For those dancers or students of the ballet out there, or even those readers that are physically active I thought I would start producing a Health Series covering topics from natural health up to supplements or nutrition. I am not a trained physiotherapist or health professional and the information that I will publish will be based on personal research. I am not a substitute for a qualified professional, however I can offer advice from a personal stand-point. Always seek out a professional opinion in addition to your own research.
I thought I would cover the topic of remedial massage to begin our Health Series. From personal experience, I have had issues with excessive muscle tension in my neck. This has produced symptoms that vary in severity based on how tense my neck muscles become. For the past four months I've had baffling experiences from dizziness to headaches to fatigue to tender neck muscles. My Doctor advised me to seek out a masseuse. At first I thought this was ludicrous. How could excessive muscle tension produce those symptoms? To me, it didn't make sense. Until I saw a qualified Bowen and Emmett therapist as well as Remedial Masseuse.
Professional dancers, footballers and athletes all see qualified masseuse from time to time - to help them release tension, get at niggling mucles knots and in some cases, to assist their recovery from injury. Anyone can benefit from a good masseuse - even someone who just works from 9-5 sitting in front of the computer all day, because believe it or not, even sitting stationary for long periods of time can produce tight muscles! For me, I believe the source of my neck tension goes as far back as my years training as a ballet dancer. I remember as if it was only yesterday when my teacher would say to me, "Jacquelyne, your neck is too tense - you have too much tension there." Without even knowing it, I had been carrying that tension in that area for all that time. To this day, despite seeing a remedial masseuse I cannot tell if my neck is tense or not! It must be from years and years of carrying that tension that the feeling has suddenly registered as "normal". Aggrevated by stress, it's no wonder my body was screaming at me to get it seen to.
There are different types of massage out there and there are many different places that you can go. From my experience, you are best to ask for a referal from your Doctor as they will probably know a good qualified masseuse - and you will want to see a good one so that they can pay extra attention to the areas that you feel need to be worked at.
Remedial massage has many other benefits apart from loosening tense muscles. Other benefits include:
- Relieving muscle tension and joint strain
- Strengthening the immune system
- Reduces muscle spasms, cramps and can aid in relieving pinched nerves
- Increases blood supply and nutrition to your muscles
- Prevents muscular atrophy
- Reduces swelling, contusions and joint inflammation
- Assists with lymphatic circulation
Medical conditions that remedial massage can assist with include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Above all else, remedial massage can make you relax. There's nothing better than walking out after a one hour session feeling as though you are literally walking on air.
Dependent upon the masseuse you see they will employ different techniques dependent on the area that needs to be treated. They can be deep tissue, myofacial or trigger point therapies. Other therapies may include Bowen Therapy or Emmett Technique.
Bowen therapy was developed in Victoria, Australia by Tom Bowen and it focuses on pain relief through soft tissue and fascia release techniques. Emmett Technique can be used inconjunction or separately based ont he therapist that you see. Emmett Technique involves pressure points as the source of releasing tension. Both therapies are beneficial in pain relief.
Whatever the reason, whether it is excessive muscle tension in the neck, tight muscles or simply as a source of relaxation, a visit to a qualified masseuse does wonders. It is worth investigating especially if you are someone training at a professional level either in sport or the arts. It can be a complimentary therapy or it can be something that becomes part of your monthly body maintenance. Either way, respect and treat your body well, and it will pump out those triple pirouettes for you or run that marathon.