If you've recently injured yourself, your doctor may have recommended physical therapy (PT) to help you regain your strength and range of motion. You may want to seek out a holistic physical therapist since holistic PT addresses how your injury has affected your entire body—physically and mentally. Holistic health providers are also open to a wide variety of treatments. For example, your physical therapist may incorporate massage therapy into your treatment. Read on to see how massage can improve your physical therapy experience.
Massage Can Help You Tackle the Challenges of PT
Patients that undergo physical therapy may experience a bit of pain during muscle exercises or balance exercises. Thankfully, massage helps to increase your endorphin levels, which are hormones that reduce the perception of pain. If you have a lower pain perception, you may feel better able to conquer your goals during PT.
Besides reducing physical pain, massage therapy can help you overcome the mental concerns you may have during physical therapy, such as if you are making progress quickly enough. Recovery is a stressful time; and, depression is a common side effect after surgery. However, studies have shown that massage therapy can reduce stress-related hormones, like cortisol.
Massage Helps You Heal More Quickly After PT Exercises
Massage therapy helps muscle tissue heal more efficiently at a cellular level. During one study, researchers looked at how massage helped people's legs during physical therapy. People who didn't undergo massage therapy tended to have more inflammation and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after their workout. People who had massages after a workout had less inflammation. The same study showed that people who had massages also had mitochondrial biogenesis, meaning that their muscles used energy more efficiently.
Massage Helps Break Up Scar Tissue So You Can Properly Stretch
While the development of scar tissue is important as you heal, one problem that scar tissue can cause is decreased mobility. For instance, if you had a shoulder injury and your arm needed to be immobilized, then you could've developed adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder makes the shoulder joint's tissue too thick to move the arm properly.
Some physical therapists may use massage modalities during your sessions to help you break up scar tissue. For instance, a physical therapist may use active-release therapy or myofascial release therapy, where sustained pressure is applied to tight muscles to break up tissue adhesions. When scar tissue is broken up, you'll be better able to stretch and do strengthening exercises without risking further injury.
Reach out to a holistic physical therapist in your area to learn more about how massage can be incorporated into and improve your PT sessions. Holistic physical therapy may be better to treat your injuries.