Benefits of body work through massage
It was only a few decades ago the health benefits of exercise were discovered and popularized in the U.S. Although the practice of massage therapy has long been a habit of the Eastern culture, in the west it is still widely thought of as a luxury.
According to Vonnie Bixby LMT (licensed massage therapist), people who make a regular practice of getting a massage, experience less pain, bounce back from physical altercations faster and have better overall range of motion.
There are many different methods, or modalities of massage, which appeal to a number of people for varying reasons. Swedish massage, for instance, is a gentle technique used primarily for relaxation. Conversely, deep tissue massage is where trigger points, commonly referred to as knots, are located and worked out by deep touch.
“A therapist,” says Bixby, “always massages (palpates) toward the direction of blood flow to the heart, and never against it.”
The act of stroking toward the heart, she said, is important for circulation, adding that massage improves the circulatory system, as well as lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
One of Bixby’s specialties is lymphatic drainage, which she describes as a gentle, non-invasive, manual technique that has a powerful effect on the body. The lymphatic system is a powerful part of the body’s immune system, helping to fight infections, viruses, bacteria and pathogens. Lymphatic drainage is a manual technique in which the lymph fluids are gently pumped out via massage, increasing elimination of impurities.
Sciatic pain is a common problem, which if persistent can travel from the lower back down the legs. The act of releasing the piriformis muscle can relieve this pain, often without medication, or any invasive methods.
“Much of my practice,” Bixby said, “includes working with trauma, acute injuries and chronic pain, as well as injuries caused by repetition.”
Regular athletes, she said, are likely as in need of massage as weekend warriors (those who take it easy through most of the week and then exert themselves two to four times a month). She describes our flesh as a dough ball on a counter.
“If you leave that dough ball and never work it with your hands, it will set up and become less pliable,” said Bixby, “but if you keep it as malleable as possible, just like your flesh, it will have more give, be more supple, and stay in shape longer.”
Bixby insists that every massage, no matter the therapist, should be tailored to the needs of the person receiving it, since every person’s body is different, requiring custom healing modalities. Her passion, she says, is to help people get out of pain and restore them to pain-free movement and function.
If massage is simply not in a person’s budget, regular stretching is highly recommended as it can be very beneficial.
“You only have one body — one life,” says Bixby. “Take good care of it.”
Contact Bixby at Therapeutic Touch at 10700 Stringfellow Road, unit 70, Bokeelia at 239-333-6111.