September is Addiction Recovery Month!

September is Addiction Recovery Month!

Image result for september recovery monthSeptember is Addiction Recovery Month, designated to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and celebrate people in recovery. The 2019 theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.

In the early stages of recovery from addiction, patients often experience an uncomfortable gap between their mind and body. The mind knows it shouldn’t use the substance, while the body craves it. Therapeutic massage can bridge that gap, and is a powerful adjunct treatment in the addiction recovery process.

Comprehensive treatment is the key to successful recovery. 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 treatment program is advantageous in all stages of overcoming addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. Researcher 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 documented 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. Dopamine levels 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. 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. Massage is crucial after initial detox, as it effectively helps the patient get through this most vulnerable phase of recovery.

Image result for massage FOR ADDICTIONThis can be a powerful – even life-changing – experience for clients, as it helps them feel good while remaining drug-free, enhancing their recovery on 4 levels:

– Physical level. The enhanced circulation from massage also helps during detox. Invigoration of blood and lymphatic flow promotes an efficient exchange of oxygen and nutrients into the body’s tissues, and the removal of toxins and metabolic waste products. Kosakoski says: “All systems of the body function more efficiently with improved circulation and a reduction in tension of the soft tissues and musculature…”

– Mental level. As toxins leave the cells, thinking becomes clearer and decision-making is improved, helping those in recovery more easily recognize the downside of addiction, making the transition easier from abuse to sobriety.

– Emotional level. Learning to identify and manage the feelings and situations that trigger drug or alcohol use is a critical part of the recovery process. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of the stressors that 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.

– 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.

Pacific Massage Services staff is trained and experienced in the treatment of addiction recovery. Give us a call for info or appointments: 808.885.4459

Get more info: https://RecoveryMonth.gov

 

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.

Image result for september is healthy aging monthSeptember is Healthy Aging Month®, is 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 endorphin 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, a crucial factor in preventing potential life-threatening conditions.

Image result for massage seniorMassage 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, keep the joints more mobile, stimulate synovial fluid, and enhance blood/lymph circulation to affected areas.

Massage also benefits skin health. It stimulates cell growth in the skin layers, prevents pressure sores, and improves skin hydration and 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,is still cared for, and still has value as a whole human being. This is healing in its true and deepest sense.

Pacific Massage Services staff members are trained and experienced in massage therapy for the physical needs of mature age. Give us a call for info , consultation or appointment!

808-885-4459.

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.

Golfers need 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 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.

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!

Massage for Summer Skin Care

Massage for Summer Skin Care

July is Summer Skin Care Month! Summer skin care is vital for the life-long health of your skin and, in fact, your entire body! Massage therapy is one of the few modalities that physically touches a person on about 90 percent of their skin. Medical doctors, nurses and physical therapists do not do this, neither do most other wellness professionals. It is a great responsibility and an opportunity to provide healthy touch that helps with such things as circulation, toxin elimination and stress reduction – and in keeping the skin healthy as well.

Skin Anatomy Overview

What most people call skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis.

  • The epidermis is what we see. It is the most superficial layer – a water-resistant barrier against germs, bacteria and viruses. It also protects the deeper layers of more sensitive tissue from everyday bumps and bruises.
  • The dermis, just below the epidermis, contains touch connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands.
  • The hypodermis, the deepest layer, made of adipose (fat) and connective tissues.

Covering an average area of 20 square feet, skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects us against external elements, eliminates waste through sweat, helps regulate body temperature and enables us to feel hot, cold and pressure.

The skin is semi-permeable, meaning it lets in certain substances. A thin coating of sebum – natural body oil – nourishes the skin.

Massage Therapist as a First Line of Defense

A massage therapist sometimes sees more of a person’s skin than anyone else in their life – maybe not all at once, but in sections, as the draping is moved around during a treatment. It is challenging for us to get a good view of certain areas our own bodies. No matter how you twist and turn, the back and neck are difficult to see well. This goes for backs of arms and legs, too. The average person is also not educated as to what to look for when it comes to skin health.

A responsible massage therapist with pathology training will know the signs of skin cancer, psoriasis, rashes and fungal infections, and will advise you to see your doctor if there is cause for further evaluation.

A massage therapist can also tell the difference between a bruise from an accidental bump and one caused by domestic abuse. (A massage therapist may be a mandated reporter of abuse; check with your local regulating agency.)

A massage therapist cannot diagnose. It is well beyond the scope of practice as defined by most state laws. What a massage therapist can do is advise a client to see his or her primary care physician or other healthcare professional if there is a concern.

Massage for Men’s Health

Massage for Men’s Health

In recognition of June as National Men’s Health Month, we offer this important info about massage benefits specifically for men.

There is one general benefit of massage therapy that is especially relevant to men’s health: enhanced blood circulation. Because men have a statistically higher incidence of circulatory and cardiac disorders than women, maintaining a healthy circulatory system is vital to a man’s health and massage therapy is an ideal way to achieve this.

From a healthy heart to satisfying sex, maintaining the proper circulation of blood through the arteries is one of the most important things men can do to maintain good health and slow the aging process.

Another important health issue for men is prostate health. Acute prostate infection contraindicates massage. Prostatitis characterized by chronic pelvic and/or groin pain without infection will benefit from the general pain relief that massage affords. At Pacific Massage Services, we use muscle testing to assess pelvic, hip and low back pain for an imbalance in the pelvic structural alignment. One of the most commons findings is iliopsoas spasm, which we treat with a release technique of the iliopsoas muscle, accessed through the abdomen. Many men with chronic prostatitis get lasting relief after treatment with this massage technique.

The prostate gland receives dual autonomic innervation from the prostatic nerve plexus, a part of the pelvic autonomic plexus. The pelvic plexus receives its parasympathetic input from the sacral segments of the spinal cord (S2-4) and sympathetic fibers from the hypogastric presacral nerves (T10–L2). So lumbosacral massage techniques can be effective for prostate health.

Massage is the go-to treatment in recovery from surgery for athletic injury. Muscle, tendon and joint pain from participation in sports is another common malady among men, including post-exercise stiffness of the “weekend warrior,” muscle pain from repetitive movement or over-exertion, or more serious conditions such as sprains and torn myofascial tissue.

Massage therapy reduces swelling and eases pain and stiffness. It also promotes circulation to injured areas, bringing in fresh oxygen and nutrients for healing, and assists in removing metabolic waste products that further irritate injured and healing tissue.

There are many massage techniques for treating a wide range of athletic complaints, such as medial or lateral epicondylitis, knee and rotator cuff injuries and back strain, to name a few.

Massage is magic for “the morning after!” It relieves hangover symptoms with headache relief, calms the nerves of the digestive organs, and enhances liver/kidney function to process and eliminate alcohol from the body.

For heart health, satisfying sex, pain relief, better sports performance and general wellness, a regularly-scheduled massage session is one of the most important things men can do to maintain good health and slow the aging process.

Contact us about our Men’s Health Special for the month of June! 

Massage Therapy for Headaches

Massage Therapy for Headaches

Image result for headache

Fifty million Americans have chronic headaches – the most common pain problem reported to physicians, ranging in severity from annoying to debilitating. Massage therapy can help significantly with the 3 most common types of chronic headaches.

At Pacific Massage Services we assess whether a patient’s headache might indicate a life-threatening condition, such as tumor, meningitis, aneurysm or head trauma. During intake of a headache patient, we ask the following questions:

  • Is this the first headache you’ve ever had?
    • Is this the worst headache you’ve had?
    • Is this one very different from your usual headaches?
    • Do you also have other symptoms: fever, body pain, earache, dizziness, confusion, stiff neck?
    • Have you had a recent head trauma?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions results in an immediate referral to the patient’s physician to rule out a serious problem. Massage is contraindicated for a headache due to infection, recent head trauma or central nervous system injury.

Another important question we ask is: Could you be dehydrated? With insufficient water, the salinity, and thus osmotic pressure, of the cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium rises. This painful head pressure can be relieved with adequate hydration.

Once we have established that the headache does not seem to involve another condition, we determine the type of headache to help us select the most effective treatment for three main types of chronic headaches:

  1. Tension Headache. Characterized by tension and pain in neck, shoulders, head, face, TMJ; feels like a tight cap squeezing the entire head.
  2. Vascular Headache. Deep throbbing pain from excessively dilated blood vessels in the meninges, causing migraine and cluster headaches.
  3. Inflammatory. Accompanies sinus infection, URI or UR allergy; constant, deep facial pain, often exacerbated by movement.

A structural imbalance is often the root cause of chronic headaches. While massaging tense muscles can bring temporary relief, correcting a structural imbalance can bring long-term relief from chronic headaches. Two factors influence a successful massage treatment:

  1. Release of contracted muscles. Skilled massage therapists release the upper thoracic fascia, the contracted musculature of all cervical and upper thoracic muscles, and all skeletal attachments. Muscle tension constricts blood flow to these muscles and to the head. This combination of muscle spasm and inadequate blood supply is the primary cause of pain in tension headaches.
  2. Structural Alignment. Back/neck/shoulder tension often creates a structural imbalance, as can treatment to these muscles alone. So we balance upper back work by including lower back massage, and posterior work by also releasing anterior and lateral muscles, thus allowing any structural or postural misalignment to rebalance. The correction of postural deviation is often all that is needed to prevent future headaches. For vascular headaches, structural realignment has the additional benefit of improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and blood to the head, giving long-lasting relief.

In addition to hands-on treatment, at Pacific Massage Services, we also counsel patients on postural causes of headache, such as long hours of phone or computer work. We make suggestions for improvement, for example placing the computer monitor at eye level and use of ergonomic seating. As well, we advise patients on lifestyle changes such as sufficient water intake and possible dietary causes. When appropriate, we recommend stretching, exercise, chiropractic care, physical therapy or medical attention.

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Image result for relax put your feet upYour feet have walked about 75,000 miles by age 50 and they must last a lifetime! Regular care can help keep your feet up to the task.

With proper detection, intervention and care, most foot and ankle problems can be reduced, cured or prevented.

Here are some common foot problems and ways massage therapy can help:

Arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, often accompanied by an increase in joint fluid, causing painful swelling and pressure in the joint. Massage therapy soothes reduces swelling and relieves arthritis pain in the feet.

Diabetes. Due to the circulation and neurological problems of diabetes, many people with this blood sugar problem experience diabetic foot ulcers which can become infected and lead to amputation or death. Massage enhances circulation of blood and lymph and helps avoid diabetic foot ulcers.

High Blood Pressure. Also known as hypertension, this condition can place additional pressure in the feet, causing edema (swelling), discomfort and pain. Massage therapy is a commonly-used treatment for swelling of the feet and ankles.

Peripheral Artery Disease. PAD is caused by a blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the legs when fatty deposits (plaque) accumulate. CAUTION: DO NOT MASSAGE legs of a PAD patient! It could dislodge plaque deposits and cause severe injury or death.

Peripheral Neuropathy. Damage to the peripheral nerves – the nerves most distant from the core of the body – is a common effect of diabetes, causing numbness and “pins & needles” in the feet. Massage soothes and relieves these discomforts.

Sprains, Strains and Fractures. Feet and ankles work together to provide support and movement for the entire body. A sprain is injury to soft tissue. Massage helps prevent swelling, relieves pain and speeds recovery of damaged muscle, tendon and ligament tissues.

Heel Pain. The heel bone – calcaneus – is the largest of the 26 bones in the foot. Pain in this area can be relieved with massage therapy.

Tendonitis. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common causes of heel and ankle pain. Massage therapy is often effective in relieving this painful condition.

Plantar fasciitis. This is an overuse injury of tendinitis, causing inflammation, pain, tenderness and/or thickening and/or degeneration of the connective tissue that attaches leg muscles to the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by spasm or tightness in the calf muscles. Massage therapy to the leg and foot muscles can release spasms, thus relieving strain and pain in the sole of the foot.

Remember – for prevention and treatment, massage therapy can help your feet support you, take you where you need to go and walk a lifetime of 100,000 miles!

Massage Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Massage Therapy in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

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

In the early stages of recovery from addiction, patients often experience an uncomfortable conflict between their body and mind – with the mind knowing treatment is necessary, while the body still craves the addictive substance, such as alcohol or drugs. Therapeutic massage helps 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. ­­­

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

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. 

On a psycho-emotional level, part of recovery is learning to identify and manage situations and feelings that trigger alcohol/drug 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.

Sources: Integrative Healthcare Institute: 2005; Miller, N.S.: Treatment of the Addictions: Applications of Outcome Research for Clinical Management. New York: Haworth, 1995. Touch Research Institute, Miami, Florida: 2003. Counselor-The Magazine for Addiction Professionals: Oct. 2003.

Tired and Achy All the Time?

Tired and Achy All the Time?

Related image

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 psycho-emotional 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  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.

Got Arthritis? Get Massage Therapy!

Got Arthritis? Get Massage Therapy!

Massage therapy offers many health benefits, but can it ease the joint pain of arthritis? Discover what’s proven to work best, and what should you know about massage therapy for arthritis.

My client, Mrs. D, a middle-aged homemaker, uses massage for the muscle pain that accompanies joint flare-ups. Another patient, a college student says massage calms the tension and stress of her chronic pain.

Massage, whether conducted in a softly lit day spa or a treatment room at a physical therapy clinic, is something many people use to soothe sore joints and muscles, to ease anxiety or to help them sleep better. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, reports that massage is one of the most popular complementary therapies used by Americans, with close to nine percent of adults using it. Until recently, little was known about why massage seemed to work, but recent research suggests that massage can affect the body’s production of certain hormones linked to blood pressure, anxiety, heart rate and other key vital signs. But is massage safe and effective for people with arthritis?

Massage and Arthritis

Regular massage of muscles and joints, whether by a licensed therapist or by self-massage at home, can lead to significant pain reduction for arthritis patients, according to Tiffany Field, PhD. As director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Field has conducted studies on the benefits of massage for arthritis. Her research and other studies on massage for arthritis, regular massage therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall joint function.

For example, a 2006 study by University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, examined 68 adults with knee osteoarthritis receiving two Swedish massages per week for eight weeks, compared to a group who received no massage. The massage group reported significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion and walking.

Massage also benefits people with painful hand or wrist arthritis, Field concluded in another 2006 study. Twenty-two adults with hand or wrist arthritis were given four weekly massages from a therapist and taught to massage their joints daily at home. Just a 15-minute, moderate pressure massage per day led to reduced pain and anxiety, and increased grip strength for the participants as measured on comparative pre- and post-therapy tests.

Most people who try complementary therapies, including massage, do so to address back and neck pain, according to a 2007 NCCAM report. A number of studies confirm the effectiveness of massage for back and neck pain, including one published in 2011 in the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at the effectiveness of massage therapy on 401 people with chronic low back pain. The researchers found that massage did reduce their pain, and the benefits lasted at least six months. They also concluded that the type of massage wasn’t that important – different types worked about the same.

“Massage is free of any known side effects and according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise,” said senior investigator David L. Katz, MD, associate adjunct professor at Yale School of Medicine. “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.”

Sources: Susan Bernstein: arthritistoday.org;