I had a massage last night, with a therapist I’ve been seeing for nearly eight years now.

Nobody knows my body better than this man does.

It’s a given that a well-executed massage feels good, right?  It also provides some documented health benefits such as:

  • increased range of motion
  • local pain relief
  • increased circulation
  • increased lymphatic flow

For specific information on clinical research regarding the benefits of massage, you can visit Medline.

But here’s a benefit you aren’t likely to find in a clinical research setting: having a trained practitioner regularly palpate your body can expose medical issues you may not know you had, or help to pinpoint the source of a problem you are experiencing.

I used to work with a man whose wife was battling ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer has an overall five-year survival rate of less than fifty-percent and one of the difficulties in treating it is that it is very difficult to diagnose and therefore is usually found in the later stages.  But this man’s wife was doing particularly well at the time, so I asked one day how she had discovered her cancer.  Turns out, her massage therapist had found a mass and urged her to go to her physician to have it checked.

In my own case, my therapist has, on two different occasions, solved a medical mystery that my physicians hadn’t been able to solve.  My orthopedist and physical therapist both agreed that his assessment was correct.

If you see a well-trained and experienced massage therapist, and you see that person with some regularity, they become acquainted with your body.  They know your “sticky spots” and can deduce what may be going on in your life from the changes in those spots, in your alignment, or in the overall feel of your tissues.  Ever had a therapist tell you to drink more water?  Dehydration is something they can feel.

Massage can be about more than just relaxation – although the health benefits of “just relaxing” cannot be overstated.  What other benefits have you seen from massage therapy?  Have you ever had a massage that revealed a health truth you hadn’t known or helped solve a problem you were having?

(By the way, I hope it goes without saying that a massage should never take the place of a professional medical consultation.  It’s called “complementary” therapy for a reason!)

2 Responses to “Massage: Staying in “Touch” with your Health”

  1. on 05 Oct 2012 at 10:34 amDebbie Forbes

    I had a client I worked on for a dozen visits. Her complaints of neck/shoulder pain were different in a few small ways from the majority. I begged her to go get an MRI. She finally did. She had a brain tumor that was successfully removed.

  2. on 05 Oct 2012 at 11:42 amKristine Rudolph

    That is amazing! You saved a life.

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