A combination of chiropractic medicine and massage therapy can provide more healthy solutions than you might think.
Chiropractic and massage therapy are two very different modes of alternative medicine, but the fact that they can work in tandem has meant that more and more chiropractic offices are also beginning to bring in licensed massage therapists. Whether you’re interested in a massage, chiropractic or both, there are a few things to know before you make your first appointment. Together, or separately, both chiropractic and massage can have a tremendous impact on your health.
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), chiropractic is a form of health care that focuses on the musculoskeletal systems and nervous systems and their effects on general health. Chiropractic care is most often used to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints including (but not limited to) back pain, neck pain, pain in the arms or legs, and headaches. “Chiropractic is the art and science of removing nerve interference from the nervous system,” says Dr. Jesse Liebman of the Liebman Wellness Center in Marlton. “The analogy to the nervous system is like a circuit breaker in your house. When you are under stress, you can blow a fuse. The chiropractic approach helps restore any type of interference with the nervous system and get things operating correctly again.”
“It’s a natural form of achieving optimal health without using drugs or surgery,” adds Dr. Dean Insana, founder and president of Dr. Insana’s Wellness Center, LLC in Cherry Hill. “Traditionally, we’ve been known as back doctors, but what we really do is take care of the nervous system. We see things like sciatica, headaches, neck pain, carpal tunnel, hip pain and more.”
Of course, many who are new to the idea of chiropractic care are skeptical or even afraid. Insana says it largely comes down to a fear of the unknown. “Once people come to my office and learn what chiropractic is really all about, they’re never afraid to come back,” he adds. “It’s safer than taking medication. When you go to the drugstore and pick up a prescription, you usually get a lengthy printout that discusses all the possible side effects. Some of those are pretty scary.”
Liebman adds that most people are scared of the “cracking noise” when it comes to going to the chiropractor, but he says modern instrumentation has changed that. “About 50 percent of my patients enjoy the old style of adjustment where you hear that popping sound,” he says. “But for the other half, we only use spinal adjusting instruments with no popping or cracking noises. That fear is no longer an issue with today’s new technology.”
While chiropractic care is thought of for the back and spine, there are many conditions that can be alleviated with chiropractic care. A spinal nerve chart on Insana’s website shows that while the nerves are housed in the spinal column, they run to many parts of the body. Therefore, chiropractic care has been said to help with everything from constipation to allergies.
“We’re certainly trained to treat the spine, but also the extremities and to perform physical examinations and even identify muscle and tendon injuries,” adds Liebman. “As chiropractic physicians, we have extensive training—four years of college plus four years of chiropractic training—and are experts in the natural healing modalities.”
Many times, chiropractic care and massage can complement each other. While chiropractic adjustments may achieve realignment, massage therapy can help stimulate surrounding muscles. In fact, Liebman incorporates massage therapy into all of his adjustments.
Like chiropractic, massage is often thought of primarily in terms of back pain. However, the truth is it can help with a long list of conditions. Stephani Nuse, a nationally certified massage therapist who works in the Cosmetic Surgery Center/Cosmetic Skin Care Specialists of Cherry Hill says that massage can help with everything from the obvious like muscle tension and stress to dry skin and even diabetes. She says the benefits of massage include relaxation, stress relief, better sleep, increased flexibility, circulation, skin hydration, and more.
While stress seems like a part of everyday life, the truth is that it can lead to disease and illness and it’s important to do what we can to combat it. “People are under a tremendous amount of stress these days,” says Nancy Kelly, owner of Massage Envy Spa in Cherry Hill. “Massage therapy decreases stress and boosts the immune system. Plus, a lot of people don’t sleep well when they’re stressed and are surprised to learn that massage therapy equals five hours of restful sleep.”
When coming in for a massage, Kelly says it’s important to make sure your needs are matched up to the right therapist. When you call to make an appointment, explain your “problem areas.” “It’s really important that we find out if your head or neck is the issue, or if you can’t tolerate too much pressure,” says Kelly. “This type of information helps match you with the right massage therapist and the right type of massage.”
There are a number of different massage techniques and they vary based on things such as pressure and area of focus. Some types of massage include trigger point therapy, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, reflexology, and more. At Massage Envy, Murad Healthy Skin facials are also offered. At Cosmetic Surgery Center/Cosmetic Skin Care Specialists of Cherry Hill, an assortment of body treatments such as body scrubs and wraps, as well as Parafango cellulite treatments, are also offered for total relaxation.
While anyone can benefit from a massage, Kelly says there are a few types of conditions in which regular massage therapy can be a wonderful pain management tool. This would be anyone with chronic headaches or pain due to conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or with back or other musculoskeletal pain. With regular therapy, these individuals may actually improve their quality of life by managing their pain.
There are very few restrictions to massage therapy, but Kelly says it’s important to speak up if you have any kind of clotting issue. “Any blood disorders or clotting problems need to be discussed because massage therapy does improve circulation and there are a few circumstances where that can be an issue,” she says. “Even some types of circulatory cancers would be important to point out before massage therapy. There are still ways we can work with you but we have to be very careful. Besides these concerns, there are very few restrictions. We work closely with our clients to find out exactly what their needs are and what they expect.”
Whether you choose to undergo massage therapy or chiropractic care—or both—the most important thing is that you seek out a licensed professional who has experience and makes you feel comfortable. Today, people are looking for solutions to their wellbeing that don’t have a lot of side effects and don’t require medication and surgery. Both massage therapy and chiropractic care can help meet those goals.
… Special Advertising Section from the pages of Art of Living Well…
Cosmetic Surgery Center/Cosmetic Skin Care Specialists of Cherry Hill
1942 Route 70 E.
Dr. Insana’s Wellness Center, LLC
2028 Chapel Ave. West
Liebman Wellness Center
100 W. Old Marlton Pike
Massage Envy Spa
941 Haddonfield Road
Published (and copyrighted) in the Art of Living Well pull-out section of Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 8 (October, 2012).
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