Acupuncture and Massage
The combination of acupuncture and massage is a powerful method of treatment. Research has shown that both acupuncture and massage individually are excellent for the reduction of pain and muscle spasm, but combining the treatments can enhance the effects.
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 70 conditions, diseases and symptoms that acupuncture treats. Here, we will discuss how the combination of massage and acupuncture can be substantially helpful in the treatment of orthopedic, pain, and sports injuries.
Massage therapy aids in the recovery of soft tissue conditions such as muscle spasm, muscle tightness, tissue restriction and scar tissue, as well as imbalances in the positioning of body parts relative to other body parts, muscle weakness, and synergistic or opposing muscles or muscle groups. Massage therapy mobilizes tissues that may require separation from other tissues in the form of scars, tissue adhesions and potential contractures. There is no substitute for the direct impact of working locally on these issues with massage.
Just like massage therapy, acupuncture is excellent at pain relief and decreasing muscle spasm. Acupuncture improves blood flow to an area, pushing out fluids that may contain chemicals that cause pain and discomfort.
An acupuncture treatment can enhance a massage therapy session in several ways. Acupuncture needles can work into deeper tissues, such as the multifidus muscles in the spine, which no fingers, elbows, or palms can access. Acupuncture can also directly influence nerves and blood vessels with greater impact.
A perfect example of a patient benefiting from both massage and acupuncture is the treatment of a previous injury where the tissues are “stuck” and immobile. The patient experiences low-grade pain or tightness regardless of how much the individual stretches. Here, massage techniques can work to loosen up scar tissue. Then, acupuncture can work onmanipulating muscle tone and improving blood flow to the area. This moves chemicals that may have pooled due to the scar tissue. The increased blood flow also brings nutrients to the area which positively impact healing. If the scar tissue is deep, acupuncture can access those tissues to augment the work the soft tissue techniques have accomplished, additionally loosening up the scar.
If one treatment or another has provided limited results, give both treatments a try. Book a massage and an acupuncture treatment one after the other, and maximize your pain relief.
Pearl Chang Russell practices as a licensed acupuncturist in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, TX and has a Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Pearl’s source of inspiration is her grandmother whose wealth of experience spans over 50 years in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.