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What Type of Massage is Best for You? Here’s What You Should Consider.

chiropractor wilmington ncOnce upon a time, people thought about massage as a luxury—a service available only to well-to-do clients at luxury spas or elite sports clubs. These days, though, you can find massage offered in the workplace, in airports, in hospitals, and in health clinics. The benefits of massage have been so well-established through research that your medical doctor or chiropractor may even refer you to a massage therapist as an integral part of their overall treatment plans. Massage has been found to be beneficial for treating anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, digestive disorders, insomnia related to stress and a wide range of soft tissue injuries, including those caused by auto, work and sports accidents. And that’s a conservative list. Besides, massage feels good. So what do you need to know about massage before having one?

Some Basic Facts About Massage

Massage is a very general term for rubbing, pressing, kneading, and manipulating your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin for health-related reasons. Many massage therapists use only their hands and fingers for massage, but others may perform specialized forms of massage that use their forearms, elbows, or even their feet. The force used during the massage can vary from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many styles of massage, including:

  • Swedish Massage – This gentle form of massage uses long strokes and kneading, deep circular movements, tapping, and vibration to relax and energize the patient. It is an effective way to relax after a long, stressful week, but research indicates it has health value as well because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol and improves your immune system performance.
  • Deep Tissue Massage – This massage type is considered best for relieving deep knots in the muscles and freeing up trapped tissue structures that may be restricting movement, so if you’re looking for a calm, relaxing massage, this type should probably not be your first choice. The masseur applies deep pressure to dig deep into muscles to release trigger points and improve mobility.
  • Sports Massage – Masseurs who specialize in sports massage can help you heal from sports-related injuries or actually improve your sports performance.
  • Trigger Point Massage – This form of massage focuses on identifying and releasing areas of tightly bound muscle fibers that can form in your body after injury or overexertion.
  • Shiatsu Massage – This type of massage comes from Japan, where the title means “finger pressure.” True to its name, practitioners of this type of massage barely touch the patient, applying gentle pressure to areas considered pressure points or “tsubo,” with the goal of promoting natural healing and improving energy flow.

There are many other specialized types of massage, of course, but the above list covers most general types. As for what you should look for in a massage therapist, the magic words are qualifications and communication. The process for licensing, registering, or certifying massage therapists varies from city to city and state to state, but your prospective massage therapist should be proud to tell you about their training, credentials and experience. Similarly, they should be forthcoming about their approach and willing to offer references from other patients or clients.

Naturally, any massage therapist you are considering should also welcome practical questions such as “How many sessions do you think I will need?” and “How much will it cost, and is it covered by my health insurance?” One of the best ways to find a good massage therapist is to ask your chiropractor. Doctors of chiropractic often work in conjunction with highly-qualified massage therapists, and thus can refer you to professionals whose work they trust.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care in the Workplace: What Managers Should Know

It can be really tough owning or managing a business. Not only do you have to worry about making a profit, you also have to look after the welfare of your most important resource, your employees. Your business, after all, is dependent on them being healthy enough to come to work, and to work productively while they’re there. So most businesses these days view their employee healthcare costs as an investment, a way of keeping the company healthy by keeping employees healthy. The challenge for managers is how to keep these healthcare costs as low as possible.

With this in mind, the findings of a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine are encouraging, because they suggest that one way to enhance your employees’ wellness while reducing costs is to offer on-site chiropractic care.

How on-site chiropractic care lowered several companies’ health care costs

In the study, conducted between 2010 and 2012, the cost of care was tracked for 1,635 employees who received chiropractic care. About half of the employees received their care from off-site providers, while the other half received treatment from chiropractic offices established on-site, in the workplace itself. The company was willing to make this investment in chiropractic care because it has been shown to deliver effective treatment for musculoskeletal conditions, which are the primary cause of disability in the workplace.

The researchers found that, while both groups of workers received chiropractic care, the on-site group required fewer visits than the group traveling to off-site chiropractors. The on-site group also required fewer expensive diagnostic imaging tests (38% on-site vs. 56% off-site) and X-rays (27% on-site vs. 46% off-site). The off-site group required more office visits for treatment and physical therapy than the on-site group, and they also logged more visits to the emergency room. As a result, the study authors reported that chiropractic care “demonstrated significant improvements in headache, neck pain, and low back pain functional status in patients utilizing on-site services over a short time frame while still showing lower utilization and cost outcomes than community-based care,” and that “This study demonstrates that users of on-site chiropractic services have lower health care utilization than those who obtain their care at off-site community care centers.”

In a similar study at Anheuser-Busch brewing company in Peoria, IL, on-site chiropractic care provided in workplace wellness centers significantly improved care for workers who spend most of their time moving heavy cases and kegs of beer. Study authors reported that “In the two years since it was implemented, the number of employee sick days has declined by 22 percent, while the accident rate has been cut in half. Consequently, the company’s workers’ compensation costs have experienced a dramatic reduction, with premiums declining by more than 25 percent.”

These and other studies make a clear case for the establishment of on-site chiropractic clinics in workplaces because it provides employees more convenient access to safe, effective care for musculoskeletal conditions. Since it reduces employees’ pain and disability, it improves both their productivity and their job satisfaction. Plus it leads to lower overall healthcare costs for the company in the long run. In short, providing on-site chiropractic services has been found to benefit the workforce as well as employers in a variety of important ways—it’s a “win-win” investment for companies looking to improve productivity and reduce expenses.