Alternative Health: Pain Relief

For most of us, a massage (commonly described as kneading or rolling muscles and connective tissue for health and relaxation) is part of a vacation. It is a unique experience on a cruise ship or Caribbean island, it is relaxing, and it creates a memory… but we often don’t consider its benefits as medicinal or healing.

Recently NPR reported on the healing potential of massage therapy: “Julie Treible had functional dysphonia, a condition that caused the muscles that control the vocal cords to tighten and lock. A careful throat massage by Dr. Claudio Milstein restored the voice of Treible in just seven minutes.”

Like Dr. Milstein, many in the healthcare profession are recognizing the benefits of massage therapy.  According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), physicians and other healthcare providers are beginning to encourage patients to receive massage therapy in addition to traditional western medical treatments. The AMTA says that “according to one national survey, 54 percent of primary care physicians and family practitioners would encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy as a treatment.”

Neva Clayton is the director of the Shenandoah Valley School of Therapeutic Massage in Edinburgh, Va. and has a private massage therapy practice in Harrisonburg. Clayton has had success with many clients referred to her to treat headaches(migraines), neck and back pain, and long term pain from injuries.

“I have a client who was in an explosion at work over 20 years ago,” Clayton said. “He has been dealing with the pain with prescription drugs, but drugs do not confront the real issues,” she said. According to Clayton, he found relief for the pain after one therapeutic massage.

Clayton explained that drugs relieve pain by blocking the pain receptors in the body, but they do not help the injured muscle. “After a physical trauma the muscle gets tight to try and protect the body,” she said. “Over time the muscle continues to
get tighter.”

Author Tracey Brown is a Harrisonburg resident and a Massage Therapist at the Beauty Spa, Harrisonburg, VA.

Clayton believes that when you address the injured muscles with massage therapy you find relief. “Massage opens up the muscle; helps it to relax and unwind. After relaxing, it can be re built with physical therapy or exercise,” she said. She believes that these improvements can be maintained over time with massage therapy.

Clayton offers the following advice for those who are interested in finding a massage therapist: “Ask someone you know who uses massage therapy to recommend a good massage therapist. They are all different and unique. If I don’t see improvement [for the client] after three sessions I will refer people to other massage therapists as well as other therapies (acupuncture, chiropractic, energetic healing, etc.).”

Clayton’s passion for healing keeps her invested in massage. “Relaxation is good,” she said, “but massage therapy can help people come out of chronic pain.”

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This post was submitted by Tracey Brown.


  1. Jay Bender says

    A very informative article! I believe that massage is a very useful and important healthcare modality!


      • Jay Bender says

        It has been years but my daughter Nuriyah live and works in the Harrisonburg and she is pregnant, in her second tremester and she may be in the need of some good massage therapy.


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