According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a majority of the research involving chiropractic care focuses solely on spinal manipulations and the impact this category of treatment methods has on a person’s health and quality of life.
However, these studies typically tell only part of the story as there is more to chiropractic care than just realigning the spine while the patient is sitting or lying on the table in the middle of the DC’s treatment room.
In fact, there are a wide variety of benefits to providing patients with access to tables that have other body-healing functions, such as those which offer heat, vibration, and massage. Furthermore, these benefits can extend to patients and practitioners alike.
Patient benefits of multi-functioning tables
Scott Farley, practicing DC at R. Scott Farley Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Tulsa and Vice President as well as founding Board Member of the Oklahoma Chiropractors’ Association, shares that using tables that offer either heat, vibration, or massage provide many advantages for the patients who use them. One is that they can help relieve tense muscles.
Healthline reports that muscle tension and the resulting aches that it creates is fairly common, with some of the main causes being overuse of the muscles during strenuous exercise sessions and putting the body under excessive amounts of stress that isn’t released. Thus, by reducing the tension that results from these types of situations, application of one or more of these modalities also reduces the aches and pain such tightness creates.
Heat, vibration, and massage also “increase circulation [and] strengthen myoligamentous attachments along with inducing motion in the spine which aids to break up fixations and increase joint mobility,” says Farley. This increase in mobility makes it easier for patients to complete everyday activities at work and home without as much limitation, pain, discomfort, or stiffness.
Practitioner-based advantages of using tables with these three functions
There are also benefits to the practitioner as well, says Farley. For instance, exposing the patient to heat, vibration, or massage pre-appointment has a way of “preparing the patients’ body for the adjustment,” says Farley. Essentially, the use of tables containing these particular functions better prepares the patient for the chiropractic treatment session, putting him or her in just the right position to better accept the alignment.
They also provide the benefit of relaxing the patient, says Farley. By helping the patient release the stress and tension that he or she is carrying before being treated by the DC, the patient is in a better state mentally and physically to offer less resistance against the adjustment. This makes it easier on the practitioner as the movements then require less force.
Is any one function more important than the others?
So is a table with one function more preferable than a table with another function? “No one function is more important than the others, generally,” says Farley, “although each patients needs are different and so they would receive greater benefit from one or two positive therapeutic effects.”
Brett Caminez, DC, owner of Caminez Chiropractic PC, agrees. “In the past, various vibration therapy research studies have shown a substantial increase in circulation and blood flow,” says Caminez. Especially when paired with heat.
Case in point: “In a study in the Medical Science Monitor journal, researchers evaluated not only vibration therapy, but also moist heat,” says Caminez. “The conclusion from the study showed that skin blood flow in the legs was the greatest in the group that consisted of moist heat combined with passive vibration.”
That’s why it is sometimes preferable to use a number of these modalities together. Ultimately, all three together have a way of improving patient health and wellness while. And they make the DC’s job easier too.