October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and most of the articles you will read will be about breast cancer and prevention. But I would like to go in a different direction.
Everyone, meet my dear friend Mary. I see Mary every week at North Cypress Medical Center in the Infusion Center where I volunteer giving free hand/foot massages. Mary has given me permission to share her story. She has Stage 4 Breast Cancer that has metastized to other organs. To keep it under control she receives treatment once a week and has been doing this for many, many years. When her cancer reappeared her doctor gave her 5 years with treatment. But she has proven them wrong and is now well past the 5 years and going strong.
But her cancer is not what this blog is about. It is about Mary's positive attitude. Her doctor tells her that her positive outlook has made a big difference in helping her body fight this disease. Studies have shown that how we think makes a bid difference in our health. Mary could stay focused on her cancer but she has chosen to move past the negative and dwell on the positive. She chooses to keep her eyes on God and focus on all the blessings she has in her life: family, friends, and of course, a good book and coffee!
I wish each of you would have an opportunity to meet Mary. Everyone knows her as the lady with the pink hair. She is the most delightful, caring, loving, and encouraging person I have ever met. She always has a smile on her face. When I arrive in the infusion center she tells me "I am so happy to see you" and I know she means it. She lights up the infusion center with her positive energy and humor.
Mary, you make me strive each day to be a better person. God's love shines through you and brightens the lives of those who come in contact with you. Your light shines so bright that we need sunglasses when we are around you.
I honor you today, Mary. You have become a very important part of my life. I am truly blessed to know you!
"Cancer doesn't define me. It is not who I am."
- Mary M
Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults in a given year. Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.
A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.
Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
Massage may help anxiety
The American Massage Therapy Association has adopted a position statement based on research findings asserting that “massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.” It goes on to say that massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labor, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.
The effects of massage therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. If increased heart rate and rapid breathing are symptoms of anxiety could massage therapy may have a positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busy-ness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety.
Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
If you are unsure about trying massage to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage and how it may help you. Check in with your health care provider and your therapist or counselor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage and anxiety, I can provide that!)
When you’re ready, we’ll schedule an appointment (embracelifemassage.com) and you can see firsthand how massage may help you.
Every day! Well, maybe that’s not practical, even though it would be nice. This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it’s a combination of the two, so let’s look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:
Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want!
There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we “don’t have time” for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it.
In a high-stress job or work environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or “knotted” muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness.
Chronic Health Conditions
People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month. Your massage therapist will work with you to help you get on the best schedule for your body.
Those who are going through chemotherapy or radiation treatments can greatly benefit from receiving regular massages. Usually the best time is a day or two before they receive their next treatment. They have more energy and feel better by that time. Massage can help to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, nausea, and insomnia. After treatments are done, massage therapy can help you to find your body's new normal.
This covers a wide spectrum of people. We enter the geriatric stage of live when we hit the age of 55. But we are living longer and more active lives than ever before. As we age, we can begin developing aches and pains we hadn't noticed before. Also, sometimes our health changes. These changes need to be taken into consideration and discussed with your massage therapist.
Those in assisted living or nursing homes can sometimes suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and aches and pains. Massage therapy session length will depend on how robust the person is. Most session usually last 20 min to 60 min.
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage and is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don’t have to. Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don’t have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.
Massage Therapist specializing in Therapeutic, Oncology, and Geriatric massage.