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Category: Male Masseur London Blog (page 2 of 6)

Massage Benefits for Runners

1. Reduced Muscle Pain and Fatigue

When you have started a new training program, increased the intensity of your training or are simply just running more mileage, massage therapy can be extremely helpful. Often times, the increased workload results in muscle pain and fatigue. This pain is caused by the release of body-producing toxins such as lactic acid into the tissue. When left untreated, the tissue can become damaged over time. Where there is muscle damage, there is less circulation. Reduced circulation can lead to congestion, tightness and shortening of the tissue.

2. Increased Circulation and Blood Flow

Massage increases circulation and blood flow. With this increased circulation, overall healing is expedited by triggering the immune system to promote a healing response in the tissue.

Following a run, the body needs to recover from the stresses places upon it. When muscles are challenged during a run, the body releases toxins into the tissue. Massage is one of the quickest ways to promote recovery because it helps release these toxins from the tissue. In conjunction with proper hydration, toxins are flushed from the system, thus helping lessen soreness and fatigue while helping freshen your legs for your next workout.

3. Increased Flexibility

Increasing an athlete’s range of motion can help improve performance. When we can move properly, we can run more efficiently.

A good massage helps rebalance the musculoskeletal system. Runners frequently experience pain and tightness in the IT Band, Achilles tendon, knees and hamstrings. Many runners can pinpoint where they are experiencing pain. A good therapist will evaluate pre-exsiting conditions and postural errors that could be contributing to pain, as the source of pain is usually not where the pain is manifesting itself. For example, pain in the hamstring may be attributed to limited lumbar mobility. The hamstring could be over-stretched and compensating for shortening of the hip flexors. The body is like a weight and pulley system. When a muscle experiences fatigue from overuse, another muscle will kick in to try and bring balance back to the body. Often times, this secondary muscle is not meant to sustain that kind of responsibility. When left untreated, it undergoes strain and, much like a domino effect, other muscles become involved and affected. A good therapist will analyze all these factors and develop an appropriate treatment plan to help break a cycle of recurring injury.

4. Relaxation

Lastly, massage promotes relaxation, which has myriad benefits. Relaxing the muscles also helps relax the mind and reduces stress, which can help re-energize you following a big race or tough workout, or even when the craziness of life combined with the demands of training start to wear on you.

When targeting specific areas, pause and press into the sorest areas for about 10 seconds and then release. Focus on frequently stretching the hip flexors, glutes, quads and calves all important muscle groups for healthy movement.

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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.

 

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Massage for Elderly Clients

While massage methods are not qualitatively different for a younger person than for someone over age 70, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. For example, an elderly person has less muscle tissue than a younger individual. Muscle is replaced by fat and more connective tissue as a person ages. The connective tissue is not as flexible as that of a younger person; bones are thinner and more easily broken, and skin is thinner and more easily bruised, all factors requiring adjustments in positioning, pressure, and massage strokes when treating an elderly client with osteoarthritis.

 

Approaching the elderly client with compassion and caring will go a long way toward creating a successful practice with that client base. Elderly individuals may be depressed, a side effect of medications, or the result of chemical imbalances or situational factors. Spending time talking to an elderly client can, in some cases, significantly ease some of the social isolation elderly individuals may feel after the death of spouses, friends, and loved ones. Massage for the elderly can be effective in easing loneliness and depression caused by situational factors, and can lessen dependence on certain medications.

Diminished cognitive function may also be present in an elderly client, in the case, for example, of Alzheimer’s disease or other complications. Massage may decrease the tendency toward wandering and anxiety in those with Alzheimer’s, but consent from a relative is necessary if the individual is unable to consent to treatment.

Extending your massage practice to the elderly is a mutually beneficial way to grow your practice.  Your local care facility may allow you have a chair massage day. Do you have a practice that serves the elderly?  Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Massage Therapy – Sleeping Easy Tonight

There’s nothing that can replace a good night’s sleep. For healthy function and cognitive ability, a good night’s sleep in imperative. Around 1milion people in the Uk do not receive the restorative sleep they need. At one time or another these people experience sleep issues that can lead to dips in work performance, foggy time with the family, weight gain and even substance abuse.

Fatigue and problems with concentration are usually the first to manifest. This affects health and mood, as well as your overall well-being. Treating insomnia has long been done with sleep aids and drugs, but new research shows that you may be able to try a more natural option: Massage Therapy.

Who Can Benefit From Massage Therapy for Sleep Disorders
If you are one of those fifty to seventy million Americans that find themself suffering from chronic insomnia, Massage Therapy may be your answer. People who sleep less than eight hours per day experience what is known as sleep debt something that cannot be made up for by sleeping in a little on the weekend. A full eight hours every night is important to keep your health optimal.

In addition to good nutrition and exercise, stress related insomnia can be alleviated with massage. Other conditions that contribute to poor sleep may benefit from Massage Therapy include headaches, anxiety, digestive disorders, nerve pain, fibromyalgia, spots injuries and soft tissue sprains to name a few.
Massage Therapy is not just a luxury and can reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which is constantly telling the body it’s time to wake up. At the same time, massage increases the neuro-hormone serotonin. This feel-good hormone is the precursor to melatonin, which is the brain’s cue to quiet down and prepare for sleep. The more serotonin that is released in massage, the easier and quicker you can drift off into sleep at night. Additionally, massage increases delta brain waves, which are linked to deep sleep. Not only will you fall asleep quickly, but massage will help you stay that way.
Regular massage truly elevates your everyday life, helping you sleep better, and in turn be a better you.

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Massage or Physio Therapy

Massage or Phisio Therapy

When you’re injured, stressed, or simply in need of some recovery, it’s natural for you to consider natural healing methods. Both massage therapy and physical therapy might come to mind. At the end of the day, they have the same goal, i.e., to relieve pain and help with optimal body functions.

Before we get into the debate of which one is better for your physical health, let’s take a closer look at what they encompass.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy basically involves the manipulation of the soft tissues in order to optimize the muscles, tissue, tendons, ligaments, and other body parts.

It has a therapeutic effect on your body and helps in improving mobility, supporting lymphatic drainage, reducing tension, and eliminating pain.

You can apply massage therapy to patients of all ages and has been used to treat both acute and chronic conditions.

The first massage techniques were developed way back in the 18th century with the advent of the Swedish massage. But there’s also evidence to show that muscle manipulation can relieve stress, anxiety, and improve functioning.

In fact, it was used in ancient China, Japan, India, the Arab world, Greece, and Rome for those very reasons.

Some skeptics argue that massage therapy is simply a placebo treatment and isn’t grounded in any scientific evidence. But a recent study which studied the effects of a 60-minute massage delivered once a week to patients suffering from osteoarthritis has debunked these claims.

Researchers identified 125 people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee and tasked them to receive 8-week doses of Swedish massage therapy. Pain, function, joint flexibility, and other measures were tested at regular intervals to determine the efficacy of the treatment.

What the researchers discovered was that there was a significant reduction in pain and improvement in form and function with patients who received 1 hour of massage once a week.

They added that there is “promising potential for the use of massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee”.

Before you start a massage therapy treatment plan, it’s likely that your therapist will spend some time with you to determine the source of your pain and your medical history.

This initial assessment is vital in creating a personalized plan as it will help determine the existing health and condition of your muscles.

Don’t try to downplay the importance of this step! Yes, it may seem unnecessary as you just want the treatment to begin (and ASAP), but it’s crucial that you spend time with your therapist so that the benefits of massage therapy are firmly rooted.

What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy, or commonly known as physiotherapy, is the treatment of disease or injury by using massage and exercise as opposed to medicine and other mainstream allopathic measures.

According to the United States Department of Labor:
“…physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains, strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports.”

The major difference between physical therapy and massage therapy is that physical therapy practitioners i.e. physiotherapists, must have had formal education and training in the field.

Hence, physical therapy is defined as a professional health discipline primarily towards the prevention or elimination of movement dysfunction and the upliftment of physical capacity.

In Canada, all physical therapy practitioners must apply to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators in order to be able to practice. Said practitioners are regulated by the Regulated Health Professions Act 1991.

Most folks aren’t aware that a variety of neurological conditions — such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain damage, and spinal cord injuries — can also be treated with physiotherapy.

Which One is Better?
Physical therapy and massage therapy have similar goals, i.e., to make people feel better, improve the overall health of their muscles including form and function, as well as assist in long-term health goals.

But it’s important to understand that massage therapy is primarily associated with alleviating pain and discomfort, especially when you suffer from the following:

a motor vehicle accident
a sport-related injury
muscle tension
back, leg, or neck pain
carpal tunnel syndrome
tendonitis
fibromyalgia
and post-surgical rehabilitation
Since physical therapy is an established medical profession, the range of treatments and solutions professionals offer is wider and more encompassing in nature. The tradeoff here is that massage therapists would have more specialized massage training and experience. Which offers a different kind of recovery and ongoing pain relief throughout the process, as well as a satisfying end result.

Physiotherapists are often present in hospitals, senior care centers, and sports medicine facilities to offer long-term assistive care. They will, similar to massage therapists, first chart out a personalized recovery plan.

But because of the fact that the nature of injuries they’re dealing with can be more severe, the recovery plan will definitely be more thorough and take a longer time to complete.

It may also require a combination of several types of treatment options.

For an all-encompassing recovery process, having both professionals assess the situation, and provide custom recovery process, would be the best bet for a quick & comfortable recovery.

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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.

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Are You Nervous About Receiving Massage?

There are many reasons someone might be hesitant about receiving massage. Your fears or concerns need not be barriers to treatment however if you are considering massage or if massage has been recommended to you to treat a specific health issue  do some research to learn more about the condition and how bodywork can help. Massage is contraindicated (or discouraged) for very few if any health issues. In some form or another bodywork can either work around or address any complication you might be experiencing.

Consider also talking to colleagues and friends who have experienced massage to hear about the treatment they received and how they went about finding a practitioner. Learning more about how massage is used today, and the many different bodywork options, can open your mind to its hundreds of applications for physical and mental well-being.

Some people question the legitimacy of massage for healing purposes, since for many years massage therapy and other forms of bodywork were considered taboo, especially in the western world. Some unfortunate misconceptions still linger about massage therapy’s place in contemporary medicine though research and extensive studies have helped dissolve that reputation and massage is now widely understood to reduce pain and improve health. The more you read about bodywork practices, the more you can understand why so many people, including medical professionals, endorse massage.

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A Good Massage

A side from the fact that a good massage makes you feel better, what are some of the other benefits to this practice? As a long time advocate for massage, I decided to delve into its not as well known aspects to see what else it offers beside a well spent hour on the table. What I discovered are the following five hidden benefits of a good massage.

Circulation improves
For people with impaired vascular function or limited mobility, research has shown that regular massage may offer significant benefits, especially in improved circulation. A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that massage helped improve vascular function in people who had not exercised. Researchers said this suggested the benefits of massage for circulatory function for anyone regardless of level of physical activity. Those with physical injury who underwent massage showed improved blood flow and vascular function was changed at a distance from the site of the injury and the massage.When you’re on the table, you can almost feel your circulation changing. At least, I can. This can’t be just my imagination. My massage therapist says my overall skin colour – a nice pink – is evidence of the improved circulation. No wonder I feel good afterwards.

The lymphatic system gets a workout
There is a type of massage known as lymphatic massage or lymphatic drainage that stimulates the lymphatic system. The benefits of such stimulation are improved metabolism, removal of bodily waste and toxins, and promotion of a healthy immune system.Some people are prescribed lymphatic massage following breast cancer or other surgeries. But this gentle form of massage, alone or in conjunction with deep tissue or Swedish massage, is also helpful for those with a sports injury, emotional problems, stress, low energy, illnesses, or an impaired immune system.During the massage, the therapist exerts gentle pressure and pumps toward the direction of the lymph nodes throughout the body. A combination of deep thumb pressure (shiatsu) and Swedish techniques help relax the body. The therapist may focus on one area requiring attention (at the request of the client) or do a whole-body workout.

Massage loosens muscles
Being in physical therapy for a recent low back pain episode means I’m working muscles that have not seen regular activity for some time. That results in soreness that proves I’m doing things right, but it’s also a little uncomfortable.While the therapy starts with dry heat and then massage before exercise, I also find that getting a good massage at times other than during physical therapy helps loosen those tight, sore muscles.

Stress and tension melt away
Everyday stress is unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Tension headaches, tightness in your shoulders, stomach-aches and assorted pains are signs of built-up stress. The confident hands of an expert massage therapist help melt all that stress and tension.This is a case where you don’t need to do anything other than relax and feel your body ease a sigh of relief. As you breathe in and out, visualize the stress and tension escaping, like a dark cloud being chased by the wind. The warmth you feel is like the sun bringing life and energy to every part of your body.

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Massage therapy and benefits

Ancient Western and Eastern civilizations dating back as far as 3000 years discovered that massage and touch therapy have many health benefits. From being rendered a disreputable form of indulgence, massage is now seen as a holistic method of healing, which is practiced all over the world today. Benefits range from relieving migraines and stress relief to improving circulation and having the ability to rehabilitate physical functions.

Tense muscles can cause the body to lose its natural balance. This can lead to pain as other muscles in the body tense to try to compensate for those which are causing the initial pain. It soon becomes a chain reaction, which causes the problem to spread, often quite far from the initial problem area. Experienced massage therapists will be able to locate the source of the problem and thus begin the healing process. This in turn may be able to assist a person with eliminating a dependence on pain medication.

Massage therapy assists with releasing endorphins into the body, which can help with pain relief. It is able to lessen depression and anxiety while improving the condition of the skin, which is the largest organ of the body. Those suffering from lower back pain are able to experience relief as well as a greater range of motion after a massage treatment.

Massage has also been shown to assist with other conditions such as blood pressure control, immune system boosting, infant growth and sports-related injuries. Research has also shown that massage can be beneficial to autistic children, who seemed to display less erratic behaviour after a massage session. Office workers who make use of massage therapy tend to be more alert and display less stress than those who don`t. Patients who have undergone any form of abdominal surgery tend to heal quicker when making use of massage therapy. It also decreases itching, anxiety, pain, depression and tension in patients suffering from burns.

Premature babies also benefit from massage therapy, as research has shown that infants who receive massage therapy grow and develop faster than those who don`t. Those suffering from cancer were also reported to be less anxious after receiving massage therapy. It also increases lymph flow and stimulates weak muscles. It is also able to reduce cramps and swelling in the body.

It is important that massage therapy be done by qualified therapists. It is also not recommended for people who suffer from open wounds, fractures, severe osteoporosis or blood clots. Pregnant women should also exercise caution with regards to massage therapy.

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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.

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