Massage Therapy for Nurses

Nurses suffer from back pain, neck pain, stress, and anxiety on a daily basis. A relaxing massage might just be the trick to rejuvenate and energize a worn-down nurse.

The Stressed-out Nurse:

With demanding schedules and workloads, nurses are under more stress than ever! This work-related stress takes a physical and mental toll in every facet of their lives. According to a 2016 study that examined 120 nurses from a Midwestern Hospital in the United States, they found that “92% of nurses had moderate, high or very high levels of work-related stress”.

This stress may lead to health issues, negative coping behaviors, and poor work performance. All of which can result in workplace burn-out, for dedicated nursing professionals.

The need for nurses is growing much faster than the average for all occupations. The reasoning being, that an increased emphasis is being placed on preventative care, growing rates of chronic conditions (diabetes and obesity), and the increased demand for healthcare services from the baby-boomer population. Baby-boomers are living longer and have much more active lives, than generations of the past.

How can we help our nurses?

If our nurses suffer, so do we! To help, we first must understand what their stress may be doing to their physical and mental health.

Unresolved stress has been shown to have numerous adverse effects on the body. Per the Mayo Clinic “stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts, your feelings, and behavior. Stress can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.”

Common effects of stress on the body:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset

Common effects of stress on your mood:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

There are many options available to help reduce or manage stress, such as regular physical activity, relaxation techniques, socializing with family and friends, setting aside time for hobbies, reading, or listening to music. Primarily, learning to take time for yourself, reconnecting with yourself, and unplugging from activities that trigger stress.

Massage therapy is another great way to reduce stress. Massage therapy is scheduled relaxation time. It allows the brain, body, and soul to take a break, regroup and revitalize. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) lists the following benefits from getting a massage:

  • Relieve stress
  • Relieve/reduces pain for (postoperative, low-back, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic neck pain, lower joint replacement pain)
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Enhance exercise performance
  • Relieve tension headaches
  • Sleep better
  • Ease symptoms of depression
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Decrease stress in cancer patients
  • Improve balance in older adults
  • Temper effects of dementia
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Increase range of motion
  • Decrease migraine frequency
  • Improve the quality of life
  • Reduce chemotherapy-related nausea

An interesting aspect of massage therapy, is the increased interest by licensed nursing professionals, in also obtaining their massage therapy license. Finding a nurse, which is also trained in massage therapy, provides an asset to the patient and the hospital.

Having a comprehensive educational background in the traditional medical field and combining this knowledge with therapeutic bodywork, allows the nurse massage therapist to aid patients who suffer from a variety of specific medical and physical challenges.

Massage therapy is a benefit to both patient and provider. It is a combination of the nurses’ need to help decrease suffering, effect positive changes in patient health and comfort, and manage stress.

Consider treating yourself, a loved one, a co-worker, or a healthcare provider, with the benefits that massage therapy can provide. It could make a world of difference!

Book Yourself or Your Favorite Nurse a Massage @ Zen Massage

If you want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today! Book Online or Call (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Source

Anxiety, Stress & Massage Therapy

Regular massages can significantly reduce stress and anxiety.

According to James Lake, M.D., (a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, works to transform mental health care through the evidence-based uses of alternative therapies.) and his article in Psychology Today, Massage alters EEG activity, increases parasympathetic activity and decreases cortisol levels

His article continues: Massage is widely used in all cultures to evoke feelings of deep relaxation and reduced anxiety. The anxiety-reducing and mood-enhancing benefits of massage are probably related to changes in EEG activity, decreased levels of cortisol, and increased activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts automatically to calm the body and brain during stress. Numerous studies show that moderate pressure massage is more effective than light pressure massage for reducing pain associated with different medical problems including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate pressure massage also improves attention and enhances the body’s immune response by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Functional brain imaging studies show that changes take place in many areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and stress response including the amygdala and the hypothalamus. For an excellent review of the research evidence for massage therapy see “Massage Therapy Research Review” by Field (Field 2014).

Challenges to designing studies on massage

It is difficult to examine the beneficial effects of massage therapy using contemporary research methods because it is impossible to design a double-blind study in which the person receiving massage therapy is ‘blinded’ to treatment. Also, the physical and psychological benefits of massage are difficult to quantify in controlled trials. Findings of many studies are limited by the absence of a sham control group i.e., a group treated by someone who poses as a massage therapist but has no training. The situation is further complicated by the fact that few massage therapists are trained in research methods or work in institutional settings where sham-controlled trials can be conducted.

Massage is widely used for anxiety and has a strong record of success

In spite of the paucity of published research evidence, regular massage is a widely used technique in many cultures to treat chronic stress and anxiety and deserves serious consideration. Consistent anecdotal evidence, a long history of widespread use of massage for stress reduction, and positive findings of open trials support the view that regular massage therapy reduces the severity of chronic moderate anxiety in general, and specifically when anxiety is related to test-taking or problem-solving, work stress or the anticipation of invasive medical procedures.

In my own clinical experience working with patients who complain of chronic stress, test-taking stress, and generalized anxiety, regular massage therapy effectively reduces anxiety, improves emotional resilience, and enhances feelings of general well-being in anxious patients.

Few safety issues

Massage is safe when done by a trained therapist, seldom resulting in injuries. However, individuals who have chronic pain disorders or other medical conditions that involve the musculoskeletal system should consult with their physician before receiving regular massage therapy. 

References

Anxiety: The Integrative Mental Health Solution, by James Lake MD http://theintegrativementalhealthsolution.com/anxiety-the-integrative-mental-health-soution.html

Massage Therapy Research Review, Field 2014 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5467308/

Original Article Here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/integrative-mental-health-care/201810/massage-therapy-anxiety-and-stress

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