Archive for March, 2012

Take your Medicine – Get a Massage! Research Results Hit the Mainstream

Massage regulars have known for years that massage isn’t just a luxury item. Massage is a necessity to keep you able, moving and ready to face the day. For people with chronic pain, massage is a way to find relief without taking more pills. And research is starting to agree:

Research over the past couple of years has found that massage therapy boosts immune function in women with breast cancer, improves symptoms in children with asthma, and increases grip strength in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Giving massages to the littlest patients, premature babies, helped in the crucial task of gaining weight.

The benefits go beyond feelings of relaxation and wellness that people may recognize after a massage. The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society now include massage as one of their recommendations for treating low back pain, according to guidelines published in 2007.

New research is also starting to reveal just what happens in the body after a massage. While there have long been theories about how massage works—from releasing toxins to improving circulation—those have been fairly nebulous, with little hard evidence. Now, one study, for example, found that a single, 45-minute massage led to a small reduction in the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood, a decrease in cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions, and a boost in white blood cells that fight infection.

via Don’t Call It Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine – WSJ.com.

This article from the Wall Street Journal shares details of the benefits of massage that have been verified via research. Massage research has prompted it to be recognized as a treatment for low back pain, and they’ve also documented a change in the stress hormone levels, cortisol, that takes place in tissue after just one massage:

New research is also starting to reveal just what happens in the body after a massage. While there have long been theories about how massage works—from releasing toxins to improving circulation—those have been fairly nebulous, with little hard evidence. Now, one study, for example, found that a single, 45-minute massage led to a small reduction in the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood, a decrease in cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions, and a boost in white blood cells that fight infection.

via Don’t Call It Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine – WSJ.com.

In addition, massage is also being touted as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, and is now being studied in healthy people as well as people with chronic issues or injuries. Massage research is in its infancy, but its a growing field, so take a look at the WSJ article for more information on what has been confirmed and presented in the last few years of research of massage.

The findings presened in the article and elsewhere from research point out the need for a more systemic approach to research of massage and hint and broad benefits to both the body and the mind. Those of you who already receive regular won’t be surprised by this. Those of you who love massage may find it hopeful. And those of you who haven’t tried massage? Well, let’s hope some of this information talks  you into heading onto a table for some bodywork.

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