• First Hands Health

Massage and Medicine

Massage is actually more than just “feeling good”. It is a treatment, prevention, or therapy for a myriad of medical conditions and is part of a well-structured health and wellness plan. When it feels like your body is failing you and time is waging a war against your to-do list, massage therapy can give you immediate relief and also offer longer-lasting effects so that you can operate in optimal condition amidst the ubiquitous stressors of work, home, kids, aging parents, social media, basically…life. Massage has been proven to reduce anxiety, stress, pain, and muscle tension associated with chronic medical conditions and acute injuries. It helps to improve productivity at work and home, promotes the release of endorphins in your body, and when done regularly, gives you an overall sense of peace and well-being.

Each massage has to be customized to each client – there is no way around that, no shortcuts.

No two mothers caring for their babies are alike. A new mom’s body is adjusting to the trauma and hormonal changes of pregnancy and delivery, whether vaginal or caesarean, and spends upwards of 12 hours a day hunched over a growing newborn who feeds every 2-3 hours, finding that it’s not easy as some parenting magazines make it look. Posterior trapezius muscles are stretched while anterior pectorals are overworked constantly, firing nonstop. Another new mom is running after her toddler while also tending to the baby is constantly moving, perhaps when her body is not yet ready for so much activity after delivery, but society and insurance companies tell her that she needs to bounce back pronto.

No two injuries are alike – two people just ran a 10-miler, but one’s knee pain originates from that joint’s arthritis but another’s is from tight gluteal muscles after months of training.

No two people suffering from pain due to chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis are alike. One is experiencing intermittent dystonia (prolonged contraction of a particular muscle or increased muscle tone that results in abnormal posturing or a muscle spasm) in their feet while another is experiencing painful dyskinesias (rhythmic contraction of large muscle groups, often described as a rolling or writhing motion). Both are common in Parkinson’s but cause different types of pain quality and duration. In Multiple Sclerosis, muscles become fatigued and the body exhausts its reserves daily. Over time, this leads to many other conditions, like depression.

As a physician, my interest not only lies in where you are hurting, but also the reason for it. Familiarity with medicine and medications is key sometimes in figuring out how someone could benefit from massage as part of their overall treatment plan. Not many massage practitioners have the background and knowledge in to incorporate massage modalities in one’s medical treatment plan for either acute or chronic conditions.

I decided to make the leap from physician to massage therapist to make that possible because I saw first-hand how applying manual medicine, which I learned back in osteopathic medical school, can be a treatment modality for a chronic illness.

When you are treated by me, I look to your own anatomy (muscles, skin, and bones) and physiology (your organ systems) to figure out how manual therapy (e.g. massage) can catalyze your body’s innate ability to heal itself.