Sylvia Leong is a former healthcare professional who uses her education and experience as a nutritionist and therapeutic personal trainer.
The Benefits of Registered Massage Therapy
“I’ve gotta go,” you announce to your friends who you’ve been visiting at the local coffee house. “I have a massage appointment.” You sip your last few dregs, set down your cup, and pull on your coat.
“No way! Really?”
You glance up from your fastening your buttons to see several of your friends smirking.
“Just a little bit indulgent, don’t you think?”
“No, honestly,” you answer, “I have this neck thing."
Why Is Getting a Massage Good For You?
Sure, receiving a massage feels fantastic and the benefits can last for weeks afterward. But what does a massage really do?
Actually, the physiological effects of massage have been well documented through both historic and contemporary research. Here I discuss why getting a massage from a registered massage therapist is so good for you.
1. Massage Therapy Stretches the Individual Muscle Fibres
As the massage therapist’s hands move over the muscles, the individual muscle fibres experience a slight stretch. This inhibits muscle spasms and encourages circulation.
2. Massage Therapy Increases Circulation to All Tissues
Increased blood flow to the muscles has the effect of delivering life-sustaining nutrients and sweeping away the waste.
Using massage to treat an injured area has the extra benefit of removing waste produced by said injury, and bringing in nutrients that facilitate rebuilding and healing.
3. Massage Therapy Decreases Pain and Speeds Recovery After a Workout
Many of us have suffered through the muscle soreness that flares up within 24 to 48 hours after a workout. Have a massage before you start to feel this pain. You'll experience a decrease in the delayed-onset-muscle-soreness resulting from your workout. As well, your tissue recovery process will be enhanced.
4. Massage Therapy Prevents Injury
Massage is also preventative. Loose muscles allows for increased circulation. Increased circulation will contribute to ease of movement and improve your tissue health. This diminishes the chance of injury.
5. Massage Therapy Restores Ease of Movement
Collagen fibres and elastin fibres are found in varying amounts throughout our soft tissues. Aging and injury cause ongoing cross-linking of both of these fibres. The cross-links are usually laid down in an irregular manner causing us to lose extensibility and resiliency.
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There is a theory that regular massage therapy orients the cross-linking collagen and elastin fibres in a more organized, linear direction. This linear direction is more in keeping with the body’s stress-lines. Thereby leaving the soft-tissue more pliable and mobile.
An even more optimistic school of thought is that massage therapy actually breaks down and rids the soft-tissue of the excess cross-links, thus freeing movement.
Not many studies exist to scientifically prove either of these theories. However, there is a definite release of tension and increased extensibility that comes with receiving a massage. So, although massage therapy cannot actually lengthen your muscles permanently, it definitely sets up your muscles’ readiness to be stretched. In this way, massage therapy dramatically increases the benefits of stretching.
6. Massage Therapy Decreases Cortisol Levels
Stressed out? Unfortunately, stress triggers your body to increase cortisol levels in the bloodstream beyond what is healthy. Over a prolonged period of time, excess cortisol will produce negative effects on your body.
The Negative Effects of Stress:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Decreased bone density
- Decrease in muscle tissue
- High blood pressure
- Lowered immunity
- Lowered inflammatory response
- Increased abdominal fat
- Loss of collagen in the skin and inhibition of further collagen formation
Massage therapy activates your body’s relaxation response. This relaxation response directly reduces cortisol levels in your bloodstream.
7. Massage Therapy Decreases Anxiety and Heightens Mood
Other effects, such as decreased anxiety and heightened mood, are not well understood. However, it is thought that some of the physical and psychological outcomes with massage may be due to the release of endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers!
Registered Massage Therapy is a Regulated Health Care Profession: Information Specific to British Columbia
So how does that benefit you?
In two ways: Your Registered Massage Therapist is both knowledgeable and accountable.
British Columbia’s Registered Massage Therapists are the most extensively trained in North America. Some even argue, the World! Education curriculums are solidly based in accepted medical theory. This includes a thorough study of physiology, anatomy and pathology (diseases and injuries) with a definite bent toward orthopaedics. Practical training includes the treatment of chronic diseases, orthopaedic injuries and the effects of long-term stress.
The standards set out to become a Registered Massage Therapist in B.C.:
- Graduate from an accredited school, meaning the completion of a 2200-hour program (the equivalent of five university semesters)
- Obtain at least 70% on a rigorous two-day provincial examination
- Obtain First Aid and CPR certification
- Supply three letters of reference for personal character
- Pay a hefty fee
- Have a Solemn Declaration notarized
Once the student is accepted and becomes a Registered Massage Therapist, to remain Registered he/she must keep up with continuing education, be insured and abide by:
- The Health Professions Act
- The Human Rights Act
- The PIPEDA and The PIPA
- And the regulations and bylaws of the College of Massage Therapists of B.C., which among other important points include the following:
- The Registrant must act in the best interest of a patient
- Only provide treatment if the Registrant has a reasonable expectation that it will be of benefit to the patient
- A Registrant shall maintain the confidentiality of patient information
This is a serious commitment on the part of each Registered Massage Therapist. As well, serious protection for the public on the part of the College of Massage Therapists of B.C.
Registerd Massage Therapists’ Association of British Columbia
The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association (RMTBC) is non-profit Association for Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia.
College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia
The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia is the regulatory body for registered massage therapists in BC. This governing body protects the public. They act on behalf of all British Columbians to ensure registered massage therapists always deliver safe and effective treatments.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2014 Sylvia Leong
Sylvia Leong (author) from North Vancouver, Canada on July 13, 2014:
Thank you amiebutchko & momsdoworkathome for your comments. I wish you both only the best of massages!
Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on June 27, 2014:
You have me sold! I would love to get a massage today!
Katina Davenport from Michigan on June 26, 2014:
I will be sure to talk to my husband about the benefits. I am blessed. My husband is happy to give me foot massages. But now I think it's time for him to know the benefits of registered massage. It may be more therapeutic.