Below is the most recent compiled research of the latest Massage Therapy practices, benefits, and outlooks.
I strongly believe massage therapy is a vital tool for preventative long term care and overall improved physical well being. Check out the info below.
Massage Therapy for Symptom Control of Cancer Patients:
Cancer is a common word in todays society unfortunately, with the outcomes being catastrophic for the individual. In this study, 1,290 patients were studied over a 3 year period who received a standard Swedish massage ranging from 20-60 minutes showed a 50% reduction in pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, depression, and other symptoms with benefits lasting throughout 48 hours post massage. The effects of massage therapy in this study have concluded a, "...non-invasive and inexpensive means of symptom control for patients with serious chronic illness. It is...comforting, free of side effects and greatly appreciated by recipients." (Cassileth, 2004)
Follow the link below to read more detail on the study:
Massage Therapy and Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches:
The individuals stuck at a computer all day know the aches and tension involved with sitting at a computer all day. The pain is usually located at the base of the neck right below the base of the skull and/or across the top of the shoulder going down along the shoulder blade. There is evidence that explains sustained static muscular contraction causes the muscle to deplete itself of local nutrients, "muscle food", which create highly tender spots in the muscle tissue, trigger points. Over a period of time, these contracted trigger points are thought to be an underlying cause of tension headaches. In a study measuring massage therapy treatment of the neck and shoulder muscles to reduce chronic tension headaches, demonstrated, "...muscle specific massage therapy technique...has the potential to be a functional, nonpharmacological intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache." (Quinn, 2002)
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Benefits of Massage-Myofascial Release Therapy on Pain, Anxiety, Quality of Sleep, Depression, and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia you are aware of the intense overall pain, the always present fatigue, never feeling like you have enough sleep, chronic headaches, anxiety, and depression among the many other symptoms as well. In this study, the massage technique of myofascial release (MFR) has been shown to significantly improve the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Myofascial release targets the softening of the fascia around the muscles. The fascia is like the "plastic wrap" around each muscle fiber, the "spaghetti noodles". The fascia acts as a supportive framework around each muscle fiber to hold it all together. So, when you move the fascia must move so the muscle can move and so on...this is how the mechanism works. However, fascial entrapments, where the fascia is stuck and wont move, occur for a multitude of reasons. These fascial entrapment patterns cause that area in the body to stop receiving appropriate stimuli and creating a dysfunctional process called "densification," (Moreno-Lorenzo, 2011). It has been shown in tissue where densification occurs, causes limited movement, fat accumulation, and an altered chemical state of the tissue. However, with MFR you can manage your symptoms with massage so that you can feel better and live a more pain free life.
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Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Inflammatory Markers in Hypertensive Women.
Texas heat can mean extreme temperatures ranging from 90 degrees to upwards of 110 degrees. For most Texans this is miserable but normal; however, this heat can be extremely unbearable when your struggling with high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension). In a study based on the effects of massage therapy on hypertensive women showed, "...Swedish massage therapy (SMT) is able to reduce both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure..,"(Supa'at, et. al., 2013). Indicating massage therapy can help to reduce blood pressure symptoms associated with hypertension, more specifically in women. Common symptoms of hypertension include: headache, dizziness, nausea, and many others specific to each person. It was also found the effects of massage on blood pressure extended beyond the initial trial period showing a significantly reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and VCAM-1 (an indicator of stress on blood vessel walls). In essence, a regular massage will significantly reduce the sypmtoms of hypertension over a prolonged period of time. To read more on this article, follow the link below:
Don't Call it Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine
Massage therapy has built a reputation on "feeling good" however, recent research suggests there is more to massage than just the feeling good aspect. Growing research has found that massage therapy boosts immune function, improves symptom control of asthma, and improves grip strength in individuals with carpal tunnel to name a few. Massage therapy has even grown to becoming a recommendation for low back pain by the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. To read more follow the link below:
Novel Insights on Nutrient Management of Sarcopenia in Elderly
A great read on what you can do to take care of your muscles. A recent review article demonstrates a combination of proper nutrition and a regular exercise routine are pertinent in delaying sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is defined as, "...the progressive and generalized lose of muscle mass and strength,": (Rondanelli, 2015). The suggested amount of protein intake for an adult is 1.2grams per kilogram of body weight per day with possible supplementation in certain cases. So, for every 2.2 pounds of body weight, the average adult is recommended to consume1.2grams of protein per day.
To read more on the article follow the link below:
Regeneration of Injured Skeletal Muscle After the Injury
This is an excellent research article reviewing and explaining the muscle injury healing process. In short, there are two classifications of muscle injures: 1-a muscle tear, or bruise, and 2-parts of a muscle fiber are eliminated and regrown. In a muscle tear or bruise, this is most commonly caused by some type of compressive force, like a direct hit to an area, resulting in swelling within the muscle that will dissipate over a few days. In the instance of a muscle fiber being eliminated and regrown is due to a more severe injury (i.e. overexertion of muscles) where there is a clear loss of muscle function. It is noted that in either type of injury the regenerative process is the same. The regenerative or "healing" process is broken down into 3 phases, 1-deconstruction phases, or the removal and isolation of the injured area, 2-repair phase, or the elimination of the injured tissue, and 3-remodeling phase, where new muscle fibers are produced and placed where the old injured ones where. This article is full of interesting detailed info so please visit the site below for more information,
The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
We've all heard about essential oils and how great and wonderful they are, but how much of it is true and how much of it is sham??? In the following article, it explains that essential oils are odorous and volatile compounds that are stored in plants secretory structures or glands. The actual concentration of essential oils in most plants is at max 1% however there are a few plants that will yield essential oil concentrations of up to 10%. Because of essential oils chemical structure, the compounds are absorbable through diffusion in our skin. Due to their volatility, they are also able to be easily inhaled. When ingested, these essential oil compounds go through the digestive process to yield compounds that produce physiological functions such as: interacting with hormones or enzymes, and/or by acting as another agent producing some physiological function such as relaxation within the nervous system. With this fundamental understanding of how and what an essential oil is and does, it then becomes very clear how it can be useful within the body. To read more and find the specifics on each oil click on the link below.
Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage
This is an excellent article detailing the specific metabolic processes that occur after exercise induced stress occurs in ones muscle. This article goes on to describe what happens within the muscle post exercise and how massage directly affects the metabolic process. Through this experiment it was found that massage really has no effect on the muscle metabolites such as glycogen and lactate which are believed to be the cause of muscle soreness after a workout, but massage did reduce the inflammatory process that directly affects inflammation following cellular stress of the individual muscle fibers from exercise. In conclusion, it is shown to be clinically beneficial to receive a massage post exercise as it will reduce the inflammation to the muscles and will promote mitochondrial biogenesis (i.e. healthy cellular function). Click the link below to read this article directly:
The Effects of Massage Therapy on Pain Management in the Acute Care Setting
Massage therapy sessions have shown to have a, "...significant reduction in pain levels, but also the inter-relatedness of pain, relaxation, sleep, emotions, recovery, and finally the healing process," (1). This occurs due to the gate control theory where, "...inhibiting the transmission of noxious stimuli by stimulating large nerve fibers have shown to alter pain perception," (1). Massage therapy produces a relaxation response that creates a calm state and enhances the ability to rest, "...as well as lowering blood pressure, heart rate, decreased oxygen consumption, muscle tension, and lower levels of cortisol and noradrenaline," (1). Read more by following the link below:
Massage Therapy Protocol for Post–Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: A Case Report
In determining the effectiveness of massage therapy for rehabilitation of post-anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with patellofemoral pain syndrome, it was found that massage therapy is an effective complementary therapy. Through 9 sessions of massage therapy the client reported a significantly reduced: pain level, hamstring flexion contracture, and lateral tracking of the patella.
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