Monday, March 27, 2006

Massage Therapy & It's Health Benefits

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts.

Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use - the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments - and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.

Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. Massage Therapy does not only ease the stress and tension of everyday life. It has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, pregnancy, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, and more.

Massage Therapy is also excellent for individuals with anxiety or depression, and for anyone recovering from trauma. I often recommend Massage Therapy when I work with patients.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage Therapy, involves applications of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. Through this healing touch, muscles are relaxed, toxins are released and endorphins flow. There are more than 200 variations of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies and many practitioners utilize many different kinds of techniques. Click here for more information on what to expect from Massage Therapy.

Massage Therapy can be obtained through spa services, medical offices, and privately through a licensed masseuse. And, uh, please make sure your Massage Therapist is a licensed one, so no hanky-panky goes on!

And if you can't get to a professional Massage Therapist, ask someone you love to get their hands on you!

Touch is so healing.

American Massage Therapy Association


Mia said...

Omg, I have a girl, a naturopath/healer that does my massages. SHe's great, does a full body massage. Makes me feel like jello when Im done. Best Ive ever had.

Medicoglia, RN said...

My neighbor gets a weekly massage...gets rid of the weeks tension for her. I can't do body work though...not there yet. Maybe someday.


Deb Sistrunk Nelson said...

For someone like me, who has a high-stress career and a high-stress personal life, massage therapy seems mandatory. But I keep putting it off, saying the money could go towards the kids' clothing or whatever. One day I'll actually do this!

Anonymous said...

About 5 years ago I started the training to become a masseuse but gave it up because I couldn't do that and work a full time job. Its a shame really, it would have been a great skill to have. Maybe one day I'll pick it up again.

In the mean time, I'm thinking I ought to book myself in for a massage to ease away some of the ever-growing tension in my shoulders!

Skye said...

My Grandma, she has a special touch and when she's done the pain is completely gone. :)

Tracy said...

I have been using massage therapy for years! Its the only thing that even touches helping heal all my health issues. I would recommend it for anyone who has fibromyalgia or any other disorders that affects deep tissue areas.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Deb: The only Christmas or birthday gift hint I ever give anyone who asks, is a massage. I can't even imagine what they cost in NYC but here in Ohio they run $60-$100 for an 50-60 minute therapy. My wildest dream is to have enough money to get one every week..but I usually end up with 1-2 a year! I wish insurance companies would help with the cost. I swear it would cut down on health problems and prescription use! Chris

Carolina Introvert said...

My therapist is trying to convince me to get a massage - she gets one every week and insists that SHE is worth it. I just may take you both up on the suggestion.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Miranda,
You are so lucky. The girl who used to be our masseuse moved out of state! I like that jello feel too.

Dear Fallen,
It took me a while to be able to do body work. I resisted for many years. I hope that one day you will feel comfortable enought to do so as well.

Dear DCS,
I think giving yourself the gift of massage would be going towards the kids in an indirect way. Y'know what I mean?

Dear Beth,
I hope you pick it up again if that is your heart's desire. It takes alot of schooling and training to be a masseuse.

Dear Skye,
I love your comment. You are lucky that she has that special touch.

Dear Mysti,
It is so healing, you are right.

Dear Chris,
I get a massage about once a season, or four times a year. There was a time, that I was able to schedule one once a month for me and my hubby. Gone are those days, but I dream of them nonetheless!


Wendy C. said...

I am sooooo lucky here - my husband is a trained massage practicioner. He does Okazaki Resorative Massage - and even though I have to do my deep breathing to make it through an hour of the end, I feel relaxed and "blissed out"

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Carolina,
You commented as I did so I missed you in the last set of responses. I would definitely look into MT. It may offer you many healing things.

Dear Wendy,
I am so TOTALLY jealous!! But seriously, you are so lucky ;)


Rose said...

I love massages. I hate the fact that soon after it starts I fall asleep. Though I feel refreshed I love the experience and the feeling and wants to be awake feeling that great....

Carolina Introvert said...

Ok Dr. Deb, I made an appointment for my first massage. She also does foot reflexology, which I have had and I know that works (although it was very painful for me!)

Thanks for the push.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of getting a massage but everytime I get one I end up sobbing. Then it takes me a very long time to do it again. Go figure. As always, great info Deb.

Jackie said...

I love when my hubby rubs me (can't remember the last time) but I have to say I am a bit shy with others. Maybe I am just weird like that though.........and hubby is cheaper!

Love ya,

Raine said...

I have always believed that touch is a nessecary and vital part of beling healthy. Afterall babies will fail to thrive without it. This is gonna sound strange but after having one professional massage I wont do it again. tho it was very relaxing and all, it had an effect I hadnt anticipated that embarrassed the heck out of me

jumpinginpuddles said...

included in massages are spas and natural spring waters facials and all the other great trimmings that come with it. Of course living near a natural spring water resort helps ;) Been once youve reminded me that we need to get back there thanks :)

Dawn said...

I would love to get a massage. I just need to get over this "i hate being touched" thing, and it'll be all good.

The 1st time i read this post this morning,I totally LOL'ed and almost spit my cereal on the screen with the no hanky-panky thing. I was so not expecting to read that. you crack me up :D

Sonnie-Dee said...

My previous work place actually pays a professional masseuse to come in for two days every week. Everyone was allowed one free massage a month but often people got two or three.

My new work place offers similar but you pay $10 towards a half hour session work pays the rest.

obviously they have seen the benefits of having a relaxed staff. Now its just getting me to one, Im like fallen angels and can't do body work at all.

Medicoglia, RN said...

I really would like to try a massage, but I am really afraid I would react similar to Traci. I have to psych myself up to see my GP for asthma/respiratory stuff because I know she is going to touch my back, chest and neck...I manage, but it is hard. And I still tense up when T gives a hug, even though she ALWAYS asks first.


A Flowered Purse said...

Thats funny you should write that article, thats what topic we are doing in my anxiety loop!!
I Love a massage. It does help too!!
I wish i could get one weekly!!
Thanks Dr Deb
Havea wonderful week

Anonymous said...

I do not know if it is because I am self-conscious or what but I am so uncomfortable on that table, like I am naked in the school cafeteria. The experience is not worth it to me. I agree how healing it is. I tried going with my husband for a dual massage. That was the weirdest thing ever.
"Okay dear, please stop moaning."

I know I am a strange duck.

Godwhacker said...

Message at least every other week is an essential part of my monthly budget. I hope one day to increase that to whenever I'm stressed out.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Rose,
I can fall asleep too. Sometimes I feel so relaxed that it it jarring to get up!

Dear Carolina,
Every therapist will want you to tell him or her if the touch pressure is too hard or too soft. So, if your foot work is painful, tell the therapist to lighten the pressure. So glad you made an appointmnet for MT!

Dear Traci,
It is not uncommon for there to be an emotional release with MT. In fact, my friend who is a masseuse says that it occurs often in her work. The thing is to find a masseuse who you can trust and feel vulnerable with....and go and have a good cry. It is probably more healing than you realize.

Dear Jackie,
It took a long time for me to feel comfortable with a masseuse as well. I recall leaving my clothes on for the first time, which she said is not unusual for people who are shy, fearful or unaccustomed to touch. A hubby is great thing, but if you want to venture out, don't feel compelled to strip down. You can work with a masseuse to a level that comforts you.

Dear Raine,
Touch *is* important, and life saving as you say. I am thinking that the masseuse would feel bad if you felt embarrassed in any way. I know mine would. What happened?

Dear JIP,
I need to come visit where you are :)

Dear Dawn,
As I've said before int he comments, it took me a very long time to work myself to trust a massage therapist. I also did not like to be touched. A professionally trained masseuse works within an ethical framework, but sometimes "Massage" can evoke jokes about things unseamly. So I thought I'd get that out of the way.

Dear Sonnie Dee,
Both of your jobs are very forward thinking places. It *is* hard to trust if trauma or other issues make doing body work tough. I am a survivor of incest, as well as someone who has depression, and when the time was right and I was ready, the body work completed my recovery. I worked with a massage therapist who understood my needs, and made me feel extremely comfortable. I am grateful to her. I hope one day you can feel the same.

Dear Fallen,
It is hard, I know. But many massage therapists know about trauma and its impact on the body. And if you can ever find a masseuse you can trust, the experience may not be as scary. But you will know if the time ever comes for that. No one can or should ever tell you what you need to do in this regard, except yourself.

Dear Dianna,
So great that this is a topic in your anxiety loop. And,about a weekly massage....I'm with you on that

Dear Mom Interrupted,
I am not comfortable doing a couple massage either. I need to be alone with the masseuse. I know that when I first did massage therapy, I wore my clothes the first time....the took off my clothes and left the undergarments, and then eventually went off with everything. But it took time for me to be comfortable. My masseuse says that there are many men and women who leave their undergarments on when she works, and she is okay with that. She wants the client to be comfortable. And MT is not for everyone. But touch in any way that is healing is a wonderful gift to receive.


Dr. Deb said...

Dear Godwhacker,
You are a lucky person!!!!


jane said...

I have experience giving Tarzan massages, but unfortunately, not getting many. But while I did get them, omgosh, they felt so heavenly. Unfortunately, after about 5 minutes he'd lose interest. I do enjoy giving them though.

Leesa said...

I absolutely love massages from my guy.

dragonflyfilly said...

ahhhhh, *big sigh* - i have not had a massage in ages...i had a really excellent maseusse (sp?) but she moved to Nelson,(she was also trained in spinal/cranio ?? therapy), and before her a practitioner in Chilliwack, (his touch was electric) but he moved to Merrett to live in a Buddhist retreat and I am somewhat fussy about who touches me, (most men i know are a bit too heavy handed for my liking and don't know how to massage unless they have been trained)so have not got around to finding a new person yet.--i've known for awhile that i should make more of an effort to find someone, but now, reading this, Deb, i am inspired to stop procrastinating.

Id it is said...

Of the five senses, touch, to me, is probably the most personal. A touch, a caress, a pat ...sure shot way of letting someone know you are there or that you care. Haven't ever gotten a professional massage, but i can imagine the wonders it can work.

Heidi said...

I have never had a massage..I was going to treat myself to a pedicure for my Birthday in May...I just might add a massage as well.

aidanrad said...

Ahhhh, lovely stuff...
Had never had a massage til a couple of years ago, when I was lucky enough to get the luckiest of all work perks: a Press trip to the Florida Keys, touting itself as the rapidly-growing spa capital of the western world, and where our tour guide was keen to lead us pasty-faced hacks on a week-long indulgence of healthy living, pampering and all sorts... Had my first massage there, and was zonked out for the rest of the day - happily so...
Then again, I 'won' a brief shoulder massage at work the other week as part of our firm's birthday-day, but tend to hunch myself up so much, I fear the effect was soon lost...
Still can be a lovely treat, though, and well-recommendable - even if the after-effects fade too soon, at least they make an impact for a little while after - and can act as a contributory factor to better feelings, rather than some ambitious hopes of an instant cure-all...

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Jane,
My hubby loses interest too. I've found that having the tv on while his favorite sports team helps, but only if they are winning does this work!

Dear Leesa,
You are a lucky lady!

Dear Dragonflyfilly,
Go for it!

Dear Heidi,
I had a mani-pedi yesterday, and the place I go got these new pedicure chairs. Called the human touch chair. Let me tell you, that was the best pedicure I ever got. I didn't want to leave the chair. Hope you treat yourself, it is a lovely thing to experience. BTW, when's your birthday in May?

Dear AKR,
Sounds like you had a fantastic time in the Floriday keys!!!


Medicoglia, RN said...

Deb we need help! Just a couple minutes of your time really. Could you drop by Raine's days and leave a brief comment stating that DID is NOT bipolar disorder? This guy is taking over our blogs with this argument he has and we are really tired of it now. We just need to be able to say "see...a professional agrees with go away" :P


Dr. Deb said...

Dear Fallen,
I'll see what I can do, but it sounds like he is a blog-heckler, and they are hard to discipline, you know?!


Raine said...

What happened was I became extremely "aroused" The massage therapist was entirely professional and did nothing to cause this. it was my own reaction and has happened again. I will no longer allow anyone to massage me unless they are my "romantic partner" already because this is a problem for me. I noticed no one has has mentioned anything similar but I am hoping I am not the only person in the world who reacts that way.

Raine said...

thank you so much for the support Dr. Deb. Somehow I doubt it get thru his thick skull but for my other readers it is very good to see your agreement posted there. Thank you

Medicoglia, RN said...

Thank you so much Deb...and boy you are quick! lol


alan said...

Having spent way too much of the last year absorbing Weider group publications in my quest to lose 40% of myself; even in "Muscle and Fitness" and those type of magazines they speak wonderfully of the effect massage has on both muscle growth and recovery.

Though I've never had one, there have been times I've seen someone at work (when you build cars for a living not only do you abuse your body, but it's a repetitive abuse for hours on end) in extreme pain and even an untrained massage for a few minutes can soothe something or make it loosen enough to "get through" the rest of the night.

Sadly, from so many years of building them myself (21 "on the line" before I moved to Material) my hands tend to go to sleep after about 5 minutes. Somewhere I've read that massage therapists have a very high rate of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; I can understand why!


Dr. Deb said...

Dear Raine,
Your reaction is not as unusual as you might think. In fact, there are alot of studies in Massage Therapy that help sexually abused individuals rediscover the safety of touch and their own body arousal system. Touch can be a healing experience, but comfort above all, is the most important.

Dear Raine,
Regading your heckler, it was my pleasure to put facts into play on your blog. Hope it helps.

Dear Fallen,
My computer is on virtually all day, so when I have a break, I check out what's doing on my blog and on the internet. I have the carpal tunnel to, sadly, show for it!

Peace out,

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Alan,
The next time you are in the mall, check out the stores that have the massage chairs. Or the ones that have the foot massage devices. Give yourself a go-round and see if you like it. Too bad they can't have these at your work to help soothe the aches and pains that come along the way.

My friend who is a masseuse was this tiny lady, who would massage for hours a day. She had the strongest hands and boundful energy. I can see how injuries could befall a MT working like they do. She never complained though.


Superstar Nic said...

OMG! Dr. Deb you have no idea how badly I need a massage right now. I’m so tired and work has been so stressful lately.

A massage (therapy) would truly heal me right now (smile)!

Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

We use massage in labor, of course, not to mention during pregnancy and postpartum...and with chronic pain patients.


Nancy said...

I love a good massage. I remember this masseuse came to our house and the girls got upset that daddy was only wearing underwear under the towel. Of course they watched thru the outside door. LOL

Seriously, massage is a necessary part of life!

Thanks Deb.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear N Search,
Go get one!!!! Hurray, so you can feel great sooner!

Dear Milliner,
Yes, of course...I forgot to put that in as another health benefit. So glad you reminded me. I'll tuck it in now.

Dear Nancy,
What a cute story!


sjobs said...

I forget how wonderful a good massage is. I am on spring break starting tomorrow, time for a massage next week.

Thanks for the info Deb....


Dr. Deb said...

Dear Mary,
Enjoy your spring break. Hope a massage gets planned somehow for you!


east village idiot said...

Nirvana is a deep tissue massage. I always advocate massage to people. Especially my friends who are down but not ready for therapy. Or my friends who are single and a bit lonely.

The human touch is very important. Americans don't hug enough.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear East Village,
I think it is nirvana too. And you are right, Americans don't touch and show affection via touch enough.

Happy weekend to you,

Anonymous said...

Massage is a great way to easy body, mind and spirit, and a skilled massage practitioner can do a great job in benefitting one's health.