long term restoration and maintenance ensuring continuous tissue health is within the healthy range.
The followings are some areas that had been researched on :
Pain & Fibromyalgia Relief
Regular massage helps manage pain. The therapist can concentrate on stiff muscles and specific problem areas, loosening them and increasing blood circulation. This temporarily relieves pain from sports injuries, mechanical arthritis and other conditions.
Studies at the Touch Research Institutes in Miami show that massage relieves fibromyalgia-related pain. The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology reports that massage therapy lowers stress hormones, anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia sufferers and works more quickly than transcutaneous electrical stimulation.
While massage can be very relaxing, the brisk movement of certain massage strokes can energize the client’s body and increase concentration and mental acuity. Office managers have taken up the cry for massage in the workplace to keep workers energized and alert. While athletes often use massage to reduce anxiety and soothe sore muscles, doctors at the Sports Injury Clinic report that specific pre-event sports massage can pump athletes up by activating the muscles, leaving a positive self-image through the therapist-athlete interactions and attitude needed to win competitions..
Immune System Support
Studies have shown regular massage supports the immune system’s function and decreases stress-related hormones which can lower immunity. For example, New Jersey researchers found college students who were stressed about an upcoming exam had better immune system function and less anxiety when they received a massage.
Management of Emotional Disorders
Massage therapy can help you to manage emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety as part of an overall treatment plan. Massage is soothing, nurturing and relaxing. It improves your state of mind if you concentrate on releasing negative thoughts during the treatment. You can incorporate visualization exercises in which you picture yourself in pleasant surroundings during the massage.
Regular massages are an effective stress- management technique. Stress is often caused by being over-committed and overwhelmed with home, work and family obligations. A weekly or bi-weekly massage forces you to take time out for yourself for a pleasurable, relaxing activity.
Fear, anticipation and worry all contribute to the physical reactions the body experiences when hit with psychologically charged feelings. The fight-or-flight response kicks in, adrenaline rushes and blood pressure rises to prepare for action. Researchers at NCCAM report that massage therapy can reverse those psychological conditions by first helping to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Multiple massage sessions can effectively remove the original fears, also referred to as trait anxiety, to combat the initial responses.
The manual manipulation of the body causes serotonin and endorphins to be released into the bloodstream, elevating moods. Massage also can stimulate pain blockers and reduce the feelings associated with chronic pain. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center report that massage can relieve feelings of depression in people with chronic illnesses such as cancer and fibromyalgia.
Most people find a massage very relaxing. The environment prepared by the massage therapist is typically soothing and calm, often filled with soft music and the healing fragrance of various aromatherapy scents from candles or diffusers. The client lies down on a table and is cared for by a trained professional—touched by another human being with soothing hands. Tight muscles are rubbed, relaxed and loosened. If you can’t afford to be pampered in a spa or massage therapist’s office those same relaxing benefits may be achieved through self-massage techniques and massage sessions with a partner.
Massage for children offers a variety of health benefits. It is human nature to touch as a way of showing love and affection. This touch stimulates the body in positive ways to help it grow and develop. Massage is beneficial at any age but because children are still developing, it can be especially helpful for them. Parent-child massage is a wonderful way to bond with your children while offering them health benefits.
Infant Weight Gain
Premature babies often struggle with weight gain. Touch, obtained through gentle massage and cuddling, releases a growth hormone in a premature infant that helps him gain necessary weight and aids development of vital organs and the brain. A study by the Department of Neonatology at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. showed that premature infants who were massaged, particularly with kinesthetic stimulation (body stroking and passive movement of the limbs), gained more weight than premature infants who did not received any massage.
Stress and Anxiety Relief
Massage reduces stress hormone and blood glucose levels. According to Maria Hernandez-Reif, a researcher at the Touch Research Institute, lower stress hormones not only reduce feelings of anxiety but contribute to a healthier immune system. The immune system fights illnesses by defending the body against toxins, parasites, bacteria, microbes, pathogens and viruses. Due to its relaxing effect, the massage has been found to reduce asthma symptoms in children. It has also helped children adhere to a sometimes painful diabetes treatment program.
Stimulates Motor Development
Children are developing their motor (movement) skills as they grow. Massage helps ease tension and pain in developing muscles that make motor skills possible. A study by the University of Miami showed that a massage improves motor function in children with Down Syndrome, and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology reports that a massage improves motor ability in children infected with HIV.
Stimulates Cognitive Development
According to Early Child Development and Care, preschoolers performed better on an IQ test following a 15-minute massage than they did from reading books. The International Journal of Neuroscience reported that the massage improved brain function, resulting in increased alertness as well as speed and accuracy during a math test.
Tiffany Field, executive director of the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) in Miami, discovered that the massage can improve ADHD symptoms in teenagers. Adolescents who received ten or 15 minute massages for 10 consecutive days all showed positive changes. They felt happier and their teachers reported better behavior. Other TRI studies had shown that youngsters with ADHD benefitted from twice-monthly massage therapy.
There are a number of different techniques that fall under the massage therapy category. Everything from Reiki to Shiatsu and Swedish to sports massage are considered a form of massage. The main feature that all techniques share, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), is their ability to provide relaxation and stress relief..
In recent years, the science is emerging demonstrating positive results of massage in postexercise recovery, better performance and non-traumatic injuries prevention. Many new concepts relook the traditional training and recovery process attempting to score a better record. The new complex dynamic systems aim to change the way of thinking about sports injuries offers innovative ideas for improving sports performance and injury prevention using massage. This narrative review the hypothetical concept of constraints and connectivity approach to sports medicine explain why and how the susceptibility to non-taumatic sports injuries may suddenly increase. It brings an understanding of how accumulation of microinjuries (within smaller fibers) creates a macroscopic non-linear effect (scar and thickening) of potential restrictions, reduced pliability and further tearing.
(Pol et al, Br J Sports Med, 2018 Apr 19)
(Best & Crawford, Br J Sports Med, 2017, Oct 19: 1386-1387))
The response to massage are multifactorial in which a biopsychosocial framework is a practical approach for investigating the complex interplay between massage therapy and the determinants of health, athletic performance and pain.
Deep positive pressure massage facilitate blood and lymphatic flow eliminating metabolic waste products such as lactic acid and restoring nutritional supply and oxygenation to the tissues. This results in reduced soreness, relief pain of overexertion and shorten recovery time between workouts.
Certain vigorous techniques effectively reduce muscle tension, spasm, tightness and stiffness. Some has softening effects with increase muscle pliability, joint flexibility and range and hence reduce risk of non-traumatic injuries such as restrictions and overuse
A separate review study on massage found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropped 31% following a rubdown, while levels of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin increased roughly 30%. Several MRI studies have shown that massage increases blood flow in areas of the brain associated with mood and stress regulation. Pressure receptors under the skin, when stimulated, are believed to increase vagal activity, ie along the vagus nerve, a major component of the human nervous system which plays a role in autonomic functions like heart rate, breathing and digestion. Increased activity in the vagus nerve could induce a meditation-like calming effect, which would explain the drop in cortisol and other stress-related symptoms.
(Field et al, 2005,vol 115, Int J NeuroSc)
A systematic review of 14 different research gathered mixed results of the effects of foam rolling due to the heterogeneity of methods among those studies :
1. May have short term effects on range
2. No effect on muscle performance
3. Attenuate decrements in muscle performance and DOMS after intense exercise
4. Short bouts prior to exercise do not appear to effect muscle performance
(Cheatham et al, Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Nov : 10(6): 827-838)
Able to target different depths and even specific fibers of the big muscle group.
Not only focussed on muscle but the whole body such as joint capsule, tendons and ligament which a foam roller is difficult to reach into this smaller or hidden areas.
It is not about applying pressure directly on your muscles but to create a horizontal mobility between muscular layers which is imperative for any movements
Working with a professional who can help create awareness about your boy which a foam roller cant.
Manual works has longer lasting effects compared to foam rolling. But the best sustainable results come with educating the athlete on how to create better balance in the body to prevent rather than treat chronic tightness and soreness.
Athlete’s report of improved mood and well-being might be due to the therapist-athlete interactions which a foam roller cant provide the positive human touch and response
What you should know about Foam Rolling?
1. Shorter-lasting effect on the benefits above
2. Not easy to get into the smaller, deeper and hidden fibers
3. The effect of rolling for short holding time and long holding time is the same
4. No report of well-being improvement due to lack of human touch or communication
Post Injuries (acute)
Certain traumatic injuries best not to be massaged especially if the therapist concerned is not medically or professionally trained. Traumatic injuries can expose a person to fractures, blood clot, internal bleeding or severe tissues tearing which is not visible and should be professionally dealt with for the best post injury care and rehab. It is safer to be assessed by professionally trained personnel that has had experience working in the acute sports injury field and hospitals for the next course of action
Fatigue and Malaise
An effective full-body massage can induce relaxation, promote sleep but may also leave you lacking in energy immediately. The massage may have over-stimulated your neurological system, creating a stress-induced fatigue. This fatigue can often be alleviated by proper rest and rehydration. Your central nervous system is slightly overloaded from the physical manipulation and just needs time to adjust.
Massage performed at the site of open wounds, blood clots or bone fractures could cause complication. Those with weak bones, from osteoporosis or brittle-bone disease, could have their bones further compromised by massage. Although massage is generally helpful to cancer patients, the masseuse should avoid direct contact with the tumor site, as this could cause complications. In rare cases, pregnant women could experience injury or induced labor as a result of a massage. People on blood thinners or with low blood platelet counts may also experience negative side effects from a massage, specifically bruising and pain.
Serious side effects from massage are rare, but the potential exists. An overzealous massage can cause internal bleeding or nerve damage. An allergic reaction to any creams or oils used by your therapist is also possible. To minimize risk of any of these complications, reveal all medical conditions and allergies to your therapist before getting on the table.
Over-reliance on massage for treatment of all your ailments is another possible negative side effect. Massage isn’t a replacement for medical treatment of an injury or chronic disease. It has palliative qualities, but can’t be a substitute for a doctor’s visit. If you have a chronic ache or significant pain in a joint or muscle, consult your physician to rule out serious injury.