Ian Itec Masseur Central London

Holborn near Kings Cross & City of London (+44) 07400590550 / 07378632350

Category: Male Masseur London Blog (page 1 of 6)

Massage therapy blog created by Ian Itec male massage therapist masseur who offers relaxing and deep tissue massage therapy in central London

A sleep disorder and massage

Sleep DisordersMassage is often used to help babies sleep, and it can be useful in treating sleep disorders in adults. Massage is one of several hands-on strategies known collectively as bodywork and if you’ve ever had a good, thorough massage, you know the feeling of being “worked over.” But you also know how relaxing it can be.

The benefits of massage are many. It is regularly used in sports clinics and rehabilitation centers to loosen or soothe sore, aching muscles. Massage also helps to reduce stress, improve circulation, release tension, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and possibly even strengthen the immune system, these relaxing effects may therefore make massage a helpful aid in restoring restful sleep. Massage may be especially beneficial in treating sleeping problems that stem from stress, migraine headache, pain, and muscle and joint stiffness.

You might want to spring for a massage from a professional. One session may be all it takes to get you hooked. If you do opt for a professional massage, be sure to tell the practitioner if you have any particular illness or injury that they should be aware of, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Massage is More than Just Relaxation

The tremendous benefits of regular massage are irreplaceable to the human body. Massage is a variety of sometimes ancient techniques that manipulate the soft tissues of the body. It can definitely relax you, but there are some benefits of massage that go far beyond relaxation.

Pain and anxiety are two common problems associated with receiving massage therapy. By soothing muscles and nerves a greater state of well being is achieved for the recipient. When you take this concept further you find that massage can also benefit chronic pain and even self esteem. Massage allows for person to person contact that promotes feelings of comfort and soothing.massag-relax-london

Medically massage is used for sports related injuries and to promote optimum performance of muscles. Through a pattern of exercise and massage, injuries can be avoided and greater athletic achievements can be accomplished. The regular massage prevents small injuries from becoming bigger ones and the athlete avoids the pain cycle all together. Massage is also an immune system enhancer that benefits patients with chronic immune system diseases like HIV. Increasing the circulation of healthy blood cells in the body helps these patients fight off disease better and keep a more positive mental attitude that is crucial for their survival.

Infants and babies have shown positive responses to massage through toddlerhood. The birthing process is often made easier and less complicated by regular massage during pregnancy and throughout the labor process. Massage for premature babies promotes better weight gain, and massage for babies with diabetes correlates with better lifelong compliance with regimens and healthier lifestyle choices.

The effects of massage on patients with high blood pressure should also not be overlooked. Massage can play a key part in the regulation and control of chronic high blood pressure by not only relaxing the patient, but also by helping the central nervous system to balance as it regulates blood flow throughout the body more efficiently. Regular massage combined with isometric exercise has been shown to improve both the blood pressure and blood regulation in patients.

Massage Therapy is a technique that can benefit a great number of people with a wide variety of complaints both physical and mental. This form of therapy can be incorporated into a balanced and healthy lifestyle to promote continuous and further health and well being as well as to be used as treatment therapy for those with chronic mental and physical conditions.

Fibromyalgia – condition that causes pain in different places in your body.

fibromyalgiaFibromyalgia (FM) affects more than 3 million people every year. This chronic condition causes widespread muscle pain and increased sensitivity to stimuli that often lead to pain and difficulty sleeping, among other symptoms. Treatment is varied, but some of the current research indicates that massage therapy can be effective in helping to relieve some of the discomfort.

But FM is a complex disorder, and so working with clients who have FM is no different than working with clients with other chronic or pre-existing health conditions: you need to have a better-than-average understanding of how the condition affects the client, as well as when massage therapy can be helpful. Following, you will find information on what recent research is saying about FM and the role massage therapy can play in helping people better deal with some of the symptoms.
What is Fibromyalgia?

im212112Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness. Other common symptoms associated with FM include fatigue, tension headaches, cognitive difficulties and irritable bowel syndrome.

Interestingly, more of the research on FM is starting to suggest that the condition is actually a central nervous system disorder, even though muscle pain is one of its primary symptoms. More specifically, evidence points to the idea that FM is a disorder of central nervous system pain processing pathways instead of a primary auto-immune disorder of the peripheral tissue, as once believed.1 “There were studies that showed the association between stressors and FM,” explains Stephen Perle, Professor of Clinical Sciences at Bridgeport University. “For example, fMRI has shown that people with FM, when exposed to non-painful stimuli, have activation of the brain in areas that are normally activated only by painful stimuli.”

Accordingly, central nervous system involvement may explain why people with FM are often hypersensitive to all sorts of stimuli, not just mechanical pressure or touch. Dr. Michael Schneider, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of multiple studies on FM, provides more insight: “The classic fibromyalgia patient just isn’t tender to the touch and can’t submit to mechanical pressure,” he explains. “They’re sensitive to light, sound, multiple food allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities, and they don’t tolerate heat and cold real well.”

Who Develops Fibromyalgia?

The short answer to this question is that women are much more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia—but it is more complicated than that. The likelihood that someone will develop FM isn’t well-known, but there are two variables that seem to be related: genetics and personal trauma. Genetics is fairly straightforward. FM tends to run in families.

Trauma, however, is a bit more complex. There seems to be a link between FM and post-traumatic stress disorder, though one does not necessarily cause the other. A 2001 study of 600 participants with FM showed “an extremely high prevalence of past emotional, physical and/or sexual trauma associated with the onset of FM symptoms.”2 Schneider’s review of the FM research literature suggests that the connection between personal trauma and FM may be that trauma often causes a person’s limbic system to go into overdrive, contributing to the central nervous system hypersensitivity. Remember, not everyone with FM is going to have experienced trauma, but you should keep the possibility in mind when working with clients with this condition. “There’s a high association with trauma, and people need to be aware of that when they’re treating these patients,” says Schneider.

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

There is no one pill or treatment that cures fibromyalgia or even relieves all of the symptoms, so many people with FM deal with this condition using multiple approaches. Most will likely be taking medication prescribed by their primary care physician, so be sure you do a thorough intake and understand how any medication they are taking may affect the massage therapy session. Remember that for these clients, self-care is crucial to being able to better control the major symptoms of FM. Therefore, focus on how massage therapy can help them reduce stress, for example, or get better sleep.

Along with massage therapy, these clients may be using other complementary approaches, such as acupuncture and yoga. When combined, Schneider sees real benefit from both traditional and complementary treatment. “These patients are best treated with a team approach,” he says.

Massage Therapy and Fibromyalgia

Of all the alternative therapies available, more and more research is showing that massage therapy provides real benefits to people dealing with a number of health conditions, including fibromyalgia. A study in 2011 showed that massage therapy caused reductions in sensitivity to pain at tender points in patients with FM, as well as lowering anxiety levels and increasing quality of sleep. Another study from 2014, which systematically reviewed nine other studies about massage therapy and FM, found that massage therapy had immediate beneficial effects on improving pain, anxiety and depression in patients with FM.

According to this same study, massage therapy is particularly effective when it is administered to soft and connective tissues because this improves muscle flexibility, as well as modulating local blood and lymph circulation.4

There is not one specific technique that is more effective with FM than others, although myofascial release has been shown to be somewhat helpful. “To new massage therapists who would like to work with FM clients, I would tell them to fill their proverbial tool box with as many techniques as they can,” says Joseph Swinski, a massage therapist from Rhode Island who regularly works with clients with chronic conditions such as FM. “When working with the FM population, it is not one size fits all.”

For many clients, using the right amount of pressure is going to be imperative, so it is important to clearly communicate with the client both before and during the session and adjust when necessary. Remember that deep pressure will likely be too much for these clients. “If they’re hypersensitive, then the idea is you’re going to have to go really light with them and kind of coddle that client and be a little more gentle with them,” says Schneider. This idea holds true for all aspects of the massage session. “Speak in a lower voice to them, and that person’s going to like the dim room with some nice relaxing music,” he adds.

Flexibility is also a key ingredient to success when working with people with FM. “The most important thing I could hope to impress on a new massage therapist working with a client with FM is to be patient, not in a hurry and as observant as possible during the actual session,” says Erika Crisafulli, a massage therapist with the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. “Be compassionate. We all know what it is like to deal with physical ailments that we cannot get a hold of on our own.” Crisafulli knows this better than most, as she herself has had to deal with symptoms of FM. “Trying to control the symptoms so you can still live a full life is challenging, but not impossible if you are willing to help yourself,” she says. “It is so important to practice what you preach. If I don’t take care of myself, how in the world can I take care of my clients, something I love to do so much?”

Checking in with a client after a massage therapy session is also a good idea, and that sometimes means following up a few days later. “You may need to change your approach to massage after the first visit,” says Swinski. “This is why I contact my clients after the massage. If the results were not what we expected, I reassure them that there are other approaches that we could take in their next visit.” Again, you need to be aware that clients with FM are going to have different needs. What works for some may not work for others, so listen and be willing to adjust the massage therapy session when appropriate.

Although FM is a complex condition, research is showing there are a variety of ways massage therapy can help clients feel better. From better sleep to reduced stress, massage therapy is showing real promise in helping people better handle the symptoms of FM.

Massage and the Stress Response

stressMassage has long been seen as a way for people to decrease their stress levels. With the growing number of people seeking massage therapy care in recent years, it becomes increasingly important to understand if it is effective in managing the negative health consequences of stress.

“Physiological Adjustments to Stress Following Massage Therapy: A Review of the Literature,” provided a critical evaluation of peer-reviewed research that had investigated the relationship between massage therapy and physiological measures of stress. The authors emphasized that reviews like this one are important to understanding the effectiveness of massage therapy in the management of the health impacts of stress.

Methods

In this literature review, massage therapy was defined as “the manipulation of soft tissues for the purpose of producing physiological effects on the vascular, muscular or nervous systems of the body.” Only studies where massage therapy was applied within the context of this definition were included, so any studies involving light touch modalities were excluded. The research group only included studies where the massage was provided by trained therapists, and those with adults as the participants. This process of deciding what studies will be included and excluded is called setting the inclusion criteria.

With these criteria in mind, the research team conducted a broad and extensive search of several electronic research databases, along with the researchers’ own libraries, for articles that pertained to “stress” in combination with “massage,” “bodywork,” “physiotherapy,” and “manual therapy.” Articles were included when “presenting dependent variables of stress that included the hormones cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, or physical measures of blood pressure (BP) and heart rate.” Of the initial 1032 citations reviewed that met the search parameters, only “25 articles were found to meet all inclusion criteria.”

Results

The research team found that the 25 studies employed a diversity of experimental methods. There was large variability in session duration, “from 5 to 90 minutes, with over half (52%) of the studies having a session duration between 20 and 30 minutes.” Commonly, 6 to 10 treatments were delivered, but data was most often collected following the first session. The researchers chose not to report on specific massage techniques used as the specific techniques used were reported in varying degrees of detail and those studies had varied results.

“Study populations were varied and included sexually abused women, patients with eating disorders, pain conditions, hypertension, HIV positive diagnosis, cancer, post-operative patients, critical care patients, healthy adult populations, and some specific disease states.” Hormones that are markers for stress response were also noted by the researchers in this review.

Cortisol

Salivary cortisol is easy to collect from the mouth and non-invasive, so massage therapy studies frequently use this method for assessing cortisol levels. Of those studies that measured reductions in salivary cortisol it appears that the decrease, although significant, may be short term. There does not appear to be a cumulative reduction in salivary cortisol levels with multiple massage treatments. The subject populations in these studies were highly varied, “which suggests that many groups may experience an immediate benefit from massage therapy for this variable. . . However, most study participants were either healthy adults or experiencing chronic life stress.”

Urinary cortisol has been used to assess changes following multiple massage treatments. The studies that assessed urinary cortisol did so at baseline and after 5 weeks of twice-weekly massage and found evidence of a cumulative reduction in urinary cortisol.

Catecholamines

“Epinephrine (adrenaline) is produced mainly from the adrenal medulla and reflects the subject’s sympathomedullar activity” [activity from this gland]. “Epinephrine output is mainly influenced by mental stress.”

“Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) is considered an indicator of sympathoneuronal [sympathetic nervous system] activity as most of the circulating norepinephrine is released from sympathetic nerve endings. This hormonal defense reaction is aimed at routing energy from organs to muscles for the muscles” and “is more responsive to physical activity” than to mental stress. However, the authors state a decrease in either of these hormones “may indicate a physiological reduction in stress” routing circulation from organs to muscles.

Cardiovascular responses reported in 16 of the studies were blood pressure and heart rate. “Increases in blood pressure, respiration and heart rate are all physiological manifestations of the sympathetic nervous system’s response to stressful events.” There were mixed results in the studies reporting these responses, with the differences including what body parts were massaged, the massage techniques applied, overall health of the study participants, duration of the massage session, and single session versus multiple sessions. No studies reported an increase in blood pressure. Also the effect of massage on heart rate, although not sustainable, seemed to be repeatable as decreases following massage occurred one visit after the next.

Discussion

It was noted by the research team that their review was based on the outlined inclusion criteria. The authors contrasted their review with a meta-analysis completed by Moyer et al. (2004). Results of the two reviews were not consistent. The two reports differed with respect to levels of salivary cortisol and blood pressure; the Moyer et al. (2004) report found no massage sessions that affected salivary cortisol and did find a change for blood pressure. The authors of the current review conclude that the difference in findings reveals more about the current state of massage therapy research than about the clinical effects of massage therapy on stress measures. Overall, “the studies reviewed showed a variety of methodological shortcomings.”

Of significant interest to readers is the authors’ conclusion that, “to date, the research on massage therapy and stress has not progressed to demonstrate efficacy in a trial of sufficient size or methodological rigor to make definitive statements about its efficacy in reducing stress as measured by physiological variables in any particular patient population.” It is unfortunate that the evidence does not support making strong conclusions about the impact of massage therapy on physiological stress indicators. It is also unclear why there is no mention of heart rate and blood pressure in the key words listed as search criteria in the current review, even though these non-hormonal markers of stress were included in the review. This may lead to difficulty in having this review come up in other literature searches.

The authors identify opportunities for future studies to examine the effectiveness of massage therapy. Based on the diversity among the studies in the current review, the authors emphasized the need for research that employs methodological rigor including large sample sizes, detailed and reproducible treatment protocols, and reporting of clinical and statistical significance.

The Massage Therapy Foundation continues to support and promote research as seen in this month’s review. The Foundation is currently accepting scientific submissions for our 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference (IMTRC) that will be held in Seattle, Washington, May 12-15.

References

  1. Moraska et al. (2008). Physiological adjustments to stress following massage therapy: A review of the literature. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 7(4), 409–418.
  2. Moyer, C. A., Rounds, J., Hannum, J., W. (2004). A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychological Bulletin 130(1), 3-18.

 

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MASSAGE

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DRINK WATER

Massage increases your blood circulation and hydrates your muscle tissues. You know those “wow” moments you have during your massage? They’re signifying blood flowing to areas that have been nutrient deprived and blocked by constricted muscles or trigger points. These “stress spots” are potent and toxic to your body, and require the assistance of water to be flushed out.

Water is the drano our bodies need to flush out lactic acid and metabolic waste that causes knots and pain. When a muscle is dehydrated it searches for a water source, and if it can’t easily get it will cling to another muscle tissue instead.

The simple fact is that massages are dehydrating. Kneading and working muscles gets fluid pumping out of the soft tissue and into your circulatory system, where it heads towards your kidneys. Therefore it’s incredibly important to drink water because not only does it flush toxins out of your system, but it ensures that all the good work your massage does doesn’t go to waste!

STRETCH

Having just had a massage therapist break up the adhesions on your muscles, it’s now up to you to stretch in order to reap the benefits. Stretching essentially works to realign your muscle fibers and improve muscle recovery. It also helps to train your nervous system, which is the main determinator when it comes to your body’s flexibility.

Did you know that a person under anesthesia has virtually full range of motion, even in the case of a serious condition like frozen shoulder? This is because the nervous system, not the muscles, is the great limiter of motion. Keep this in mind as you go through your post-massage stretch routine.

HYDROTHERAPY

The healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its mechanical and thermal effects. It makes use of the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli, the protracted application of heat, the pressure exerted by the water, and the sensation of the water itself.

Nerves carry sensations felt by the skin deeper into the body, where these responses then work to stimulate the immune system, influence the production of stress hormones, encourage blood flow, and improve circulation and digestion. Essentially, enjoying hydrotherapy following a massage prolongs your sense of relaxation, helps to induce a deeper night’s sleep, and encourages greater muscle recovery.

EAT

Massage therapy has a big effect on the body’s circulation and stimulates digestion. If you’re feeling a little light headed post-massage, this might be the result of not eating.

Following a massage your body needs to refuel. For this reason, consider taking a snack to your next appointment, such as a banana and some raw almonds. Ensure you keep meals light, and opt for things such as stir-fried vegetables and rice.

REST

It’s not always possible, but always try to schedule your massage appointments at times when you can relax afterwards. The idea behind this is to prolong your sense of deep relaxation for as long as possible. Listen to your body. If you feel like having a sleep, sleep. If you feel like curling up under a blanket and reading a book, do it. If you want to stretch out on the sofa and watch reruns of The Bachelor, indulge. This is your time to recover, repair and re-tune yourself.

HAVE A BATH

Having a bath will encourage rest, and is particularly nice when Epsom salts are added. Adding Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) will help heal any aches and pains, open up your blood vessels, and increase circulation. A warm shower will suffice if you don’t have a bath. Just remember – the key word here is warm – not cold, and not scorching hot! A super hot bath will increase inflammation, which isn’t a good idea after a massage.

WELCOME ANY EMOTIONS

As your body relaxes, it’s normal for it to release any emotional baggage it’s holding onto. While on one occasion you might feel elated, refreshed and energised, there may be other times when you feel the need to cry. This is okay. Embrace it. Allow it to happen. You’ll appreciate the emotional release afterwards!

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY’S REACTION

While it’s normal to feel a little sore following a massage (think the day after a good gym workout), it’s not normal to feel pain several days after your massage. If your pain is intense and long-lasting, this is a sign your massage therapist may have gone too hard. Make note of any sore areas and inform your therapist during your next visit. This is important so your treatments can be modified to best suit you.

URINATE

And finally… go to the toilet. By urinating you are letting go of your toxins, so what are you waiting for? Get rid of them!

Massage can boost immune system?

masseur-holborn-londonDevotees of massage therapy know it’s relaxing and feels good. But massage may also be an effective tool for maintaining good health. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reported this week that a single massage produced measurable changes in the immune system and endocrine system of healthy adults.

The researchers, led by Dr. Mark Rapaport, studied 29 healthy adults who received a 45-minute Swedish massage and 24 healthy adults who had a 45-minute session of light touch massage, a much milder exercise that served as a comparison to the more vigorous Swedish massage. Blood samples were taken before the massage began and at regular intervals up to one hour after the massage was completed.

The study found several changes in the blood tests of the Swedish massage group that indicated a benefit to the immune system. For example, Swedish massage caused sizeable decreases in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behaviour, and small decreases in the stress hormone cortisol. The Swedish massage participants also had an increase in lymphocytes, cells that help the immune system defend the body from harmful substances.

“This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” Rapaport said in a news release. “People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

Health Benefits of Massage

massage-therapy-for-wellnessWhy do so many people invest in their wellness through massage therapy? There are many different reasons to receive massage just as there are many different types of massage therapy available to address those reasons. For simplicity’s sake I’ll define two broad categories that massage clients typically fall into: relaxation and pain reduction.

Those looking for relaxation benefits from a massage recognize that decreasing stress levels and getting their body to relax is a critical part of a solid wellness regimen. Aside from the proven medical benefits of maintaining low stress levels, clients often find it helps improve their day to day functioning whether it be in the social, work, or home environment. Approaching daily tasks and responsibilities with less stress often makes life seem more manageable.

Clients looking for pain reduction through massage therapy are usually looking to reduce their discomfort due to a musculoskeletal issue. This can be as simple as a stiff neck from sleeping in a bad position to as complex as rotator cuff surgery recovery. The variety of musculoskeletal issues that can lead to pain necessitate a skilled practitioner who can accurately assess your condition and apply modalities that are most appropriate.

Bear in mind that even if you’re receiving the most effective modality for your condition, having a skilled practitioner makes all the difference. My clinical experience with physical therapists has help me develop a therapeutic approach to massage. This approach can help alleviate discomfort and increase mobility associated with common medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, sports related overuse syndromes, etc.

The bottom line: if you’re going to the Bahamas or just sitting around at home and feel like pampering yourself with a massage, go ahead. But make sure not to overlook massage as a valuable component of maintaining the health of your muscular and skeletal system. Massage therapy could very well be the key that you are missing to taking your wellness to the next level.

Fix It with Massage

Neck Pain
Ten neck massages over 10 weeks. Sound good? People with chronic neck pain reported a 55 percent improvement after this regimen, according to a 2009 study in the Clinical Journal of Pain. They even scored 39 percent better on the worst-sounding test ever, the Neck Disability Index. (It assesses the pain’s impact.)

Athletic Performancemassage for men london
“Musculotendinous” massages target muscle-tendon junctions, and a 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that even a 30-second round improved hip-flexor range of motion. Try it: Find where muscle meets tendon just behind and above your knee, and rub the spot in small circles with your thumb.
Stress

You don’t need a full-body rubdown to feel good. In a 2010 study from Sweden, one 80-minute hand-and-foot massage significantly lowered people’s heart rates, cortisol levels, and insulin levels—all of which help lower stress.

Depression
Take your pick: Swedish, shiatsu, and other massage types may ease depression, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found. How? Massages reduce stress hormone levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, and boost mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

High Blood Pressure
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that after people with normal blood pressure had deep-tissue massage for 45 to 60 minutes, their BPs fell—specifically, by an average of 10.4 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) systolic, and 5.3 mm/Hg diastolic.

Lower-Back Pain
Back problems can be complex. One solution is simple: Common massage techniques can help you relax, and trigger an endorphin release that raises your threshold for pain. And that might help people with all sorts of lower-back pain, notes a 2009 meta-analysis in the journal Spine.

Massage Therapy ‘for those who work with computers and tablets every day’

massageThere’s no doubt that technology has been a huge boon for many people. But, there are downsides to technology as well, particularly for those who work with devices such as computers and tablets every day. Repetitive use injuries and other conditions that lead to chronic pain are increasingly common and cause a variety of symptoms that can take a toll.

Common workplace problems that massage therapy can help relieve
Carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome are two issues that people in an office setting may face and with these conditions come a variety of symptoms that massage therapy can help relieve pain being but one. “Pain, fatigue, weakness, and stiffness in the affected areas are the most common symptoms of these injuries,”
Along with overuse, poor posture being the cause of painful conditions affecting the neck, shoulders and back. For example, a forward head posture can lead to neck pain as the person unconsciously reaches forward with the head to better see the screen. Additionally, improper posture can sometimes be the result of other conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, improper posture occurs because the body is trying to find a comfortable position.

How Massage Can Help?

Massage therapy is proving beneficial in helping clients with chronic pain find relief and some of these conditions are no different. Massage therapy can help reduce postural imbalances, nerve entrapment, inflammation in the tissues, and trigger points and their referrals. In addition, massage therapy can address the symptoms caused by nerve compression if the nerve compression is due to improper posture.
For example, massage therapy being beneficial for clients who may have a hemipelvis imbalance that might cause back discomfort and pain, or those whose forward head posture is contributing to neck and upper back pain. A shortening of the anterior musculature in the abdomen and chest that causes back pain can also benefit from massage, as can shortened pronators of the forearms that might be causing forearm, wrist and hand pain.

Massage May Reduce Symptoms of Depression

One definition of depression can be found in the dictionary as a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Not all people with depressive illnesses will have the same symptoms. The National Institute of Mental Health states, “The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Depression can be an expensive and devastating condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control,”Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression also can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity.

The CDC has found that depression affects 1 in 10 adults in the US.  Those that are most affected are: “persons 45-64 years of age, women, blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanic persons of other races or multiple races, persons with less than a high school education, those previously married, individuals unable to work or unemployed, and persons without health insurance coverage.

The CDC also recommends “collaborative care, an approach that involves the collaboration of primary care providers, mental health specialists and other providers to improve disease management for adults with major depression on the basis of strong evidence of effectiveness in improving short-term depression outcomes.

Research indicates that massage can:

– Improve mood

– Reduce depression:

  • in those with chronic pain
  • in those with chronic pain over time
  • in hospice patients
  • in children with cancer
  • in pregnant women
  • associated with lower back pain
  • in those with tension-type headaches
  • in children and adolescent psychiatric patients
  • in women with breast cancer
  • in people with chronic disease
  • in adolescent mothers
  • in those with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • in those with high blood pressure
  • in those with fibroblast
  • in adults with multiple sclerosis

– Reduce trait anxiety and depression with a course of treatment providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.

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