Homework? Yep… at your muscle medicine treatment, after your treatment you are likely to receive some homework - exercises, cues or awareness tips to help capitalise on your treatment. Generally these will include some form of corrective exercise - so why is this?
Let’s start with some terminology;
What is Corrective Exercise?
Corrective exercise uses the understanding of anatomy, biomechanics, and kinesiology to help ‘correct’ movement patterns and imbalances to improve the quality of functional movement so that we can live our day to day lives without any physical barriers.
Assessment & testing can identify root causes for imbalances and issues within the body, once identified, physical or bodywork therapists can prescribe corrective exercises such as strengthening and stretching exercises to complement bodywork sessions and ensure your bodywork treatments deliver sustainable results.
What is BodyWork?
BodyWork in this context is therapeutic touching or manipulation of the body by using specialized techniques. Massage Therapy & Osteopathy are elements of BodyWork, along with other manual therapy modalities. Bodywork is used to help improve joint range of motion, tight muscles, general musculoskeletal issues such as lower back pain, increased circulation, improved flexibility and many more ailments.
How can combining corrective exercise and bodywork improve wellbeing?
Bodywork that consists of manual therapy of soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue and fascia) works to make adjustments to how the soft tissues interact with the musculoskeletal system. These adjustments need assistance to ensure they are accepted by the body. This assistance consists of a treatment plan, to continue the work on the soft tissues, as one treatment rarely creates all of the changes required, plus exercises to help the body accept the manual changes that have been made.
Manual adjustments need assistance to be accepted by the body - treatment plans and corrective exercises will ensure your treatment produces sustainable results.
So the combination of corrective exercises and bodywork means your musculoskeletal issues can be assessed and treated for long term, sustainable results.
But why can’t I just get the treatment to fix me?
We have found that corrective exercises combined with bodywork treatment provides considerably better results. The results are sustainable, but you are also educated to understand the triggers for your pain or discomfort and how to manage them should they be set off.
Combination of Therapies
Massage therapy helps by releasing tight muscles that may be inhibiting functional movement. By being consistent with the treatment plan your therapist has the ability to build on each treatment and work to retrain the muscles to provide balance for your musculoskeletal system.
Corrective exercises help by strengthening muscles that have been weakened, often by under use caused by overuse of the counter muscle, which is being treated by the massage therapy.
The goal of combining massage and corrective exercise is to achieve an optimal functional position, releasing the tight muscles and strengthening the weak ones.
For example, a common postural imbalance is rounded shoulders with an upper back curve (Kyphotic curve) also called Upper Cross Syndrome. People who present with these symptoms may find that their pectoral region is tight and upper back muscles are weak.
A therapist will work to release the pectoral region, loosening the soft and connective tissues that have been in a shortened position for a long time due to postural habit. At the end of the bodywork treatment, the therapist will walk through the corrective exercises to strengthen the upper/mid back area, creating more balance in the musculoskeletal system. A treatment plan will be created so that all parties know the path to results and can actively participate.
This is why you get homework and why it is important to stick to the plan!