Massage Therapy Leg Pain

Release is a popular word these days, especially in the context of therapeutic activity. Whether your therapy is physical, emotional, or psychological, release implies that something has been let go, set free, allowed to move freely, or opened from confinement.

What I think is really interesting is not only how well the word applies to such a wide range of therapies, but how often one type of release results in another type. I believe that release is always a form of self-healing, and when people feel it, it’s a form of self-awareness also. Once you can recognize release of any type, you have a way to track your own progress towards wellness.

What is Really Happening in a Physical Release with Massage Therapy?

If you’ve ever had massage therapy, hopefully you’ve experienced the feeling of release. Sometimes there’s an immediate change, but most of the time it’s more subtle. You get up from the massage table just feeling like you can move freely, and you notice over the next few days how it’s easier to do some of your repetitive motion activities because you’re not stiff or sore in those joints and muscles.

This kind of release is associated with the fascia and the nervous system. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all of your bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, blood vessels, and nerves. In its normal state, fascia is like a gel. It allows all of those internal systems to move in coordination with each other. Stress, injury, trauma, and inflammation can cause this fascia to get tough and less flexible. In this state, the fascia actually puts compression on all of those systems. This makes it harder to move, but it also causes pain at the site of the affected fascia. People with that pain usually have additional issues like headache, trouble sleeping, depression, irritability, and anxiety.

During massage therapy or specialized modalities like Myofascial Release, I will work on the tissue to lengthen and soften it. Ultimately, this will release the fascia and allow it to return to that gel state. My clients initially feel the sensation of relief. But that release is not just about what you consciously notice. When the fascia is released, it removes the compression from your internal systems so that they can get back in communication with each other. You should start to experience more energy, a better mood, and restful sleep.

How is Emotional or Psychological Release Connected to Physical Release?

Anyone who thinks that physical health has no impact on emotional and psychological health should come watch me work for a day. Not really, because that wouldn’t be ethical. But I do wish people could see what I see, which is that it’s all intricately linked.

As I mentioned, inflamed fascia causes poor internal communication within the body. Externally, you might notice it as avoiding activity out of fear you’ll hurt yourself. Or maybe you have trouble concentrating because of chronic pain. It’s possible that you’ve had to say no to something you want to do like babysitting your grandchildren or playing golf with friends. Maybe you’re depressed because you don’t feel like yourself. If you experienced a traumatic injury, you might be dealing with distressing memories or anxiety.

There are a lot of ways that your physical symptoms affect how you feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If you visited your doctor to discuss how these things might be related, there’s a chance that you were only prescribed pain medication if not dismissed entirely. Of course, that only makes all of it even worse! 

Now, I’m not a mental health professional in any way. But I can tell you from firsthand experience as a massage therapist that physical release has a positive association with emotional or psychological release. When you physically feel better, it allows you to function better as a whole person. It’s not a quick fix, and a lot of people benefit from a combination of therapies to fully heal. But sometimes, relieving the physical symptoms is what gives my clients the energy and motivation to take additional steps in their self-care.

The Mind Body Connection is Powerful

I talk to my clients before and after their sessions. I’m not being nosy when I ask about their stress level, how they are sleeping, their physical pain, or their past injuries. What I’m doing is being a conscientious, ethical practitioner who understands that the mind and body are connected at every level. To me, being part of the solution means making sure my clients understand that also. I’m looking to do my part to help each client experience a beneficial release that promotes overall wellness.

When you think about your physical pain or stiffness, do you consider its impact on your emotions and mental state? Are you struggling to get your doctors to discuss the connection? Do you remember a time when you felt good, both physically and mentally? Why not start with massage therapy and see if that gets you on the path to feeling that way again. My clients regularly report sleeping better, having fewer headaches, getting sick less, and reducing their medications. Contact me to schedule your first appointment and see what this release thing is all about. Ross Therapeutic Massage is located in Telford and is easy to reach from Harleysville, Souderton, Lansdale, Perkasie, Sellersville, Green Lane, and Quakertown.