Booking a massage with a qualified therapist can ease the tension and pain from sitting or sports injuries and can improve your mood. Photo: Shutterstock. A good massage may sound a bit indulgent or unnecessary, but the benefits of massage as a form of alternative therapy are well documented. Apart from allowing ourselves some time out from our busy and stressful schedules, massage is able to counteract all the sitting we are doing. Especially since working from home has increased for many people and fewer of us are out and about as we observe social distancing recommendations. We all tend to deal with some sort of postural stress in our shoulders and necks from sitting or sleeping in the wrong position. A massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting and could also help the pain or weakness we develop in our lower backs from prolonged periods of sitting. If you have sore muscles from sport or injury, a massage is ideal for improving the circulation that helps remove the aches and pains of the day. One of the surprising benefits of regular massage is that it can help soothe anxiety and depression. Human touch, that is safe, friendly and professional can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage. Not only do benefits of massage encourage a restful sleep, it also helps those who can't otherwise comfortably rest. Massage promotes relaxation and sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy and can help babies sleep more, cry less and be less stressed, according to research from the University of Warwick. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients' white blood cell count, which plays a large role in defending the body from disease. Additionally, it also "improves immune function for individuals with HIV." Try a professional massage the next time a headache hits. Massage decreases the frequency and severity of tension headaches. Researchers from Granada University in Spain found a single session of massage therapy immediately affects perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches. A number of promising trials show massage therapy can help alleviate the pain caused by osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Hypertension has also been shown to respond well to massage therapy.
Back up your spinal health with experts TREAT IT: With sedentary lifestyles common, plus the impact of COVID-19 now is the time to take care of your spinal health. Photo: Shutterstock People are working from home now more than ever due to COVID-19 and that coupled with limits on social activites can translate into a lot of time in front of the TV or at a desk. These types of sedentary activities affect postural fitness which can lead to lower back pain, headaches and neck pain. It's important to take time to ensure your spinal health as well as your overall wellbeing. Regardless of your level of fitness, if you are experiencing these kinds of problems, you should visit your local practitioner sooner rather than later. Your local physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath can help you make positive changes for good spinal function, reducing pain, and maintaining a healthy posture. Placing importance on good spinal health and function, alleviating pain, improving posture and mobility, and living a healthy lifestyle, can lead to improvements in overall performance. Some of the things you can do right now to help include building core strength, maintaining posture and stretching regularly. Deep core muscles provide stability to the body. Core strength also improves protection of the spine as well as maintaining good spinal alignment. Making sure you are stretching every two hours, rolling your shoulders to loosen muscles, using a back support, and staying hydrated and upright will also be of great benefit. Research shows that back and neck pain can be resolved when normal function is restored to the spine. When under proper control of your nervous system, all cells, tissue and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. If you have suffered an injury such as a ligament sprain or muscle strain, physiotherapy treatment augments the body's normal healing process and will speed the recovery of a strong tissue repair. Regaining muscle control and strength is always a focus of treatment because it will reduce the recurrence of symptoms. Physiotherapy treatment can involve a combination of joint mobilisation, massage, exercises, stretches, dry needling, strapping, advice and electrotherapy machines.