Alternative medicine focuses on supportive therapies that encourage the body to heal itself. These therapies are gentle in nature, and their effects can be subtle, but they become compounded over time. So although holistic treatments can help in the short term, these treatments need to be repeated regularly if you want to experience their long-term benefits. But there is a way to accelerate the healing process. By utilizing multiple alternative treatment strategies at once, you can enjoy a much speedier recovery, which begs the question: can you get acupuncture and massage together?
Yes, you can. Acupuncture and massage are two holistic treatment options that promote healing. Depending on your musculoskeletal pain and health and wellness goals, both acupuncture and massage can be used to optimize muscle function.
Acupuncture and massage are similar, yet much different
Acupuncture and massage therapy share many similarities. Both of these holistic treatment options promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and offer natural pain relief. Because these two treatments have many of the same benefits, you might think that one could be used as a substitute for the other. But acupuncture and massage therapy are two separate treatment strategies, even if they are used for many of the same reasons.
Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s frequently recommended to athletes as a supportive measure for physical therapy. During a massage session, your therapist will use a variety of techniques, like deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy, to reduce muscle tension and increase your range of motion. Massage therapy primarily focuses on improving your body physically.
Acupuncture, on the other hand, takes a different approach to healing. By inserting needles into strategic points across the body, acupuncture stimulates the flow of blood and oxygen to inflamed tissues. This increase in circulation brings valuable nutrients to injured muscles and tendons, while simultaneously removing inflammatory cells, like cytokines. By ushering valuable resources to damaged tissues, acupuncture can speed up the healing process dramatically.
Massage or acupuncture: which one is better?
If you’re struggling with pain or a chronic health condition and you’re looking for an alternative treatment method to help you cope, you may be wondering which is better, massage or acupuncture? The truth is, neither of these treatments is better than the other. Both acupuncture and massage can help improve your symptoms — it just depends on the nature of those symptoms.
Acupuncture alone may be the treatment of choice if you’re dealing with things like stress and anxiety, or chronic medical conditions like asthma and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Meanwhile, massage is often preferred as a treatment for muscle knots, sprains, and strains. If you’re dealing with a combination of issues, or if you’ve recently undergone surgery, you may find that acupuncture and massage work better together.
If you’re not a licensed acupuncturist or massage therapist, it can be difficult to know which one of these treatments will best suit your needs. If you’ve had massage sessions in the past and acupuncture treatments, too, all to no avail, then combining the two treatment methods could help you finally get some relief.
Can you get acupuncture and massage together during the same session?
Yes, you can get acupuncture and massage therapy during a single session. But whether you require both of these treatments at the same time depends on your body’s unique needs. Sports injuries and repetitive stress injuries are often treated with a combination of massage and acupuncture. Your practitioner may soften up your muscles with massage to reduce tension before acupuncture. Conversely, they may decide to insert a few dry needles before performing a massage to increase circulation and alleviate stress in a given area.
A combination of acupuncture and massage is commonly used to treat generalized ailments, such as back pain and neuropathy. But these treatment methods can be used in tandem to address more specific health conditions as well, including:
- Piriformis syndrome
- Shin splints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendonitis
- Frozen shoulder
Acupuncture and massage work together to stimulate the release of endorphins. A natural pain reliever, endorphins are produced by the body and latch onto opioid receptors in the brain, to increase your pain threshold. Not only do acupuncture and massage help you cope with pain, but they also work to reduce inflammation by improving blood flow and easing tension.
How often should you get acupuncture and massage together?
How often you’ll need to get acupuncture and massage together depends on what you’re treating as well as your personal health and wellness goals. Acute injuries may only require a few weeks of treatment. But chronic injuries and preexisting health conditions may require months of regular care, followed by periodical tune-ups.
In general, most patients see an improvement in their symptoms with weekly sessions. But this protocol can vary wildly. For instance, if your goal is to reduce pain and become more comfortable during your typical day-to-day routine, you won’t require as many treatments as a professional athlete who wants to resume intense training.
It’s also possible that your practitioner will decide that neither acupuncture nor massage is the right treatment for you. After discussing your symptoms with your acupuncturist, they may recommend other holistic treatment methods, like dry needling, orthopedic acupuncture, or cupping instead.
Can acupuncture and massage together help you?
Both acupuncture and massage therapies are performed on a case-by-case basis, so it’s impossible to say which one will work best for you without understanding the cause of your condition, as well as your individual goals. It’s important to discuss your options with a professional to create a personalized treatment plan that will speed up your journey on the path to recovery.
Contact Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture today to learn more about holistic healing and to book your first consultation. We will help you determine which of these two treatments will work best for you, and if using acupuncture and massage together can help you overcome your pain and get back to living a life you love.