Archive for tag: massage benefits

Massage Can Help Those with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

2014-01-15_knee _smIn two separate studies, massage therapy shows promise in reducing pain and increasing the range of motion for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.

One study had a group of patients attend supervised self-massage sessions twice a week, and taught them a regimen of self-massage techniques to use at home. At the end of the study, researchers found an overall improvement in stiffness, function and pain for the intervention group, while a control group that did not participate in the self-massage remained the same.

In a second study, patients receiving regular weekly or bi-weekly massage showed reduced pain and stiffness and increased functionality.

Here is a summary of both studies prepared by the American Massage Therapy Association.

It's great to know that massage therapy may have the potential to reduce reliance on prescription and over-the-counter pain medication in osteoarthritis of the knee. 

Massage Reduces Inflammation & Promotes Mitochondria Growth

Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving, recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there's a scientific basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle. So says new research from the Buck Institute on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. You can read more about this study and watch a video from one of the researchers explaining how they made the discovery.

Biking

The study involved the genetic analysis of muscle biopsies taken from the quadriceps of eleven young males after they had exercised to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle. One of their legs was randomly chosen to be massaged. Biopsies were taken from both legs prior to the exercise, immediately after 10 minutes of massage treatment and after a 2.5 hour period of recovery.

Buck Institute faculty Simon Melov, PhD, was responsible for the genetic analysis of the tissue samples. "Our research showed that massage dampened the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the muscle cells and promoted biogenesis of mitochondria, which are the energy-producing units in the cells," said Melov. He added that the pain reduction associated with massage may involve the same mechanism as those targeted by conventional anti-inflammatory drugs. "There's general agreement that massage feels good, now we have a scientific basis for the experience," said Melov.

Massage Benefits

Do you know the many benefits of massage?

  • Improves range of motion and decreases low-back pain.
  • Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
  • Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles.
  • Reduces swelling and scar tissue.
  • Reduces recovery time from injury/surgery.
  • Reduces stress, the cause of nearly 90% of diseases we face.
  • Releases endorphins, the body's natural painkiller, thereby reducing need for medications.
  • Stimulates lymph flow and supports the body's natural process of detoxification.

Massage and Self-Care

You may be tempted to trim your wellness budget when economic times are tough, but consider the health benefits associated with massage and keep it in your life by using your imagination.

Experts are saying that one big vacation a year is less helpful to mental and physical health than several shorter ones at regular intervals. Many Americans are staying home or staying closer to home and are visiting local attractions. The new term - and you know there had to be one - is Staycations.

With less expensive mini-vacations, get creative with your use of massage. Have a day trip that includes a museum visit, lunch and a massage. Get a couple's massage as a part of your "staycation."  Mothers, daughters and granddaughters can plan a spa day with massage as the key component creating a bonding experience and launching a new tradition. Gift certificates for chair massage are reasonable and a welcome retreat for weary travelers in airports or shoppers in malls.

Massage is more than a luxury; it's an important part of self-care that has a positive effect on your work and play. Investing in your health is one thing that's sure to pay off in this uncertain world.

Massage Hits the Road

Have you ever had the pleasure of stopping at a truck stop? Well, besides the good grub, you may have noticed the number of truck drivers standing around rubbing their backs and necks and stretching this way and that as they leave their cabs. Imagine their situation. They get paid by the trip or the mile, push themselves very hard to meet deadlines, get little sleep, and spend most of their time in cramped quarters being jostled around on rough roads.

The price they pay? Gripping a steering wheel for hours and sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause lower back problems, shortened leg muscles, backaches, neck strain, and shoulder discomfort. Enter the massage therapist.

Many truck stops are seeing an infusion of massage therapists ready and able to work out the knots, aches and pains and leave the driver refreshed and ready to get back on the road. Many truckers report a better night's sleep after their treatment and although client bases grow slowly, the truckers who have experienced the hands-on magic are spreading the word.

Truck stop owners have been receptive to outside companies or individuals contracting for space on-site - and the truck drivers leave the site relaxed and ready to get back in the driver's seat.