In post-trauma—a car crash, for example—victims go through four major stages of healing. The first phase of healing is the inflammation phase, or swelling of the area. This is derived chiefly from the blood in the damaged area that is rich in fibrinogen, a protein in the blood that is a stiffening agent, responsible for blood clotting. Blood flows into the damaged area and eventually transforms into a dense, collagenous scar. It is important that this inflammation is immediately present following a wound for healing, but excessive inflammation needs to be eliminated as soon as possible. This is because excess collagen will result and leave the repaired tissue less elastic, less pliable, contracted and weakened. Muscular hemorrhage is very common following cervical (neck) acceleration/deceleration injuries. In the past, the order of relief was to exercise, but this was later found to create additional waste, which is a potential factor in scar formation.
Macrophages are cells within tissue that eat up debris. Phagocytes are cells produced by the immune system that destroy foreign matter in the body and fall into this category. Ascorbic acid, hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid are byproducts of phagocytosis, the elimination of foreign matter by the phagocytes. A build-up of these products signals more macrophages to join the area. Chronically activated macrophages result in chronic inflammation, which may be one reason why deep tissue massage is so beneficial.
There are several benefits of massage. An increasing number of research studies show massage therapy stimulates blood circulation and lymph flow. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing excess fluid from the body and filtering out toxins and debris. Massage also relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, increases endorphins and reduces scar tissue formation. Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from injury. It can also accelerate and lead to a more complete recovery from an injury.
Why then is massage used in conjunction with chiropractic? Massage and chiropractic are highly complementary to each other. Since tight muscles can pull the spine out of alignment, massage therapy can help stabilize the spine to increase the benefits of chiropractic care. Chiropractic keeps the complete spinal system in order by eliminating structural spinal interference of the nerves. Hence, 100 percent innate intelligence coordinates and keeps these functions in alignment. The lymphatic system is more functional with the presence of chiropractic and 100 percent nerve stimulation without vertebral interference. The use of massage therapy helps to relax and stimulate the muscles while moving lymph through the body to eliminate inflammation and toxins and restore the body back to its pre-injury state. IBI