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Massage Benefits

Massage Benefits & Specific health concerns

General Psychological and Physical Benefits  
Some Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Massage  
How Therapeutic Massage Can Help Relieve Stress  
Benefits of 20 Common Types of Massage Therapy  
Massage Benefits the Elderly  
Onsite Seated Chair Massage for the Workplace  
Benefits of Massage for Clients with Fibromyalgia  
Relief from TMJD  

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General Psychological and Physical Benefits

Massage relieves stress and its attendant headaches, backaches, anxiety, fatigue and sleeplessness. But bodywork is not only a relief to our physical efforts, or to injury and pain caused by accident or stress, it's also a balancing influence on our lives. We obviously are a nation of educated people who realize our need to keep a healthy body and now we need to be attentive to our need to feel whole and alive. Massage is not just for people who can't handle their pain or for people who feel the need to be pampered. Massage is in actuality therapeutic.
Massage is not only the answer to the aching back, it can change our lives for the better.

Some of the general benefits of therapeutic massage include the following:

 

Psychological Benefits

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Relieves stress

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Helps relieve depression

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Can improve your state of mind

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Fulfils a universal human need for touch

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

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Relaxes muscles

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Increases circulation

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Reduces swelling

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Relieves pain

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Soften and stretches scars and decreases adhesion


(Source: Mayo Clinic Health Letter )

 

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Some Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
point Massage dilates (opens up) blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion.
point Massage acts as a "mechanical cleanser" pushing along lymph and hastening the elimination of wastes and toxic debris.
point Massage relaxes muscle spasm and relieves tension.
point Massage increases the blood supply and nutrition to the muscle without adding to the load of toxic lactic acid, produced through voluntary muscle contraction. Massage thus helps to remove harmful "fatigue" products resulting from strenuous exercise or injury.
point Massage maintains muscle tone and helps prevent or delay muscle atrophy resulting from forced inactivity.
point Massage may have a sedative, stimulating or even exhausting effect on the nervous system depending on the type and length of massage treatment given.
point Massage increases the excretion (via the kidneys) of fluids and nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus and salt in normal individuals.
point Massage stretches connective tissue, improves its circulation and nutrition and may realign adhesions and reduce the dangers of fibrosis.
point Massage improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and hastens the elimination of harmful particles. By aiding lymphatic drainage, it helps lessen inflammation and swelling in joints and may alleviate pain.

 

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How Therapeutic Massage Can Help Relieve Stress

Stress Is not usually fun. In fact it can be down right miserable. But we need it for learning and personal growth. The most successful and healthiest people are not always those who steer clear of stress but those who learn to manage it.

The Stress Response:
“Fight or Flight”

When in a stressful situation your body has two major ways to react: Fight or Flight. Your nervous system becomes more activated and produces the hormone adrenaline to help prep your body for an emergency. Meanwhile your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, your muscles tense up and your digestive system is put on hold.

These days the fight-flight response is largely useless. We live fast-paced lives, with major changes around every curve. In addition to that, most stressors are ongoing—financial worries, environment, interpersonal conflicts, work-related, and especially political, government, and worldly issues. Your body and mind receive no signal that they can stop; that your really not in an immediate emergency.

The Stress Cycle

With little or no chance at all to recover, you may find yourself in an endless cycle of pain and you find you can't relax or unwind. Stress related tension can lead to chronic headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain, which can all produce more stress in themselves! The worry and pain can cause sleepless or restless nights, draining you of energy for the day to come. You might also find the way you used to deal with stress is a new stressor in itself, such as reading or exercising.

As the pressure mounts, the hormones in your blood stream require little or no stress at all to trigger a stress response. You may find that not just actual events but thinking about upcoming events and even memories are stressful. You also may find that you are so depleted of energy that you need the jolt of stress just to keep you going.

Therapeutic Massage

In a stress emergency, massage is an easy and painless way to get rid of it. That only requires you to relax and let go. Massage provides immediate soothing strokes to the sensory system allowing a break in the cycle of mental agitation.

Many studies have shown that massage can actually trigger the “relaxation response” which takes your body off of alert and lets the biological process start to restore your physical resources. You may find your heart rate slows down, blood pressure drops, deeper and slower breathing begins and tense muscles relax. As your hormones balance it creates a deep sense of relaxation.

Renewing Your Energy Reserves

When your body is running on empty, massage can help recharge and get you going again so that you may successfully accomplish all you want to.

Release Muscle Tension
Massage can relieve painful muscle tension that can sap your energy dry by using kneading and stretching to loosen muscle ligaments and connective tissue, or using trigger points (pressure applied to known areas that can cause pain). Though a treatment session cannot "cure" you in one visit, it will give your body a break and stimulate the release of endorphins that are known to be the body's natural pain killer. Also, studies have shown that spaced and frequent treatments could reverse the damage of chronic muscle tension.

Increased Circulation
Massage may increase circulation by clearing out toxins of stress hormones and other cellular debris, and replacing it with fresh blood and oxygen—the nutrients your body needs to repair itself. A short term increase of oxygen to the brain may reduce mental fatigue, improving your ability to concentrate. As the nutrients are brought in and toxins flushed out, you may find relief from emotional problems as well, such as anxiety and depression, along with a sense of renewed optimism which can last for days.

Improved Sleep
The quality of sleep generally improves right after or a couple of days following a massage. Without past stress and muscle tension your body is allowed to rest, letting you sleep and recover.

Psychological Effect
Massage gives you a feeling of control over the ills in your life. Just knowing you can take care of yourself in such a positive manner is beneficial.

Learning to Relax
Massage gives you an opportunity to relax, and once you relax you can remember that feeling and take yourself back to that feeling. It also provides you with self-awareness, so you can notice the signs and stop stress before it happens.


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Massage Benefits the Elderly

Massage knows no age limits. It works wonders on young, old, and in between. It can be especially helpful to the elderly who are experiencing the physical effects of aging which can include: thinner and drier skin, reduced tissue elasticity, loss of mobility, slower nervous system response, decreased bone mass, sleeplessness, constipation, and a less efficient immune system.

Massage helps keep the body and mind functioning optimally by promoting well nourished and healthy skin, improving circulation of blood and lymph, improving immune system functioning, improving energy flow, enhancing general relaxation, reducing muscular tension and associated discomfort, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, increasing feelings of well-being, enhancing flexibility and strength, increasing range of motion in joints, reducing discomfort from arthritis.

Besides the physical benefits of massage, the elderly can experience a connectedness with the therapist that provides the healthy, caring touch that can be missing from the lives of older adults. The loss of friends and loved ones that comes with the elder years can cause stress and anxiety that are alleviated by the therapeutic massage.

(courtesy of Massage Network )

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Onsite seated chair massage for the workplace

What is an Onsite Chair Massage?
Onsite Chair Massage brings therapeutic massage to your place of business. The therapist provides a specially designed chair or Futon and a session lasts anywhere from about 15-30 minutes. There is no oil or lotion used except for maybe arms and hands. The massage is done with the client fully clothed and concentrates on the shoulders, neck, arms, hands, and back. Feet and legs can be worked on at special request. This Massage is done generally on the client's break time, and leaves the client relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to return to work.

What do I have to do and provide?
There are three simple steps to set up the program:

  1. First designate someone to be the lead contact person. He or she will be responsible for helping the therapist, setting a schedule, and publicizing the program and signing people up.
  2. Provide a space. A simple break room, conference room or even a quite corner is all that's needed. And after the day's session the room can be returned to normal.
  3. Encourage employees to use it. Make sure you support the program and use it your self. Be an example.

What are the costs and how are they managed?
There are many options, and onsite chair massage is one of the most affordable types of massage because it's a shorter duration for each person and more people get a chance to participate without having to leave work. There is no up front investment in equipment or supplies.

  1. As the concerned employer, you can purchase the therapy time. You don't lose any work time because the massage takes place on the employees' breaks. Also, you have a refreshed, appreciative and more productive employee after the massage.
  2. Arrange to have the therapist and space available and ask those who want a massage to pay for their own time, as much or little as your schedule and their needs allow.
  3. Use onsite chair massage as an incentive program. Those who accomplish a predetermined goal earn a massage. It's a great motivator!

How does it compare to other wellness programs?
Generally it's more convenient than most other programs. There is no need for the person to change clothes, shower or leave work. The results are immediate. Most health programs take months to show results. It's easy and safe—you don't need to be a fitness pro to reap the benefits of massage. And people just simply enjoy it! It can also avoid two common problems—spending more selling a program than the program itself costs, and then having it used by people who don't really need it any way. Massage also creates enthusiasm for better steps to wellness, change of diet and exercise as well as maybe emotional and psychological help. Massage helps people feel better and motivates them, providing you with better results in the workplace, less irritable (or irritating) employees and fewer sick days. It's also a great way to show how much you value your employees and team. Provide more than a job and a check. Go beyond illness benefits, show you care about their health and wellness!

The following is found in the brochure “Onsite seated massage for the workplace.” (Copyright 1997 by Information for People.) 

The cost of stress...

"Stress on or off the job cost US workplaces an estimated $200 billion a year in reduced productivity, accidents, compensation claims, absenteeism, employee turnover, health insurance, and medical expenses. This is more than after-tax profits of the Fortune 500 companies and 10 times the cost of all strikes combined."

Recent studies show:

point Up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints.
point Up to 80% of industrial accidents are due to stress.
point Over 50% of lost work days are stress-related.
point 14% of workers say stress caused them to quit or change jobs in the previous two years.
point Workers' compensation awards for job stress threaten to bankrupt the system in some states.

Sources: Employee Burnout : America's Newest Epidemic (Northwestern National Life); Job Stress: The 20th Century Disease (UN International Labor Organization); Mitchum Report on Stress in the '90s; Onsite Seated Massage for the Workplace (Information for People)

 

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The Benefits of Massage for Clients with Fibromyalgia

The term "fibromyalgia" is derived from three components: "fibro" meaning fiber or fibrous, "myo" meaning muscles, and "algia" meaning pain. Fibromyalgia is basically a constant, all over pain, felt in the body for more than three months. Now just because you have had pain for over three months doesn't necessarily mean you have fibromyaglia. It is generally tested like this: There are certain points, about 18 of them, that when pressure is applied are very painful. If a person has 11 or more of theses tender point then they usually are diagnosed to have fibromyalgia.

About 4% of the population, if not more nowadays, has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and its symptoms. While many have the symptoms but have not been diagnosed, or have possibly been diagnosed incorrectly. And yet thousands more have simply been told there is nothing wrong with them and they are making it all up.

Fibromyalgia can creep up or come suddenly. There isn't yet an identified cause, however, studies have shown that traumatic incidents such as physical or emotional traumas can cause the onset of it.

Constant pain and fatigue are probably on the top of your concern list daily if you suffer from fibromyalgia. These also can cause depression, make a person anxious, and aggravate your sensation to pain even more. Add this to the complaint of frequent headaches, trouble concentrating, and insomnia and no wonder you feel like the world is on your shoulders.

Massage can help lighten that load by providing a brief break in the pain cycle, and stress of living. It can also help you sleep a little better at night, as well as providing you with emotional support, and exercise support. Your therapist can also teach you how to breathe when you feel the onset of symptoms occurring so that you can feel in control of the situation.

Make sure you communicate with your therapist about your symptoms. Some days you may feel good and other days not so good. You may need deep pressure at times, and sometimes you may just need to relax. Let your therapist know so that you get the most out of your massage session.

 

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Relief From TMJD

In America alone over 10 million people suffer from TMJD

(Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction).

Have you recently experienced facial pain in the jaw while talking or chewing? Have you been hearing a clicking or popping sound when you move your jaw side to side? Maybe your ears have been ringing a lot more or maybe you can never seem to get rid of that sore throat? And why does it seem your shoulders are always so tight and you constantly have headaches?

If you answered "yes" to many of these questions you may have TMJD. Visit your dentist and he or she will probably run various tests and in severe cases provide you with a splint or brace to put your jaw into place.

TMJD can be caused by many different things, however, the most common is some form of physical trauma such as whiplash. Other causes may be the tendency to grind or clench your jaw when stressed or sleeping. Your posture can also play a role. Many of the neck and shoulder muscles start or end near the structures of the cranium and can cause headaches or dizziness, poor posture and tightness in the jaw. This can aggravate and cause stress on the surrounding muscles of the face and jaw causing it to shift out of place and be painful. Some other symptoms you may notice are dizziness, frequent shoulder and back pain, as well as headaches which lead to psychological or physiological stress.

 

Massage can help.
The most common form of TMJD is Myofascial Pain, that is pain in the muscle (myo) and connective tissue (fascial). By receiving massage it takes your mind off the pain giving you a chance to relax. Massage can help release this tension of the joints in the jaw, as well as shoulders and back, that can commonly aggravate TMJD. By relaxing the shoulder and back muscles this can help your posture which can contribute to the TMJD as well. By using various stretches the therapist can lessen the building of adhesions are bring back range of motion to your jaw. If your Doctor decides you need a splint or jaw repositioner, massage beforehand can help relax the muscle so that a proper fit can be made. Talk to your dentist and see if massage is OK for you. Sometime you may even be able to get a prescription. If a car accident was involved, insurance may cover the treatment.

 

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