Massage

Benefits of Couples Massaging Each Other

Benefits of Couples Massaging Each OtherThere is a large body of articles and various forms of evidence which support the mental and physical benefits of getting massages. The vast majority of these focus on the benefits of receiving a massage, however, a new study suggests that for couples, massaging your partner can have a positive effect for the massager as well as the partner getting the massage. The study from Northumbria University in the UK studied couples over three weeks and found that both giving and receiving them led to reduced stress and increased feelings of wellbeing for both partners.

The popularity of massages continues to grow worldwide with almost one in five getting massages in 2016 in the United States. Of these, about half said it helped alleviate some sort of pain and improved wellness or helped with other issues. About a quarter said it reduced stress too. The majority of these respondents likely got their massages from professionals because that is the typical thing to do with almost 62% of massages getting done at spas, massage parlors, or a physical therapist’s office. This new finding offers perhaps a better way to get massages if both partners are willing. It can be financially beneficial compared to getting them from others and it may also improve intimacy. Learning to properly massage may be a good investment for couples interested in this sort of thing.

Further research should be conducted to verify the findings of this study, which looked at 38 people in 19 couples over 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see if this also extends to non-couples, or whether it is something about the relationship that might be driving the mutual benefits. This is plausible given that couples typically want their partner to be happy and feel good, so seeing them that way may, in turn, help them feel better and happier as well.

This study is the latest in a wide body of new studies which have looked at massages and their impacts in various scenarios from a scientific standpoint. Other studies have looked at things like recovering from athletic events, improvements in mental function, changes in blood flow, and injury recovery time after massages. Larger randomized controlled trials should be conducted in order to verify these results before prescribing them widely in medical practice, but the safety profile is good enough for most people that they can likely get massages (or now give them) and see if they notice a benefit in themselves. It is always optimal to talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you want to see whether massages can have a clinical impact on you if this is possible (although you probably do not need to schedule a special meeting for that unless you have some other condition that makes that a good idea). Massages are growing in popularity for a reason and the trend is likely to continue as research such as this one support the use and as a culture in general starts to better value wellbeing, relaxation, and meditation.

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New to Running: Is a Massage Right for You?

New to Running: Is a Massage Right for You?For many athletes, but especially runners and those that do long distance jogging alike, such strenuous exercise can have a serious toll on the body, from physical weakness to soreness, and even strains, sprains – or worse breakage. However, have no fear, as most if not all of these injuries can be prevented!

In fact, that’s exactly why a massage for runners can be so valuable. And, while it might sound silly or unusual, even the most professional, successful athletes can tell you and attest to regular messages being key to both performance and recovery. Getting a deep tissue or ‘sports massage’ regularly when physically active in sports can be very beneficial to both your physical and mental health.

One of the greatest benefits of a massage for runners is the positive impact it has on the overall cardiovascular and circular system. You see, how and when blood – with oxygen – and other nutrients is delivered throughout your body, into your muscles, will heavily dictate likelihood of performance, recovery time, and ability to do better the next time you go out there. Muscle tightness and range of motion will also be greatly improved over time with regular sports massages, but consistency is key.

A connected benefit to regular massages is that it can also help to motivate your body to more rapidly expel unwanted metabolic waste – and other unneeded acids. In fact, many pains, aches, and other soreness frequently associated with such waste can be eliminated, providing you with a smoother, and faster recovery. For athletes, especially bodybuilders, a message is likewise extremely variable. Similarly, that is, for its same muscle-restoring, strengthening, and injury-preventative properties.

Just know, and try to keep in mind that there are various types of massages – and masseuses- therefore it’s critical you ensure you are going to the right, licensed, and experienced sports masseuse or physical therapist that’s going to give you the right kind of deep tissue massage. When done correctly, it can also promote muscle repair and growth which means bigger, faster gains and performance.

Lastly, and this is often overlooked, but a regular massage for runners helps to ensure they are properly prepared or are ‘stretched out’ prior to any major race or competition. So, don’t ever underestimate the preventative value of a sports massage. Ideally, if possible, try to go with a licensed masseuse that is recommended by your physician or another massage specialist.

Remember, getting a massage doesn’t have to be every week – or even every two weeks for that matter. Depending on you and your current physical activity levels, it’s never too late to start getting regular sports massages.

NOTE: If you think you may already have an injury, have recently hurt yourself running, or during another physical sport or activity it is recommended that you first seek medical attention and care before getting a massage for runners.

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Benefits of Massage for Athletes

Benefits of Massage for AthletesMassage is an ancient art that continues to live on and grow in popularity as a type of alternative medicine used to promote wellness. The societal conception is primarily of massages as a method for relaxation, but a growing body of evidence shows that the effects go much deeper than just that. There are many different people who can benefit from regular massages, but one group in particular that can gain a lot of synergies from the soothing activity is athletes.

First of all, massages loosen our muscles and are akin to stretching in many ways. This leads to increased flexibility, which can be important for optimal performance and to reduce risk of injury. Massages should not replace stretching, but the two together likely have a greater impact of injury prevention and performance than either one alone. The stretching of muscle fibers is a big positive.

With the stretching, comes improved blood flow as vessels allow for increased blood to reach the massaged areas. Improved circulation can help with overall oxygenation of the body and can an impact on breathing as well. After the exercise, it can also have impacts on better recovery times. There is even some evidence that massages can help alleviate pain.

The relaxation effects of massages, especially deep tissue massages, can also help with improving sleep. Athletes can increase the quality and quantity of sleep, allowing them to better recharge for the next day and to rebuild their muscles are particularly strenuous outings. The relaxation itself has a great effect too of course. The stress relief is a big plus, especially in athletes who are particularly energetic or “type A”. Massages can help the body and mind relax, which is important for sustainability and optimal performance.

Because of the myriad of health benefits that massages have for athletes, the athletic massage market is expanding rapidly. Massage therapists are increasingly considering the arena (both literally and figuratively!) for their practice as more athletes look for that type of service. The locker rooms of professional sports places are full of massage therapists and this is only bound to expand to lower levels of sport. Athletes increasingly understand the importance of keeping their bodies well-conditioned and the role massages can play in that need. It will be interesting to see where the market heads as this thought permeates the culture of various sports and at all different levels.

A deep tissue massage once a week can help athletes stay in tip-top shape and perform better both physically and mentally. Massage therapists specializing in athletes can be found online or in the phone book. There are many different options and you should do your time on research to make sure you find the right fit for you. It is also possible that your gym or doctor has a recommendation which might work for you. It is all about doing some research, giving it a try, and deciding from there whether they are a good long term option. It could make the difference between a win and a loss.

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Massages Can Relieve Stress

Massages Can Relieve StressStress is a natural reaction to situations which our mind perceives to be dangerous or that require a level of high alert. It is a protection mechanism that is necessary at times but sometimes gets overplayed in the modern world due to excessive stress alerts. This makes it necessary to ensure we get adequate stress relief to mitigate the effects of too much stress- namely cardiac or mental health issues. Amongst these include a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, substance abuse issues, anxiety, sadness or anger, or physical changes to the body including changes in sex drive, sleep, and even body composition with increased fat being linked to high levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. It is important to manage your life and your stress so that these risks are mitigated as best as possible because no one wants to deal with these comorbidities and conditions. Thankfully, there are many different forms of stress relief out there- everything from meditation to exercising to getting massages and it is really a matter of trying different things out to see what works best for you.

The latter, getting a massage, is especially growing in popularity right now. Many people seem to find that it just helps their worries seep away as they almost travel to another world for that half hour or hour session. Looking at the specific downstream effects of excessive stress, there are many case studies which suggest that massages can help alleviate those issues, making it a logical option at combatting stress given the fantastic safety profile. There have also been scientific studies which have shown associations with massages and reduced heart rates and blood pressure. Some studies have even shown increased endorphin levels after massages, which may be causing the positive feeling people get after receiving one. Massages are certainly on the upward trend right now, but they should not be your only form of stress management.

It should be noted that the best thing for stress is likely a combination of many things. It is important to eat right, exercise, and take care of your body in order for it to function properly and for stress to be minimized. Massages may be an add-on to those other activities as may meditation too. Stress relief has great potency in improving your life beyond just your health, though. It can help increase vitality and improve your state of mind.

If you think you are interested in trying out massages, the next question is where do you go to get a quality one? There are now many retail outlets at which you can get professional massage services including Massage Envy, which is one of the most popular chains. There are also many local masseuses who can offer custom services to their clients including home visits, etc. Just be sure to do your research on the massage service to make sure that they are a legitimate business with certified professionals. Once you find someone you like you can stick with them and continue to fight back the never-ending onslaught of stress!

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Therapeutic Massage and Blood Circulation

Therapeutic Massage and Blood CirculationA new study by a group at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) shows that massages can help increase blood flow and reduce muscle soreness after exercising. The study, printed in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also showed improvements in people who had not exercised in terms of blood flow. These two findings continue to support a hypothesis on the value of massages for people of all activity levels and vascular health.

Advocates of massages have long touted the circulate and muscle benefits of getting massages. Many professional athletes buy into these claims and get regular massages, especially after big games or events. At the same time, no major randomized controlled trial has been conducted due to the high costs associated with that type of gold-standard study. Instead, we have a growing body of cheaper and smaller studies including this one by UIC. Over time, it is possible the evidence level builds up to really support more interventional massages as part of routine care.

This new study helps validate that potential message by using patient-centric outcomes. Study participants were asked to do leg presses until they felt sore. One cohort received massages after this, while the other cohort did not. Soreness was rated on a scale of 1 to 10 both right after the exercise and after 24 hours. The massage cohort reported no continuing soreness even 90 minutes after the massage, whereas the other group still had soreness 24 hours after the exercise. Brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) was also measured in the upper arm at 90 minutes after exercise as well as 1, 2, and 3 days afterward. FMD improved for both groups over time, as expected, but the exercise-only group lagged in return to normalcy, suggesting that there is a physiological mechanism behind the results and not only a placebo effect. The FMD results also suggest a systemic effect since the readings were from the arm and the exercise was in the legs.

While more robust and larger randomized clinical trials will be needed to further quantify the effects of massage, the early data certainly suggest that there is a benefit. And either way, we know there are not any major safety issues with getting massages for most people, so that makes it an okay thing to try for those who may believe it could help so long as the cost justifies the potential upside. Specific studies on cost effectiveness may be able to further delineate this latter point and could eventually increase access to massages if insurance companies and other payers start to see the value in them and are willing to pay for them. Provider referrals would likely be required in these cases, so the medical body of evidence also needs to grow, but as of now, there is not much holding that back other than the issues of cost when it comes to running large studies to confirm physiological and medical effects. It will be interesting to see how the impact of a massage on blood circulation develops over time.

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Health Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Health Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is growing in popularity as people around the world discover its utility in improving physiological wellness. The technique consists of deep pressure from the fingers and slow strokes that affect the deeper layers of muscle that traditional massages may not have much impact upon. There is a growing body of scientific literature that shows the clinical impact of deep tissue massages, including in patients suffering from certain disease states.

The University of Maryland Medical Center uses the technique in some patients with chronic pain, reporting favorable results without the side effects and abuse risks associated with opioid medications. The thinking is that the massages may be improving blood flow to the muscles, allowing for a reduction in inflammation and pain. They may also help in reducing muscle tension which can be a source of discomfort in those suffering from chronic pain.

Beyond pain and inflammation, massages are culturally known to be relaxing and for good reason. They can help reduce stress as one completely relaxes and lets it all go during a session. Many people report getting regular massages in order to keep stress levels low and this often ends up correlating with important physiological markers including blood pressure. Studies have supported this with evidence- those who meditate and get massages tend to have lower blood pressures (or the same patients have blood pressure reduction before and after the fact).

Deep tissue massages may also allow for better circulation of the blood, which has numerous downstream effects. This includes better healing as the body can more efficiently transport needed resources to the site of injury and transversely, get rid of waste products. This can go well beyond the time of initial injury as the process is still vitally important to getting rid of scar tissue. The particular mechanism may involve the lymphatic circulation. The benefits in this regard are recognized in some patients who undergo major surgery and go on massage regimens afterwards in order to quicken the recovery process.

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Can Massage Relieve Pain?

Can Massage Relieve Pain?Massages are growing in popularity amongst people with a number of ailments or those who just want a better way to relax. A key question surrounding the efficacy of massages is, “Can Massage Relieve Pain?” For millions of people who suffer from chronic pain and for whom pain relievers are ineffective or high risk, options like massage may provide a good alternative to controlling their pain. Massage can help relax people, while reducing stress and relieving pain.

A recent systematic review in Pain Medicine substantiates these claims. By pooling 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies, the review found that message therapy was superior to placebo in ailing pain. It also had the added benefit of a favorable safety profile which was very low in side effects (particularly in comparison to pharmacotherapy). There seem to be multiple mechanisms via which massages improve biomechanical, physiological, and psychological wellbeing. It truly is a lost art, having originally been described by Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

A question that always persists with massage therapy is how long and how often patients need to get it in order to sustain the pain relieving effect. A study by a group of researchers in Seattle looked at this research question and found that those who got massages for 60 minutes two or three times a week had the best results followed by those who have 30 minute massages of the same frequency which was better than no massages at all. If you try massage therapy and do not witness results, it may be time to consider increasing the frequency as that seems to make a difference. A massage therapist can likely help any individualized questions you may have regarding a regular regimen.

The effectiveness of massages has led even many traditional sites of care to start to adopt them. A survey by the American Hospital association found that 82% of hospitals offered massages to patients depending on what they were in for. The majority of these cases were used in order to help with pain relief.

Given the favorable risk-benefit profile of massage therapy and the comparable profile of prescription medications, it is a wonder that the massage trend did not take off earlier. As the United States faces an opioid addiction epidemic, massages are likely to continue to grow in favor with both patients and providers. Given the damage that drugs can do, it may well become first line therapy in time.

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A young Thai Massage Therapist doing her craft…

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Have you received your Thai Yoga Massage lately?

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Ashiatsu massage, its techniques and benefits

Ashiatsu massage, its techniques and benefitsWhile the Ashiatsu massage had been confined within the countries of Hawaii, Fiji, Japan, China, Thailand, Tonga, and India for more than three thousand years, it has grown in popularity in the present times. It has become popular on a global scale. Ashiatsu had been a homely practice for long time where family members massaged each other with feet on the mat or floor. It is now being practiced on the massage tables and studios. The original style was not as structured and the family members got creative and tried new and improved methods when they offered the massage. They brought new techniques and procedures into the Ashiatsu massage.

When Ashiatsu has just stepped out into the greater world, the massage therapists and practitioners seemed to have more interest in energy or Chi, rather than in comforting and easing muscle pains. According to traditional Ashiatsu,  people follow yin meridians’ flow coming from earth and yang meridians’ flow coming from heaven. The main focus is directed on the energy map of the body in the massage therapy. This is the reason why Ashiatsu was not originally considered a massage form. Rather, it was considered an art of healing that passed down the generations.

There are a number of benefits offered by Ashiatsu. This massage treatment induces deep relaxation and relieves stress. The massage also helps to free the tightened muscles and also stimulate the self healing abilities and immunity of the body.  The practitioners offer such massage which keeps the clients feeling stimulated and refreshed. The massage therapy is useful for athletic maintenance and for sports preparation too. This is because the treatment stretches and enlarges the large muscles. When the therapy is offered for a greater time or in a greater detail, it is able to warm up large muscles. The massage is especially effective on those that are muscular. However, there are no such restrictions or specified body types for receiving the Ashiatsu massage.

Ashiatsu is a deep massage of the tissues which gives the feeling of a quality workout and leaves them feeling relaxed and refreshed. Ideally, the Ashiatsu massage takes at least an hour, so that the therapist get enough time to massage the large muscles thoroughly with feet. The smaller muscles are massaged with hands.

The Ashiatsu massage offers other benefits, which include  reduction of stress, relieving the tight muscles, deep relaxation, and stimulation of the self healing abilities of the body. The massage requires the therapist to stand on the body of the person receiving the massage and move about on the body. There are overhead bars to facilitate a better distribution of weight. They use their feet in varied ways to control the weight exerted on different areas of the body. In general, feet are used to offer compression strokes to the larger muscles at the top and back of the legs.

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Does Massage Really Make A Health Difference?

massage therapy in Clearwater FLJust about everyone has had or heard about the benefits of massage.  Just a cursory glance on a search engine will find millions of websites devoted to the practice.  It’s as old as civilization itself and probably older.

People who have had massage will make all kinds of claims regarding the benefits of massage.  From the relief of headaches, backache, even immune system improvement.  The list of maladies that people claim have been remedied by massage seem endless but it is more than just a subjective issue as science has researched the benefits of massage within the realm of stress relief.

Stress is considered the silent killer along with blood pressure and diabetes II.  Massage as part of a stress relief regimen is almost textbook.  From athletes to business people always on the go to moms and dads who have to deal with everyday pressures and kids, massage can help greatly in letting off that pent up energy in the muscles and mind.  Anything natural that relieves stress is beneficial.  Stress can alter one’s immune system, digestive and endocrine systems and more.  Once these systems become compromised it’s a downward spiral to health problems that can be severe to say the least.

A doctor will notice the symptoms of stress and recommend a variety of approaches.  They know that each patient is different and that the source of their stress is too.  The bottom line is that massage seems to handle a number of underlying reasons for stress be they mental and/or physical.  Our diets, rest cycles, interrelationships, problem solving can all lead to tensions that get bottled up with no release.  Massage, practiced by a professional can address the body’s tension and affect the mind as well.  The mind is one of the main reasons for stress as anxiety or depression can cause any number of manifestations physically.  Massage can work on this and the results collected by modern science cannot be denied.

If you’re suffering from stress, tension, headaches and such symptoms, ask your doctor about massage.  They’re sure to have a list of professionals that they can recommend and send you to.  They’ll monitor what you’re doing and your progress and work out a stress relief regimen that you can easily follow.  If you’re at a gym ask about massage as well.  Maybe even your employer might have an option for you.

It’s ever wise to make sure you don’t get stressed out and that means taking into account that massage might be just the thing for you.

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