Here’s Why You Should Book Your Next Massage ASAP

Source: Here’s Why You Should Book Your Next Massage ASAP

Sarah Klein
Senior Editor, Health & Fitness; Certified Personal Trainer
There’s no denying a massage is calming — until you start feeling guilty for indulging in a little special treatment.

A small new study excuses us all from the guilt: Massage therapy isn’t just a way to relax, it’s also a way to alleviate muscle soreness after exercise and improve blood flow, according to the recent research.

Other benefits of massage have long been touted, but research is usually limited. Still, we think there are some pretty good reasons to book an appointment ASAP.

Massage can reduce pain

A 2011 study found that massage helped people with low back pain to feel and function better, compared to people who didn’t get a rubdown. That’s good news for the eight in 10 Americans who will experience debilitating back pain at least once in their lives, Time.com reported.

“We found the benefits of massage are about as strong as those reported for other effective treatments: medications, acupuncture, exercise and yoga,” Dan Cherkin, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said in a press release.

Massage also seems to lessen pain among people with osteoarthritis.

It can help you sleep

The calming treatment can also help you spend more time asleep, according to research from Miami University’s Touch Research Institute. “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which your body barely moves,” the Institute’s founder Tiffany Field, Ph.D., told More magazine in 2012.

In one study of people with fibromyalgia, 30-minute massages three times a week for five weeks resulted in nearly an hour more of sleep, plus deeper sleep, she said.

Massage may ward off colds

There’s a small body of research that suggests massages boost immune function. A 2010 study, believed to be the largest study on massage’s effects on the immune system, found that 45 minutes of Swedish massage resulted in significant changes in white blood cells and lymphocytes, which help protect the body from bugs and germs.

It could make you more alert

At least one study has linked massage to better brainpower. In a 1996 study, a group of adults completed a series of math problems faster and with more accuracy after a 15-minute chair massage than a group of adults who were told to just sit in a chair and relax during those 15 minutes.

Massage may ease cancer treatment

Among patients receiving care for cancer, studies have noted multiple benefits of massage, including improved relaxation, sleep and immune system function as well as decreased fatigue, pain, anxiety and nausea.

It may alleviate depression symptoms

A 2010 review of the existing studies examining massage in people with depression found that all 17 pieces of research noted positive effects. However, the authors recommended additional research into standardizing massage as treatment and the populations who would most benefit from it.

Massage could help with headaches

The power of touch seems to help limit headache pain. A 2002 study found that massage therapy reduced the frequency of chronic tension headaches. And in a very small 2012 study, 10 male patients with migraine headaches noted significant pain reduction after neck and upper back massage and manipulation. You may even be able to reap the benefits without seeing a professional: Start by applying gentle pressure with your fingertips to your temples, then move them in a circular motion along the hairline until they meet in the middle of your forehead, WebMD reported.

The stress reduction is scientific

Between the dim lights, soothing music and healing touch, it certainly feels like stress melts away during a massage, but research suggests a very literal reduction of cortisol, a major stress hormone. Chronically high levels of cortisol can contribute to serious health issues, like high blood pressure and blood sugar, suppressed immune system function and obesity.

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Aging + Massage — American Massage Therapy Association

Source: https://www.amtamassage.org/research/Massage-Therapy-Research-Roundup/Research-Roundup.html

A growing population of aging adults receive massage therapy as part of their integrated care to temper aches and pains, tackle chronic pain and aid in long-term care. Studies continue to show that aging and elderly individuals benefit greatly from massage therapy.

Regularly receiving massage has been shown to promote relaxation1 and stability2 while helping temper the effects of dementia,3 high-blood pressure and osteoarthritis.4 By incorporating massage into a regular healthcare regimen, many older adults find a better quality of life and additional relief from a multitude of health issues.

Read more at the link above~~

Athletic Performance: Can Massage Make a Difference?

http://www.massagemag.com/athletic-performance-can-massage-make-a-difference-30031/

By Brandi Schlossberg May 27, 2015

enhance athletic performance

Summer can be a great time to get moving, because the weather tends to be more welcoming. However, before you dive into a new sport or exercise routine, consider the role of massage therapy when it comes to staying active and healthy, and improving your athletic performance.

“Massage therapy can reduce the risk of soft-tissue injury, reduce recovery time after exercise or injury, and help maintain flexibility and optimal range of motion—all of which can combine to keep the weekend athlete in play,” said Mark W. Dixon, B.C.T.M.B., H.H.P., a sports massage therapist in Newport Beach, California.

In fact, research published in 2012 in Science Translational Medicine indicated that massage might reduce inflammation post-exercise much the same way anti-inflammatory medicine does.

Enhance training and athletic performance

For recreational cyclist Joe Quinby, one of Dixon’s regular clients, massage therapy as part of his overall training process means more time on the bike and less time out for rest and recovery.

“I make sure I get in there after a long organized ride of 100 miles or more. I put it on my preride checklist to make an appointment for massage in the week after the ride,” Quinby said. “What I’ve noticed is that it allows me to get right back on the bike and train. I rode 100 miles, got a massage two days later and actually rode stronger the next day than I did in the race.”

Help muscles recover

According to Amy Murry, a sports massage therapist in Olympia, Washington, massage speeds recovery for the weekend athlete because it boosts the body’s own healing process.

“Massage therapy can assist the body in breaking down adhesions and scar tissue, and it also helps reintroduce blood flow to improve circulation, which brings cell nutrition and oxygen to those muscle cells to revitalize and renew,” Murry said.

Research published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2009 indicated that massage might aid in recovery, particularly among women, from the temporary state of immunosuppression often induced by exercise.

Prevent injuries

When the body does not have the chance to fully heal and recover before the weekend athlete jumps back into the next sporting event or exercise session, the odds of suffering an injury may be higher. Jodi Halvorson, one of Murry’s regular clients, learned this lesson when she first began training for 50-mile ultramarathons.

“I was fairly new to running when I noticed one of my calf muscles getting super tight, but I just thought it meant I was working out really hard,” Halvorson said. “Actually, the muscle was so tight it was literally pulling on my shin and caused a stress fracture. The injury was from running and not taking care of those muscles, and I was unable to run for like four months after that.”

Determined to take better care of her body and avoid another long stint on the sidelines, Halvorson began booking appointments for massage therapy once a week. She said she has not only been injury-free since she started the weekly massage sessions, but she also finds her recovery time is much faster after intense training and big events.

“Massage is a tool that is often overlooked for shinier bicycles and the next best running shoe, but if your body is full of adhesions and scar tissue, it doesn’t matter what shoe or bike you use,” Murry said. “You need to take care of your musculoskeletal equipment first and foremost.”

About the Author

Brandi Schlossberg is an avid bodywork client and full-time journalist based in Reno, Nevada. She has written on many topics for MASSAGE Magazine, including “Why Massage Might be Better than Over-the-Counter Pain Pills.”

via Athletic Performance: Can Massage Make a Difference?.

Massage As Medicine

By Kirstin Fawcett Feb. 12, 2015 | 10:54 a.m. EST

Massage therapy is increasingly being embraced as an alternative medical treatment.

For more than a decade, Bill Cook has gotten a weekly massage. He isn’t a professional athlete. He didn’t receive a lifetime gift certificate to a spa.

Nor is the procedure a mere indulgence, he says – it’s medicinal.

In 2002, Cook – a 58-year-old resident of Hudson, Wisconsin, who once worked in marketing – was diagnosed with a rare illness. He had cardiac sarcoidosis, a condition in which clusters of white blood cells coagulate together and react against a foreign substance in the body, scarring the heart in the process. The disease damaged his heart so badly it went into failure. The doctors said there was nothing they could do, and Cook’s name was put on an organ transplant waiting list.

The wait stretched on for more than a decade. “I probably had the heart capacity of an 80-year-old,” recalls Cook, who was given medication and a pacemaker yet still struggled daily with his sickness. “It wasn’t pushing the blood out to my extremities because it was so weak. It got worse and worse, and I started to look for anything I could find to help my circulation.”

Cook’s cardiologist suggested he try massage therapy. Though he was initially skeptical, Cook – whose son is a physician – says his doubts vanished after several appointments.

“It really helped the circulation to my fingers, toes and legs,” he says. “I kept with it because I saw some pretty significant benefits.” Today, Cook credits the massages – along with stress reduction and a healthy diet – with allowing him to stay healthy and physically active until he finally received his new heart in 2013.

Studies suggest Cook’s cardiologist was onto something – massage does indeed enhance blood flow and improve general circulation. And experts agree it yields additional benefits, too, ranging from the mental to the physical.

Once viewed as a luxury, massage is increasingly recognized as an alternative medical treatment.

~~read more at link above…

via Massage As Medicine – US News.

The future of treating ACL tears: No cutting, no surgery – Health & wellness – The Boston Globe

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/11/08/the-future-treating-acl-tears-cutting-surgery/H56nklXNhAXoEptwVay2vN/story.html?event=event25

By Globe Staff  November 08, 2014

Nearly three decades ago, a man on crutches changed the course of Dr. Martha Murray’s life. The two met at a party at Stanford University, where Murray was a graduate student in engineering. They talked about the man’s recent anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear. When he told Murray his reconstruction surgery would require a tendon graft and holes drilled into his thighbone and shinbone, she was shocked.

Murray wondered why surgeons couldn’t simply sew the two ends of the torn ligament back together and let it heal. The question nagged at her, led her to the university’s medical library for research, and, ultimately, resulted in a switch from engineering to medical school. Ever since, Murray has studied ACL tears and sought ways to help the ligament heal without grafts or holes drilled into bones. The result has been a sponge scaffold now ready for testing in human knees.

If all goes as hoped with human trials, the sponge scaffold could give athletes new, less invasive options for ACL repairs, particularly the young athletes Murray sees at her Boston Children’s Hospital practice where she works in the Division of Sports Medicine. Today, ACL tears are one of the most common knee injuries, especially among basketball and soccer players. Every year, approximately 400,000 people tear their ACLs in the United States. And women have a two to six times higher risk of suffering an ACL injury than males participating in the same sport.

That means a lot of patients could potentially benefit from Murray’s work. She discussed what it took to go from engineering student to designing structures that help ACLs heal themselves and what she hopes the future holds.

Read more at the link above~~

Resolving Meniscus Injuries of the Knee

http://kinetichealth.ca/resolving-meniscus-injuries-of-the-knee/

meniscus of knee, knee illustrationThe successful resolution of a knee problem involves a complex understanding of kinetic chain relationships, and a functional understanding of how each body action is related to specific anatomical structures.

Learn more about the knee’s structure and kinetic chain on Dr. Abelson’s blog.

When you observe a deviation from normal motion patterns it is a direct indication of what structures are involved in a specific injury.

This information tells the practitioner that primary muscles that perform the action may be involved (agonists), or their oppositional muscles (antagonists). This, combined with a whole body examination of kinetic chain relationships, provides the practitioner insight into what it will take to resolve a knee injury.


Degree of Injury

How well a meniscus tear responds to non-surgical treatments will depend on the degree of tearing. In most cases the damage is not significant enough for surgery. The following symptom patterns may give you an indication of the severity of a tear. Remember these are just general guidelines, only a medical professional can make a definitive diagnosis.

Minor meniscus tear symptoms

You will experience only minimal pain, and you are still able to walk. Some degree of swelling exists, and increased pain is experienced during squatting motions. Most of these symptoms should diminish within 2-3 weeks.

Moderate meniscus tear symptoms

Pain occurs directly at the site of the meniscus (lateral or medial). Sharp pain occurs with any type of squatting or twisting motion of the knee. Often there is considerable stiffness with this condition. If these symptoms are ignored and rehabilitation is not implemented, it could take several months to a year before they go away.

More severe meniscus tear symptoms

Immediate sharp pain is experienced, including swelling and stiffness. The patient’s knee may lock into position. The patient is often not able to straighten their knee. This is often a case for surgical intervention.


Treatment of Meniscus Injuries

Meniscus injuries can be very painful; the treatment should focus on decreasing swelling, increasing range of motion, and strengthening the knee. Active Release Techniques can be very effective in helping to achieve these goals. That is unless there is a severe tear of the meniscus; this is a case for surgical intervention.

At the initial onset of these injuries it is important to:

Rest – Avoid putting excess stress on the knee. In some cases crutches may be advisable if the injury is more severe.

Ice – Use ice on the knee for 20-30 minutes every 2-3 hours, until swelling is reduced.

Elevate – Elevating your knee will also be of benefit, place your knee on a blanket or pillow.

Compress – An elastic tensor bandage on your knee may also help to reduce swelling.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy (including ART, Graston Techniques, and Massage therapy) is a great way to take direct or indirect tension off of the meniscus. This may involve numerous soft tissue restrictions above, below, or in direct contact with the meniscus.

For example, besides the meniscus attaching to your shin bone (tibia – medial and lateral condyles), each meniscus also attaches to the tendons of two muscles. These are the popliteus muscle and the semimembranosis muscle.

Popliteus Muscle (Behind the knee)

This muscle flexes and medially rotates the knee. Tension in this muscle could affect meniscus function.

Semimembranosis (Hamstring muscle)

Inflammation of the semimembranosis is often confused with an injury of the medial meniscus. Removing any restriction from this structure will have a positive effect on meniscus function.


Exercise is Essential

Just as important as removing the restrictions are performing exercises. Initially these exercises should be very simple with a focus on maintaining overall leg strength.

An example would be the Unilateral Partial Squat. Just click on the exercise diagram to see how it is performed. If you are performing this exercise be sure to stay in a pain-free range of motion. This only an example of one exercise recommendation, usually 4 to 6 exercises would be prescribed.

The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Research finally reveals just what massages can—and can’t—do for runners.

Kelly Bastone

March 21, 2014
Mind Body Apr 2014 Massage
http://www.runnersworld.com/print/204966

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner’s entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.

Yet despite massage’s popularity and positive reputation, there’s been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. “It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine,” says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn’t confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what’s true and what’s not.

First, let’s set the record straight: Science doesn’t support some ingrained beliefs about massage. “It can’t push toxins out of the muscles and into the bloodstream,” says JoEllen Sefton, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at Auburn University, who has practiced massage therapy. “There’s no physiological way that can happen.” Nor does it appear to flush lactic acid from muscles, says Crane, who analyzed muscle samples after subjects cycled to exhaustion and then received a 10-minute massage. “People assumed that because lactic acid feels burny, and massage reduces pain, then it must clear away lactic acid,” he says.

What massage does do is apply moving pressure to muscles and other tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia (which sheaths muscles like a sausage casing). “That energy softens fascia tissue and makes clenched muscles relax,” Sefton says. It also removes adhesions between fascia and muscles (places where the two stick together and restrict muscles’ movement). That’s especially great news for runners, who rely on limber joints and muscles for pain-free peak performance.

Science’s biggest discovery is what massage can do for athletic recovery. Studies published in the Journal of Athletic Training and the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that massage after exercise reduced the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—that is, the peg-legged feeling you get two days after your marathon. And other research suggests that it improves immune function and reduces inflammation. Emory University researcher Mark Rapaport, M.D., found that just one massage treatment resulted in an increased number of several types of lymphocytes (white blood cells that play a key role in fighting infection) while also decreasing levels of cortisol (the “stress hormone” linked to chronic inflammation). “More research is needed, but it’s reasonable to think that massage could help runners taxed from exertion,” Rapaport says. It may also help curb chronic diseases. “We know that systemic inflammation is associated with a lot of deleterious effects, such as heart attack and stroke, and that it predisposes people to cancers,” he says.

Crane’s research, published in Science Translational Medicine, found less inflammation in massaged limbs—and 30 percent more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria (the “engines” that turn a cell’s food into energy and facilitate its repair). “What we saw suggests that massage could let runners tolerate more training, and harder training, because it would improve their recovery and speed up their ability to go hard two days later,” he says.

Studies on rabbits confirm Crane’s prediction. At Ohio State University, Thomas Best, M.D., Ph.D., put a device on exercised animals that simulates massage and records the applied pressure. “We’ve shown a 50 to 60 percent recovery in muscle function compared with no massage,” he says.

The new evidence is so convincing that even the researchers have made massage a regular part of their routines: Crane, Rapaport, and Best have all become devotees as a result of their findings, and they recommend that runners follow suit. Regular massage can boost recovery and be a valuable training tool to help you run your best. “Muscle stiffness can throw off your gait, which leads to problems over time,” Sefton says. “And by getting a sense for how your body should feel when everything is in balance, you’re more likely to notice small issues before they turn into chronic problems.” Even beginning runners can benefit from massage, because alleviating the soreness that comes with starting a new sport makes people more likely to stick with it.

Can’t afford weekly treatments? Self-massage with foam rollers and other tools like tennis balls can be beneficial in between visits. They can also help runners prep for workouts, since they loosen muscles. “Just don’t overdo the pressure,” says Sefton, who notes that even a person’s body weight on a foam roller sometimes applies too much force (and causes muscles to tighten in defense). “Bodywork just before a race or hard workout should be light,” says massage therapist Anna Gammal, who worked with athletes at the 2012 Olympics. “We don’t want muscles to feel sore or overworked.”

After a race or grueling workout, a therapist may go deeper in order to help with recovery—or not. It all depends on the individual, Gammal says. “Through talking with the athlete and using touch, a therapist will determine the state of the muscle and if it’s best to use light strokes or deep-tissue techniques to treat an athlete in a safe and productive way.”

Massage for Tendinitis

http://www.altmd.com/Articles/Massage-for-Tendinitis

Akaraporn Sakhakorn

Massage for Tendinitis

Tendinitis (also spelled tendonitis) is the painful inflammation of a tendon (fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone) that often occurs as the result of a repetitive strain or a muscular overuse injury. Massage is a type of manual therapy that can help relieve the pain associated with tendinitis and improve overall function by manipulating the affected area to reduce excessive tension in the connective tissue and muscles, and promote healing.

How Can Massage Help Relieve Tendinitis?

Treatments for tendinitis are intended to heal the injured tendon. Restricted activity, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, elevation, compression, and splinting are the first lines of treatment for tendinitis. Massage for tendinitis may help relieve excessive tension and help prevent the buildup of scar tissue via hands-on manipulation of the affected area. Icing may be done before and after massage to provide optimal relief.

Massage should not be given during the acute stage of a tendinitis injury (which is typically the first 48 hours after injury) and should not be performed when tissues are swollen or visibly inflamed.

Studies have suggested that deep transverse friction massage (also called Cyriax massage) is the type of massage that is most beneficial for treating tendinitis. With this technique, the fingers use short, abrupt, sweeping back-and-forth motions to move the skin but do not slide over it. The goal of transverse massage is to move across a ligament or tendon to mobilize it as much as possible. Transverse massage, when performed before active exercise, can help reduce the pain associated with tendinitis and restore mobility. Transverse massage is generally thought to be safe and effective for treatment of tendinitis, though larger studies are needed to conclusively determine the exact benefits of transverse friction massage for tendinitis.

The Active Release Technique is a patented soft tissue management treatment that reduces adhesions and scar tissue that may form as the result of tendinitis. This muscle manipulation massage technique is used to treat problems that occur with tendons, as well as muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. This specific massage technique combines precisely directed tension by the practitioner with very specific active movements by the patient to release the contacted tissue. Treatments take about eight to 15 minutes for each area being treated and two to ten visits may be needed before full functionality is restored.

What is Tendinitis?

Tendinitis is the pain and tenderness that occur just outside of a joint as the result of inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendinitis commonly affects the shoulder (rotator cuff tendinitis), elbow (tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow), wrist and thumb (de Quervain’s disease), hip (iliotibial band tendinitis), knee (runner’s knee or peripatellar tendinitis), and lower calf or ankle (Achilles tendinitis). People with a chronic medical condition such as diabetes may have calcific tendinitis, a buildup of calcium deposits in the joint.

Acute (sudden onset) tendinitis may lead to chronic (long-term) tendinitis (called tendinosis or tendinopathy) if the person does not adequately rest the joint or if the person keeps using the joint while experiencing symptoms.

What Causes Tendinitis?

Repetitive strain injury (also called overuse injury) is the most common cause of tendinitis and may occur more commonly with certain occupations or sports (such as baseball, golf or tennis). It may also be associated with an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or may occur as the result of an acute injury, such as an excessive muscle stretch.

How Can Tendinitis be Prevented?

Stretching before and after an activity, cross-training, and avoiding activities that cause excessive stress on the tendons for long periods can help prevent or reduce the risk of tendinitis. Physical therapy that includes range-of-motion exercises as well as flexibility and strengthening exercises also may help reduce the risk of recurring tendinitis.

Finding a Massage Therapist

It is important to seek treatment from an experienced, licensed massage therapist who can assess your condition and recommend the massage techniques that are right for you. Most states regulate the massage therapy profession in the form of a license, registration or certification.

A variety of massage styles incorporate elements of cross fiber and active release techniques to relieve tendinitis. Ask your massage practitioner about their experience with these advanced manipulations for treatment.

Some important questions to ask the massage therapist, as recommended by the American Massage Therapy Association, include:

  • Are you licensed to practice massage?
  • How long have you been practicing massage?
  • Do you have experience in performing deep transverse friction massage for tendinitis?
  • Are you nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork?
  • Are you a member of the American Massage Therapy Association?
  • Where did you receive your massage therapy training?

 

Additional Resources

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Medline information on Tendinitis.

Brosseu L, Casimiro L, Milne S, et al. Deep transverse friction massage for treating tendinitis. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2002 Issue 4. Art. No: CD003528.

Everything a Cyclist Should Know About Massage

http://semiprocycling.com/everything-a-cyclist-should-know-about-massage

Massage is an important part of a PRO cyclists routine, but where does it fit into a Semi-Pro’s schedule? This episode covers types, benefits and timing of massage for cyclists.

Video – SPC050 – Everything a Cyclist Should Know About Massage (22:33) Download the MP3

Date: June 26, 201

By: Damian Ruse

Description: Massage is an important part of a PRO cyclists routine, but where does it fit into a Semi-Pro’s schedule? This episode covers types, benefits and timing of massage for cyclists.

As Semi-Pros we know what massage are, after all it’s why we shave our legs right? Yeah right!

Massage to me is still a luxury and an indulgence and used very infrequently. With the rise of mobility information I feel I have most of my major movement issues covered-but it still has it’s place.

We know the pros get them all the time, and maybe you sneak them into your recovery or prep as well, but there is a lot of false information out there surrounding why we should be all massaging it up on regular, so I’m here to address those and to talk about types and timing.

So let’s get stuck in…starting with the types of massages.

Types of Massages for Cyclists

Sports Massage

We’re all aware of the “Sports massage” – also called Manual Therapy. It’s a physical treatment primarily used on the neuromusculoskeletal system to treat pain and disability. It most commonly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilization and joint manipulation.

It’s not just masseurs that use manual therapy, you can get this type of rub from physiotherapists and chiropractors use specifically directed manual force to the body, in order to improve mobility in areas that are restricted; in joints, in connective tissues or in skeletal muscles.

It’s a skilled hands on version of what the mobility work I have spoken about in length. It’s all about solving specific issues that may be plaguing you.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who are involved in heavy physical activity (such as yourselves). It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two.

It’s deep and hard, getting elbows and forearms into the mix, Deep tissue massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures. The sessions are often quite intense as a result of the deliberate, focused work.

If a practitioner employs deep tissue techniques on the entire body in one session, it would be next to impossible to perform; it might lead to injury or localised muscle and nerve trauma, thereby rendering the session counterproductive.

The term “deep tissue” is often misused to identify a massage that is performed with sustained deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a separate category of massage therapy, used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders and complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief.

So again it’s another to treat specific areas that you may be having problems with.

[…]

Why Should Cyclists Get Massages?

The next question I’m going to answer is why, why would you want to get a massage, and why is it so important to cycling performance. Other than relaxation Massage therapy has numerous benefits for athletes. Believe it or not though, it’s only recently that studies have started being done on what rubs actually do for your body. Aiding recovery is a biggie when thinking about reasons to get a massage. But it may not be for the reason you have always been told.

Dr Mark Tarnopolsky is a researcher and author of a new study just completed at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. In Feb 2012 he published a largely self-funded study, where Tarnopolsky and co-author Simon Melov performed muscle biopsies on both legs of healthy young men before and after hard exercise, and a third time after massaging one leg in each individual.

As Tarnopolsky and his team began comparing those tissues samples from his subject’s massaged legs versus the tissue from the unmassaged leg, they found that the massaged leg had reduced exercise-induced inflammation by dampening activity of a protein referred to as NF-kb. Additionally, massage seemed to help cells recover by lifting another protein called PCG-1 alpha, which is responsible for producing new mitochondria, the small organelles inside each cell crucial for muscle energy generation.

With the addition of other proteins, all contributed to muscle recovery from massage. This new evidence somewhat refutes the popular belief that massage eases pain by helping the body clear lactic acid concentrations. In fact, the team saw no effect of massage on lactic acid concentration.

The excellent website Save Yourself has this to say this popular belief- “After spending time looking into it, it simply is not true or really even possible for a massage can flush out “toxins” like lactic acid out of your body.”

Ok back to the study, it’s believed to be first work on a cellular level basis to document the true effects of massage on reducing inflammation and helping cells recover. From a cyclist’s perspective, this study confirmed what most of us thought we knew all along. So a massage is not going to flush out lactic acid from your system, but may help with reducing inflammation. That’s one big fat reason right there!

Regular massage can also help manage and prevent injury by bringing awareness to areas of the body that are not functioning or responding as efficiently as possible. If the therapist understands the nature of the various injuries or dysfunctions they can treat the athlete accordingly. Think of it more like body maintenance with a professional running their eye over you rather than taking guesses.

This reason takes commitment though – the real benefits arise from frequent massage therapy and from working with a massage therapist that understands sports massage and your body. I believe that if you are serious about your sport and performance, it is essential to integrate massage therapy into your training program.

The ideal frequency for massage therapy is twice a week for an elite athlete, once a week minimum. For a recreational athlete, it would be once a week to once a month based on need.

In coaching, one of the key components to success is a strong athlete/coach relationship built upon trust and effective communication. Similarly, it is key to establish a relationship with your massage therapist so he not only gets to know your body but also is able to work out with you what type and depth the massage should be for what you need in that microcycle (week) or training cycle. Massage should be periodised, and when you integrate it into your yearly plan, it will really reap huge benefits.

Your therapist should be in tune with your body and should have the experience to know how much is beneficial.

 

~~read the entire article at the link above

Massage therapy for cancer patients: a reciprocal relationship between body and mind

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1891200/

Curr Oncol. Apr 2007; 14(2): 45–56.

S.M. Sagar, MD,* T. Dryden, MEd RMT, and R.K. Wong, MD*

Abstract

Some cancer patients use therapeutic massage to reduce symptoms, improve coping, and enhance quality of life. Although a meta-analysis concludes that massage can confer short-term benefits in terms of psychological wellbeing and reduction of some symptoms, additional validated randomized controlled studies are necessary to determine specific indications for various types of therapeutic massage. In addition, mechanistic studies need to be conducted to discriminate the relative contributions of the therapist and of the reciprocal relationship between body and mind in the subject. Nuclear magnetic resonance techniques can be used to capture dynamic in vivo responses to biomechanical signals induced by massage of myofascial tissue. The relationship of myofascial communication systems (called “meridians”) to activity in the subcortical central nervous system can be evaluated. Understanding this relationship has important implications for symptom control in cancer patients, because it opens up new research avenues that link self-reported pain with the subjective quality of suffering. The reciprocal body–mind relationship is an important target for manipulation therapies that can reduce suffering.

Keywords: Massage, cancer, clinical trials, mechanistic studies, functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, meridians, brain

1. INTRODUCTION

Therapeutic massage is increasingly used in medical treatment programs to reduce symptoms, improve coping, and enhance quality of life 1,2. Cancer patients use therapeutic massage to improve symptom control and their personal sense of wellbeing.

The largest published report on therapeutic massage is a prospective, nonrandomized, observational study of patients treated at the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City 3. That study evaluated changes in symptom scores for pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression. Participants included 1290 cancer patients and 12 licensed massage therapists. Three variations of massage (selected mainly by the patients) were used: Swedish, light touch, and foot massage. The main outcome measures were data from symptom cards collected by independent observers that were recorded before and after the first session of massage. Symptom scores declined in severity by approximately 50%. Swedish and light touch massage were found to be superior to foot massage. However, the effects of massage were short-term.

This intriguing observational study illustrates many of the challenges in the research into therapeutic massage. The results indicated that the size of the effect for massage in cancer patients is clinically important, and the authors have since begun a randomized controlled trial.

The strength of the pilot study was the systematic collection of data from a large number of patients. Its main weakness was that it lacked a randomized control group, and therefore uncertainty remains regarding whether the intervention (massage) was the only factor that led to the improvement in the patients’ symptom scores. The patients were mainly self-selected and probably believed that the intervention would be of benefit. Symptom improvement may be a consequence of conscious belief of benefit (the placebo effect) rather than the physical manipulation or touch. In addition to the manual therapy, other ambient factors such as verbal communication, background music 4,5, and the scent of massage oils or aroma-therapy products 6,7 may have influenced outcome. The largest effect of massage therapy may be on the reduction of trait anxiety and depression, with a course of treatment providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy 8,9.

Currently there is a dearth of randomized controlled trials of massage therapy in cancer patients. The ones that have been reported show conflicting results that may be a consequence of variation in technique and use of non-validated symptom scores 1013.

A recent prospective randomized trial completed by the department of radiation oncology, CHUM Hôpital Notre-Dame, and the Canadian Touch Research Centre in Montreal 14 evaluated the effects of massage therapy on anxiety levels in patients undergoing radiation therapy. In a 6-month period, 100 patients undergoing radiation therapy were randomly assigned to either massage sessions or control sessions. The massage group received a 15-minute massage session before radiotherapy over 10 consecutive days. The control group did not receive massage. The State–Trait Anxiety Inventory and a Visual Analog Scale were used to evaluate both groups.

Following massage, anxiety scores in the patients were significantly reduced (by 43%) as compared with pre-massage scores. In both groups, patients experienced an average 20% reduction in anxiety between the first and the last radiotherapy session, but that result did not reach statistical significance. The massage therapy was associated with an immediate significant decrease in anxiety scores before radiotherapy (procedural anxiety), but it appeared to have no major impact on situational anxiety. However, the period of intervention and assessment was quite short, and so no conclusions can be drawn regarding long-term outcomes.

The most recent publication of a randomized controlled trial of massage for cancer patients is a multicentre study from four U.K. cancer centres and a hospice 15. A total of 288 cancer patients, referred to complementary therapy services for clinical anxiety or depression, or both, were allocated randomly to a course of aromatherapy massage or to usual supportive care alone. Reduction in anxiety and depression was significant at 2 weeks after the intervention, but not at 6 weeks. The authors concluded that aromatherapy massage is an effective therapeutic option for the short-term management of mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression in patients with cancer. They suggested that the benefits of aromatherapy massage need to be compared with those of psychological interventions for this patient group.

To be able to design appropriate randomized controlled clinical trials, a better mechanistic understanding of therapeutic massage is required. In particular, the physiologic pathways involved need to be understood, including the connection between myofascial manipulation, blood flow, and central nervous system adaptations. Prolonged intervention with massage therapy may possibly induce more permanent neuro-physiologic adaptations because of neural plasticity.

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