Massage Benefits

by: Eileen Steil © 2012 Athletic Sports Massage All Rights Reserved

There are a variety of reasons to get massage.  Obviously you are reading this page because you are trying to decide if massage is right for you, for your loved one, or to explain to a loved one to get massage. 

I also hope on the first massage benefit page you enjoyed the beach scene.  My brother-in-law, brothers and sister all got massages right there to help their stress level (oh so stressful on the beach), help with spasticity of Cerebral Palsy (younger brother) and to help with nasty trigger points from too much computer time (older brother).  My favorite sister (yes, I only have one) well she just wanted to hear the sound of the ocean and drift off into dream land while I helped to remove scar tissue adhesions from her time in the row boat (crew).  My Mother was just happy watching the whole family enjoying the love that magnificent family.  Now, my brother-in-law got really lucky as he received a long massage while the two sisters gave him a massage.  The two therapist, one massage is actually a very special treat.  We will be offering this upon expansion of the new facility. 

Now onto the real reason why you are reading this page.  Any internet search will list 100's of massage techniques.  No way would one page explain all the benefits, however, I hope that when you are finished reading this you will have a better understanding of what Athletic Edge Sports Massage can do for your health.

There is only one body and there are only so many ways to treat it.  Soft tissue bodywork initially grabbed my attention when I was 21 years old and had gotten into a nasty car accident.  I was sent to a Chiropractor who introduced me to Massage Therapy for rehabilitation, and I have made it my life work to truly understand the body and what can one do to make living life to the fullest happen.  The therapists that are joining forces with Athletic Edge Sports Massage are trained in the different techniques that have helped athletes for 2 decades.  The type of massage work is summed up as Sports Massage, but technically you can't really put a name on any one treatment as whatever the patient brings into the office, on the day of treatment, dictates the type of massage work performed.

The most common forms of massage therapy include: Swedish, Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, Orthopedic (this term didn't even exist when I was introduced to massage - and ironically it is what I was taught), Sports Therapy, Pregnancy Massage, Esalen, Reflexology, Thai, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Cold Stone (not the ice cream store - work with me here), Body Alignment, Aromatherapy, Chair Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Shiatsu, Cranial Sacral, Acupressure, Canine and Equine Massage (and yes the ones with paws and hoofs really need the work!), Hydrotherapy, Color Therapy, Yogassage, Watsu, Connective Tissue, Geriatric, Lomi Lomi, Pediatric, Oncology, Pfrimmer,  Reiki, Spa Therapies (wraps, exfoliation, mud and seaweed treatments), Thalassotherapy (seaweed), Fango (Mud), Myofascial Release,  Visceral Manipulation, Rolfing, Meditation, Zero Balancing.  These are just the techniques that come to my mind whenever I am asked to list a variety of techniques.  Over the years the previous techniques are a very small sampling of techniques studied often in seminars.  Massage school is traditionally anything from 6-24 months (most being closer to 6).  School is only meant to teach you the basics, to get you over the fear of working on bodies, and to do no harm.  Time in the field, passion in your heart, and
most importantly - understanding what the problems are of the patient and how to address them to make you better are what really makes a therapist. 

The last paragraph was basically a listing of a variety of massage techniques studied over the years by myself.  Almost all massage therapists are required to maintain their licensure with continuing education (hence my personal long list above - I also have my Doctorate in Chiropratic - but do NOT adjust, I simply wanted to understand the body - more on that later).  There are many modalities out there and not all massage is created equal.  You as the consumer need to figure out what you are looking for in a massage, then find a location that can help you.  All the therapists associated with Athletic Edge Sports Massage were selected for their passion to help the human body go through this life journey in the best physical form.  Once the expansion is complete (late summer 2012) the select therapist bring in decades of experience.  

This list is not exhaustive, just a quick sampling of research that has been documented.   I will write about more research in the blog that is to accompany this site - I wanted to get this up for a few patients of mine that have been trying to help their loved ones understand why massage has been helping them.

Benefits of Massage have been documented in research to include the following:
*Treating Chronic Neck Pain, at least in the sort term (Serman KJ, Cherkin DC, Hawkes RJ, et al.)  Randomized rial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. 
Clinical Journal of Pain. 2009;25(3):233-238
*Study Examines the Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Hormones, Immune Function ( Swedish massage produced measurable effects on biological functions and may have an effect on the immune system).
(Rapaport MH, Schettler P, Bresee C). A preliminary study of the effects of a single session of Swedish massage on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and immune function in normal individuals. 
The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.  2010;16(10):1-10.
*Effects of massage therapy on sleep quality related to cardiovascular surgery.  (Massage therapy is an effective technique for improving patient recovery from cardiopulmonary artery bypass graft surgery because it reduces fatigue and improves sleep). (Nerbass FB, et al). Effects of massage therapy on sleep quality after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.   Clinics (Sao Paulo), 2010:65(11):1105-10. PubMed indexed: PMID 21243280
*Chair massage was used in a clinical trial for patients withdrawing off of psychoactive drugs.  (Within the trial chair massage was more effective than relaxation control in reducing anxiety).  (Black S, et al).  Chair massage for treating anxiety in patients withdrawing from psychoactive drugs.  J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Sep;16(9):979-87.  PubMed indexed: 20799900

There is a great deal of research on massage. As a therapist I am thrilled there is research done on massage, but ultimately it is up to you to decide if massage is right for you. When I decided to write this quick article, I asked my patients to list the reason they were getting massage:
1. Relief of chronic and acute pain
2. Provide better quality of sleep
3. Help get the knots out of the legs so he could extend while running.
4. One of my ballerinas attributes her weekly massage to her performing healthy.  I do her massage weekly because nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than watching her perform at the highest level.
5. As reported from one of the NFL guys I work with - he looks forward to those 2 hours every week, 'the highlight of his week'.  My highlight is watching him be able to do  his job at the highest level of sport.  Reflexes are cat like!
6.  When I asked the Professional Triathlete what more he needed before he headed to Kona, he asked if he could pack me in his suitcase.  I hope perhaps next year - he took 13th overall at the World Championship of Iron Triathlon in Kona 2010 - sponsored by Blue Bicycle in Norcross Georgia.
7.  From the Golfer - freedom of follow through (hips, pelvis, latts).
8.  The Oldest patient I treat (only by age, not by body!!) he is turning 86 this April, I started giving him relaxing massages since 2000 - he exercises every other day for an hour (CHALLENGE YOU to do that for a fit life!!) and he gets massaged once a week like clock work.  His skin has gotten better with age.  When he came home from the hospital and was recovering from surgery - I had the distinct honor in providing an exfoliation treatment as it was impossible for him to stand in a shower.  Normally I do not do spa therapies, but to see his smile having the old skin exfoliated and then dry brushed for circulation really brought a smile on my heart. Its this patient that has me incorporating weekly massage for myself.
9.  Several CEO's, CFO's that incorporate massage for mental health, and physical well being.  They might appear calm on the surface, but their bodies hold trigger points that massage helps to alleviate.
10.  From the 8 yr old football player - 'it hurts like this when I throw the ball...fix it'   Yeah, that one got me, how did he know I could make it better?  Some stretches and freeing up the catch in his shoulder along with other therapies and educating the child on proper technique - well maybe someday he'll be in the Pros too.
11.  From the ultrarunners - 'so there is a mountain I want to run over, 2 of them in fact, in the heat, in the middle of the summer - did I mention the desert? Make the legs and low back work.  They are actually quick fixes as they function on a different plane all together :)
12.  Rehab from an injury
13.  Jet lag - circulation  (pilots, flight attendants and road warriors all report this one)

There are many more reasons, the above list is not exhaustive and more will be included in the blog attached to this site soon.



Getting one post-workout can spur cellular processes that cut inflammation and pain

URL of this page:*this news item will not be available after 05/01/2012)

By Robert Preidt

Wednesday, February 1
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Having a massage after strenuous exercise not only feels good, it reduces inflammation in muscles at the cellular level, researchers have found.

Massage also appears to promote the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle. Mitochondria are cells' energy-producing "powerhouses," explained the researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

For the study, the investigators conducted genetic analyses of muscle biopsies from the quadriceps of 11 men after they exercised to exhaustion on stationary bicycles. After the workout, one of each participant's legs was massaged. Biopsies from both legs were taken before exercise, immediately after 10 minutes of massage, and 2.5 hours after the end of the workout.

The researchers found that massage reduced the activity of inflammation-inducing proteins called cytokines in muscle cells and promoted the growth of new mitochondria, according to the study published in the Feb. 1 online edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Many people find that having a massage after exercise reduces muscle pain. This pain reduction may involve the same mechanisms as those targeted by common anti-inflammatory drugs, explained Simon Melov, a Buck Institute faculty member.

"There's general agreement that massage feels good; now we have a scientific basis for the experience," Melov said in an institute news release.

The findings provide validation for massage, which is growing in popularity, said lead author Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, of the pediatrics and medicine department at McMaster.

"The potential benefits of massage could be useful to a broad spectrum of individuals including the elderly, those suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, and patients with chronic inflammatory disease," Tarnopolsky said. "This study provides evidence that manipulative therapies, such as massage, may be justifiable in medical practice."

SOURCE: Buck Institute for Research on Aging, news release, Feb. 1, 2012

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