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Massage Therapy is an enjoyable and effective treatment for many conditions that cause stress, muscle or joint discomfort.
Massage therapy uses a variety of hands on techniques that apply stretch and pressure to soft tissues to relieve pain and maintain or improve physical function of muscles and joints.
When we perform daily tasks and physical activities, our muscles are contracting repeatedly by way of nerve signals sent from the brain and chemical reactions within the muscle tissue. When you strain a muscle, part of the muscle fiber is damaged through rupture of the muscle cell membrane, which releases an excess of chemical mediators for muscle contraction, and the result is continued contraction of the muscle, even after activity and movement has stopped. Muscles shorten and lengthen with joint movement but the sustained shortening after strain causes decrease in flexibility and decrease in blood flow and elimination of metabolic waste products through the muscles. This creates an uncomfortable stiffness and sore feeling, strain on joints, ultimately making you more susceptible to muscular injury/re-injury. The same thing occurs after prolonged activity, even if you do not think you have strained a muscle. The prolonged use of muscles shortens them and does not allow for sufficient blood flow, oxygen flow and removal of metabolic waste, which leads to formation of painful muscle knots.
- Anxiety and depression
- Back, leg, shoulder, arm and neck pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, repetitive strain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Arthritis and bursitis
- Kyphosis, Lordosis, Scoliosis
- Muscle tension and Spasm
- Sciatic Pain
- Sports injuries
- Strain, sprain
- Stress and stress related conditions
- Swedish Massage
- Active Myofascia Release
- Trigger Point Treatment
- Sports Massage
- Clinical Deep Tissue Massage
- Pre and postnatal Massages
- Infant Massage
Through the Life Span
The Touch Research Institute, University of Miami, has completed many research studies on massage therapy. These researchers have found evidence that massage has significant benefit for babies, children, adults, and elderly persons. Massage therapy has been shown to enhance growth in premature babies in the hospital, calm aggressive adolescents and help kids with Attention Deficit Disorder. Elderly persons in nursing homes have responded to massage with decreased agitated behaviour.
On the Job Corporations and other institutions are discovering that massage therapy programs for employees pay off. Job stress has been identified as a serious health care issue that relates to decreased productivity, decrease job satisfaction, increased work related injury, errors and absenteeism. Research reported in the Financial Times 1, and in Massage Therapy: The Evidence for Practice 2 show that massage is a good tool for reducing work stress.
Stress, Depression, and Immunity
Massage therapy studies have shown positive results in boosting the body's own natural cellular immune response, decreasing pain by pumping up the body's levels of endorphins and decreasing the blood levels of cortisol which is a hormone related to stress. These beneficial results are proving helpful for people with critical illnesses like cancer and HIV infection and for those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
Athletes, coaches, and professional trainers use massage. Massage therapy is used at sporting event to help athletes performance and to help prevent injury. Massage may improve muscle recovery and decrease muscle soreness after exertion. Athletes also benefit from the therapy's positive effects on heart rate and blood pressure, and the general relaxation response that reduces anxiety and improves mood.3
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Receiving Massage therapy is safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Many women enjoy the skilled care of a massage therapist to help to alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain associated with changes in the body during pregnancy. The general benefits of increased circulation and enhanced well-being are valuable therapeutic effects. Specially trained massage therapists can even participate during childbirth to help decrease pain and anxiety.
1 - Financial Times (1992)
2 - Rich, G. (Ed.). (2002). Massage Therapy: The Evidence for Practice. Toronto,ON
3 - Sports Medicine, (2005);35(3):235-56