Category Archives: Benefits of Massage

September is Healthy Aging Month!

September is Healthy Aging Month!

“The use of touch may be the most important way to communicate to aged persons that they are still important as human beings.” Ashley Montague. Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin.

SImage result for september is healthy aging montheptember is Healthy Aging Month®, an annual observance that focuses attention on the issues of aging. Simple, gentle touch can stimulate aging minds and bodies, and it can help minimize discomfort in the elderly years.

Touch therapies are ancient healing modalities which became lost in the maze of modern medical technology. Recently there is a revival of massage as a complementary therapy in caregiving for the elderly. Age-appropriate, gentle massage is effective in providing comfort care and in enhancing quality of life.

Massage therapy is well-known for its ability to reduce muscle tension, relieve pain, increase circulation and induce the relaxation response. Research has shown that massage stimulates Image result for massage for elderlyendorphin production (the “natural high” hormone), boosts the immune system and enhances healing after injury or surgery.

 A skilled massage therapist who is trained in working with the elderly can notice and report subtle changes in the physical body, which can be crucial in preventing potential life-threatening conditions.

Massage decreases pain, even if pain is the symptom of a broader problem. So while massage doesn’t cure osteoarthritis, for example, it can decrease the symptoms and significantly reduce pain by keeping joints more mobile, stimulating synovial fluid and stimulating blood and lymph circulation to affected areas.

Massage also benefits skin health by stimulating cellular function in the hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis to prevent decubitus ulcers, along with enhanced tissue elasticity.

Caring touch is a powerful acknowledgment to the individual that, regardless of the condition of the physical body, he or she is still a part of the human race, and still has value as a whole human being. This is healing in its true and deepest sense.

Massage for Golfers! Got Kinks from the Links?

Massage for Golfers! Got Kinks from the Links? 

Image result for national golf monthAugust is National Golf Month! Tell all the golfers you know about our Golfer’s Advantage Treatments, with exclusive offers and special prices on services and gift certificates for the entire month of August!

As one of the most popular sports in the world, golf has about 30 million people in the game worldwide, and 13 million in the US. Once considered a “mind game,” with much attention on strategy and mental focus, golfers are coming to understand the body’s vital role in playing their best game.

Today’s golfers need to have a well-developed upper body as well as general strength, endurance and fitness. Injuries can arise from weak muscles, exacerbated by poor technique, unbalanced posture and repetitive movement.

Many professional golfers receive and recommend regular massage treatments to help prevent little aches from becoming a big pain in the you-know-what.

Whether a big-bucks pro, a seasoned amateur or a hopeful novice, there are some common ailments among golfers.

Most significantly, because golf is a one-sided activity, the body’s musculature is used in an unbalanced way. This results in more strain on one side of the body, depending on right- or left-side dominance, posture, technique and other variable factors. A therapeutic massage, given by a therapist trained in golf injuries, can correct this imbalance by assessing and treating the affected areas and educating the golfer in stretching and exercises customized for their individual situation.

The most frequently-occurring golf injury is “golfer’s elbow,” clinically known as medial epicondylitis. It affects a golfer’s swing, as well as causing severe pain with elbow, wrist and hand movements. Treating golfer’s elbow should be in the repertoire of any good massage therapist who specializes in golf injuries.

Other significant problem areas are shoulders and hips, where repetitive strain, inflammation, swelling and pain can develop. Left untreated, this type of injury can worsen to the point of affecting a golfer’s game – or taking him out of the game entirely!

The feet, ankles, legs, gluteals and back all affect the stability, power and precision of the golfer’s stance and swing. The goal of golf massage is to signal the brain to relax contracted muscles, stimulate blood and lymph to prevent soreness, soothe inflammation, relieve pain and prevent injury.

There is a difference in the type of injuries suffered by amateur and professional golfers. Amateurs are more prone to muscle strain, golfer’s elbow, calf and hip issues. Pro players’ primary problem is pelvic imbalance.

What should a player expect from a specialized golfer’s massage? A typical treatment is a 60-90 minute deep tissue treatment targeting the golfer’s particular problem, as well as assessing and treating legs, hips, low back and shoulders. Extra attention is focused on the dominant arm to treat or prevent golfer’s elbow.

When should a golfer receive massage? This depends on a golfer’s individual situation. Massage prior to playing is recommended in the case of tight muscles and restricted movement. Treatment after a game helps prevent pain, stiffness and injury.

Says golf pro John Fischer, “The reason most people play golf is for the relaxation is offers. It’s a wonderful stress-reducer, provides plenty of exercise in a beautiful setting and it’s just plain fun!”

Of course, golfers want to play their best and enjoy their favorite game as painlessly as possible. That’s where massage therapy enters the game! And some therapists even use golf balls to do part of the treatment!

Kids Can Have Arthritis Too

Kids Can Have Arthritis Too

In recognition of July as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, we share this information about this painful disease that affects children and teens.

Image result for juvenile arthritis monthArthritis isn’t just one disorder. It’s a complicated set of musculoskeletal disorders made up from over 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. The symptoms cause pain, limit movement, and can halt an otherwise active person’s life.

In the US, almost 300,000 of those affected by arthritis are kids. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a broad way to describe a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. The cause is unknown and it can appear in many different ways.

Children Can Be Diagnosed With Arthritis

We usually associate arthritis with middle-aged and elderly adults, not children and teenagers. Stiff joints, pain and swelling for more than 6 weeks are associated with arthritis. Eyes, skin and the gastrointestinal tract can also be affected in children. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body is attacking itself instead of a foreign body such as a virus. If your child or teen seems to always have a tummy ache and complains of joint pain it could be a good idea to visit your doctor for a chat.

There is No Known Cause

Parents of children with a JA diagnosis wonder “What caused this?” Unfortunately the answer is usually, “We don’t know for sure.” Researchers are looking at genetic and environmental factors which may contribute to the development of JA, but they have found no specific cause. There isn’t one single blood test to diagnose. Studies are trying to determine if siblings of children with JA will also develop symptoms.

Common Signs of Juvenile Arthritis

Complaints of painful knees, hands, feet, neck, or jaw common symptoms. This pain is common first thing in the morning or upon waking from naps. Arthritis pain tends to appear slowly, not suddenly like an injury.

Stiffness in the joints is another sign of arthritis. Usually the stiffness will be worse in the morning but improve with movement throughout the day. Some children may stop doing certain things. Has your toddler stopped using utensils to eat when he has been wielding a fork for months? See if you can determine if he’s in pain or just exploring with his fingers.

Swelling of a joint or joints is a strong sign a child might need an evaluation. The joint may be hot to the touch, as well. Often a child with JA will develop fevers with fatigue but no other symptoms of illness.

Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

Even though there is no cure for JA, doctors will have a treatment plan for each patient. Treatments may include medication, physical therapy, nutrition, and eye care. One patient may respond well with medication while others may do better with movement or physical therapy. The whole family will work together in an effort to maintain normalcy for the patient. Adjustments to schedules may happen, but there’s no need to quit living life altogether.

Massage as a Treatment

We all know massage feels great on sore muscles, but can it help with the stiffness of arthritis? Maybe! We know massage can have a positive effect on blood pressure and anxiety. A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey looked at people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The people who received a Swedish (or relaxation) massage twice a week for 8 weeks reported improvement in pain levels and function.

Massage for children and teens can be beneficial in many ways. Regular massage helps manage painful symptoms and can help improve self-awareness, self-image, and self-confidence. Parents can even work with a massage therapist to learn soothing techniques to apply at home. Massage for arthritis is usually gentle and soothing with a warm touch, perfect for use by any parent trying to help his or her child.

With this list of signs you may learn how to spot the signs of something more serious than a case of the childhood “I don’t want-tos.” Chronic pain is no fun, but it can be harder to deal with if no one knows it’s happening. Juvenile arthritis is a real issue with real symptoms. If spotted and treated early, it doesn’t have to mean an end to the active life your child deserves.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a massage for your child (or yourself!), please contact us by phone: 808.885.4459 or email: pacmsg@gmail.com

Massage Improves Sleep!

Massage Improves Sleep!

In recognition of May as National Sleep Awareness Month, we present information on the effects of massage therapy on insomnia.

 “We are such stuff as dreams are made of and our little life is rounded with a sleep…” – William Shakespeare (The Tempest. Shakespeare was probably not thinking of insomnia when he wrote that line. But to millions of insomniacs, sleep is as illusive as a dream.

Image result for massage for insomniaThere is a sleep crisis in our culture. Sleep does not come easily to alarmingly large numbers of people. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) “Sleep in America” Poll, 74% of adult respondents claim they experience at least one of these 4 symptoms of insomnia 3-7 nights per week:

– Difficulty falling asleep

– Waking frequently during the night

– Waking and unable to return to sleep

– Waking up tired and unrefreshed

35% of respondents reported at least one of these four symptoms every night during the past year. 37% reported that sleep deprivation interferes with their daytime activities and alertness.

Chronic insomnia is poor sleep every night or most nights for more than six months. This endless cycle can cause extreme fatigue, problems with concentration and can adversely affect a person’s mood and well-being. Recurring insomnia should be evaluated by a healthcare professional or a sleep disorder specialist.

The neurochemistry of sleep is very complex. While there are many aspects of the brain and its chemicals that contribute to sleep, there seems to be a significant relationship between the serotonin component of sleep and its relationship to massage therapy

The crucial neurotransmitter serotonin is essential to our survival, affecting mood, behavior, body temperature, physical coordination, appetite and sleep. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin production. Melatonin, released by the pineal gland to quiet and reset the part of the brain that directs circadian rhythm – periodic cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

The chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage therapy because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin. A study on back pain was conducted in by the Touch Research Institute in conjunction with the University of Miami School of Medicine and Educating Hands School of Massage, and originally published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2001. It demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels.

Massage relaxes the muscles, improves circulation, soothes the nervous system and increases production of pain-killing endorphins. It can also reduce the tension from daily stresses that lead to a night of tossing and turning, as well as daytime anxiety, drowsiness and poor performance. Therapeutic massage can help with sleep disorders that have a neuromuscular origin such as pain, tension, muscle spasms and Restless Legs Syndrome.

Insomnia is common problem for hospitalized patients. Massage has been useful as an adjunct or alternative option to prescription sleep medications in hospitals. A study conducted by the University of Arkansas with hospitalized critically ill elderly men concluded that back massage is useful for promoting sleep in this population.

Restless babies and children may also benefit from a massage by sleeping more peacefully. In one study of children and adolescents, those who participated in a 30-minute massage daily for five days slept longer and more soundly.

In addition to helping an infant sleep, the “calming touch” of a parent establishes a valuable opportunity to soothe and nurture the baby. As little as 15 minutes of massage a day significantly affects infant sleep patterns with deeper sleep of longer duration.

Massage is a healthy, intelligent and substance-free choice to help people who suffer from chronic insomnia.

Tired and Achy 24/7?

Tired and Achy 24/7?

Image result for chronic fatigue syndrome awareness month

In recognition of March as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, we share information on the benefits of massage therapy for this exhausting condition.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a distinct collection of signs and symptoms that affect multiple systems in the body. It varies in severity from mildly limiting to completely debilitating. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officially named this condition in 1988, purposely keeping the name general to include all patients with the wide variety of symptoms that characterize this condition.

The central defining symptom of CFS is extreme fatigue/exhaustion that is not relieved by rest. It may be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, slight fever, muscle and joint pain, headaches, excessive pain after mild exertion, short-term memory loss, inability to concentrate, and/or depression, in addition to non-restorative sleep.

Other symptoms of CFS are prolific and may include: digestive disturbances, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, morning muscle stiffness, and others. There is much crossover between CFS, fibromyalgia, lupus and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as psychological problems relating to living with chronic pain.

Primary CFS treatment consists of making lifestyle choices that support optimum wellness and immune function: stress management, moderate dietary choices, gentle exercise and adequate sleep. Many CFS patients are hypersensitive to medications, and often find that a lower dosage is adequate.

Massage therapy is strongly indicated as helpful for CFS patients, in the following ways:

Pain relief

Improved sleep

Lower anxiety levels

Cleanses blood and tissues

Increases endorphin production (“happy” hormones)

Decreases cortisol production (stress hormones)

Relieves depression

Stimulates circulation when exercise may exacerbate pain.

The caring support of the therapist, combined with skilled touch, has the potential to make CFS less isolating for patients suffering from this debilitating syndrome.

Give us a call to learn more about info and special offers this month for CFS patients.

Pacific Massage Services: 808.885.4459.

October is Massage Therapy Month!

October is Massage Therapy Month!

Image result for massage therapy monthMassage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching.

As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, headaches, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.

INJURY. Were you injured at home, at work or in your car? Whether your pain is from a recent injury or you’ve had that nagging ache for a while, massage therapy can give you relief and comfort!

HEADACHES. Do you miss out on work and play because of frequent or severe headaches? Our targeted approach treats migraine and tension headaches with great results!

INSOMNIA. Does insomnia keep you from feeling and functioning your best? Regular massage can put an end to those sleepless nights so you are more energetic and more effective!

SURGERY. If you have soreness, stiffness or poor scar healing after surgery, our post-op massage series can accelerate healing, relieve pain and minimize scarring!

STRESS. Anxiety, depression or stress got you down? Massage therapy is proven to balance endorphin and cortisol production to boost your mood and brighten your outlook on life!

JOINT PAIN. Do have pain in your muscles or joints? Our special techniques can alleviate pain from fatigue, repetitive use, over-exertion, arthritis and more!

CHRONIC CONDITION. Does a chronic fatigue condition such as fibromyalgia limit your activities and reduce your fullest enjoyment of life? We can help with soothing, energizing massage and adjunct services.

PREGNANCY. The childbearing year is filled with joy, anticipation, aches and pains! Relieve the discomforts of pregnancy while lying face our special down on our special pregnancy massage table!

Massage is beneficial for many discomforts from a variety of conditions. CALL US TODAY to learn whether massage therapy is right for you! For the entire month of October, we offer SPECIAL PRICING for our Fall program – Tune-In and Tune-Up with Massage! 808.885.4459.

Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Massage Therapy for People with Cancer

Note: The information in this article is intended for informational purposes only. Working in this field must be done within scope of practice, in conventional medical partnership, and with adequate education and training.

“The patient’s body must be touched with hands of peace, whispered to, reverently anointed, or handled as if it is a delicate flower.” Gayle McDonald, author of Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer.

Image result for massage for cancerAs massage therapy integrates with conventional medicine, more research is emerging on how bodywork can positively affect the course of cancer. Specialized training, awareness of the risks, protocols and modalities of massage therapy for a person with cancer is crucial for therapists before treating an oncology patient. We require written approval of the patient’s physician before starting treatment. We avoid deep tissue work until we receive a physician’s report that the cancer is in remission.

Benefits. Improves blood circulation, balances blood pressure, relieves with fatigue and nausea. Appropriate bodywork includes lymph drainage, trigger point therapy, neuromuscular therapy, myotherapy and myofascial release, energy work such as Reiki or Healing Touch.

Appropriateness. Skilled touch is beneficial at nearly every stage of the cancer experience: hospitalization, pre- and post-operative, outpatient care, during chemo and radiation, recovery at home, remission or cure, and during the end stage of life. Regardless of how severe the side effects of cancer treatment, there is always a way to increase the patient’s comfort with some type of touch therapy. It is important to have a qualified practitioner who has been trained in working with cancer patients.

Cautions and Contraindications. Cancer treatment places a heavy toxin load on the body, which massage can help eliminate. With a low white blood cell count, the immune system is vulnerable to external pathogens. Until immunity recovers, introduction of germs can have devastating consequences. Therefore, extreme attention to hygiene should be practiced in the treatment of cancer patients. Light pressure is always used, because low platelet count renders the patient vulnerable to bruising or internal bleeding.

Because weakness and fatigue are common during treatment, a conventional 60-minute massage session may be too long and arduous. More frequent but shorter sessions, 20 minutes or less, are a more realistic goal.

Traditional cancer therapies can dehydrate the body, thus the typical use of IV fluids. With a shortage of fluids to flush out any toxins released by bodywork, a massage that is too intense can maximize stress on the liver and kidneys, and can trigger a toxic reaction. Again, brief, light sessions can circumvent this issue.

The theory that massage may cause metastasis is no longer considered a threat. Science now understands that cancer spreads due to genetic mutation, and not by mechanical means such as massage or exercise. However, it is still crucial to recognize there sometimes are contraindications. For example, a therapist shouldn’t work directly on a site of radiation, tumor or lymphedema, without special training. Heat application is contraindicated if the patient has high blood pressure or a heart condition concurrent with cancer.

Protocols. We recommend and utilize four primary elements of protocol for cancer patients:

1. Permission of physician

2. Communication with patients and their physicians

3. Documentation of each treatment

4. Compassion

Medications for Cancer. Because oncology medications are so numerous and complex, it is beyond the scope of this publication to discuss individual drugs. We research each cancer patient’s medications on a case-by-case basis for cautions and contraindications to massage therapy, and proceed with treatment only if deemed safe and appropriate, according to our research sources.

Working with this population is not only challenging, but requires specialized training. Any cancer patient desiring massage should make sure to choose a therapist who is trained in the physiological, mental and emotional components of cancer illness and treatment.

Gentle massage is the most effective, well-known complementary therapy for cancer patients. Research on its efficacy indicates that massage: decreases pain, improves vitality, improves organ function and benefits emotional mood. As our understanding of the benefits of touch for cancer broadens, massage therapy for this population is increasingly in demand.

Got Kinks from the Links? Massage Therapy for Golfers!

Got Kinks from the Links? Massage Therapy for Golfers!

Did you know that August is National Golf Month? Tell all the golfers you know about our Golfer’s Advantage Treatments, with exclusive offers and special prices on services and gift certificates for the entire month of August!

As one of the most popular sports in the world, golf has about 30 million people the game worldwide, and 13 million in the US. Once considered a “mind game,” with much attention on strategy and mental focus, golfers are coming to understand the body’s vital role in playing their best game.

Today’s golfers need to have a well-developed upper body as well as general strength, endurance and fitness. Injuries can arise from weak muscles, exacerbated by poor technique, unbalanced posture and repetitive movement.

Many professional golfers receive and recommend regular massage treatments to help prevent little aches from becoming a big pain in the you-know- what.

Whether a big-bucks pro, a seasoned amateur or a hopeful novice, there are some common ailments among golfers.

Most significantly, because golf is a one-sided activity, the body’s musculature is used in an unbalanced way. This results in more strain on one side of the body, depending on right- or left-side dominance, posture, technique and other variable factors. A therapeutic massage, given by a therapist trained in golf injuries, can correct this imbalance by assessing and treating the affected areas and educating the golfer in stretching and exercises customized for their individual situation.

The most frequently-occurring golf injury is “golfer’s elbow,” clinically known as medial epicondylitis. It affects a golfer’s swing, as well as causing severe pain with elbow, wrist and hand movements. Treating golfer’s elbow should be in the repertoire of any good massage therapist who specializes in golf injuries.

Other significant problem areas are shoulders and hips, where repetitive strain, inflammation, swelling and pain can develop. Left untreated, this type of injury can worsen to the point of affecting a golfer’s game – or taking him out of the game entirely!

The feet, ankles, legs, gluteals and back all affect the stability, power and precision of the golfer’s stance and swing. The goal of golf massage is to signal the brain to relax contracted muscles, stimulate blood and lymph to prevent soreness, soothe inflammation, relieve pain and prevent injury.

There is a difference in the type of injuries suffered by amateur and professional golfers. Amateurs are more prone to muscle strain, golfer’s elbow, calf and hip issues. Pro players’ primary problem is pelvic imbalance.

What should a player expect from a specialized golfer’s massage? A typical treatment is a 60-90 minute deep tissue treatment targeting the golfer’s particular problem, as well as assessing and treating legs, hips, low back and shoulders. Extra attention is focused on the dominant arm to treat or prevent golfer’s elbow.

When should a golfer receive massage? This depends on a golfer’s individual situation. Massage prior to playing is recommended in the case of tight muscles and restricted movement. Treatment after a game helps prevent pain, stiffness and injury.

Says golf pro John Fischer, “The reason most people play golf is for the relaxation is offers. It’s a wonderful stress-reducer, provides plenty of exercise in a beautiful setting and it’s just plain fun!”

Of course, golfers want to enjoy their favorite game as painlessly as possible. That’s where massage therapy enters the game!  And some therapists even use a golf ball as a treatment tool!

Massage Therapy for Arthritis

Massage Therapy for Arthritis

Image result for arthritisIn recognition of May as Arthritis Awareness Month, we explore how this painful condition can be helped with massage therapy. Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe over 100 medical conditions and diseases, known as rheumatic diseases.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, massage can help with arthritis in two ways. First, it reduces muscle pain caused by spasms. Second, it increases production of endorphins which reduces pain.

For greatest benefit, massage therapy is most effective on a regular basis with a therapist trained and experienced in working with arthritis. The optimum treatment schedule is once a week for one month, then 1-2 times per month thereafter.

Two studies involving arthritis of the hands and knees each concluded that massage therapy is beneficial:

  1. A 2006 study at the Touch Research Institute in Miami demonstrates effects of hand massage in arthritis patients. Dr. Field shows by grip strength pre and post treatment that the treatment group had significant improvement in mobility and function compared to the non-massage control group. Also, to increase synovial fluid production in affected joints, treating the surrounding joint tissues and establishing a methodical treatment interval is suggested (Wine, 1995). As a systemic disease, RA can create blockage in lymph nodes proximal to affected joints, contributing to pain. Gentle friction techniques increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and assist in the removal of waste products surrounding the affected joints. Massage is contraindicated during an acute inflammatory stage, but when in remission, massage can effectively manage symptoms, prevent inflammation, and reduce joint damage.

Massage therapy is safe and effective to reduce pain and improve function in adults with osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) report in the first clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of this treatment.

The 16-week study identifying the benefits of massage on osteoarthritis patients with pain, stiffness and limited RoM was published in the December 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine. Osteoarthritis, affecting 21 million Americans, causes more physical limitation than lung disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, according to the CDC.

The 68 study participants were randomly assigned either to an intervention group that received massage therapy immediately, or to a wait-list control group that received massage after an 8-week delay. Both groups continued previously prescribed medications and treatments.

Participants in the intervention group received a standard 1-hour massage twice a week for 4 weeks, followed by massage once a week for the next 4 weeks at the Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine at Saint Barnabus Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ. After the first 8 weeks of massage therapy, participants had improved flexibility, less pain and improved range of motion.

The primary study outcomes were changes in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index pain and functional scores, as well as changes in the Visual Analog Scale assessment of pain. Measures of pain, stiffness and functional ability were all significantly improved by the intervention as compared to the control group.

Those who continued with only their usual care without massage showed no changes in symptoms. During weeks 9 through 16, they received the massage intervention and experienced benefits similar to those in the original control group. When reassessed 8 weeks after completion of the massage intervention, the benefits of massage persisted at significant levels, with slight reduction in magnitude.

“Massage is free of any known side effects and according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise,” said senior investigator of the study David L. Katz, MD, associate adjunct professor in the Dept. of Epidemiology & Public Health at Yale School of Medicine and director of Yale Prevention Research Center. “Massage is important when conventional treatments are far from ideal. NSAIDs are often not well-tolerated. Cox-II inhibitors like Vioxx were developed as substitutes for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, but pose toxicity problems.”

Katz conducted the study with Adam Perlman, MD, executive director of the Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the UMDNJ-School of Health-Related Professions. Perlman said “Our results suggest that massage therapy can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment for osteoarthritis,” said Perlman. “Ultimately, massage may be shown to lessen a patient’s reliance on medications and decrease health care costs.”

Perlman and Katz say that further study of the cost-effectiveness and the lasting impact of the intervention is warranted. They have begun collaborating on a follow-up study.”

Our hope is to show that this treatment is not only safe and effective, but cost-effective,” said Perlman. “That could serve to change practice standards so that massage is a more common option for the many patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.”

More info: http://www.arthritis.org

Massage Therapy in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Massage Therapy in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Image result for massage therapyIn recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, we offer information on the benefits of massage therapy for treatment during recovery from alcohol addiction.

In the early stages of recovery from alcohol addiction, patients often experience an uncomfortable conflict between their body and mind – with the mind knowing treatment is necessary, while the body still craves alcohol. Therapeutic massage help bridge that gap, as a powerful component in an integrated treatment plan.

Integrating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all stages of recovery: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. Medical management of alcohol and drug withdrawal during detox often is not enough to prevent relapse.

Massage treatment reduces the tendency to relapse. General Pharmacology reports that massage therapy increases beta-endorphins in the blood by 16 percent. Alcohol decreases production of endorphins. While the neurochemistry regains normal balance, this is the recovering addict’s most likely time to relapse. ­­­

Research at The Touch Research Institute/Univ. of Miami, has documented the physiological effects of massage, including: massage’s ability to reduce cortisol levels; and the ability of massage to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation and cravings.

In 1998, the Touch Research Institute published findings that a regular massage regimen increases dopamine levels. The fact that massage therapy stimulates dopamine production and decreases cortisol levels makes it highly effective in a standard detox program.

The Touch Research Institute/Univ. of Miami, has documented the physiological effects of massage, including: massage’s ability to increase levels of epinephrine, a “happy” hormone responsible for a sense of contentment, well-being, even euphoria! 

On a psycho-emotional level, part of recovery is learning to identify and manage situations and feelings that trigger alcohol use. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of the stressors that trigger alcohol consumption. Being conscious of these patterns is a step toward recognizing and healthfully addressing emotions associated with cravings. Emotional release can commonly occur with massage, providing a safe, non-threatening way to manage stress and emotions without the aid of drugs or alcohol.

On a spiritual level, the deep relaxation from massage can provide a still inner place for patients to become aware of their spiritual needs. Recovering addicts have reported a new appreciation of life when they can simultaneously be present, feel good and be substance-free.

Massage has the unique ability to affect all levels of our being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. As a valuable component when integrated into treatment, massage helps recovering alcoholics succeed in their recovery.