Chiropractic care and massage therapy go together like peanut butter and jelly. The two practices complement each other perfectly to pave the way towards substantial improvement in both mental and physical health.
Utilizing both these therapies together leads to physical improvements such as enhanced flexibility, decreased muscle tension, a better range of motion, and improved stress management and blood pressure. They also serve to create a sense of well being and peace of mind, as well as inner balance. However, within this context, it is important to remember every single person is unique, and needs their own individually tailored program to combine the two efficiently.
How are the Two Practices Different?
There are distinct differences between massage and chiropractic practice. Massage is usually carried out for anywhere between half an hour to an hour. The subject will undress according to their own comfort level, and be massaged with lotions or massage oils. The massage therapist will address your muscle and skeletal condition using techniques like stretching and gentle kneading to relieve tight joints and tender tissues. They may also use gentle long strokes in order to help alleviate acute or chronic pain syndromes. An important distinction between the two practices is, massage therapists will not manipulate joints the way chiropractors will.
Chiropractic practice, by contrast, will rarely last for longer than 20 minutes. The technique attempts to correct what is terms a vertebral subluxation. Meaning a joint with abnormally pulling muscle on either side, loss degree of movement, or whose neurological function has been altered.
The chiropractor will apply a firm pressure to the area of the vertebral subluxation, and correct the joint in order to restore proper function to the nerve. Chiropractic practitioners may also include palliative therapies like electric stimulation, ice, heat, cold laser therapy, mechanical traction and/or ultrasound.
Another point of difference between chiropractic and massage therapy is the use of manual therapy by the former. Chiropractors may employ manual therapy through trigger point work or active release. Trigger point work refers to the localization and compression of one portion of the dysfunctional muscle to restore function. Active release involves the shortening of the muscle, followed by the return of the muscle to its normal plane of action. This strips any muscle adhesions clean from the muscle, thus ridding it of what was causing restriction and tightness.
Physical Benefits of both Chiropractic & Massage
The following are some of the physical benefits both chiropractic and massage therapy have:
- Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments
- Reduces pain & swelling
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Reduced formation of adhesions
- Improves circulation of blood and lymph
- Relieves tension and strain of whiplash related injuries
- Helps reduce headaches
- Promotes deeper and easier breathing
- Strengthens immune function
- Improves posture
How they work together
The two practices, when utilized together, can correct the nervous system, improve joint mobility, and decrease tension in the muscle, fascia and ligaments.
The best way to incorporate both therapies is by getting a massage an hour before the chiropractic adjustment. Once your muscles are relaxed, your joints will be able to move far more freely.