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How Therapy Aids in Healing Injuries

by Kimberly Rogers, CR, WCMT and NCMTB

 

Massage Therapy and Reflexology are excellent aids in getting over injury or strain—be it from work or play. When a part of our body, like the knee, becomes stressed or strained, our body releases histamine into the bloodstream to swell the surrounding tissues with fluid. The swelling is designed to protect the area and stop any further injury from taking place. The pain you feel is a side effect of this process and is designed to act as an alarm to get you to STOP what you are doing!

For immediate injury, it is best to apply cold to the area for 10 minutes, then remove for 10 minutes for a period of 24-48 hours. The cold helps to stop the tissues from swelling further. It also stimulates the circulation into the area to remove the swelling. As the swelling decreases, so does the initial pain.

Reflexology is terrific as an immediate therapy to help speed the process of decreasing tissue swelling. A light touch called the "lymphatic sweep" helps the lymph system drain the excess fluid from the injured area. Reflexology treatments can aid in pain reduction and help the body to relax. A relaxed body heals much quicker. Further sessions stimulate the body's nervous system to continue healing the injured area. It also acts as a "re-trainer." When a body part is injured, the nervous system sends those impulses to the brain that make us say "OUCH!" Even after the injury is healed, nerves that lead into that area can still send that same message to the brain. Applying acupressure to the reflexes located on the hands and feet help the body's nervous system understand that there is no further injury to that part of the body.

A follow-up to reflexology is massage therapy. A massage therapist can continue to apply cold and/or heat to the injured area and massage the areas surrounding the injury to decrease tension in the muscles and soft tissues. No massage is applied directly to the injured area. It is best to wait several days before receiving a massage. After the injury has healed, massage therapy is an excellent way to soften and break up any adhesions, muscle knots and scar tissue that the injury may have left behind.

As with all injuries, please consult with your health care provider before proceeding with treatment.




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