Acupuncture, Massage, Yoga? Which Treatment is Best for Me?
Working in this industry for the past 13 years, I am often faced with a client asking me which treatment is best for their particular condition. Is it massage? acupuncture? chiropractic? yoga? nutrition? Almost every time, 2 things are clear to me:
- *my client is looking for “the one” treatment that will “fix” them; and
- *in my experience, combining at least 2 types of treatments (i.e. massage and yoga) will help them reach their goal more quickly and efficiently, and will be more cost effective too.
Top 3 myths for finding “the one”
1 – There is a single treatment that is best for me. Our bodies are complex and when there is pain, tension, or other discomfort, there is usually multiple factors that both caused it and perpetuate it. Therefore, our clients who get the best results often combine 2 or more types of treatments that compliment each other in supporting the healing process.
2 – If I do a few weeks of one treatment, then a few weeks of another, I’ll know which one worked best and then stick with “the one” treatment for me. The problem with this plan is that often relief is elusive because only one part of the condition can be addressed at a time. For example, massage therapy might relieve the symptoms of chronic migraines but if the underlying cause of the migraines is hormonal, treating the cause using acupuncture can ultimately bring some resolution to the problem.”
3 – My friend had the same problem and treatment “x” worked for her, so it will work for me too. One of the things that is really fun about my job is that everyone is so different. I may have 3 clients in a row coming in with neck pain, and their treatments will often be completely different because everyone’s structure, tissues, and health history are different. For these reasons, my recommendations for complementary care will most likely be different too.
To illustrate how two or more different types of treatments are beneficial when utilized within a few days of each other, let’s take a look at Lucy. Lucy works long hours at a very stressful job, she is at the computer most of her day and is experiencing tightness in her upper back, and most recently, pain in her neck that prevents her from turning her head to the side. She also mentions she is dealing with mild anxiety. Lucy decides she wants to see if massage therapy is “the one” for her. Massage is effective at loosening tight muscles, relieving pain, and decreasing anxiety and stress. Sure enough, she does get significant relief after her first session. However, after a few weekly treatments, she is still experiencing some level of anxiety and discomfort in her upper body. A great plan to push through the plateau in this case would be to alternate 2 or more of the following treatment types weekly for 4-6 weeks:
- *acupuncture (addresses pain, anxiety from the perspective of an energetic imbalance)
- *myofascial release (addresses connective tissue which may be preventing muscle tissue from fully relaxing)
- *deep tissue massage (addresses muscle tissue to relieve pain and increase movement of neck)
- *yoga – adding movement and breathwork brings great awareness to poor postural habits, heals the body, and strengthens muscles to maintain healthier postures.
Ask your practitioner what complementary services they recommend and do as many as possible at the SAME TIME! You will find that you’ll get out of pain faster and have more lasting results!