Words to the Wise
 

Active, pain free living is a major concern for boomers and seniors today who want to get the most out of life. Many people in this age group have discovered that Therapeutic Massage can help them attain their health goals, and maintain their healthy living lifestyles. You may be wondering if a Massage Therapy session is right for you.

The popularity of massage has grown in a grassroots fashion. Massage has worked for a lot of people who then have recommended it to family and friends as a way to relieve pain and discomfort. Because it worked, people asked their medical providers and insurance companies for massage. The National Institute of Health funded the University of Miami to conduct studies on the effects of massage. As a result, Massage Therapy is enjoying a renaissance at this time.

The benefits of massage are currently the subject of numerous magazine articles and television programs, including the cover of Life last year and ABC News, Newsweek just this week. The results of scientific research being done conclude that massage is as important as diet and exercise and should be considered as an essential component to a healthy lifestyle. What a change from just 10 years ago when massage was still primarily disregarded by the medical and scientific communities.

People naturally and instinctively touch and rub areas of the body that are painful. Everyone knows that touching helps to relieve pain and tension in the muscles and many of the benefits of massage are received from the physical manipulation of these soft tissues. But the potential effect on your overall health is increased if massage is received regularly, like exercise.

Here are some of the results of these studies:
  • Massage improves overall circulation blood and flow of lymph. This benefit stems directly from the physical manipulation of the muscles. Blood supplies nutrients and oxygen and lymph carried away wastes and toxins. The oxygen carrying capability of the blood can increase 20%, while the accumulated waste products of inactivity or over exercise, can be dispersed
  • Massage helps injuries, especially strains and sprains heal faster and people recover from medical procedures like operations more quickly. It can be an essential component to rehabilitation.
  • Tight muscles can be loosened and weak flaccid muscles can gain strength faster. This creates better posture and promotes more efficient movement. Massage's stretching effect on the body helps keep tissues more elastic and flexible. Massage can help free the connective tissue around joints and relieve stiffness.
  • Massage helps your body recover more quickly from athletic exercise and other types of physical stress like travel. It can help you do more activity safely and improve your overall conditioning. If you are out of shape, it can help you tune up your body. Scientists are also find Massage promotes many other positive changes:
  • The bodies secretions and excretions are increased. There are most gastric juices, saliva, and urine, suggesting digestion and metabolic rate are improved. Food absorption hormones, including insulin are increased.
  • Harmful stress hormones are reduced and mood elevating brain chemicals, like serotonin are increased. Relaxation is promoted while also increasing alertness. Lower levels of alpha and beta brain waves were recorded indicating a greater alertness. Indeed, people score consistently higher on tests with up to 50% fewer errors after a 15 minute massage.
  • Massage helps your skin look younger by improving elasticity, maintaining the pore structure and stimulating glandular secretions
  • Premature babies gain weight up to 47% faster, saving tens of thousands of dollars in hospital costs.
  • Abused, neglected, chronically ill, and handicapped people of all ages are receiving massage with positive results.

The list could go on, but the findings are conclusive and the deductions are being made. Massage is not just a luxury for the rich and famous but is now being regarded by the scientific community as an essential component to the maintenance of overall health. Named diseases like high blood pressure, colitis, sinusitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, digestive disorders, headaches are all helped as well as minor aches and pains.

It is important to note that massage is not just a scientific practice, it is also a healing art. Findings the right style of massage treatment for you and a therapist that is well trained in the healing aspects of massage is also a consideration. A therapist should be sensitive and intuitive, as well as knowledgeable about the scientific application of touch. For help with this you might get a referral from a friend or a knowledgeable health professional. You can also contact the American Massage Therapy Association for more information.