separate studies, massage therapy shows promise in reducing pain
and increasing the range of motion for those with osteoarthritis of
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
Here is a
summary of both studies prepared by the American Massage
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.
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
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.
Do you know the many benefits of
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.
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.
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