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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:
- asthma & bronchitis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- chronic & temporary pain
- circulatory problems
- digestive disorders
- headache, especially due to tension
- myofascial pain (where the muscles connect)
- reduced range of motion
- sports injuries
- 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
"‘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
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 function.
"‘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 helping people to enjoy
more optimal physical functioning. And this in turn can lead to
a better mental outlook.
The next time you hear someone
say 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!