Massage — The Timeless Miracle
The typical initiation to massage is motivated by a stressful or painful condition. But massage’s magical ministrations go deeper and offer you far more than you may have ever suspected. Regular massage can greatly benefit your overall health and well-being.
Read on to learn some of the wonderful health aspects available to you through massage.The more you learn about massage, the more you’ll benefit from each of our sessions.
This overview touches on some of the basic massage benefits available to you.
Relieves tight or sore muscles
Improves range of motion And much more...
The most obvious benefit shared by virtually everyone is that a full body massage makes you feel great! The stress-relieving, soothing results are enough for many to include massage as a regular part of their lives.
But what of the less obvious benefits?
The first sense to develop is your sense of touch.
It’s not surprising when you consider that each square inch of your skin contains roughly 50 nerve endings. With as many as five million total touch receptors in your skin relaying messages on to your brain, your body’s initial response to massage is to relax and de-stimulate.
Even a simple touch has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate.
Touch can also signal the brain to produce endorphins, your body’s natural pain suppressors.
Going deeper, massage can restore suppleness and strength to your muscles, improving their overall function. It’s the ideal treatment for releasing tension or muscles in spasm and helps to release toxins such as lactic acid (produced by muscle tissue during exercise), as well.
Proper circulation is vital to continued health. Your blood and lymph carry nourishment to the trillions of cells throughout your body and then carry away the waste to be eliminated from the cells. Massage encourages a better exchange of nutrients at the cellular level and more thorough detoxification.
Remember, the future "you" is determined by how well your army of cells regenerate themselves, so this is indeed a critical part of remaining healthy.
The nervous system is your communication network, sending messages constantly that determine proper functioning throughout your body. Stress can affect the ability of the nervous system to do its job. The many nerve endings found in the skin and muscles are soothed by massage, and this contributes to keeping your internal lines of communication open and operational.
Massage also aids in maintaining flexibility in your joints, such as the knee, hip, spine, shoulder, and neck. These joints are thoroughfares for nerves, veins and arteries, so their freedom of movement allow energy and blood to flow unimpeded.
So, you can see massage does quite a bit more than just relax you and work out the kinks in a sore back.
Since massage has been practiced for thousands of years and is one of the earliest known health treatments known to man, why don’t you hear more about it in today’s society?
In fact, massage today is rapidly growing in popularity and reputation. Besides being misunderstood, massage has had to overcome the reluctance many people have regarding physical contact. Of course, once they experience a therapeutic massage for themselves, most people are hooked.
A 1997 Life magazine article explored some of the research underway regarding the benefits of massage. Undertaken by the Touch Research Institute in Miami, ongoing studies are showing amazing results, as the following quotes indicate:"...
More than 50 TRI studies have shown massage to have positive effects on conditions from colic to hyperactivity to diabetes to migraines — in fact, on every malady TRI has studied thus far.
Massage, it seems, helps asthmatics breathe easier, boosts immune function in HIV-positive patients, improves autistic children’s ability to concentrate, lowers anxiety in depressed adolescents..."
...Massage can increase the lymph flow rate.
It enhances immune function and lowers levels of (two) stress hormones...".
..Field (the director of TRI) worries that Americans aren’t getting enough touch...At the TRI preschool, teachers encourage ‘positive touch.’ They dole out unlimited hugs, backrubs and shoulder pats...Most of the 40 children, from six months to five years in age, get a daily 15-minute rubdown, which leaves them according to TRI research, more alert, more responsive, able to sleep more deeply...
"Again, As you can see, massage offers more benefits than you may have imagined. Isn’t it good to know that something that feels so great can contribute to your long-term health as well?
Let’s work together to help you get the most from your massages — see you at your next appointment!
Make the Most from Every Massage!
Massage can be a powerful tool to help your body best perform its countless functions in its goal to maintain a healthy balance. Why not do everything you can to get the best possible results from every massage session? This article is devoted to providing you with some hints to make the most from your bodywork sessions.
Before your session...
The mood of your session can be affected by the things currently influencing your life. You can improve your results by preparing yourself before your massage time. If you can put the events of your life on pause for a little while and truly devote your session time to taking care of you, the benefits you experience can be greatly enhanced.
Life really will wait a couple of hours for you — and you’ll be in much better shape to deal with your responsibilities when you are feeling your best!
Other things you can do, as time allows:
Take a relaxing bath or shower before your appointment time.
Limit consumption of caffeine and sugar, as well as other stimulants.
Avoid eating immediately before your appointment.
Allow extra time in your schedule so you don’t have to rush to be ready for your session. Otherwise, it may take longer to reach a relaxed state.
Be aware of your current condition so you can report anything that needs attention. It’s important to explain what’s going on healthwise, because changing health conditions can affect your massage needs.
During your session...Share what’s going on. If you have a tender spot or an injured area, bring it up so it can be addressed. If you feel you need more pressure or a lighter touch during the session, please say so. If everything is great, you can lie back and relax. If you find your attention is on something, bring it up so you will be able to lie back and relax! Specify your preferences. Everyone has different needs and wants, so share yours! Is everything in the massage environment okay? The temperature? The lighting? Any other distractions? Are you completely at ease? Do you like certain music? Is the volume okay? Do you like specific techniques? More time spent on a certain area?
Each session is especially for you, so please communicate about what you want! If there is anything you don’t understand, please ask so we can discuss it. Let it all go and relax! One of the major massage goals for many people is to lessen tension and stress. Many of those aches and pains that demand our attention are linked to stress.
In fact — according to Dr. Sandra McLanahan — eighty percent of disease is stress-related, so maximizing the relaxation in each session should help you to maintain a much higher level of well-being!
One way to quiet your mind is to focus your attention on the session — really get in tune with your sense of touch.
Proper breathing helps you to relax and to reach your session goals. Slow, deep breathing (from the gut) will provide your body with much-needed oxygen, while signaling your body to let go of its tensions.
After your session...If at all possible, allow for some quiet time before you continue your busy life. Drink extra water!! Massage releases waste products and toxins from your muscles. Increasing your fluid intake lowers this toxicity and lessens the strain on filtering organs.
Before your next session...Make your massage results last by avoiding as many stressful elements as possible.
Schedule your next appointment!
When you make bodywork a regular part of your life, you are helping your body to maintain a better state of balance. In the long run, you stand to enjoy much better health gains through consistent sessions. Make note of anything that occurs between sessions to bring up next time. Enjoy your life!
Nothing is more important than your well-being, so make taking care of yourself a high priority.
When you feel your best, you are in a much better condition to deal with all of life’s challenges and demands.
Hopefully, this list has given you at least a couple of helpful hints. If there are any other points you’d like to bring up, please do so. And if you have any questions regarding your massage and bodywork sessions or your health, feel free to ask.
The Benefits of Regular Massage
Once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises —
"How often should I schedule my massage sessions?"
Of course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.
In a Newsweek article entitled "The Magic of Touch," the advantages of frequent massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer the question, "How often?"
"A weekly massage may seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it can have major health benefits....
"Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent
From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage.
At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists . . .
Doctors have started prescribing massage to help patients manage stress and pain. And a few HMOs have begun sharing in the cost.
‘Massage is medicine, not merely an indulgence,’ says Laura Favin of Not Just a Luxury Onsite Massage in New York....
"Scientists are now finding that massage can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, dampen harmful stress hormones and raise mood-elevating brain chemicals such as serotonin.
And you can’t beat massage for relaxation.
Babies fall asleep faster when massaged than when rocked — and they stay asleep, rather than waking the moment Mom tiptoes away.
All these factors, says Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, ‘put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health.’ ...
"The effects aren’t always so straightforward.
Massage can also stimulate nerves that carry signals from the skin to the brain, triggering changes throughout the body.... Field showed that massage (as opposed to light touch) stimulates the brain’s vagus nerve, causing the secretion of food-absorption hormones, including insulin. Nerve stimulation probably explains other benefits as well.... Dr. James Dillard of Columbia University [says], ‘Every nerve cell in the body has some connection to every other nerve cell.’ ..."Like exercise, massage does more for you if you engage in it regularly... even a monthly treatment can help maintain general health. ‘Touch is basic to survival,’ says Elliot Greene, past president of AMTA [American Massage Therapy Assn.]. That’s all the excuse anyone should need to indulge."Remember, your body strives to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance. Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines to help it do its job — and to keep you feeling your best. So, make regular massage a priority in your life for a healthier tomorrow!
Enjoy Your Holiday! You probably have plenty to do in the coming weeks. The end-of-year holiday season can be one of the busiest times of the year. Hopefully, much of what you have to do involves sharing time with all the special people in your life, and as the year winds down, you’ll have time to relax and reflect on the truly important things in your life.
When you do find time to catch your breath, be sure to take a moment to consider what improvements you can make in your day-to-day life that add to your health and happiness. It’s funny how easy it is to take for granted the truly important things like your health until you wear yourself out or push yourself to the point of illness. Whenever you need to recharge, give your health a boost, get away from it all for an hour, or unburden yourself from accumulated stress, remember that your next massage awaits!Enjoy the rest of this issue; see you soon!
What Could Be Better Than a Massage?
Can you think of anything that can match massage for making you feel your best while giving you overall health support? Of course, all your lifestyle choices can make a difference in your health and how you feel, but massage is in a class by itself in helping you maintain your health.If you do a little research, you’ll find many studies that verify massage can help you in so many ways. From anxiety and arthritis to sports injuries and stress, massage helps your body’s many complex systems to work more efficiently together. Many health problems can develop from having your body get out of balance. One reason massage is so effective at helping you stay healthier is that it contributes to homeostasis—your body’s efforts to keep all its systems operating in harmony at the optimum levels.So, keep in mind one reason getting regular massage makes you feel so good is that it’s helping your body to stay in a healthier balance. And when your body is doing better, it follows that your mental outlook is likely to improve. Remember that regular massage is one of the best ways you can help yourself stay on the road to a healthier and happier life!
Now, Some Good Health News . . .
Massage therapy has health benefits — In the past, relaxation was cited as the leading motivator for getting a massage, but increasingly Americans are looking to massage therapy for medical reasons and pain relief.
Statistics from a 2006 report ... showed that 1 in 4 adults in this country say they have experienced a daylong bout of pain in the past month, and one in 10 say the pain lasted a full year or more ... Luckily, massage therapy has been shown to give considerable relief from many types of pain, and is well known for relieving stress and promoting relaxation.
—The Olympian, Olympia, Washington, Sept. 2008
Knead for speed: Study shows key role of massage — Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps got a massage twice a day in Beijing. His teammate, Dara Torres, had two massage therapists on stand-by.
And a bunch of sedated rabbits in Ohio recently had massage performed on their legs after bouts of intense exercise.Phelps, 23, made history by winning eight gold medals. Torres, 41, became the oldest swimmer to compete in an Olympic event and win a silver medal.As for the rabbits? They might have proved scientifically what athletes and trainers have long believed: Massage really does help with muscle recovery.
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 2008
Short-Term Stress Affects Memory
Employers thinking of bringing massage therapy into the workplace should consider this: New research shows that short-term stress can affect learning and memory—and the beneficial effects of massage on stress are already well documented.Short-term stress lasting as little as a few hours can impair brain-cell communication in areas associated with learning and memory, University of California, Irvine researchers have found. Severe stress lasting weeks or months has already been shown to impair cell communication in the brain’s learning and memory region, but this new study provides the first evidence that short-term stress has the same effect. The study appears in a spring edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.The researchers identified a novel process by which stress caused these effects. They found that rather than involving the widely known stress hormone cortisol, which circulates throughout the body, acute stress activated selective molecules called corticotropin releasing hormones, which disrupted the process by which the brain collects and stores memories.
— Source: University of California at Irvine
You may pride yourself on the ability to juggle multiple tasks, said Jon Hamilton in NPR.com. But MIT researchers say your multitasking is a myth. You might think you’re doing two things at once, but in fact you’re just switching attention from one thing to the next very quickly, says Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT. Because similar tasks compete for resources from the same part of the brain, one task always wins. “Think about writing an e-mail and talking on the phone at the same time,” says Miller. It’s nearly impossible.We’ve all been on the phone with someone who suddenly seems disengaged, said Alina Tugend in The New York Times. That’s the “e-mail voice,” says Edward M. Hallowell, author of CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! But the real problem with multitasking isn’t its rudeness. Multitasking just isn’t very efficient. In fact, researchers say that we’ve grown so accustomed to multitasking that we can lose our ability to concentrate even on a single task. “We need to re-create boundaries,” says Hallowell. Stop typing and try listening. You’ll be surprised by how much you accomplish when you “single-task.” —The Week Vol. 8 Iss. 387
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
— Eleanor Roosevelt