Manual & Massage Therapy
Are you suffering from pain as a result of injury, illness, or surgical procedure? If so, it is likely that you would benefit from physical therapy. If you are apprehensive, let us ease your mind a bit:
We receive many first-time physical therapy patients who come in thinking their treatments will be painful, uncomfortable, or even agonizing due to the condition they are in. However, that is not the case at all! Our Freehold physical therapists have several tools in their arsenal that are meant to relieve your pain, while simultaneously improving your body’s function. Are you looking to ease some discomfort and heal at the same time? If so, contact REHABILITY today to set up a consultation!
How does manual therapy work?
Manual therapy is just one tool in a physical therapist’s kit that allows them to manipulate joints and soft tissue with nothing more than their hands. This specialized form of treatment helps in reducing swelling, decreasing restriction, mobilizing joints, and increasing your range of motion. In order to achieve this, our physical therapist will manipulate different parts of your body through massage and stretching.
Are there different types of manual physical therapy?
Physical therapy techniques may include, but are not limited to:
- Manual traction
- When our Freehold physical therapists perform manual traction, they will apply gentle force to a certain area of the body, in order to stretch it out. The most common area that manual traction is performed on is the neck. To treat neck pain with manual traction, our Freehold physical therapists will have you lie down on your back, and then they will gently take the base of your skull in one hand and your chin in the other, thus lightly stretching the spaces between your vertebrae. This is typically done for 5-10 seconds at a time. While the neck is the most common area for manual traction, it can also be performed on other parts of the body, including the arms, legs, and back.
- Physical therapy massage treatments are a little different than those you might see at a spa. These are meant to be more therapeutic in nature, rather than relaxing. Our Freehold physical therapists use massage treatments as a way to manipulate the soft tissues, working to break up scar tissue and adhesions caused by inflammation or injury. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing them to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted.
- When you experience severe pain after sustaining an injury, it is usually the result of a restricted joint. Our Freehold physical therapists are trained in loosening restricted joints by applying pressure at a low velocity. Mobilization and manipulation techniques are safe, effective, and painless, allowing for an increase in your range of motion, and the breakdown of the joint’s barrier.
- Lymphatic drainage
- A major concern for those who undergo surgical procedures is the possibility of lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in the arms and legs, due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. Our Freehold physical therapists can perform manual lymphatic drainage by applying light pressure (similar to a massage) on the affected arm or leg, in order to encourage the drainage of fluid, also known as lymph. Lymphatic drainage is typically followed by compression, in order to reduce swelling.
How safe is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is very safe! One of the greatest aspects of manual therapy is that it is non-invasive. It also doesn’t require any harmful medications. Instead, our Freehold physical therapists use a variety of techniques that help move your tendons, ligaments, and joints in ways that relieve pain and promote healing. They also help in reducing scar tissue and minimizing swelling.
Our Freehold physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals who understand the limitations of your body, as well as its capabilities. In fact, many patients notice improvement after just one session of manual therapy!
How will manual therapy fit into my treatment plan?
Our Freehold physical therapists are highly trained in diagnosing and treating movement disorders. These disorders often occur following surgery, especially if a patient has undergone total joint replacement. However, many physicians will also prescribe physical therapy treatments for injuries, accidents, or illnesses – essentially, anything that makes you feel weak and unable to function at your normal physical levels.
Your treatment plan will likely include several different therapies, all aimed at helping a specific function of your body. Some exercises may focus on improving your balance and strength, while others may focus on increasing your range of motion. Manual therapy is a crucial part of a treatment plan, as it helps to reduce pain and swelling, minimize inflammation, and increase range of motion. If you are interested in gaining the many benefits of manual therapy, contact REHABILITY today! Our dedicated physical therapists will be happy to meet with you get you moving once again.
What is therapeutic massage?
When you consult with a physical therapist, you can expect to receive a combination of physical therapy services that are either active (where you, as the patient, perform specific tasks) or passive (where treatment focuses on you receiving care rather than you participating in it). Both have highly valuable benefits for acute or chronic health conditions, especially when provided in conjunction with each other.
One of the most beneficial types of passive treatment we offer at our physical therapy clinic is massage therapy. That’s right: physical therapists (not just massage therapists) are explicitly trained in therapeutic massage and can use it to your direct benefit (and who knew massage therapy could potentially be covered by your health insurance)?
Therapeutic massage involves a wide range of explicit manual techniques (delivered by your physical therapist’s hands) that can be used to target specific tissues in your body, including muscles, fascia, lymph nodes, joints, and tendons. Techniques include deep tissue, Swedish, or even pressure point massage:
- Deep tissue is beneficial to athletes and anyone who needs to relieve tension in their deep musculature
- Swedish massage is more gentle and targets more superficial tissues, perfect for anyone looking to relax and relieve mental as well as physical stress
- Pressure point massage is effective for relieving tender points within the body’s fascial tissue (which protectively encases connective tissue much like the casing of sausage!)
Who is massage therapy for?
Everyone from young toddlers to seniors can benefit from massage therapy. This technique offers a variety of benefits that’s truly safe for just about anyone.
Specific benefits of therapeutic massage include:
- Improved circulation and lymphatic drainage
- Accelerated healing
- Reduced swelling and inflammation
- Improved range of motion
- Reduced pain
- Decreased adhesions and scar tissue formation
- Decreased stress
- Improved mood
We use therapeutic massage to help people manage or recover from a wide range of conditions, including fibromyalgia, back and neck pain, arthritis, migraines, diabetic nerve pain, sports and auto-accident related injuries, and even psychological disorders including anxiety and depression (since mental and emotional stress is often neurologically carried into and stored in physical tissues). A professional massage provided by a physical therapist can even ease the effects of chemotherapy and can hasten the healing process in post-surgical patients.
What should I expect during my therapeutic massage treatment?
The first thing you should expect when you come to visit our Freehold clinic for a physical therapy appointment is a thorough examination and patient history questionnaire. We ask that all our patients visit us in comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. If massage therapy is deemed an appropriate part of your plan of care, then we’ll be sure to position you in a comfortable position seated or lying down (depending on the target treatment area). Your dignity and privacy is important to us, so you can rest assured you’ll always be appropriately covered if certain articles of clothing need to be moved so that our therapists can appropriately access the target tissue (whether in the spine or limbs).
During a massage, your therapist may also use oils or special lotions with essential oils added to them. Aromatic essential oils are used to enhance the benefits of the massage by stimulating the sense of smell, enhancing neurological involvement. The combination of aromatherapy, gentle touch, and fluid movements can truly maximize the beneficial effects of each individual treatment.
At our Freehold clinic, our therapists can talk to you about anything you may be experiencing and work with you in a coordinated way to encourage healing on all levels and help you gain a deeper understanding of your body and what’s happening with it. We’re not just concerned with symptom relief; we want to identify and resolve the underlying cause (or causes) of your symptoms so that your healing will be more complete and longer lasting.
Are you wondering if massage therapy is right for you? (Hint: it probably is.) Contact REHABILITY in Freehold today to schedule an initial appointment with an experienced physical therapist today.