“Should I get a massage before or after my adjustment?” This is one of the most common questions I hear from clients. In 90% of the cases, I would say that it doesn’t make much of a difference. While I fully know from experience that massage and chiropractic go hand-in-hand, it is important to ask how they benefit one another and why they work so well together. In doing that, you as the client can decide the best order for you.
Basic physiology shows us that muscle moves bone. When bones are no longer in alignment, it’s important to look at how the musculature around the area is out of balance. Getting the musculature to rebalance is not as easy as one would wish. Various forms of treatment can be used to aid in muscular rebalancing, from gentle kneading of the tissue to pinpoint stretching. While most chiropractors are adept at pinpoint stretching, it is rare that they have the time necessary for less aggressive techniques to do their work, or to be very thorough in addressing the musculature. This is when massage is beneficial.
Typically massage sessions can last from 30-90 minutes in length. Looking only at the most basic forms of massage therapy, the therapist can use a combination of pressing, kneading, traction, compression, and stretching of the muscles to encourage them to release. When there are repetitive stress injuries or patterns, or physical or emotional trauma, other various forms of manual therapy may need to be applied. It is important to know what your massage therapist is trained to do. Regardless of the type of manual therapy your massage therapist uses, studies on the benefits of massage therapy consistently show that it has the ability to release certain neural transmitters that tell the body to relax. To better aid this, it is best to always express any discomfort during your session, as additional tension caused by the work you’re receiving only adds more stress and is less beneficial.
I imagine after envisioning your tight muscles being kneaded and gently worked into pliable tissue, you’re feeling much more relaxed and ready for an adjustment. Hopefully, being more relaxed will assist your chiropractor in getting the bones to shift more smoothly which always translates into a happier nervous system. However, the alternative is also true. When you come in for your massage after your adjustment, it may be simpler for the therapist to aid the muscles in relaxation when the neural input to them is heightened. So, it is truly up to you and how you feel the benefits of both therapies in your body and mind.
For more information on the benefits of massage therapy, you can visit www.abmp.com or www.amta.com, both organizations support massage therapists in their educational pursuits as well as distribute the most recent research done for massage therapy.
This article was provided for Well Beings Chiropractic by Emily Nelson, MA, RMT. She has been providing massage therapy to the Denver/Lakewood area since 1998 and is currently working with Drs. Jacob and Maura Fletcher at Well Beings Chiropractic. For more information on Emily, please visit www.LivingConsciously.MassageThearpy.com