Once viewed as a luxury, massage is increasingly recognized as an alternative medical treatment. According to a recent consumer survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association, 77 percent of respondents said their primary reason for receiving a massage in the past year was medical or stress-related. Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that medical centers nationwide now offer massage as a form of patient treatment. The American Hospital Association recently surveyed 1,007 hospitals about their use of complementary and alternative medicine therapies, and more than 80 percent said they offered massage therapy. Upwards of 70 percent said they used massage for pain management and relief.
"The medical community is more accepting of massage therapy than ever before," says Jerrilyn Cambron, board president of the Massage Therapy Foundation. "Many massage therapists now have active, fruitful relationships with conventional care providers."
A recent study published in the journal Science Transitional Medicine suggests massage reduces the body’s production of cytokines – proteins that contribute to inflammation. Massage therapy was also shown to stimulate mitochondria, the energy-producing units in cells that aid in cell function and repair.
Plus, massage is thought to reduce cortisol levels and regulate the body’s sympathetic nervous system – both of which go haywire when you’re stressed, says Lisa Corbin, an associate professor at University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine.
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Therapeutic massage incorporates a variety of advanced modalities that enhance the body’s natural restorative functions. Light to firm touch is used to release tension, relax muscles, increase blood and lymph circulation, and impart a sense of calm. Therapeutic massage can be used as a collaborative, supportive addition to conventional medical treatment of illness and injury, alleviating pain and stress, aiding soft tissue healing, and revitalizing the body. Also, regular massage can enhance health, providing relaxation, release of muscle tightness, relief from anxiety, tensions and balancing aspects of body/mind/spirit.
Research has shown that therapeutic massage techniques may be helpful in the following conditions:
Stress, Anxiety, Depression: promotes relaxation response, enhances coping mechanisms in patients undergoing treatment for cancer, reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress disorders
Pain control: fibromyalgia, arthritis, sciatica, headaches, childbirth
Chronic lung disease: increases respiratory function and decreases anxiety
Digestive: adjunctive therapy to treatment of chronic constipation
Injuries: overuse and repetitive strain injuries, workplace and athletic trauma and whiplash.
Source: John Hopkins Medicine