6 Health Benefits of Massage

6 Health Benefits of Massage

Relaxing is great, but massage therapy can do much more than just help you relax. 6 healthy reasons to book a massage appointment.

It counteracts all that sitting you do

“Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress,” says Aaron Tanason, registered massage therapist, kinesiologist, and owner at Paleolife Massage Therapy in Toronto. “More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.”

Desk workers, beware. More advanced forms of postural stress “show up as pain or weakness in the low back and gluteals caused by prolonged periods of sitting.”

Luckily, massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting, which means you can keep your desk job as long as you schedule a regular massage.

 

It eases muscle pain

Got sore muscles? Massage therapy can help. “Massage increases and improves circulation, in much the same way rubbing your elbow when you knock it on a table helps to relieve the pain,” says Tanason.

A 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that massage therapy is as effective as other methods of treatment for chronic back pain.

It soothes anxiety and depression

“Human touch, in a context that is safe, friendly and professional, can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing,” says Tanason.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported being less depressed and less angry, according to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

And, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after a massage.

It improves sleep

Not only can massage encourage a restful sleep it also helps those who can’t otherwise comfortably rest.

“Massage promotes relaxation and sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy,” says Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy.

Also, if you’re a new parent, you’ll be happy to know it can help infants sleep more, cry less and be less stressed, according to research from the University of Warwick.

“Most RMTs can do an infant massage,” says de Miranda.  And if parents want to do it themselves, it comes naturally. “There’s not really a particular technique. Whatever parents normally do to soothe their baby will be effective.”

It boosts immunity

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count (which plays a large role in defending the body from disease).

It also “improves immune function for individuals with HIV,” says de Miranda.

It relieves headaches

Next time a headache hits, try booking a last-minute massage. “Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” says de Miranda.

Research from Granada University in Spain found that a single session of massage therapy has an immediate effect on perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches.

 

Original article by KATHARINE WATTS

Found here:  http://bit.ly/1RR6L4O

Stress Relief – Massage Therapy

Stress Relief – Massage Therapy

There are many reasons people might seek out massage therapy, but stress relief tends to be the most popular. In general, stress is anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being. Associated with both minor and major health ailments, relieving stress is an important component of maintaining emotional and physical well-being. Plenty of research has found that massage therapy is an ideal stress relief tool, but some massage techniques are better at achieving this goal than others.

Designed as a survival tool, stress activates the body’s fight-or-flight response. This occurs when the sympathetic nervous system responds to stress by producing large quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. These chemicals trigger a quicker heart rate, muscular tension, sweating and alertness to help protect us from danger – enabling people to react quickly to life-threatening situations.

Unfortunately, this fight-or-flight response can be triggered by non life-threatening events and it can become chronic. Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research suggests that prolonged stress contributes to:

  • high blood pressure
  • promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits
  • causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction
  • obesity
  • insulin dependence

Going above and beyond nature’s call to shield ourselves from danger, an estimated 75 percent of Americans experience significant levels of stress. According to the annual stress survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association:

  • About 25 percent of Americans are experiencing high levels of stress (rating their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale).
  • About 50 percent of Americans report moderate levels of stress (a score of 4 to 7 out of 10).

Accordingly, there is a great need for effective stress relief methods. Many studies have demonstrated that massage therapy is an effective stress relieving modality as evidenced by reductions in cortisol, adrenaline, and nor-adrenaline. One example was recorded by Mayo Clinic researchers in a study published in a November 2012 edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Not surprisingly, weekly 15-minute chair massages for nurses during work hours significantly reduced stress-related symptoms.
With so many modalities utilized by massage therapists, those seeking help with their stress levels may have difficulty choosing from a menu of massage styles. To help determine what type of bodywork to pick, the top four massage modalities for stress relief are listed below:

  1. Swedish Massage – The most common type of massage, Swedish massage uses a variety of motions to decompress muscle tissue, release tension and break up muscular knots. The strokes used in Swedish massage are percussion, shaking, long strokes, vibration, kneading, and friction, which enhances blood circulation, stretches tendons, lowers blood pressure and induces relaxation. However, the long, smooth, gliding strokes are typically regarded as the most relaxing component of a Swedish massage.
  2. Head Massage – Bodywork focusing on the cranium is a known stress reliever. There are thin muscles on the scalp that can hold a great deal of tension. Besides including massage of the scalp within a Swedish massage session, the traditional Ayuverdic head oil massage known as champi is an especially relaxing treatment.
  3. Aromatherapy Massage – By adding essential oils to massage oil or lotion, aromatherapy massage can be a powerful way to de-stress. The nostrils are attached to the limbic system, an area of the brain that controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. As such, inhalation of the essential oil molecules can directly influence physiological and emotional components of stress. The oils most known for their relaxation effect include geranium, lavender, and chamomile.
  4. Auricular Acupressure – Considered a microsystem for the entire body, the ear is compared to an inverted fetus; with the head on the lower ear lobe, the feet at the top of the ear, and the rest of the body in-between. Containing several hundred pressure points, massaging the ear in the area corresponding to the central nervous system encourages the release of endorphins – the body’s natural stress-relieving hormones.

Chronic stress is rampant and can be reduced with massage therapy. Unless under an immediate threat, the fight-or-flight stress response is not wanted – and ends up creating more problems than it solves. With such a high percentage of Americans burdened by significant stress levels, massage therapists should be in high demand. By offering Swedish massage, head massage, aromatherapy massage and auricular acupressure, bodyworkers will be highly effective at melting their clients’ stress away.

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

massage-389716_1920If you’ve never had a deep-tissue massage, you may be wondering why you would choose this particular type of therapy. It can be a little uncomfortable as opposed to other types of massages such as a Swedish massage, so what are the benefits?

During a deep-tissue massage, a therapist will concentrate on deeper layers of the muscle. By using firm pressure and deeper strokes, the therapist stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation, creating a viable treatment option for a variety of ailments.

Reduces Pain

Perhaps the most common condition deep-tissue massage is sought to relieve is chronic pain. Because inflammation is the source of most pain, this type of treatment can prove very effective. Loosening tightened muscles that often accompany the pain also helps to alleviate tension and strain.

Alleviates Depression

Often depression accompanies chronic pain, and deep-tissue massage will stimulate release of hormones that will positively affect the brain. Although most any type of massage will help with symptoms of depression, deep-tissue massage is thought to be most effective.

Improves the Appearance of Scars

Over time, deep tissue massage can effectively break down scar tissue and cause it to disintegrate entirely. If the scar tissue is internal, a deep-tissue massage will help to loosen the tissue to improve stiffness and pain.

Speeds Recovery

Because it does aid in the breaking down of scar tissue, it’s a much-recommended therapy for patients after surgery. It also stimulates lymphatic production, further improving flexibility and eliminating toxins from the body, aiding in quick recovery and rehabilitation. For this reason, it’s a popular treatment among body builders to speed muscle recovery times and prevent injury.

Alleviates Repetitive Strain Injury

Painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved or prevented altogether with consistent deep tissue massage.

In Conclusion

All types of massage will benefit your body in some way, but deep-tissue massage is most recommended for the conditions listed above. For questions about what type of massage is right for you, feel free to give us a call. We can custom tailor a treatment plan to fit your particular needs.

Back Pain and the Workplace

Even if your only job function is to sit and stare at a computer screen for eight hours a day, your back or neck may be paying the price. Often, problems stem from a variety of bad habits. Long stretches of immobility, frequent or repetitive movements (even typing), lifting and carrying heavy loads, and working while fatigued may all be contributing to your woes. Now’s the time to do something about it and to prevent further injury.

Standing desks are the latest rage because apparently sitting can kill you. But just using a standing desk isn’t going to do much ergonomic help if you’re standing incorrectly. Follow this checklist to make sure your standing posture is doing your body good:

  • Keep your head up and sitting directly over your shoulders
  • Position your shoulders directly in line with your pelvis
  • Tighten your core abdominal muscles
  • Tuck in your butt muscles
  • Keep your feet slightly apart, with one foot slightly in front of the other
  • Bend your knees slightly and never lock them

If you haven’t yet been able to talk your boss into shelling out the money for a standing desk, you’re likely to be sitting for the majority of your day. Just as there’s a proper way to stand, there are right and wrong ways to sit. And doing it the wrong way can do a number on your back. These quick tips will have you sitting pretty – and pretty comfortably – in no time:

  • Adjust your office chair, computer, and desk to ensure proper posture
  • Sit back in the chair to take advantage of the lumbar support
  • Keep your head and neck erect to prevent slouching
  • Adjust your seat and arm rest so that your working surface is level with your elbows
  • Keep your knees level with your hips (your legs should form a 90-degree angle to the floor); use a phone book or small box if your legs don’t quite reach the floor
  • Take frequent stretching or walking breaks

Of course, the right office chair will help you on your way to achieving the perfect sitting posture. Take a look at the ten best office chairs as determined by Gear Patrol (and feel free to forward the link to your boss or office manager).

Your job may require you to lift heavy objects all day, or at least when you need to refill the water cooler. Improper lifting techniques are a sure-fire way to injure your back. You’ve heard all the techniques before, but they’re worth recommitting to memory:

  • Give yourself a wide base of support: place your feet shoulder-width apart with one foot slightly ahead of the other
  • Squat to lift, bending at hips and knees only (don’t bend your back)
  • Maintain proper posture: Look straight ahead, keep your back straight, puff your chest out, and throw your shoulders back
  • Lift the load slowly by straightening your hips and knees (again: not your back)
  • Don’t twist your torso as you lift
  • Hold the load as close to your body as possible
  • Use your feet to change directions (don’t twist your upper body)
  • Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level

Back and neck pain are all-too-common problems. Adopt these techniques and you’ll be standing, sitting, and lifting your way to a much happier and healthier you.