Category Archives: Sleep

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.

Do You Sleep Like a Baby? Massage Therapy Can Help!

Do You Sleep Like a Baby? Massage Therapy Can Help!

SAW 2017In recognition of April as National Sleep Awareness Month, we explore the connection between massage therapy and getting a good night’s sleep – every night!

“Sleep like a baby” is a misunderstood term in our language. It commonly means that one sleeps long and soundly. However, “long and soundly” is not the reality with most babies –  in reality, they wake up and cry every 3 hours!

So… do you “sleep like a baby?” Or do you sleep like the millions of adults who suffer from chronic sleep problems?

There is a sleep crisis in our culture. Getting enough sleep is challenging for alarmingly large numbers of people. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 58% of adults experience at least one of the four symptoms of insomnia at least several times a week:

1. Difficulty falling asleep

2. Waking frequently

3. Waking and can’t return to sleep

4. Feeling unrested in the morning

37% reported that sleep deprivation interferes with daytime alertness and activities.

While sleep neurochemistry is very complex, this article explores the crucial neurotransmitter serotonin and its relationship to massage therapy.

Serotonin is essential to our survival, affecting mood, behavior, body temperature, physical coordination, appetite and sleep. Derived from the amino acid tryptophan, serotonin is a precursor to melatonin production. Melatonin quiets and resets the 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 January 2000 by the Touch Research Institute in conjunction with the University of Miami School of Medicine and Iris Burman of Miami’s 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 is a healthy, intelligent and substance-free choice to help people who suffer from chronic insomnia. Because serotonin affects sleep in multiple areas of the brain, it is logical to seek ways to increase serotonin levels for people that are sleep-deprived. In addition, serotonin is needed for our bodies to produce melatonin. As melatonin influences the sleep stage of our circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a positive sleep-inducing option. This connection calls for further research showing the direct affects massage therapy has on serotonin and sleep. Meanwhile, the existing evidence is adequate to confirm the effectiveness of regular massage therapy for sleepless patients.

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 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.

 

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