Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 86 of 100

If the stressor is not resolved, inf lammation will begin to not only ravish the local areas of the body but can also lead to a full- body, systemic conf lagration of illness, pain, and dysfunction. In fact, if you or someone you care about is chronically ill, inf lammation is likely playing a pivotal role. As Yale Medicine affirms, "Inf lammation has also emerged as a key factor in serious diseases." 2 THE PHYSIOLOGICAL SYMPHONY OF ACUTE INFLAMMATION Between the two basic types of inf lammation (acute or chronic), bodyworkers are generally most versed in observing and being mindful of acute inf lammation. Acute inf lammation manifests locally and swiftly, following a sprained ankle, a misstep on ice, a joint replacement, or even a minor paper cut. The immune system will dispatch its first responders: inf lammatory cells and cytokines. Chemicals like histamines, bradykinins, and prostaglandins are mobilized. Additionally, cytokines and chemokines send out a message attracting an army of white blood cells to surround and protect the area, which may result in pain, redness, swelling, and heat. WHEN CHRONIC INFLAMMATION TAKES HOLD The acute inf lammatory process works similarly if you have an infection like the f lu, COVID-19, or pneumonia. In these circumstances inf lammation is essential—without it, injuries and infections could fester and even become lethal. However, if the inf lammatory response does not resolve after approximately six weeks, most medical professionals will test for and/or diagnose the symptoms as "chronic" inf lammation. Chronic inf lammation, as you might imagine, is problematic. It often leads many down a winding road of unanswered questions, dubious treatments, prescription drugs, and mystery symptoms. According to the Colorado Center for Functional Medicine, "Chronic inf lammation is associated with most if not all disease states." 3 84 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 3 essential skills | SAVVY SELF-CARE Understanding Inflammation Benefits You and Your Body By Heath and Nicole Reed RF._.STUDIO/PEXELS.COM The function of protecting and developing health must rank even above that of restoring it when it is impaired. —Hippocrates The topic of inflammation has experienced a recent explosion of interest, research, and analysis in health-care communities. That may be because inflammation has been linked to almost every chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, dementia, and debilitating myofascial pain. It's even been shown to accelerate the aging process. Alarmingly, in 2005, "133 million Americans—almost 1 out of every 2 adults—had at least one chronic illness." 1 To rehab or prevent disease, it's clear healers need to give inflammation the attention it deserves. If you want to optimize your current and future health, you can do so by understanding what inflammation is, the common (and perhaps surprising) signs and symptoms of inflammation, and simple strategies to keep inflammation at bay. INFLAMMATION: FRIEND AND FOE? What is inf lammation? Most simply, it's the body's natural and extraordinary healing response to an injury, toxin, pathogen, or infection. At its best, this seemingly magical system protects the body internally, halts further tissue damage, and ultimately activates the processes necessary to heal an area of vulnerability and restore health and homeostasis. Your body is your most loyal consort, and its default setting is always orienting toward supporting your wellness.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - MARCH | APRIL 2023