Chronic Pain & Massage Therapy

Pain is a the body’s warning signal that tells a person there is something wrong that needs attention. Along with pain comes anxiety and with chronic pain not helped by immediate relief comes increasing anxiety, tension and sometimes depression.

At Solace, we take a holistic approach to client care . To start, the space is designed to soothe the senses, we are aware that all senses are interconnected. What you see, smell, hear and feel are all taken in to consideration in attempt to create a calming environment for our clients and their nervous system.

I have practiced massage therapy for over a two decades now. I’ve observed many people coming in on a regular basis for pain and stress relief. The science behind the effectiveness of massage therapy is providing to be a little more complex than simply massaging out the knots in muscles.

In this article I’d like to share with you the new way science is thinking about pain. Massage not only helps the body feel better but it has a positive effect on your brain. Chronic pain is characterized by pain that lasts beyond normal healing times, typically a few months. Chronic pain is essentially sensory info gone wrong (Wagner). Current neuroscience research gives up hope. The evaluation of ourselves as biological, psychological and social beings helps us determine our path to wellness. (Physiopedia)


At Solace, we get to know our clients. We help them bring awareness to various aspects of this model in which we can support them in our scope of practice. We refer to other practitioners such as physiotherapists, psychotherapists, physicians and other resources to provide a well rounded approach to clients specific needs.

When in doubt, we highly recommend seeking pain experts to guide you through what is safe for you. Once you’ve established there is no physical danger, massage therapy can help you move forward. The old theory that “if something hurts don’t use it” is simply no longer true. Massage Therapy is helpful with working through pain, relieving tension and can help shift the mind in to a more positive state.

Did you know that all pain is experienced in the brain? When we have been in pain for a considerable amount of time, the nervous system adapts to this pain. It is natural for the mind to become single focused on the strong sensation. It becomes the dominant sensory pathway attracting more anxiety, depression, fear and avoidance. The pain becomes more and more disabling and begins to affect many aspects of our biopsychosocial health.

The new research indicates that you can break this pattern. Starting with your brain and how you think can be helpful in breaking this cycle. The good news is that neurons in your brain and spinal cord can re-organize over time and make new connections.

Things you do overtime become more automatic.

Although it is not as simple as thinking positive, it is about being open to positive change. We have our own internal pharmacy, our brain releases opioids and makes us feels good and engage in a positive way in life. This can be cultivated over time.

In a nutshell, if we can start engaging with things that make us feel good, new brain pathways will form. Slowly over time the pain becomes less important, less dominant. Massage Therapy is helpful in training the brain to make us feel better.

Massage Therapy has been shown to reduce chronic pain by:

  • lowering physical and mental stress levels
  • reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • improve sleep
  • offer temporary pain relief

    Massage offers a unique “training” to the nervous system as a whole that encourages the healing process. This is done by helping the brain secrete positive feeling chemicals leaving you with a sense of well being. Going for massage on a regular basis as apart of healthy lifestyle can help support your overall health.

About the Author…
Lynne Carroll has a bachelor of Health Science and has been practicing massage therapy since 2001. She is the owner of the Solace Wellness Centre in Nanaimo BC where her and her outstanding team of massage therapist work in harmony.
Lynne is also one of the founders of @SeekingSatnam a resource for yogic (wholistic) living.

“Biopsychosocial Model”, Physiopedia.
Laura Seago, Dr Tor Wager, What a Pain in the Brain, curable health
Robert Roy Britt, The Lastest Science on Chronic Pain is Fascinating, Elemental.


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