Massages are often sold as a purely indulgent treat that you can get when you visit a spa, but there is so much more to a massage than just a feel good treat. Did you know that the symptoms of many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage?
Here are just a few conditions that massage can work really well on; a few you probably know and some that may surprise you!
Stress: It’s no surprise that a regular dose of massage therapy is good for your stress levels. It works by helping to lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of sleep, and by reducing your stress levels. It's also thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. In 2008 the journal Psycho-oncology published a study which came to the conclusion “…a significant reduction in cortisol (the main stress hormone) could be safely achieved through massage, with associated improvement in psychological well-being.”
Lower Back Pain: This is such a common problem, often caused by bad posture at work, so no wonder many employers are drafting in massage therapists to help. Poor posture and sitting for too long can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can simply getting older. Get your massage therapist on the case and you can hopefully wave goodbye to a sore back.
Joint Stiffness: Massage can be a blessed relief for people dealing with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint problems. Research published in 2013 in the Complementary Therapy in Clinical Practice journal said that people with rheumatoid arthritis reported some relief from pain and stiffness after four once-a-week moderate-pressure massages, topped up with self-massage at home in between treatments. Massage can also help with your range of motion and flexibility, which can relieve pain in your shoulders, knees, and hips.
Circulation: There are a whole range of health problems that can be caused by bad circulation, so it figures that boosting your circulation will be a bonus for your whole body. Regular massage helps to get the blood moving, getting essential nutrients to where they are needed in your tissues and vital organs much faster. The squeezing and pulling actions involved in a good massage also help to flush lactic acid out of your muscles and improve the circulation of lymph - the fluid that carries metabolic waste away from your muscles and internal organs.
Migraine symptoms: Nobody really knows what causes migraines, and there isn’t a cure, but if you’re a migraine sufferer you’ll be pleased to hear that studies have shown that massage can help reduce the frequency of attacks, and lessen the severity of the symptoms. Some migraines, especially those triggered by stress, are especially receptive to massage treatment.
Cancer Treatment Side-effects/Stress: In CURE magazine Spring 2016 edition there is an article about hand massages being used to reduce anxiety and stress during chemotherapy treatments. Nurses at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics were included in this study and administered 5 minute hand massages to patients in the infusion centers. Patients commented how the hand massages helped to reduce their anxiety and stress and "made them feel like someone valued them as a person". Whether in treatment or post treatment massage can help lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation such as nausea, pain, stress, anxiety, and depression.
We usually don’t think about our feet…until they hurt. We tend to take them for granted, but like other parts of our body they can get tired, overused, sore, and in need of some attention. When they start to hurt your whole body can begin to hurt.
When your feet hurt you don’t want to do much of anything. You just want to stay off of them. Foot pain can be the cause of other pain in your body. If your foot hurts, you change the way you stand, walk, and move. Those changes affect your legs. When your legs hurt, you make more changes in what you do, which affects your hips, then your back, then your neck.
Some jobs involve being on your feet most of the day. Often it is on hard floors or rough terrain. You may have a long walk from the parking lot to your job. At home we walk around to take care of our place, our family, and our belongings. We shop, stand chatting with a friend, stand in lines, and walk around doing errands. We cook, do laundry, clean and put things away. All these activities put constant strain on our feet.
Then there are our shoes. We squeeze our feet into uncomfortable shoes or boots. Sometimes it may be for the sake of fashion, such as high heels. Other times our work may require us to wear shoes that are uncomfortable. Two of the worst types of shoes for our feet is the flip flop and sandal. They look pretty but they may not provide the support your feet need.
Bottom line is all of your leg joints are affected by your feet. Joints are under pressure from muscles and bones pulling and twisting on them. Relieving foot pain allows your muscles and joints to be in their proper positions and, with less pressure on them, you feel better.
Massage provides relief from Plantar Fasciitis, heel pain, and other common foot pain. Most muscles that move your foot start in your calf, so relieving foot pain can also reduce calf pain too.
Your feet do a lot for you. Don’t have time for a 60 minute massage? Booking a 15 to 30 minute foot massage can do wonders for your whole body. Foot massage can even help relieve anxiety, pain, and depression in those going through cancer or other medical treatments or those loved ones in assisted living or nursing home facilities.
Give your feet the attention they deserve with a massage so you can keep active in the activities you enjoy doing.
Massage Therapist specializing in Therapeutic, Oncology, and Geriatric massage.