Massage therapy is increasingly being integrated into clinical treatment plans for clients with medical concerns. One very common issue that massage therapy can help with is repetitive strain injuries.
A repetitive strain injury, also known as a repetitive stress injury or RSI, is chronic condition associated with "repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression and sustained or awkward positions." These types of injuries are commonly caused by workplace activities, athletic practice, and the overuse of certain technological devices. For many people, avoiding repetitive motions can be a matter of mindfulness or improved ergonomics in their environments. However, it is difficult for humans in modern society to avoid repetitive activities entirely -- and, once an RSI has developed, it can be a quite a task to recover from it.
Recent research has shown that massage therapy can have a positive impact on both treating and preventing RSI. Massage can reduce inflammation and is helpful in resolving tendonitis. Contracted muscles can cause tingling in the extremities. Massage can relieve the muscular tension that causes this pain and tingling. Regular massage also encourages overall health and flexibility of soft tissues and joints. Finally, the reduction of stress can help improve the outcomes of any medical treatment plan.
If you are dealing with a repetitive strain injury, look for a massage therapist who is trained in medical or clinical massage. You may be able to find a therapist who works on an integrated team with other health care practitioners such as a chiropractor or physical therapist. Ask your massage therapist how often you should receive massage in order to relieve or manage your RSI. They may suggest targeted massage on the specific area of injury, a more overall wellness plan that involves treating the whole body, or a combination of both.