Category Archives: Depression

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.

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.

Always Achy and Exhausted?

Always Achy and Exhausted?

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 severe 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.

In addition to the classic signs and symptoms listed above, 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.

Relief is in sight! Give us a call to learn more about how Massage Therapy can help relieve the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Pacific Massage Services: 808.885.4459.

Massage for Mental Wellness

Massage for Mental Wellness

January is Mental Wellness Month. Did you know that massage therapy can have a significant impact on your mental health? We all worry about things in our life from time to time. But if constant worry becomes a chronic condition that interferes with your health, happiness and life, it’s time to do something about it. Help is on the way – with massage therapy!

Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 10 million Americans suffer from GAD. Symptoms range from mild worry about everyday concerns to crippling panic about imagined catastrophic events. Other symptoms of anxiety may include: shortness of breath, insomnia, chronic fatigue, muscular tension, irritability and inability to cope. GAD can lead to physical illness, as stress and insomnia lower immune resistance, making one susceptible to illness.

SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people during the colder, darker winter months. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” Massage affects brain chemistry in such a way that depression symptoms diminish and are replaced with improved mood and a feeling of well-being.

Depression. Another psychological condition that can negatively impact physical health, depression may exhibit these symptoms: headaches; insomnia; muscle tension focused in one region, such as the jaw or neck; lymphatic congestion due to lack of activity; digestive problems; tender points; hyperventilation; and cold, clammy skin, particularly on the extremities.

How can massage help with anxiety and depression? There is significant evidence that massage therapy is effective in the management of GAD and depression. Massage is one of the best antidotes for stress, because it:

– Stimulates the production of endorphins (“feel good” hormones), while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels (stress hormone).

– Calms the nervous system, induces relaxation and promotes a feeling of well-being.

– Relieves pain

– Increases awareness of muscle tension.

– Regulates the breath and heartbeat to the rate that occurs in sleep.

– Induces mental alertness and improves concentration.

– Promotes restful sleep.

While massage therapy may not be a cure for anxiety and depression, it can offer relief from symptoms, and can be a crucial component in an effective treatment that integrates medication, bodywork, counseling, exercise and nutrition.

Massage Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Military Personnel

Massage Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Military Personnel

Image result for massage for veterans dayIn honor of Veterans Day, we offer special promotions and fees for active and veteran military personnel suffering with PTSD. According to a recent article in Science Daily, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms can be reduced with professionals use of healing touch and massage therapy.

PTSD symptoms include a variety of stressful emotional responses including re-living the original trauma through flashbacks and nightmares.  Those suffering from PSTD also are prone to insomnia, irritability, and intensified emotional reactions.  Others appear to be emotionally numb; some deal with the disorder by avoiding people or places which may remind them of the original traumatic situation.

Active duty Marines took part in a two-year trial.  Participants had at least one PTSD symptom based on pre-screening.  Over a three-week period the group that had received both the healing touch and guided imagery showed a marked improvement in PTSD symptoms as a result. The control group received the usual treatment for PTSD.  One investigator stated that the results – beyond being significant statistically – showed that those receiving the healing touch therapy actually had their symptoms reduced below that required to be diagnosed with PTSD.

At Pacific Massage Services, we are honored to help veterans and military personnel suffering with PTSD. Please call us to learn more about how massage can help with this life-altering diagnosis! 808.885.4459.

Massage Therapy for Better Sleep: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Massage Therapy for Better Sleep: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

In recognition of May as National Sleep Awareness Month, we explore the value of massage therapy to help treat and overcome chronic 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.

There 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 four symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights a 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.

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 resets 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 conducted by the Touch Research Institute at University of Miami School of Medicine 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. 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 therapy is a healthy, intelligent and substance-free choice to help people who suffer from chronic insomnia.

 

Massage Therapy: A Vital Link in Addiction Recovery

Massage Therapy: A Vital Link in Addiction Recovery

In recognition of April as Alcohol Addiction Awareness Month, we share the benefits of massage therapy in an integrated recovery program.

In the early stages of recovery from addiction, patients often experience an uncomfortable gap between their body and mind. Therapeutic massage can bridge that gap, and is a powerful adjunct treatment in the addiction recovery process.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs the U.S. more than $500 billion per year for the costs of medical care, treatment, crime, social welfare programs, and time lost from work.

Comprehensive treatment for addiction is the key to reversing this trend. In Counselor, The Magazine for Addiction Professionals, Joni Kosakoski, BSN, RN, CARN advocates the integration of massage therapy into drug and alcohol treatment. In her article “Massage: Hands Down, a Treatment for Addiction,” Kosakoski gives a concise analysis of massage’s benefits for this population and its place in addiction treatment.

Integrating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all stages of overcoming addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. Norman S. Miller notes that medical management of alcohol and drug withdrawal during detoxification often is not sufficient to produce sustained abstinence from recurrent use.

The Touch Research Institute/Univ. of Miami, has conducted research that documents the physiological effects of massage. Some of their findings are related to massage’s ability to reduce cortisol levels. Several studies document the ability of massage to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation and cravings.

Dopamine is well-documented as being significantly involved in addiction. The neurological biochemistry of addiction involves the mesolimbic reward system. This so-called ‘pleasure pathway’ of the brain is activated in part by dopamine levels, which are lower than average during drug withdrawal and early recovery, until brain chemistry normalizes. 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.

Massage treatment reduces the tendency to relapse. Experts note that medical management of alcohol and drug withdrawal during detoxification often is not sufficient to produce sustained abstinence from recurrent use. The 1989 edition of General Pharmacology reported that massage therapy increased beta-endorphins in the blood by 16 percent. Drugs and alcohol decrease production of endorphins. While the neurochemistry regains normal balance, this is the recovering addict’s most likely time to relapse. ­­­

On an emotional level, part of an addict’s recovery process is learning to identify and manage the feelings and situations that trigger drug or alcohol use. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of the stressors that cause body tension and trigger drug use. 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. Kosakoski explains, “To allow oneself to surrender to the practitioner’s hands – to breathe fully and easily, to acknowledge and receive the gifts of nurturing, surrender and relaxation… is an invaluable addition to the newly recovering person’s repertoire of relapse-prevention skills.”

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

Exhausted and Achy All the Time?

Exhausted and Achy All the Time?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a recently recognized 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 severe 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, depression and insomnia, in addition to non-restorative sleep.

Estimates suggest that CFS probably affects about 800,000 Americans. Statistics on CFS incidence are difficult to gather for 4 primary reasons: 1) It is under-reported, as many sufferers do not seek treatment; 2) It mimics other disorders which may occur simultaneously, making a definitive diagnosis challenging; 3) CFS is often misdiagnosed, especially by physicians who do not recognize it as a legitimate diagnosis; and 4) Disparity exists in patient demographics from different geographic areas within the U.S. Women aged 25-50 comprise the largest group of CFS patients.

While most cases appear to be non-contagious, incidents of entire communities showing CFS symptoms may indicate exceptions to this assumption. Rather than focus on any one causative factor, researchers have concluded that CFS usually results from a combination of triggers that can vary from one patient to another. A dysfunctional connection between the central nervous system and the endocrine system seems to be at the center of most CFS cases, with CFS patients typically having low cortisol levels, indicating adrenal exhaustion.

In addition to the classic signs and symptoms listed above, other symptoms are prolific and may include: digestive disturbances, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, morning muscle stiffness, and others. There is much crossover between CFS, fibromyalgia 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. Medical intervention is sometimes helpful, but it is challenging to find the right combination of drugs, as symptoms vary patient to patient and are changeable in individual patients. Many CFS patients are hypersensitive to medications, and often find that ¼ normal dosage is adequate. For many patients, an effective combination is low-dose tricyclic anti-depressants and immune-suppressants, especially glucocortocoids used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

Massage therapy is strongly indicated as helpful for CFS patients. Massage stimulates parasympathetic response; cleanses blood and tissues; increases endorphin and decreases cortisol production; relieves depression and stimulates circulation when exercise may exacerbate pain. Studies show that CFS patients report lower levels of anxiety and better quality of sleep after receiving massage. Therapists and CFS patients report pain relief, muscle relaxation, and improved sleep. The emotional support of the therapist, combined with skilled touch, has the potential to make CFS less isolating for patients suffering from this debilitating syndrome.

Want more info on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/index.html

Mental Wellness and Massage

Mental Wellness and Massage

January is Mental Wellness Month. Did you know that massage therapy can have a significant impact on your mental health? We all worry about things in our life from time to time. But if constant worry becomes a chronic condition that interferes with your health, happiness and life, it’s time to do something about it. Help is on the way – with massage therapy!

 Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 10 million Americans suffer from GAD. Symptoms range from mild worry about everyday concerns to crippling panic about imagined catastrophic events. Other symptoms of anxiety may include: shortness of breath, insomnia, chronic fatigue, muscular tension, irritability and inability to cope. GAD can lead to physical illness, as stress and insomnia lower immune resistance, making one susceptible to illness.

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – affects many people during the colder, darker winter months. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.” Massage affects brain chemistry in such a way that depression symptoms diminish and are replaced with improved mood and a feeling of well-being.

Depression. Another psychological condition that can negatively impact physical health, depression may exhibit these symptoms: headaches; insomnia; muscle tension focused in one region, such as the jaw or neck; lymphatic congestion due to lack of activity; digestive problems; tender points; hyperventilation; and cold, clammy skin, particularly on the extremities.

How can massage help with anxiety and depression? There is significant evidence that massage therapy is effective in the management of GAD and depression. Massage is one of the best antidotes for stress, because it:

– Stimulates the production of endorphins (“feel good” hormones), while simultaneously reducing cortisol levels (stress hormone).

– Calms the nervous system, induces relaxation and promotes a feeling of well-being.

– Relieves pain and increases awareness of muscle tension.

– Regulates the breath and heartbeat to the rate that occurs in sleep.

– Induces mental alertness, improves concentration and promotes restful sleep.

While massage therapy may not be a cure for anxiety and depression, it can offer relief from symptoms, and can be a crucial component in an effective treatment that integrates medication, bodywork, counseling, exercise and nutrition.