As I am sitting here reading some of my health publications several thoughts come to mind. The present article is talking about pain. The emphasis is on what medical doctors can do to alleviate specific types of pain such as headaches and back pain. Another publication has an article discussing how to stay healthy and active through what we eat, yet a third discusses how our attitude affects our health. There are more, but suffice to say that all these articles approach health from only one perspective. Each is truly important and has its place in helping us stay active and free of pain in our daily life. What I wish each would end with is some statement to the effect of, “this approach is best when used with others techniques or approaches”. In other words a multimodal approach.
Simply put this means addressing the many complex aspects of our beings at the same time for the best outcome. This is routinely suggested for children with mental health diagnosis where it is well known that medicine alone rarely provides the best outcome. But medicine added with counseling and perhaps diet and exercise can greatly improve the outcomes. We are physical, spiritual and mental beings – ignoring one aspect of our life for long will guarantee some type of pain or dysfunction. Many of the health practices we have affect more than one of our “parts”. Eating right obviously helps the physical body, but when eating healthy means minimizing additives, it also improves our mood. When we meditate we clearly are taking care of our spiritual being, but it often improves our responses to daily interactions as well as may help lower blood pressure for some. So it seems that anything we do for one “part” will affect one or both of the other “parts”. And so it is with massage; clearly it interrupts the pain cycle, relaxes the muscles, and by doing these it may well be lowering your blood pressure and helping to clear your mind. Feeling better definitely improves my responses to many daily situations. And there are so many other specifics that massage helps with. And we are always reminding our clients that this is just one of the many healthy steps they can and should be doing to be the best they can be! No wonder so many people, including myself, have incorporated massage into their health plan – it’s a win-win in the multimodal approach as there isn’t a negative side effect!