The Power of Touch: The Top 8 Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

Person lying face down on a massage table getting a massage

Therapeutic massage has been practiced for centuries and is renowned for its profound impact on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The power of touch goes beyond relaxation, as therapeutic massage offers multiple benefits that can enhance your overall quality of life. At Tawa Physical Therapy, we believe in the physiological effects of therapeutic massage and the value it brings to our patients’ rehabilitation journey. In this article, we uncover the top 8 benefits of therapeutic massage and explore the additional advantages of integrating massage into a clinical setting.

1. Stress Relief and Relaxation

One of the most immediate benefits of therapeutic massage is stress relief and relaxation. The gentle kneading and manipulation of muscles induce a relaxation response, calming the nervous system and reducing stress hormones. This relaxation not only promotes a sense of well-being but also improves sleep quality.

2. Pain Reduction and Muscle Tension Relief

Therapeutic massage is highly effective in reducing pain and relieving muscle tension. The application of targeted pressure and techniques helps release tight muscles, reduce knots, and alleviate chronic pain conditions. It is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with injuries, repetitive strain, or postural imbalances.

3. Improved Blood Circulation

Massage enhances blood circulation, improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Better circulation supports tissue healing, reduces inflammation, and boosts the immune system’s functionality.

4. Enhanced Flexibility and Range of Motion

By addressing muscle tension and tightness, therapeutic massage helps improve flexibility and range of motion. Athletes and individuals recovering from injuries can benefit from enhanced joint mobility and increased flexibility, which aids in injury prevention and performance optimization.

5. Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Beyond physical benefits, therapeutic massage has a positive impact on mental and emotional well-being. It helps reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve mood by triggering the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones.

6. Boosted Immune Function

Regular therapeutic massage sessions have been linked to improved immune function. As massage supports lymphatic drainage and the removal of toxins, it contributes to a stronger immune system, making the body more resilient to illnesses.

7. Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery

Integrating massage into a clinical setting, such as Tawa Physical Therapy, amplifies the benefits of traditional physical therapy. Massage complements the rehabilitation process by promoting faster injury recovery, reducing scar tissue formation, and improving tissue healing.

8. Holistic Approach to Wellness

Therapeutic massage embodies a holistic approach to wellness, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit. By addressing physical and emotional aspects, massage therapy fosters overall health and harmony.

Massage and Your Health Benefit Plan

In Alberta, many health benefit plans cover therapeutic massage as part of their extended health coverage. At Tawa Physical Therapy, we understand the importance of accessibility to massage treatments. Our reception team is dedicated to helping you determine if your health benefit plan covers therapeutic massage, making it easier for you to incorporate this invaluable therapy into your wellness routine.

If you are seeking the powerful effects of therapeutic massage and wish to explore its integration into your wellness plan, get in touch with us! Our skilled therapists are ready to support you on your path to optimal health and vitality.

The Road to Recovery: How Long Does Physical Therapy Treatment for Motor Vehicle Accidents Last?

Title Card with the Text: The Road to Recovery: How Long Does Physical Therapy Treatment for Motor Vehicle Accidents Last?

Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) can have far-reaching physical consequences, leaving individuals with a range of injuries that require specialized care. One of the most effective ways to address these injuries and support recovery is through physical therapy. However, the duration of physical therapy treatment for MVAs can vary based on the severity and type of injuries. In this blog, we’ll explore the typical course of physical therapy treatment for different kinds of injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head jerks forward and backward suddenly during a collision. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in treating whiplash, and a typical course of treatment may last between 8 to 16 weeks. Therapists focus on reducing pain and stiffness, improving neck mobility, and strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles.

Fractures and Dislocations

Fractures and dislocations can vary in severity, and the duration of physical therapy will depend on factors such as the type of fracture and the individual’s healing progress. For instance, a minor fracture may require 8 to 12 weeks of physical therapy to regain strength and function, while more complex fractures may require longer treatment periods. Typically, the physiotherapy treatment is begun once the fractures have stabilized after a 3-8 week immobilization period.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, can cause pain and reduced mobility. Physical therapy for these injuries generally lasts around 4 to 16 weeks. Therapists use manual techniques, exercises, and modalities to promote healing, reduce inflammation, and restore function.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Severe motor vehicle accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries that result in partial or complete paralysis. The duration of physical therapy for spinal cord injuries varies greatly, as it involves long-term rehabilitation. Treatment can span several months or even years, focusing on maximizing functional independence and mobility.

Head Injuries and Concussions

Head injuries and concussions require a cautious and gradual approach to physical therapy. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment may last for several weeks or months. Therapists prioritize rest and gradual re-introduction of physical activities to allow the brain to heal properly.

Physical therapy is an invaluable resource in the recovery process after motor vehicle accidents. The duration of treatment varies based on the type and severity of injuries sustained. By working closely with skilled physiotherapists, individuals can embark on a personalized journey to regain function, reduce pain, and improve their quality of life.

What is it like to receive a shockwave therapy session

Featured Image with the text "What is it like to receive a Shockwave Therapy Session

Shockwave therapy is an effective and non-invasive treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. It is usually performed in a clinical setting and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Patients may experience some discomfort during the procedure, but no anesthesia is required.

As the sound waves penetrate through the skin, it can cause a feeling of warmth or a strong tapping sensation.  Depending on the intensity of the therapy, these pulses can range from feeling like gentle tapping to more intense pulsing.  Most patients describe it as a mild to moderate discomfort during treatment that usually subsides quickly. During the session, the patient will be monitored closely by the clinician and adjust the intensity in accordance with the patient’s tolerance.

The results of shockwave therapy will vary depending on the condition being treated, but typically take 4-6 weeks to show improvement. The clinician will provide instructions for aftercare activities such as stretching and strengthening exercises that should be done at home following each session to promote healing and improve mobility and strength.

Shockwave therapy is an effective treatment option for many types of chronic pain conditions affecting tendons and muscles. It is quick and relatively painless with minimal side effects.

How Long Does it take for Shockwave Therapy to Work

Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical treatment that has been used to treat chronic tendinitis and other musculoskeletal conditions. It uses high-energy acoustic sound waves to stimulate the healing of injured tissue, relieve pain, and improve mobility. This type of therapy has been found to be effective in treating conditions such as lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff tendinopathy, patellar tendinopathy, calcific tendinopathy and bursitis.

The timing of the results with shockwave therapy will vary depending on the severity of the condition being treated. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks for someone to experience noticeable improvements in their condition after just 3-6 sessions. There are also certain factors that can influence how long it takes for shockwave therapy to work; these include age and overall health status, as well as how compliant a patient is with their post-treatment rehabilitation program.

Overall, shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for many types of chronic soft tissue injuries.

SI Joint Pain and Treatment

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

What are and where are the Sacroiliac Joints?

The sacroiliac joints are 2 large joints in the pelvis that connect the pelvis to the bottom of the spine, or sacrum. These joints are named for their position: sacro (like sacrum) + iliac, or the ilium, which is part of the pelvis. You can find these joints on yourself by finding the dimples at the back and top of your pelvis. Just to the midline and slightly below this are each of your sacroiliac joints. 

In children and adults of childbearing age (<50 years of age), the SI joints naturally rotate as we walk and move. The SI joints also need to be flexible enough to allow for giving birth. However, as we age, the SI joints become stiffer. In one study, 37% of SI joints in men over the age of 50 were so stiff that they had become completely fused. (Brooke R: The sacroiliac joint. J Anat 58:299-305, 1924)

Am I suffering from Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain? What are the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Sacroiliac joint pain, low back pain, and hip pain can be very similar in nature and may be very hard to differentiate from one another. It is thought that SI joint pain can account for 25% of lower back pain cases. (Simopoulos TT, Manchikanti L, Gupta S, Aydin SM, Kim CH, Solanki D, Nampiaparampil DE, Singh V, Staats PS, Hirsch JA. Systematic Review of the Diagnostic Accuracy and Therapeutic Effectiveness of Sacroiliac Joint Interventions. Pain Physician. 2015 Sep-Oct;18(5):E713-56. [PubMed]). 

Typically, sacroiliac joint pain can be pinpointed to one side of the bottom of the spine just to the midline and below the dimples in your pelvis. In fact, the ability to point a finger to this precise area, if painful, is called the Fortin finger test, a fairly reliable indicator of SI joint pain as a pain source. Pain from the SI joints can radiate into the buttock and the upper thigh, but pain typically does not radiate pain below the knee. Demographically, the majority of SI joint problems occur in younger adults, although a smaller proportion of older adults can suffer from SI joint pain as well.

In people suffering from SI joint pain, rolling in bed, lying on the affected side, weight bearing on the affected leg, sitting down on the affected side, and climbing stairs can all be very uncomfortable activities. Sometimes SI joint pain can cause a clunking or clicking feeling to occur in the pelvic region at the bottom of the spine.

What causes Sacroiliac joint Dysfunction? What are the Types of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Most commonly sacroiliac joint dysfunction is seen in younger adults as a problem of hypermobility, or where the joints move too much and cause pain. This is very common after childbirth when the joints of the pelvis are traumatized and stretched to make way for the baby. When the SI joint moves too much, this can cause pain. 

The sacroiliac joints can also move too little and also cause pain. These joints can either be stiff and move less than normal (termed hypomobility), or they can lock out of their normal position and  not be able to move at all (termed subluxed). 

Sometimes muscle imbalance, where certain muscles that attach to the pelvis are too stiff and other muscles that are too weak, can cause the pelvis to be misaligned, function incorrectly and create SI joint pain.

How is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction treated?

Your physiotherapist will assess your lower back, pelvis and hip region to properly diagnose the source of your pain. Once it is determined that your SI joint is problematic, there are several physiotherapy approaches available to give you relief, depending on the type of problem found:

  • Stretching exercises for the lower back, pelvis and hip region
  • Core stability and strengthening exercises
  • Joint mobilization or manipulation
  • Ergonomic or postural advice
  • Use of a sacroiliac joint brace
  • Frictions to trigger points found in tight muscles
  • Acupuncture or dry needling techniques for pain control or to resolve trigger points
  • Electrophysical agents for pain control such as interferential current or ultrasound