Therapists and patients need to learn how to work with the mind-body so we can heal chronic muscle and joint pain. The mind-body creates health, resists disease, withstands stress and continuously renews itself when it is supported with healthy living and holistic therapies.
Patients need to develop self-awareness, self-responsibility and self-support. Positive psychology boosts our ability to heal and become whole. Therapists need to observe the body closely and this means relying on information garnered from thorough palpation of soft tissues.
We need to pay attention to our bodies, to discover how we are limited and stuck in negative habits. You become imprisoned in your body when its muscles and connective tissues thicken, shorten and stiffen. These negative tissue states distort body mechanics and interfere with normal movement.
Disease is not natural nor inevitable. The body is not the dense, stupid material stuff we suppose it to be. The human body is created, governed and controlled by Mind. It is not mechanistic, but open-ended and adaptive. The body continuously responds to both its own inner states and outer environments. The entire nervous system continuously uses feedback from both body and environment to produce the metabolic and structural conditions that support life and health.
What we need is a new view of ourselves. Relying on a mechanistic view of the body, physical medicine applies machines, equipment, electricity and chemicals to intervene in chronic muscle and joint pain. The results are poor. Chronic musculoskeletal pain is rampant in America. Most people depend on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs which have long-term side-effects.
Medical massage is holistic and works with the body’s innate intelligence. Proven manual therapies restore contact, touch, relationship and caring…the elements of being human…. to the art of healing. The therapist and the client work closely together with the body to create positive changes in structure and physiology.
Continuing research on the effectiveness of hands-on manipulation in the treatment of muscle and joint pain shows that touch and scientific manipulation of the body can improve not only structure, but also physiology and states of mind.
A skilled medical massage therapist can help re-train and re-program the body by giving the mind-body new experiences of itself…by giving new sensations, new input and opportunities for tissue re-organization.
Bodywork can help you become more flexible, better balanced, better integrated, and more responsive on both the physical and the mental levels of being. Bodywork can help move you out of old, fixed, negative perceptions of yourself. This leads to awareness of your human potential and a chance to create new patterns of expressing and experiencing yourself.
Massage techniques along with other manual therapy modalities are amazing in restoring painless movement.
- People with deformities live more comfortably in their bodies.
- Surgeries are averted.
- Medications are eliminated.
- Chronic pain diminishes or disappears.
- Degenerative joint diseases slow down or reverse.
- Anxiety, stress and depression subside.
- Joyful creative living emerges.
- All of this potential benefit is available without the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
Medical massage educates you about yourself and the states of your body. It facilitates positive change. When you move around day after day with your same old stiff, painful and inflexible body, you actually see your self as inflexible, aging and losing ability. Bodywork helps you experience new states of being. “I haven’t breathed this easily in years…my body hasn’t felt this good in a long time …I feel like I’ve grown a foot taller.”
The highest purpose of manual therapy is to break-up mental, emotional, sensory and motor patterns that are self-limiting. The real problems that cause pain and inhibit movement are addressed. Manual therapies can be highly individualistic, safe, effective and respectful to both person and body. Manual therapies stimulate the body to heal itself. All therapists and physicians should work with the body and never against it.
Joan N. Sloss, Ed.D. LMT
Orthopedic & Medical Massage Therapist
Healing Unleashed, LLC