We will be closed for Vacation from October 12-22nd. We will reopen on 23rd @10am! You can still drop us a text or email but response time will probably be longer😊.
We will be closed for Vacation from October 12-22nd. We will reopen on 23rd @10am! You can still drop us a text or email but response time will probably be longer😊.
If you ever have had a massage, you probably were given a glass of water afterwards and told to drink plenty of water. The reason for this is simple and
Posted: 07/31/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
By Carolyn Butler
Special to The Washington Post
I used to consider the occasional massage a blissful, self-indulgent luxury. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more convinced that regular rubdowns are an important prescription for physical and mental well-being.
In fact, there is a growing body of research confirming that massage can be good medicine. “We now know that massage therapy is not just for pleasure, but has significant psychological, physiological and biochemical effects that enhance health,” says Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, which has conducted more than 100 studies showing that massage’s benefits can include positive effects on depression and anxiety, sleep, stress hormones, immunity and pain relief.
“We have enough data to say the evidence is there that this really does help with back pain in particular,” confirms physician Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. She also cites a study published this year in the online journal PLoS One that found that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who got a weekly 60-minute Swedish massage — a popular, gentle type of bodywork that may include kneading, pressing or stroking the muscles — experienced significant pain reduction and improved function compared with those who received standard care with no bodywork; the gains persisted even after treatment ended.
One of the most popular complementary and alternative therapies in the United States, massage can be especially advantageous for avid exercisers, says licensed massage therapist Rebekah Owens, an instructor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition to improving range of motion, “post-workout massage helps reduce spasms and cramping, helps relax and soften the injured, overused, tired muscles, and helps to stretch and exercise weak, tight and atrophied muscles, which is also great in hospital settings for patients who are bedridden,” she explains.
Science is only beginning to clarify the complex mechanisms behind such benefits. A study published this year found that when a small group of men exercised to exhaustion and then had a massage, it led to decreased production of cytokines, compounds that play a role in inflammation and pain, and it stimulated cell recovery — a double dose of benefits.
“[This work] suggests that with vigorous exercise, there may be activation of muscle inflammatory pathways — we all know that if you really overdo it with a long run you will be aching next day — and massage may help that,” observes Briggs, who was not involved in the research. “It might be partly from the manipulation of the muscle fibers, and partly from stimulating circulation to the muscle.”
Experts stress that massage isn’t just a physical experience: “We talk about these as mind and body therapies because part of the way they work is through physical mechanisms, but the touch of another human also has a reassuring, relaxing effect on a person’s emotional state that may impact how the body processes or responds to pain,” says Briggs, who notes that it can be a challenge to disentangle the two in research.
“When a baby is crying,” Owens says, “the first thing a mother does is pick her up and pat her back — it’s intuitive and instinctual: you want to be touched and you need to be touched.” Owens believes that’s especially true in today’s society, where there’s so much impersonal communication via technology. “Instead of friends giving each other hugs, we’re liking and poking each other via Facebook, and so we’re all somewhat touch-deprived. A massage comforts, calms and fulfills that innate need; it shows that somebody cares and wants you to feel better, which can be really powerful.”
The key to an optimally beneficial massage is the proper amount of pressure, says Field of the Touch Research Institute.
“When you get a massage, you stimulate pressure receptors under the skin, which leads to an increase in vagal activity,” she says, referring to the vagus, one of the 12 cranial nerves that emerge directly from the brain. This can produce a wide range of positive effects — including lowering heart rate and blood pressure, increasing immune function and reducing stress hormones.
“We know you need to have moderate pressure, to really move the skin, in order for all these effects to occur,” Field says. “On the other hand, light pressure is experienced like a tickle stimulus, which is an arousing, opposite effect.”
Just remember that it doesn’t have to hurt to help: “One recent study found that the combination of touching and the manipulation of soft tissues was equally effective [in terms of pain reduction for lower-back problems] whether it was through gentler Swedish massage or deeper structural massage,” Briggs says.
“A lot of people think they need deep-tissue work, but what they really want is heavy pressure, which is pressing harder as opposed to actually digging in between the muscle fibers and going down to deeper muscles,” Owens says. “Real deep-tissue massage can be a little bit painful, especially if you haven’t been warmed up properly.”
Today, massage is available everywhere from physical therapy centers and spas to strip mall chains. No matter what venue or type of bodywork you choose, it’s worthwhile to seek out a trained, licensed and experienced therapist. If you are dealing with a specific health issue, you might get a recommendation from your doctor. Overall, however, there is very little potential downside to massage, aside from minor side effects such as temporary pain or discomfort, bruising or an allergic reaction to massage oil (and, of course, the cost, which can be considerable).
“Massage has a very favorable risk-benefit ratio,” says Briggs. “Sure, occasionally somebody pushes a little too hard, but by and large we think of these as quite safe interventions.”
Read more: More than a luxury: massage offers physical and mental benefits – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_21201177/more-than-luxury-massage-does-body-good#ixzz240HbUbjE
Jill Patten, of Shoreline, has been a massage therapist since 1978.
Four days a week she meets with clients at the New Health Medical Center in Edmonds.
She practices in a large, upstairs room with a fireplace filled with Himalayan salts. Clients enter the room as towels warm and soft music plays.
Formerly a dentist’s office and residence, the facility houses nine practitioners that provide services from astrological herbalism and hypnosis to foot care and counseling.
“Most of what I do is pain relief on muscles and connective tissue that are extremely tight or stretched,” Patten said. “But massage doesn’t have to be for a specific problem. It can be for stress release and relaxation.”
A study published in the Oct. 8, 2010, issue of The Week magazine suggests that massage lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone activated by stress.
Patten said that stress can be the root cause for many illnesses and believes massage can be used as a preventative measure.
The medical center’s office manager, Anne Hart, of Seattle, receives a massage about once a month.
“Massage is deeply relaxing,” she said. “It takes you to a different place. At the end, I feel like I’m waking up – surfacing from somewhere deeper.”
Hart suggests that everyone try massage and often gives massage gift certificates as birthday presents.
Alexa Severtsen, 32, has been an instructor at the Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts for two years. She has been a licensed massage therapist for eight years.
“A lot of my clients come in feeling overly anxious, stressed or just generally disconnected,” Severtsen said. “The massage allows them to reconnect with their current body needs. It’s restful and meditative.”
Massage increases the production of endorphins, Severtsen said.
In a 1996 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that, while both 15 minutes of massage and 15 minutes of relaxing in a chair reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, massage therapy is more effective in reducing job stress.
A more recent study published in the March 2012 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry found that massage may help alleviate the symptoms of depression through the release of the hormone oxytocin and relaxation.
Massage can be particularly beneficial to expecting mothers.
“Both pre- and post-natal massage can be helpful to the mother and infant and help relieve associated aches and pains,” Patten said.
The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, a center that examines the effects of massage therapy, found that massage is effective in reducing risk for premature delivery and postpartum depression and can provide improved sleep for babies.
Standard massages typically run $1 per minute, plus $10.
Awareness Advocate for Natural Health
Posted by Melanie Bowen
Prevailing medical wisdom long held the belief that massage therapy would have more negative effects on cancer patients than positive ones, but many medical professionals are challenging that ruling. The fear surrounding massage therapy for cancer patients stems back to the idea that malignant cancer tumors could spread to other parts of the body due to the superior circulation that massage therapy could provide. Many experts claim that scientific research does not support this position and that people with breast cancer, mesothelioma, and other types of cancers may benefit in several ways from receiving massage therapy.
Receiving treatment for cancer is stressful and painful, and a qualified massage therapist can help relieve those symptoms. A good masseuse can relax muscles, relieve pressure, and release pain; cancer patients who have received massage therapy often comment on how the massages often helped relieve the pain and stress associated with having cancer. Since cancer treatments are so painful and draining, not every patient will feel up to having a massage. Since there are different types of cancer, treatments, and different styles of massaging, each patient will have to find the combination that’s best for him or her.
Massage therapists offer a wide variety of bodywork options. Acupressure, Swedish massage, shiatsu, sports massage, and neuromuscular therapy are a few of the choices from which cancer patients can choose. Some massage types stick to light massages while others require a heavier hand. Massage speed may also vary; some types require slow, steady massaging while other massage types use a quicker massaging method. Cancer patients may wish to avoid receiving massage therapy near a tumor location as such stimulation may cause pain and other medical problems.
Massage proponents also claim that receiving massage therapy can boost both the patient’s mood and immune system. Some claim that massaging releases chemicals called endorphins in the body, producing feelings of pleasure and well-being in the patient. Others claim that receiving regular massages can increase the patient’s immune system and can even cause the body to produce more cancer-fighting cells. Most doctors hesitate to call massage therapy a cure for cancer since no link has ever truly been proven between the two, but some studies have produced results that seem to link massage therapy to cancer patient benefits.
While there are neither positive nor negative concrete links between massage therapy and cancer, several studies as well as numerous anecdotes from cancer patients put massage therapy for cancer patients in a positive light. One undisputed point is that massages reduce stress and pain, and many cancer patients who receive some sort of massage therapy report a significant reduction of symptoms after receiving bodywork.
Whether or not massage therapy actually results in negative effects for cancer cells, there is little scientific evidence to support the claim that massage therapy worsens cancer. Patients who are contemplating receiving massage therapy should consult their physicians before beginning their bodywork regimes since doctors should be aware of all types of therapy their cancer patients are receiving.
Who doesn’t love the opportunity to relax their mind, body and spirit? Give yourself a vacation from some of life’s trials and tribulations and immerse yourself in massage therapy and get your serenity back!
(ARA) – For many people, summer means fun in the sun that includes outdoor activities like running, hiking, biking and team sports. But an active lifestyle can take a toll on the body and bring about aches and pains from muscles and joints that haven’t been utilized during the fall and winter.
“There are a number of ways to keep your body healthy during the summer. However, one often overlooked but beneficial component for a healthy lifestyle is massage therapy,” says Amy Wiltgen, massage therapy instructor at Everest College – Merrionette Park. “Even the simplest relaxation massages will decrease stress and improve circulation, reduce fatigue, and help keep your muscles, bones and connective tissue in good working condition.”
Wiltgen offers some tips for choosing a massage therapist this summer and maximizing the experience:
Find a professional. The first step is to find professional therapists who are licensed and insured, and have a certificate of professional training in their specialty or procedure. “Perhaps most helpful is to get a personal recommendation from a friend or look for testimonials or reviews on websites,” says Wiltgen. “Also look for academic credentials, such as a diploma from an accredited program.”
Ask questions and describe health issues. When you call for an appointment, have questions ready to get a good sense of your compatibility with and the professionalism and personality of the therapist.
Communicate. Upon arriving at the appointment, make sure to let the therapist know your health history and any preferences for depth of pressure, room temperature, choices in music and allergies to oils or lotions. Don’t be afraid to speak up to ask the therapist to make any adjustments during the massage.
Relax. It’s important to relax. Let your mind and body go to enjoy all the benefits of the massage. “Breathing normally helps facilitate relaxation,” says Wiltgen. “People often stop or limit their breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged.”
Avoid pain. A common misconception is that the massage has to hurt to feel good. “Whether it’s a professional giving a massage, or a friend or family member, communicate any discomfort immediately,” says Wiltgen.
Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink extra water before and after the massage to help flush toxins from the body and make sure muscles are properly hydrated.
“Having a massage on a regular basis can be a powerful ally in your health care regimen, and will help keep you at your optimal best all summer long,” adds Wiltgen.
A small number of massage sessions with scented oils may be enough to help ease menopause symptoms in some women, according to a new study.
The work by Iranian scientists at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences found the sessions could relieve symptoms such as irritability, depression and disruptive sleep problems and that the presence of the oil helped the massage to be more effective.
Dr Hilda Hutcherson, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health that the results seemed logical.
With the symptoms the study measured it makes sense that massages could make some women feel better, she stated.
Lavender oil was found to be the most effective addition to a massage and Dr Hutchinson said the oil has an association with making people feel more relaxed.
Friday, 8th June 2012 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Is it conceivable that massage can provide more effective relief from low back pain than medication? A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests this therapy might indeed alleviate back pain better in the short term than traditional interventions of medicine, bed rest or exercise: Healthday reports.
The investigation conducted by the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle involved 400 patients who had low back pain, the majority of which were middle aged, Caucasian and female. Researchers found those who were given a series of relaxation massage or structural massage were better able to work and be active than those who were given traditional medical care, such as pain pills, muscle relaxants or physical therapy.
According to The New York Times, the study’s participants were randomly divided into three groups: structural massage, relaxation massage and traditional care. Patients in the massage groups received one hour of therapy weekly for 10 weeks.
At the conclusion of the 10 week period, over one-third of the patients who were given massage therapy reported their pain was much improved or eliminated completely, as opposed to only one in 25 patients who were given traditional care. Furthermore, patients in the massage groups were twice as likely to have spent fewer days in bed rest, used less pain pills and participated in more activity than the traditional care group.
Lead author Daniel Cherkin was surprised by the fact that structural massage did not prove superior to relaxation massage in relieving pain. Structural massage involves manipulating specific back pain related muscles and ligaments, while relaxation massage, otherwise known as Swedish massage, involves inducing body-wide relaxation.
The beneficial effects of the massage seemed not only to be experienced during the 10-week therapy period, but also to linger for a time following the cessation of therapy. Evidence of this lingering effect was manifested by the fact that the massage groups continued to display improved function six months after the study’s onset. At the one year mark, however, no significant differences were found in the three groups.
Although the researchers were uncertain of massage therapy’s exact mechanism of action for easing back pain, they voiced several theories. One suggestion was that it either stimulated tissue locally or produced a general central nervous system response. Another speculation was that merely spending time in a relaxing environment and feeling cared for might have been responsible for the improvement. An additional factor to consider is the subjectivity that is impossible to eliminate in such studies. Patients in the control group were aware that the other groups were receiving massage and this knowledge may have caused them to discount their own progress.
It should be reiterated that the study suggests rather than proves the benefit of massage for back pain. Also, some members of the American medical community not associated with the research have expressed reluctance to accept the suggested benefits as being valid.
Conversely, the study’s authors offered their assessments of its import. Cherkin characterizes the results as being “pretty strong.” He states the massage was tested on patients who did not improve using the standard medical approach to back pain treatment. He feels that massage therapy is a reasonable thing to try for anyone getting insufficient relief from this malady. The coauthor, Dr. Richard Deyo, feels that massage appears to provide clinicians with another choice for managing the challenging medical problem of chronic low back pain.
People with chronic pain often turn to massage therapy to help naturally improve their quality of life. Notes Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida:
“Most people go to massage therapists to reduce pain. There’s a release of serotonin, which is the body’s natural production of anti-pain chemicals. Additionally, an aggravating factor in pain syndromes can be a lack of deep, restorative sleep. Massage is very effective at increasing deep sleep. With more deep sleep, you have less pain.”
Fibromyalgia and arthritis are two chronic pain syndromes that can be positively impacted by massage therapy. In a study of massage therapy for knee osteoarthritis, a group receiving massage therapy for the pain showed significant improvement in pain, stiffness and physical function. They increased their range of motion and reduced the time it took them to walk 50 feet.
In another study, conducted by the Touch Research Institute and funded by Massage Envy, people with arthritis in their wrist and hand reported less pain and greater grip strength after massage therapy. They also had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores.
For people looking to naturally manage their chronic pain, massage therapy can improve quality of life by impacting mood as well as manage the pain. When you live with chronic pain, having a toolbox of strategies you turn to for pain relief is important. Massage can be a powerful tool for relaxing both mind and body.
Benefits of Managing Chronic Pain