Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Passive and Active Range of Motion and Massage Therapy

It never fails to amaze me when a client who has previously had regular massage expresses delight and surprise that we use Passive and Active Range of Motion as part of our massage protocols.

Range of motion (ROM) is actually part of  Swedish Massage termed "Swedish Gymnastics" and has many benefits.

  • When you stretch and decompress a joint you increase blood and lymph flow to the area. You increase circulation of synovial fluid in synovial joints thereby nourishing those joints. All of these things increase the elimination of waste products in the area that's being ranged.
  • ROM can also loosen adhesions which in turn may help decrease pain to the area.
  • ROM improves flexibility and that leaves your body feeling more open and free.
  • ROM increases nervous system  stimulation and can slightly raise the temperature of the area.
  • Finally,  most clients just tell me that it feels wonderful!
From the therapist's perspective ROM allows me to sense sometimes subtle differences between one side of the body from the other or one limb or joint from the opposing limb or joint. This can really help me in my goal to gently realign and rebalance posture. When I'm able to re-establish body alignment and balance I find that the body moves with greater ease and generally feels more relaxed.

That allows your massage to leave you feeling better for longer than the time you spend on the table. You carry the benefits of massage with you into the rest of the week or even month.

I would hope that most massage schools teach ROM but the reality is that few Massage Therapists use it. If you've never experienced a massage with it you deserve to experience the difference it makes. You may think that you can achieve the same end through self stretching but I assure you that it's really quite different.

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