Articles on Massage

Massage — Good for What Ails You

Ask the average person what they think of when you say

massage therapy and they most likely will mention

getting sore or tight muscles rubbed, getting relaxed or

reducing tension.

 These are probably the main reasons most people seek

 out massage treatments.

This article reviews the very broad scope of treatment

 that massage addresses every day. Many of these

conditions may not directly apply to you, but you may

know someone

— a family member or friend — who is affected. At the

very least, you should find it interesting to learn just how

beneficial massage therapy is to all of us in our quest to

lead a happy and healthy life.

The medical conditions that people find therapeutic

massage can help include:

  • allergies
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • asthma & bronchitis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • chronic & temporary pain
  • circulatory problems
  • depression
  • digestive disorders
  • headache, especially due to tension
  • insomnia
  • myofascial pain (where the muscles connect)
  • reduced range of motion
  • sinusitis
  • sports injuries
  • stress
  • TMJ (noise and/or pain in the jaw joint)

As interest in massage therapy grows, more studies are

being conducted to verify the anecdotal results clients

have reported for years.

As an example, several studies offer evidence that

immune function is strengthened by massage therapy

— in both healthy people as well as those who are

fighting disease.

"‘In one study after another, research is suggesting

 that massage therapy has a positive impact on

immune function,’ said Diane Zeitlin, research associate


at the Center for Research in Complementary and

 Alternative Medicine, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation

 & Education Corporation, West Orange, N.J.

"‘An increase in white blood cells and natural killer-cell

activity better prepares the body to fight off possible

invading cells,’

said Zeitlin. ‘These cellular changes suggest the immune

 system benefited from the massages, and these findings

fall in line with previous research.’"

In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute

(TRI) at the University of Miami on women who had

been diagnosed with breast cancer, the women received

regular massage therapy (three times a week for five

weeks), with 80 percent showing improved immune


"‘These are the first studies that show an effect

of massage therapy on an immune function test, which

can support the use of massage therapy to alleviate

stress, relax muscles and now possibly serve as an

alternative medical practice,’ said Michael Ruff, Ph.D.,

research associate professor at Georgetown University

Medical School."

Another TRI study addressed fibromyalgia (a chronic

condition characterized by muscular pain, aching,

and/or stiffness and afflicting an estimated 3 – 6 million

 Americans). A portion of the study group received

30 minute massages twice a week for five weeks.

The rheumatologists that evaluated the results

determined that this group experienced decreases in

pain, fatigue, stiffness and improvements in the quality

of sleep.

If you are fortunate enough to have excellent health,

consider what benefits massage can provide for you.

What is becoming evident from the growing number

of studies on massage benefits is that massage is help-

ing  people to enjoy more optimal physical function-

ing. turn can lead to a better mental outlook.

The next time you hear someone says that massage is

only a luxury, you’ll know that massage is really a

 tool that can help improve a body’s ability to regain

and maintain proper function. Making you feel

                       terrific is

                                     just a wonderful bonus!

The content of this article is not designed to replace

 professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2009 Massage Marketing.

 Used with permission; all rights reserved.



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!




The content of this article is not designed to replace

 professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2009 Massage Marketing.

 Used with permission; all rights reserved.


How massage therapy can help

piriformis syndrome and sciatica

Medical Massage — By Mark on December 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm
Piriformis syndrome can be treated with massage therapy

Piriformis syndrome can be treated with massage therapy

Piriformis Syndrome is a disorder caused when the piriformis

muscle irritates or compresses the sciatic nerve causing leg pain

(both aching and shooting pains), leg numbness, leg cramps,

reduced hip range of motion and pain deep in the buttocks.

Many people refer to these symptoms as ‘sciatica’. Medical or

neuromuscular massage therapy is a very effective treatment for

piriformis syndrome and is especially helpful when combined with

stretching and exercise.

The piriformis is a small but important muscle located deep in your

backside, beneath the gluteus maximus. The importance of this

muscle is its proximity to the sciatic nerve (the largest nerve in the

body) which supplies the lower extremities with motor and sensory

function. The sciatic nerve runs just under this muscle and, in up to

15% of the population, the sciatic nerve goes directly through the

muscle. When this muscle is over contracted it can compress the

nerve causing you lots of pain and aggravation.

Description and location of Piriformis
The piriformis is a lateral rotator of the hip. This means it is respons-

ible, along with other muscles, for turning your leg to the outside. If

you stand and lift your foot off the ground bending your knee, then

turn your knee towards the outside of your body, you are laterally

rotating your hip. You will find this muscle in the upper middle of your

gluteal area.

All muscles are described in part by three characteristics called

origin, insertion, and action. The origin and insertion are the two

main points on your body where the muscle is attached and the

action is movement the muscle performs. These are called the O’s,

I’s, and A’s of the muscle. For the piriformis the O’s, I’s, and A’s are

as follows:

  • Origin – Anterior surface of the sacrum. The sacrum is the
  • flattish part of your spine just above your tail bone or coccyx.
  • Insertion – Greater trochanter of the femur (the ball shaped
  • top of your femur (thigh) bone on the outside of your leg).
  • Action – Lateral rotation of the hip (described above) and to
  • a lesser extent, abduction of the hip (moving the leg directly
  • away from the body to the outside).

If you have symptoms of piriformis syndrome, it is important to be

aware that several other, more serious disorders can cause some

or all of the symptoms mentioned above. These include herniated

discs, spinal stenosis, and more. Always check with your doctor to

diagnose and treat any medical problems.

If you do suffer from piriformis syndrome, medical massage as part

of a comprehensive treatment plan, can eliminate the symptoms in

many patients. As massage “releases” tight muscles, it is obvious

that conditions caused or irritated by tight muscles can effectively be

treated with the proper type of massage therapy. A comprehensive

treatment plan may consist of massage therapy, stretches, proper

nutrition, and in some cases medication and physical therapy.

The most important thing to remember is that in almost all cases

pain can be reduced or eliminated by proper diagnoses and treat-

ment of your condition. Don’t feel you have to suffer with pain

because you have had poor results in the past. This is a very treat-

able condition with medical massage therapy being a critical

element in the overall treatment plan.

IMPORTANT  – The above information is general advice only.

You should always consult with a doctor for any specific

medical advice.

How massage therapy can help with piriformis syndrome and sciatica






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