There’s little question that a massage just plain feels good, which is likely why 28% of women and 26% of men in the United States avail themselves of this fantastic wellness tool. But massages can extend far past a soothing hour and promote joint health, which is good news for the more than 92 million Americans with some degree of joint pain and inflammation.
At Stamford Spine, Dr. Brian Murphy and our team specialize in massage therapy, as well as chiropractic care, to help our clients move with ease.
Here, we explore one technique, in particular — deep tissue massage — and how it can support your joint health in several ways.
Supporting those tissues that support your joints
Put simply, joints are where bones come together, and you have hundreds in your body. Much of the heavy lifting, however, is done by major joints, such as your knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, wrists, and the series of facet joints in your back and neck.
Supporting the meeting of the bones and holding everything together are the all-important connective tissues, which include:
Muscles alone account for about 40% of your total body weight, and there are more than 600 muscles in your body.
We take this brief dive into anatomy to underscore the first reason why deep tissue massage is so effective at promoting joint health — we work on the tissues that directly support your joints.
The effects of massage
Our licensed massage therapists are well-versed in the anatomy described above, so we know which tissues to target if you’re experiencing stiffness, discomfort, or loss of range of motion.
For example, if you’re worried about your knee joints, we focus on the tissues surrounding your knees, such as quads and hamstrings. By releasing the tension in these muscle groups, they don’t pull as much on your tendons, which are connective tissues that attach bone to muscle.
In addition to releasing muscle tension, deep-tissue massage also encourages circulation. With improved blood flow to your tissues, your body recovers and regenerates more quickly thanks to the free flow of healing resources.
Deep tissue massage can also help to lower cortisol hormones in your body (stress hormones), which is vital because these hormones can lead to system-wide inflammation. By reducing cortisol and allowing more productive hormones to take over, such as dopamine, you can reduce inflammation to promote better flexibility and range of motion.
To emphasize how effective massage therapy can be, let’s look at a study of people with knee osteoarthritis. The participants who had regular massage therapy fared better than those who only had light touch therapy in the short term. The study reported “improved pain, stiffness, and physical function” in the group who had massage therapy.
To experience for yourself how deep tissue massage can improve your joint health, we invite you to contact our Stamford, Connecticut office by calling (203) 202-3151 or using our online booking feature to schedule an appointment.