Let's be honest with each other.
The truth is, there is no reliable research that says massage therapy is an answer to the great mystery that is pain. The studies that have been done are inadequate. At best, they have found that massage therapy can be effective but they aren't sure why.
And this isn't a popular opinion to hold as a massage therapist! Many in the industry make claims about our techniques and abilities that come close to being outside our scope of practice and completely unfounded. And knowing all of this, I market my company on the platform of "massage for pain relief". I hire therapists that are skilled at techniques taught to reduce pain. But pain is complicated. The body and the brain act together in ways that the scientific community has JUST BEGUN to understand.
What is an effective massage to alleviate chronic pain? Is it trigger point? Is it deep tissue? (Can you tell me the difference between those two? And while I'm asking, do you know the difference between a sports massage and a deep tissue massage? What about a therapeutic massage?) Massage techniques that work for you may not be the best fit for your friend. Pain is different in all of us. Our brains process it differently; which means we experience it differently. And just the same, each massage therapist has been trained differently; applies pressure differently.
The one thing that I know for sure? When you come in for your appointment we won't make false claims. I believe massage can be a great tool for managing pain. I have experienced it myself; our clients have experienced it. If you've been dealing with pain and aren't sure what to do.. massage therapy is a great place to start. And while the studies typically say "more research is needed", results do show that massage therapy may be beneficial for those experiencing pain.
This is the philosophy that drives The Massage Connection. Deep tissue, myofascial, trigger point, sports massage, therapeutic massage.. call it what makes you comfortable. The point is, we will do everything we know how to bring you as much pain relief as we can; immediate, temporary.. we'll do our best to get you the results you're looking for. If we can't help you, we have many connections and are happy to refer you to trusted partners.
*At The Massage Connection, we choose to use the term "Therapeutic Massage". Therapeutic literally means "related to healing" and we believe it's a great umbrella term. We tailor each service to fit the individual - so when you book your appointment online, you don't have to be confused by a huge menu of choices. "Relaxation+Recovery" is the term used for my signature service I have created over my 11 years of being a massage therapist. It's also a way to separate me, the owner, from my staff of massage therapists.
Want to read up on some of the massage studies? A simple Google search will give you many options.. this is one of them.
Erin Conner is a massage therapist and owner of The Massage Connection and Erin Kathleen Spa - both located in Frisco, TX. She's a runner, cyclist, dabbles in power tools, and has her own experience with chronic low back pain.