What Conditions May be Helped by Therapeutic Massage?

An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.

People with the following conditions have reported that therapeutic massage has lessened or relieved many of their symptoms.

* Arthritis
* Asthma
* Carpal tunnel syndrome
* Chronic and acute pain
* Circulatory problems
* Gastrointestinal disorders (including spastic colon, colic and constipation)
* Headache
* Immune function disorders
* Insomnia
* Myofascial pain
* Premature infants
* Reduced range of motion
* Sports injuries  (including pulled or strained muscles and ligaments)
* Stress
* Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction

Contraindications

* Certain forms of cancer
* Phlebitis
* Some cardiac problems
* Some skin conditions
* Infectious diseases

FACTS / STUDIES

STUDIES:

~German emperor Frederick II, took a number of newborns from their mothers and gave them to nurses who fed them but did not cuddle or talk to them. All of the babies died before they could talk. Fredrick concluded “They could not live without petting.”

~In the early 1990′s, Romania, thousands of infants were put in orphanages, they were left in their cribs for two years, all alone. They were found to be severely impaired.

~Duke Professor Saul Schanberg found that rat pups separated from their parents for 45 minutes underwent major internal changes including a large drop in growth hormones. Injections of growth hormones didn’t help. But when someone stroked them with a wet paintbrush– mimicking their mothers tongue–the hormone levels went back up.

INTERESTING FACTS ON TOUCH:

~Touch is the first sense to develop in humans, and may be the last to fade

~there are approximately 5 million touch receptors in our skin– 3000 in a finger tip

~a touch of any kind can reduce the heart rate and lower blood pressure

~touch stimulates the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers) which is why a mother’s hug for a child’s skinned knee can literally make it better

~people with eating disorders who receive massage three time a day for ten day’s, gain weight faster and got out of the hospital six days sooner than those who don’t

~elderly people who massage surrogate grandchildren report higher-esteem and better moods

~massage before an athletic event, makes the athlete more flexible, enhanced speed and power, and less prone to injury

* One in five Americans have had a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years and 13% report receiving one in the past year. This is up 8% from 1997.

* Today, there are more than 60,000 Nationally Certified practitioners that serve millions of consumers.

* Nationally Certified practitioners provide expertise in various areas of therapeutic massage and body work; Nationally Certified practitioners provide expertise in various areas of therapeutic massager and body work, including Swedish massage, shiatsu, polarity therapy, Rolfing®, Trager® techniques, reflexology, neuromuscular therapy and many more.

* In 1996, massage therapy and bodywork was officially offered for the first time as a core medical service in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. At the Games, Nationally Certified practitioners were providing key medical services.

* Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia now regulate the practice of therapeutic massage and bodywork. Of those, twenty-five states, in addition to the District of Columbia, now use the NCBTMB examination as meeting (in part or in whole) the requirements of regulation.

* NCBTMB currently has over 600 Approved Providers of Continuing Education.

* Consumers spend between $2 and $4 billion dollars annually on visits to massage and bodywork practitioners, totaling approximately 75 million visits each year.

* The three most often cited reasons for getting a therapeutic massage are relaxation (27%), relief of muscle soreness, stiffness or spasm (13%), and stress reduction (10%).

* Health insurers are increasingly expanding coverage to include alternative medicines. In addition, several healthcare network providers use NCBTMB to check the National Certification status of the practitioner.

* Fifty-four percent of primary care physicians and family practitioners say they would encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy as a complement to medical treatment.

* Massage therapy accounts for 18% of the 425 million visits made to alternative healthcare providers each year.

* In 1999, 52% of American adults thought of massage as “therapeutic,” which is up 47% from 1997.

* An estimated 20 million Americans receive massage therapy and bodywork each year, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

* Approximately 50,000 massage and bodywork practitioners provide 45 million one-hour therapy sessions each year.

* Two thirds of Americans have tried at least one form of alternative therapy or treatment for medical conditions.

* Massage therapy is the third most commonly used form of alternative medicine in the U.S., having been tried by 35% of Americans.

* Women are more likely than men to have tried alternative treatment.

* Forty-two percent of Americans have used some type of alternative care in the past.

* Americans make more visits to see alternative therapists than to see primary-care physicians, spending $21.2 billion.

* The number of massage practitioners in the U.S. is between 120,000 and 160,000.

* Massage and bodywork therapy is sought out by a large number of people in age brackets: 18-24 (22%); 25-34 (31%); 35-44 (25%); 45-54 (22%); 55-64 (19%); and over 65 (9%).

* The most important driver to try an alternative treatment is a recommendation from a friend or family member, which leads 62% of their patients to these providers.

Massage Terminology

Cranio-Sacral – is a technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or intellectual dysfunction.

Deep Tissue – releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.

Effleurage – is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. This smooth, gliding stroke is used to relax soft tissue and is applied using both hands.

Friction – is the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.

Myofascial Release – is a form of bodywork that is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Long, stretching strokes are utilized to release muscular tension.

On-site Massage (also known as chair massage or corporate massage) – is administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially designed chair. These chairs most often slope forward allowing access to the large muscles of the back. On-site massage usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and is intended to relax and improve circulation.

Petrissage (also called kneading) – involves squeezing, rolling and kneading the muscles and usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.

Reflexology – massage based around a system of points in the hands and feet thought to correspond, or “reflex,” to all areas of the body.

Rosen Method – utilizes gentle touch and verbal communication to help clients to release suppressed emotions and subsequently muscular tension in some instances.

Shiatsu and Acupressure – Oriental-based systems of finger-pressure which treat special points along acupuncture “meridians” (the invisible channels of energy flow in the body).

Sports Massage – massage therapy focusing on muscle systems relevant to a particular sport.

Swedish Massage – a system of long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints.

Tapotement – is executed with cupped hands, fingers or the edge of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.

Trigger Point Therapy (also known as Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy) – applies concentrated finger pressure to “trigger points” (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain.

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