Massage Therapy is the scientific manipulation of soft tissues of the body (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligament) for the purpose of normalizing those tissues.

The therapy itself consists of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of or to the body.

Generally, massage is known to affect the circulation of blood and the flow of blood and lymph, reduce muscular tension or flaccidity, affect the nervous system through stimulation or sedation, and enhance tissue healing. These effects provide a number of benefits that enhance a person’s health and well-being. Some of the benefits are:

  • Reduction of muscle tension and stiffness
  • Relief of stress and aide of relaxation
  • Promotion of deeper and easier breathing
  • Relief of tension-related conditions
  • Reduction in stress and an excellent stress management tool
  • Creation of a feeling of well-being
  • Reduction in levels of anxiety
  • Increase in awareness of the mind-body connection
  • Promotion of a relaxed state of mental awareness

People seek massage therapy because of the great number of documented clinical benefits and as a healing process alternative, a “detox program” that can be used by itself or in combination with another type of therapy.

Detoxing with Massage Therapy

An often-overlooked detox treatment is massage therapy for addiction treatment.

Addiction and massage therapy can go hand-in-hand while a patient goes through withdrawal of alcohol or drug addiction. Massage for alcohol withdrawal can have very positive outcomes for those suffering with common withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

While traditional addiction treatments (i.e. group counseling) and prescribed medication have been shown to alleviate the symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal, many addiction centers across the country are starting to recognize the benefits of massage therapy for addiction treatment.

Today, therapy for addiction treatment focuses on healing the mind, spirit, and body. While withdrawal affects every patient differently, there are many common symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal that massage therapy can help alleviate.

For instance, anxiety is among the most common symptoms of withdrawal. Thankfully, scientific research shows that massage therapy for addiction treatment reduced both anxiety and stress in accordance to a study published in the US National Library of the National Institute of Health. The researchers found that therapeutic massage significantly reduced anxiety and was more effective than relaxation control techniques.

Continued drug use, releases a “feel good” chemical in the brain called dopamine. Said continual drug use also suppresses the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. The addict will then become physically reliant on the drug to essentially feel happy and satisfied. When addicts go into withdrawal, the lack of dopamine can create anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Massage therapy has been shown to counteract this by helping the body release endorphins, which help to reduce drug cravings.

This is why massage therapy for addiction treatment has become one of the most popular holistic services in rehab centers. A few of the benefits of massage for alcohol withdrawal and/or drug withdrawal are:

  • Release of the “feel-good” hormones; massage helps to increase serotonin and dopamine and decrease cortisol which is related to stress. During detox and withdrawal, dopamine levels drop dramatically making for uncomfortable or even painful sensations. Therapeutic massage focuses on the body’s pressure points which are linked to the brain’s vagus nerve. This can also help lower heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Reduce agitation and anxiety and ease sleep problems.
  • Recovering from an addiction and massage therapy go well, because the therapy provides a natural, alternative method of healing, free of drugs.
  • Massage for alcohol withdrawal and/or drug withdrawal helps with the removal of metabolic waste. Therapeutic massage triggers or stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn can increase circulation and promote the effectiveness of the lymph system. The lymph system helps to alleviate pain symptoms and is responsible for removing the body’s metabolic waste build-up.
  • Massage therapy for addiction treatment also provides the client with a connection to their body, and improves or increases body awareness and helps build trust.

Massage helps patients slow down, block out distractions and focus on being calm. With regular massage sessions, a patient becomes more attuned to signals from their body especially where tension and stress are present. The patient who has been practicing relaxation will recognize symptoms of anxiety and stress more quickly and has experienced dealing with those emotions.

While Tampa Drug Treatment Center begins by helping patients to detoxify their body, we still use massage therapy to help release good chemicals and help to wash away bad ones, promoting a successful recovery.