By Christina Gouveia, RMT
As if any of us needed a further reason to book a massage. Canadian researchers have just published important evidence to support the notion that massage therapy has the same therapeutic benefit as pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories in the management of chronic pain. This new evidence supports what many of us as Registered Massage Therapists have observed for some time, “Now scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton have found evidence at the cellular level that massage blunts muscle pain in a similar way to anti-inflammatory pills.” Simply put, deep tissue massage can be as therapeutically beneficial as taking pain killers but, in this case, without the dreaded side effects!
A fantastic study conducted by McMaster University in Hamilton and distributed by the CBC, supports the theory that massage has the potential to elicit the same therapeutic effects as taking pain medication but without the detrimental side effects, known commonly to affect the digestive system. This research presents a win-win situation for you and your aching muscles. The relaxing, soothing, tension-releasing benefits that we have come to expect from massage can be achieved along with the capacity to skip the constipating influence of anti-inflammatory medications.
So how does massage benefit those suffering from chronic pain? Medication acts systemically, travelling through your blood stream and then onto the brain to deliver the message “you are not feeling pain at this time.” In contrast, massage works locally, affecting the muscles and nerve tissue experiencing tension. The local action of massage versus the system-wide influence of medication accounts for the difference in side effect profiles between the two pain management options. While there may be point specific tenderness in an area treated with massage, the benefits are longer lasting and the delivery process more enjoyable overall. Need I say more?
Christina Gouveia is a Registered Massage Therapist at the Integrative Health Institute located in downtown Toronto at the corner of King and Sherbourne. Christina has a strong appreciation for alternative medicine and healing. Christina has a strong interest in myofascial work, with a focus to scar tissue both surgical and injury related, orthopaedic testing, pregnancy massage, temporalmandubular dysfunction (TMD), deep tissue techniques and, of course, relaxation.