How Acupuncture, Massage and Physical Therapy Improve Recovery When Used Together
By Michel Antoine Solounias, MS, L.Ac., LMT
As an acupuncturist and massage therapist approaching a decade of clinical practice experience, I continue to notice a certain phenomenon when working with patients to regain health. Oftentimes I realize as my patients begin to experience relief from their symptoms, and their muscle and other soft tissues begin to be restored to normal circulation, they still have room for improvement. Although the trigger point, muscle spasms, inflammation and/or pains have been resolved, there is not enough foundation to insure prevention of recurrent or similar injuries. Even though a person may be able to do more activities of daily living, they are not necessarily doing these activities in the most effective, efficient and safe manner, which may lead to problems down the road. As a health care provider, trained in several fields, I know what is missing: physical therapy.
For the majority of my patients, I am constantly stressing the need for addressing body mechanics. Limited by my scopes of practice, I cannot provide that care for them personally. However, as a holistic health care provider, I understand the importance of physical therapy. Physical therapy addresses pain and dysfunction of the body by developing better mechanics, mobility and strength. In many cases, the cause of a person’s physical complaints is improper movement patterns and/or a lack of physical capabilities. When physical therapy is combined with the precise and therapeutic effects of acupuncture and medical massage therapy, the results are optimal!
I often receive referrals from physical therapists who understand this. They have been able to help a patient develop a foundation of proper body function and strength while alleviating many symptoms; however, there may still be specific symptoms, which remain. Acupuncture and massage therapy are two of the most important aspects of any quality therapy program especially for orthopedic conditions, and post-surgical recovery. Acupuncture is excellent at relieving pain and restoring normal sensation in the body while massage therapy enables muscle and other soft tissue of the body to move more freely, without restriction. This greatly improves the outcomes from physical therapy.
The human body is a dynamic structure and the treatment of it should be just as dynamic. Approaching orthopedic conditions with the combination of acupuncture, physical therapy, and massage therapy is a highly effective and thorough path to recovery.