Gripping a steering wheel. Working a trackpad or mouse. Hovering over keyboards. And stoves. And laundry. You get it.
We put our hands and forearms through an awful lot of stress every day. Squeezing and clenching and buckling and writing. All of it. And yet, when I start to massage a hand and forearm, I often hear, “Oh! I had no idea my arms were so sore!” It’s a common surprise, but not really a surprise.
They get sore. And when they get really overworked, we end up with carpal tunnel, tendonitis, trigger finger and a whole host of other issues.
The upside here: it’s pretty easy to massage your own hands and forearms. Here’s how:
Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults in a given year. Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.
A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.
Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
Massage might be something that’s always on your to-do list, but there are some people who just never seem to get around to me- time, and they need to know the restorative powers of a good massage session.
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
When I tell some people that I’m a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better, we felt better about our bodies.
I think there are three options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.
1. Don’t get a massage.
This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.
The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage, so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist either makes note of how you look, as if it matters.
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and I’m really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.
3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.
In this option your risk is low. I don’t care how your body looks. That’s none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again, your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.
I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don’t know what caused your body to be like it is now, I can’t make any judgments about you.
I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is interesting and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.
You maybe tempted to trim your wellness budget when economic times are tough or uncertain. Massage should play a role in reducing stress and strengthening the health of Americans. It makes sense-the better you feel, the better job you can do of caring for yourself and your loved ones. When people feel their best, they are more likely to be able to face the challenges difficult times present. With greater health and peace of mind you can face difficulties with poise, clarity of purpose, and strengthened emotional reserves.
Massage can not be looked at as just a luxury anymore-it is a vital part of self-care that has positive ripple effect on us as we work, play and care for others
In economically challenging times, it is vital to invest in preventative healthcare. The last thing you want is to get sick and pay expensive medical bills.
Following are health reasons all adults should be including massage in their family budgets and schedules. Massage Therapy:
The positive effects of regular massage can have benefits in many areas of your life.
Home: Massage therapy helps families under stress create healthy households with clear-thinking and more relaxed moms and dads. Individuals taking care of themselves are better equipped to be responsive caregivers who can provide a sense of security-to children, partners, aging parents or other family members.
Work: The health benefits of massage can help forestall illnesses and lost work time, especially when you may be asked to produce more with fewer resources. Decision-making skills will be better and your performance is likely to be improved with a clear focus and more energy. Research shows employees improved performance and less stress when given twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office.
Health: Those with existing health conditions can continue to reap benefits in the following ways. Proactively caring for health through massage may help reduce sports-related soreness and improve circulation. Deep-tissue massage is effective in treating back pain. Massage reduces symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
When you ask exactly how massage therapy works to benefit people with depression, the most accurate answer is “we don’t yet know.”
But that’s not to say the benefits aren’t real, and some, like Christopher Moyer, PhD and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, posit that massage therapy may work in similar ways as psychotherapy. “The size and effect of massage therapy on trait anxiety and depression is virtually the same as that routinely found in the research studies of psychotherapy for those same conditions,” he explains. “Typically, both take place in a private setting and are based on a ‘50-minute hour’ for the length of the session. Repeated sessions on a weekly schedule—or similar—would be a traditional or common pattern when the goal is long-term reduction of anxiety or depression.”
The other striking similarity is that both are dependent on an interpersonal relationship founded on trust. “Some psychotherapy researchers think that the existence of the trusting relationship—sometimes referred to as the therapeutic bond, or as the working alliance—is the most important component of psychotherapy’s effectiveness,” Moyer says. “And the same may also be true for massage therapy, though this is something that needs to be researched.”
Remember, too, that depression isn’t just mental health issues—some of the symptoms manifest physically, too. “Depression is considered a mental illness, but one feels it in the body as well, a sense of heaviness in the corporeal,” says Alice Sanvito, a massage therapist and owner of Massage-St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri. “The physical experience of massage can change the physical sensation of heaviness to something lighter and can restore the feeling of living in one’s body again instead of being lost in one’s head.”
Moyer suggests something similar. “It’s tempting to say that yes, psychotherapy ought to have the greater potential to help because it ought to provide the person with skills and insight that reduce anxiety and depression, and that help the person avoid them in the future,” he explains. “And who is to say that massage therapy doesn’t do something similar to that? It’s possible that receiving massage therapy gives a person a kind of insight, in that it reeducates the person as to how their body and mind ought to feel when they are relaxed, healthy, less anxious and less depressed.”
There’s also the potential that—similar to chronic pain—some of the value of massage therapy for people with depression comes from interrupting the pattern of symptoms on a regular basis. “Each time one interrupts the pattern and experiences calm, it’s easier to remember what it’s like to live in a more normal state, gives one hope that it is possible,” Sanvito suggests.
The problem, however, is defining what regular means. Although research seems to suggest that more than one massage therapy session is more beneficial for people dealing with depression, beyond that, the information available gets fuzzier. “We do not yet have clear information on how many sessions of massage therapy, or in what pattern or frequency, are optimal or necessary,” Moyer explains. “Weekly sessions would be a good place to start. Then, depending on the response to treatment, that schedule could be adjusted as deemed necessary.
Hyperkyphosis the medical term for what you might know as hunch back. It is one of the most common postural deviations that can lead to chronic pain and reduced range of motion. Its cause is primarily soft tissue dysfunction and postural changes that come from daily activities such as a lot of time driving, looking down and your phone to text and sitting at a desk all day on the computer. Injuries and as well as certain conditions can also contribute.
The goal of massage therapy for this condition is to lengthen the muscles know to be shortened or hypertonic and are pulling the bones out of alignment. Your homework will be to strengthen the muscles that have become stretched and weak.
The massage therapy session for this condition will start with the person face up in order to access the the pectoralis major, minor and anterior deltoids. These muscles and fascia need to be release so as not to keep pulling the shoulders forward as the muscles on the back and neck are worked on.
There is also a little muscle known as Subclavius. This little muscle is located between your collarbone (clavicle) and the first rib near the sternum (breastbone). When it gets tight, it can literally pull the collarbone down toward the first rib - squishing the two bones together and possibly entrapping nerves in between. That will be accessed and treated for trigger points and tightness.
Once the areas on the front of the body are addressed you will turn over and work on the muscles on the back, that tend to become tight, hypertonic and have trigger points, which include the upper and middle trapezius, splenus capitus, spenius cervicis, Rhomboid minor & Major, Latissimus Dorsi.
Self-care is equally important after your massage. Reducing or eliminating habitual offending activities and other factors is crucial for long-term relief of pain related to hyperkyphosis. A few stretches you can do on a daily basis like the Doorway pectoral stretch. There are muscle associated with this condition that are weak and overstretched that also need to be strengthened.
A growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions. Massage is rapidly becoming recognized as an important part of health and wellness, and research is indicating some of what takes place in the body during massage therapy.
Here are some recent findings on the benefits of massage therapy for health and medical reasons.
Massage Therapy for the Pain of Osteoarthritis of the KneeResearch supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that sixty minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. Each massage therapy session followed a specific protocol, including the nature of massage strokes. This is the latest published research study indicating the benefits of massage therapy for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.
11/18/2018 0 Comments
Based on the evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage their pain.
This is the conclusion of a collaborative meta-analysis of research on massage therapy for pain conducted by the Samueli Institute and commissioned by the Massage Therapy Foundation, with support from the American Massage Therapy Association. The first part of the three-part review and analysis has been published online by the journal Pain Medicine.
Pain is a major public health concern, affecting approximately 100 million Americans.1 It is currently recognized as the most compelling reason for an individual to seek medical attention, and accounts for approximately 80 percent of physician visits.2,3
Not only are individuals affected, but also their families, the national economy and health systems. It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for approximately $600 billion in annual health care expenditures and lost productivity.3,4 This annual cost is greater than the cost of other national priority health conditions, highlighting the significant economic burden of pain.
Research Supports Massage Therapy for Pain ManagementBased on the evidence, massage therapy, compared to no treatment, should be strongly recommended as a pain management option. Massage therapy is conditionally recommended for reducing pain, compared to other sham or active comparators, and improving mood and health-related quality of life, compared to other active comparators.5
Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for people with various types of pain.