Why do you get a massage? For most it’s to feel amazing, get pampered or alleviate some ache or pain. Some go for the human contact, others want a holistic guide. Ultimately, we go to relax and feel better. It is a luxury, a costly endeavor, but worth every penny.
Often the massage industry sells unrealistic expectations and false hopes. Chains and businesses deify their therapists and claim benefits beyond their ability and scope. This creates a problem for the massage market. Through a cocktail of falsehoods and ineffective practitioners the public’s faith in our abilities will slowly deteriorate until there is no market to massage.
Where is the problem most often found? If you look closely you will see it within the modalities pushed as continuing education units throughout the community.
What are Modalities
A modality is a massage method employed to achieve a specific result, using branded techniques and underlying theories.
There are many modalities, such as: the Bowen technique, Looyen Work, myofascial realease, Rolfing, Swedish Massage and applied kinesiology. Dozens and dozens of modalities exist and all are equally ineffective and based on make-believe.
What makes them based on make-believe?
Would you like to improve circulation, stimulate your lymph system or increase your body’s ability to fight pathogens? Well look no further! My catchall generic massage modality has you covered!
These claims are made by nearly every massage modality. With a few sciency sounding words they expand the supposed benefits of massage. They attempt to convince the public a massage therapist’s role is equally important as doctors and nurses. Some target people with serious illnesses like cancer, ALS, MS and women suffering with endometriosis. Claiming their modality can treat and sometimes cure these illnesses.
I find these claims deplorable and so should the massage community, but by and large they don’t.
Why don’t they have a problem with it?
Most are so under-educated they don’t understand why these claims are terrible. Others are selfish and will do whatever they can to get an edge and some just don’t care.
The best way to resolve this is to eradicate the modalities, but that will never happen. Instead we can educate the public and future therapists to advocate for themselves and embrace science-based knowledge. Lets start by addressing the actual benefits of massage.
What are the benefits of massage
- It can down regulate the sympathetic nervous system.
- It feels great.
I believe it is natural to search for the truth, and I believe we should reach for the stars. The best way to understand our world and the celestial bodies beyond is with the scientific method. This process has paved the way for society to engineer lifesaving technologies that have saved countless lives.
It is healthy to desire knowledge and to ask why. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to ask why or what science is. Many massage therapists are never taught the scientific method, how to research or critically think. This is a serious problem and it paves the way for pseudo-medicine to continually infest our industry.
What are some claims massage modalities make?
I have created a list of the most common claims made by massage modalities. The lined out entries are those not supported by science-based evidence.
Increases stimulation of the lymph system to increase the body’s ability to fight toxic invaders.
- Improved range of motion.
- Relaxation of injured muscles.
Increased recovery time after exercise.
- Massage has no effect on delayed onset muscle soreness
- Increased joint flexibility.
- Massage has only been proved effective in the treatment of tension headaches.
Reduces post-operative adhesions.
- Only lasers and scalpels have an effect on adhesions.
Reduces scar tissue.
Helps eliminate lactic acid from muscles.
Removes toxins from the body.
An assortment of modalities claims a variety of benefits, here are some.
- You should consult a Medical Doctor, Orthopedic doctor or physical therapist.
- Massage has not been proven to be effective in the elimination of chronic pain.
- Consult your Primary Care physician for a referral.
Pelvic floor dysfunction.
- If you have this disease and need more information visit NVA’s website.
- This video gives great detail into this disease and the treatments available.
Shawn White Blog