Choose Bodywork Because It Feels Good
When you call us for a treatment, you want to know how we can help meet your needs. Stress reduction, pain quieting, and increased relaxation are the most common requests.
Sometimes, someone requests a particular modality. A bodywork modality is a collection of techniques aimed at particular goals. Here at Massage Vermont, we offer massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, and foot reflexology.
We practice our particular modalities because Chris and I gravitated toward them, trained in them, and typically get good results using them. We make no claims as to why and how they help you beyond soothing the nervous system.
The comfort and ease you find here might very well come from our offering you mindful, caring attention, unconditional positive regard, and emotional and physical comforts that leave you feeling better.
Choosing a modality or practitioner because they help you feel better is sensible.
Therapeutically effective touch is about how it feels, not what it’s called.
Countless clients, worldwide and for centuries, have found relief from constellations of bodyworkers offering various modalities they trained in and believe in. However, it’s worth reconsidering selecting a bodywork modality because of its claims—such as erasing trigger points reduction or releasing adhesions.
According to long-time massage therapist and research aficionado Alice Sanvito:
In the few studies that have compared two different modalities – it did not make a difference. That’s the good news. If it really were the modality itself that mattered, we’d all have to do the same thing in the same way.
From Alice’s Facebook note, “‘What do you think about (insert modality)?’”
So what about “no pain, no gain”? Does bodywork need to hurt in order to work? We believe the answer is no.
When your nervous system feels sensations it perceives as potentially harmful, it launches defenses to protect you. That’s how your fight-or-flight mechanism, or sympathetic nervous system, keeps you alive.
If the danger isn’t life threatening, your brain still produces hormones and commences biochemical processes that can result in muscle contraction, increased heart rate, shallower breathing, and other responses to danger.
Feeling good leads to more feeling good.
When massage works, it’s because your nervous system was stimulated in ways it found safe and pleasing. The sensations you felt likely reduced the nervous system’s defenses and increased your sense of safety. Ease followed.
That creates a positive feedback loop: when a client feels safe enough in a massage therapist’s hands to relax into comfort, that very experience promotes continuing feelings of safety and increases the human organism’s willingness to relax into comfort.
This virtuous cycle is as much mental as it is physical. When a movie you’re watching startles you with a sudden twist, you’re having an inseparably mental–physical experience. Although you’re in no danger from what’s on the screen, your experience of danger is real. You might even feel the effects of a particularly intense movie after you return home, being hyperalert walking into a dark house and jumping when it creaks.
So with massage . . .
. . . the emotional value of touch and the effects on mood and mental health are so profound that patients really just cannot lose — good quality massage therapy is a worthwhile service for anyone who can afford it whether it “works” for anything in a medical sense or not.
From “Does Massage Therapy Work? A review of the science of massage therapy … such as it is” by Paul Ingraham at PainScience.com
We agree. It’s the essence of our work on your behalf.
For the best advice when it comes to choosing massage modalities and practitioners, we concur with Alice Sanvito:
humans and other mammals respond to focused attention and gentle handling. Make use of that.