Types of Massage

 

There are many different massage techniques to choose from. Find out which one is best for you.

When you hear the word massage, you may think of lying on a cushioned table in a softly lit treatment room at an upscale day spa while a therapist gently kneads your sore muscles and strokes your skin with scented oils. Or, you may think of a sweaty football player having his sore muscles roughly pounded by a trainer in the locker room after a game. Both images are accurate. Massage therapy can be relaxing and soothing, or rough and intense, depending on the type of massage involved.

Massage is an umbrella term covering many different techniques and healing philosophies. In general, massage is manipulation of the body’s skin, muscles and connective tissues, usually with the hands, but also with mechanical tools applied to the body’s surface. You may seek massage from a licensed, trained massage therapist, but you may also massage your own sore joints and muscles with your hands or massage tools.

Massage often is used to relieve common symptoms of many types of arthritis: reducing pain and stiffness, easing anxiety, improving range of motion in joints, and promoting more restful sleep.

“Massage can result in a significant reduction in pain” for people with all types of arthritis, says Tiffany Field, PhD, a research psychologist at the University of Miami Medical School. Any type of full-body massage therapy that involves moderate pressure, including self-massage, should help relieve arthritis pain and ease tension, Field says.

Field emphasizes that moderate pressure is key, to stimulate the pressure receptors under the skin that convey signals to the brain to alleviate pain and release beneficial, stress-reducing neurochemicals like serotonin. “We’ve found that light pressure in massage is arousing, not relaxing. With light pressure, the heart rate goes up, the blood pressure goes up. Moderate pressure stimulates relaxation, the heart rate goes down, the blood pressure goes down,” she says.

People with arthritis who experience chronic symptoms may consider using massage therapy regularly, even daily use of self-massage, to help manage their pain and stiffness, or to promote better sleep that can in turn relieve pain in muscles and joints, Field notes.

Main Types of Massage

Massage is an ancient form of pain and stress relief practiced by most worldwide cultures. These techniques may involve not only physical manipulation of the body’s tissues, but also relaxation techniques. Massage may involve use of heat and cold applications to the skin, or the use of oil or lotion to ease gliding of hands or tools against the skin.

Here’s a brief overview of the many types of massage therapy. Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you have arthritis, and point out particular joints that are affected, prior to your session. Before getting any type of massage, consult your doctor to make sure massage is safe for your arthritis and any other health conditions you may have.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most common type of massage, and what many people think of when they hear the term “massage.”  Swedish massage involves long, fluid stroking of muscles and tissues, and is meant to reduce soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints, to reduce anxiety and to improve circulation. Swedish massage involves five basic strokes: effleurage (sliding or gliding of hands across skin), petrissage (kneading of muscles), tapotement (rhythmic tapping of knuckles or fingers against skin), friction (moving across fibers) and vibration or shaking of the body. Therapists may adjust pressure according to your sensitivity and typically use oil or lotion.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on manipulation of both top and deeper layers of muscles and tissues, often requiring intense, focused pressure by the therapist. Deep tissue massage is designed to address severe tension or pain in the muscles and connective tissues. Deep tissue massage may cause lingering soreness, so it might be inappropriate for some people with arthritis.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a massage therapy offered in many day spas that involves placing smooth, heated stones on your back as you lie on your stomach. The hot stones send soothing heat to the muscles and tissues, releasing tension and promoting relaxation. Typically, therapists knead your muscles by hand in addition to placing hot stones on your skin. Other forms involve cold stones, which may help sore muscles from exercise-related injuries or swelling. Some therapists may use both hot and cold stones for contrast or for different healing purposes.

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda is an Indian natural health philosophy that blends yoga, massage, meditation and herbs. Ayurvedic massage is also known as abhyanga, and involves a full-body massage in addition to using aromatic oils chosen for purported spiritual healing properties.

Anma

One of many massage techniques that originated in Asian countries, Anma is a Japanese massage that involves kneading of the muscles and other soft tissues. Anma uses no oils. Anma is based on the idea that an energy flow in the body can be disrupted or blocked, causing illness and pain. Anma practitioners believe that massaging the muscles and tissues can restore this flow and the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Thai Massage

Thai massage combines massage with placement of the body in yoga-like positions during the session. Thai massage techniques may vary between practitioners or the regions in Thailand from which they came. Some involve more flexibility stretching, while others focus on applying pressure to the muscles and joints.

Lomi Lomi

Lomi lomi massage originated in Hawaii and is practiced in many countries throughout the Pacific Ocean region (Polynesia). Lomi lomi is considered a healing practice that may involve diet, prayer, meditation and other health techniques in addition to massage of muscles and tissues.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release aims to relieve pain by manipulating the fascia, connective tissues that surround muscles, blood vessels and nerves. During myofascial release, a therapist stretches and releases those connective tissues by gently rolling the skin back and forth on the back, legs and other areas of the body. Usually, no oils, lotions or massage tools are used.

Reflexology

Reflexology is an alternative Asian healing practice based on a belief that pressure on particular areas of the hands and feet will spur healing in other parts of the body. For example, pressing on the person’s big toe is believed to heal pain or injuries in the brain. Reflexology is meant to promote not only pain relief or healing, but also to reduce stress and anxiety.

Rolfing

Rolfing is similar to myofascial release, and is part of a healing philosophy called structural integration. Invented by Ida P. Rolf in the mid-20th century, rolfing involves the practitioner moving the body into certain positions and manipulating fascia tissues. Rolfing aims not only to promote pain relief and relaxation, but to restore posture and range of motion.

Self-Massage

Self-massage is kneading your own sore joints, pressure points or muscles using your hands, knuckles, elbows or massage tools. Massage tools may be mechanized to offer heat or vibration, or you can create your own aids with household objects like tennis balls, says Field. Massaging hard-to-reach areas like your back may be difficult, but self-massage works well for sore feet, knees, calves, hands, neck or arms.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique widely performed in the United States. Shiatsu therapists apply pressure to specific points of the body using the fingers and palms in continuous, rhythmic motions. Like other Asian massage and healing philosophies, shiatsu is thought to restore the flow of qi, or healthy energy, in the body. No oils are used. Usually, you remain totally clothed during shiatsu. Shiatsu pillows and devices are marketed widely and purport to offer shiatsu-type pressure to various areas of the body, like the neck.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massage is designed to relieve pain in particular areas of the body by applying pressure or vibration into myofascial trigger points. Trigger point therapy that includes injections into the trigger points should only be performed in a clinical setting, such as a doctor’s office, or physical therapy or chiropractic office. Trigger points are points in the muscles where knots may form, and the pinpointed pressure is designed to relax those knots and ease pain. A 2002 study in American Family Physician, the medical journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, concluded that trigger point therapy using injections of numbing agents like lidocaine were very effective for chronic musculoskeletal pain relief, but other trigger point techniques do not involve use of needles.

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CAUCUS TO FOCUS ON INTEGRATIVE HEALTH CARE

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CAUCUS TO FOCUS ON INTEGRATIVE HEALTH CARE

https://www.massagemag.com/congressional-caucus-focus-integrative-health-88112/?utm_content=buffer12381&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

February 21, 2018 Phillip Weber
Massage News

The new Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus will educate members of the U.S. Congress on how such therapies as massage, chiropractic, yoga and others can be effective for many people on their journey toward health and wellness.

The new Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus will educate members of the U.S. Congress on how such therapies as massage, chiropractic, yoga and others can be effective for many people on their journey toward health and wellness.

The caucus will meet in Washington, DC for the first time in March.

“As we debate how we can further the health care system in the U.S., we must ensure that it is affordable and accessible to all—but also, we must ensure that it provides the best possible care available,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) told MASSAGE Magazine. “That means investing in evidence-based integrative care.”

Rep. Polis co-founded the caucus along with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.).

MASSAGE Magazine spoke with Rep. Polis, as well as with Susan E. Haeger, the interim director of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC), and IHPC’s Chair Leonard Wisneski, MD, FACP, to get details on the caucus and to find out how massage therapists can add their voices to the conversation.

How the Integrative Health Caucus Came To Be
The IHPC is a unified national policy and advocacy voice for integrative health and wellness, according to IHPC Interim Director Susan Haeger.

Last fall, members of IHPC met with representatives to help form the caucus, and the caucus was announced in October 2017 in a joint press release from the two congressmen.

At the March invitation-only meeting, the IHPC representatives will brief Reps. Polis and Coffman on the current state of integrative health care.

“It is not a formal meeting,” Haeger explained, “but it’s the members coming together on Capitol Hill, and we are very excited about that.”

Regarding what the caucus aims to accomplish at this first meeting, Wisneski said, “there are different things you can do with the caucus. One is you can have interested members of Congress who want to receive information. So there’s information dissemination.

“There are also congressional briefings,” he added. “At our first briefing in March we will be highlighting an introduction to integrative health as well as focusing on the integrative management of pain.”

At that meeting, staffers, congressmen and senators might attend, he said. “People come according to the interest, and there’s a lot of interest in this particular topic now.”

Fighting Opioid Abuse
One of the most pressing health concerns in the U.S. at the moment is the epidemic abuse of prescription opioids originally meant to treat chronic pain.

Professionals in the massage industry have long advocated for massage as an alternative to opioids as a treatment for chronic pain, which would ideally shrink the number of people given these potentially dangerous drugs.

Rep. Polis was very enthusiastic about this possibility.

“We must swiftly address the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Along with improving access to mental health services, drug abuse treatment, and prevention programs, we need to improve access to alternative pain relief options beyond addictive opioids.

“Medical marijuana, acupuncture, massage, and other alternative pain management therapies should be encouraged,” he added. “Patients need and deserve options.”

Massage therapists can contribute to the Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus by going to the IHPC’s Take Action Now page, where they can enter their zip code to urge their representatives to advance whole-person integrative health care.

“There’s a pre-populated letter than can be sent just as it is or which can be edited,” said Haeger. “We encourage everybody to get that out to their members.”

When asked if massage therapy, in particular, will be highlighted, Wisneski was very enthusiastic.

“Massage therapy has been recognized and is in the literature as an evidence-based approach to pain management,” he said. “Therefore, IHPC considers massage therapy to be an integral part of … the disciplines that we are promoting for this effort.

“We hope to develop a white paper for dissemination,” Wisneski said. “This is off the cuff and hasn’t been announced yet. This is all brand new.”

One of the presenters at the March meeting will be Bob Twillman, PhD, who is executive director of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, Wisneski said, adding that much of the information slated to be presented to the caucus in March will come from the Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress that took place in October in San Diego, California, which was sponsored in part by IHPC and AIPM.

“The Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress was made up of representatives from 50 organizations, including the government, the Department of Defense, the Veterans’ Administration, Kaiser, Aetna and third-party payers, as well as integrative organizations,” Wisneski said.

“The summary will be finished soon and then courses will be developed,” he added. “There will be a lot of activity and movement into creating both education for the legislators, general public professions, and health care professionals—and again, massage therapy is considered to be an integral part of this discussion.”

About the Author

Phillip Weber is a San Diego-based writer and co-founder of The English Adept, a language-learning website where he blogs frequently. He writes news and features for MASSAGE Magazine, including “Male Body Image: Massage Addresses Muscular and Emotional Tension” (June 2017, in print), “Massage Brings Peace to Torture Survivors’ Bodies & Minds” and “Massage Therapy Improves Quality of life for Frail Children.
If you enjoyed reading this MASSAGE Magazine online article, subscribe to the monthly print magazine for more articles about massage news, techniques, self-care, research, business and more, delivered monthly. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for additional unique content, including product announcements and special offers.

Massage As Medicine

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/02/12/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.

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

ART Massage Community Input

Thought we’d try this avenue to make the blog on Beth’s site more interactive and attune to the ART Massage community.   Please comment, as well, if you have blog post ideas, or want to share thoughts on massage-related issues.

Thanks, Steve

 

 

 

New Research Supports the Mental Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

(http://tinyurl.com/nyrshy3)

Symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression may be alleviated with massage therapy

Evanston, Ill. (October 23, 2013) – /PRNewswire/ – To mark National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW), October 20-26, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has compiled research that suggests symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be alleviated with massage therapy.

Following are some recent research findings which highlight the role of massage therapy in mental health and wellness. View AMTA’s Research Roundup Volume 4 online at www.amtamassage.org/researchroundup.

Massage Therapy for the Treatment of Depression in Individuals with HIV
Research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine1 indicates that massage therapy can reduce symptoms of depression for1 individuals with HIV disease. The study lasted eight weeks, and results show massage significantly reduced the severity of depression beginning at week four and continuing at weeks six and eight. AMTA President Winona Bontrager says of the study, “This research suggests that regular therapeutic massage could be a useful tool in the integrated treatment of depression for patients with HIV.”

Massage Therapy to Reduce Anxiety in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy
Research published in Applied Nursing Research2 shows that back massage given during chemotherapy can significantly reduce anxiety and acute fatigue. “This research demonstrates the potential value of massage therapy within the full cancer treatment spectrum, particularly during the often mentally and physically exhausting chemotherapy process,” says Bontrager.

Massage Therapy for Reduced Anxiety and Depression in Military Veterans
Research published in Military Medicine3 reports that military veterans indicated significant reductions in ratings of anxiety, worry, depression and physical pain after massage. Analysis also suggests declining levels of tension and irritability following massage. This pilot study was a self-directed program of integrative therapies for National Guard personnel to support reintegration and resilience after return from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Massage Therapy for Nurses to Reduce Work-Related Stress
Research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice4 shows that massage for nurses during work hours can help to reduce stress and related symptoms, including headaches, shoulder tension, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. “This study affirms the important role massage therapy can play in the work setting, in this case to ease stress for health care providers who, in turn, can better provide optimal patient care,” says Bontrager.

It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Read additional research on massage for anxiety.

~~ To read more, visit http://tinyurl.com/nyrshy3

# # #

1 Polane, RE, Gertsik L, Favreau JT, et al. Open-label, randomized, parallel-group controlled clinical trial of massage for treatment of depression in HIV-infected subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2013 Apr; 19(4):334-40. doi 10.1089/acm.2012.0058.
2 Karagozoglu S, Kahve E. Effects of back massage on chemotherapy-related fatigue and anxiety: Supportive care and therapeutic touch in cancer nursing. Applied Nursing Research. 2013 Sep;19. pii: S0897-1897(13)00070-0. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2013.07.002.
3 Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Military Medicine. 2012 Dec;177(12):1477-85.
4 Engen DJ, Wahner-Roedler DL, Vincent A, et al. Feasibility and effect of chair massage offered to nurses during work hours on stress-related symptoms: a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2012 Nov;18(4):212-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.06.002.

Fibromyalgia – Easing the Constant Pain

Repost from original ART Massage Blog, 7/24/13

https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1839

Easing the Constant Pain,

by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa —  March 21, 2010

Pain, especially when it’s continuous, can make even the smallest activities seem gargantuan. But for people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), pain is part of their everyday existence. “There was no place in my body that didn’t hurt. I went from feeling good and normal to hurting all over and being super sensitive to touch,” declares Mary Shomon, a fibromyalgia patient turned health advocate, from Washington, D.C. “In two months, I developed all the tender points. If someone touched my neck, it felt like she was sticking a knife in. Then, a trip to the grocery store felt like a mission to the moon.”

Chanchal Cabrera, author of a book on FMS and professor of botanical medicine at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia, understands. She describes the pain of FMS sufferers this way: “Imagine that last night you drank two glasses of wine more than you would have liked, but had no water and ate no food,” she says. “You went to bed late and got up early. You are stiff, achy and tired—all the time.”1

For all the pain, however, there is some promising research suggesting that a combination of treatments, including massage therapy, can help sufferers find relief.

Snapshot of Symptoms
FMS is an ordeal of pervasive, widespread and migratory pain and stiffness that strikes muscles and connective tissues, as well as tendons, ligaments, bursae and joints. The intensity varies depending on time of day, activity level, immune status, weather, sleep patterns and stress, and can extend over weeks or months, only to mysteriously improve after awhile.

Up to 90 percent of patients experience chronic headaches, and many have allergies, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, hypoglycemia, nasal congestion, vasomotor rhinitis and neurotransmitter dysregulation.

Almost all people with FMS have weariness, decreased endurance or exhaustion.

Transient cognitive difficulties are extremely common, including difficulty concentrating or engaging in simple mental tasks.

Some researchers say this is the most common, and for FMS sufferers the most bothersome, symptom. This “fibro fog” is marked by feelings of confusion, memory lapse, word mix-ups and concentration diffculties.2,3,4

Because FMS produces no definitive laboratory results, the diagnosis is one of exclusion. When all other possibilities have been excluded, FMS is what is left. The nomenclature is dense and confusing, but FMS is officially diagnosed when the following symptoms are detected5:

  • A history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body, on both sides and above and below the waist, that is present for a minimum of three months.
  • Pain in at least 11 of the 18 identified tender-point sites.

Many FMS sufferers experience their worst pain at several focal tender points, although the pain often radiates so generally that patients may be unaware of their presence until the point is palpated specifically.

On the whole, however, tender points are not very well understood, as defined locations don’t correspond to any particular set of nerve junctions or other obvious body structures, and other areas are often also tender.

Some specialists will make an FMS diagnosis with fewer than 11 tender points if several of the commonly reported associated symptoms are also present.6

Additionally, researchers find low skin temperature, vasoconstriction and hypoxia above tender points, so newer therapies are aimed at these problems.7,8 “Don’t just concentrate on the pain. You need a whole person approach,” explains Dr. Peter Abaci, medical director of the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in Los Gatos, California. “Most importantly, how do they function at home? You can’t separate the body from the brain and the mind. The whole brain matrix is involved in the pain—there is no ‘pain center.’”

John Combe, LMT, NCTMB and past president of AMTA’s Oregon chapter, tells us, “As a provider, a big obstacle is that clients have been told that they have fibromyalgia, but their doctor offers them no treatment plan—they have turned off the hope switch.”

[…]

Power of Touch
Massage, properly performed, seems particularly helpful in treating fibromyalgia. Patients consistently report that they find bodywork to be the top therapy for providing short-term relief and long-term improvement.18

In an effort to find out just what actually does help people feel better, German scientists took a look at various therapies and concluded that massage was ranked in the top four for patient satisfaction.19

A study in the European Journal of Pain evaluated connective tissue massage. The researchers treated 23

FMS patients and compared them to 23 controls. The subjects received a series of 15 connective tissue massage sessions, which reduced depression and use of pain medication and improved quality of life. The massage benefits gradually increased over the 10-week study, eventually reducing pain by 37 percent. Take note, though, that the patients’ pain had gradually climbed back to about 90 percent of the original level six months post-study.20

And therein lies the problem, as when pain is involved, being consistent can be difficult for some FMS sufferers.

“Therapy should continue for years,” adds Cabrera. “Hundreds of sessions might be indicated, and patient compliance is critical, though difficult to sustain. People know they will eventually feel better, but it might be difficult for someone in pain to get up and make the effort to go consistently.”

Lauren McNeal, an acupuncturist and bodyworker in Annapolis, Maryland, reminds us to be cautious and go slow. “Massage done too aggressively can hurt for three to four days afterward if it’s not in tune with their inner body,” she says.

Regrettably, many FMS patients, for whatever reason, don’t keep up with their massage treatments. One study of long-term FMS patients discovered a sizeable reduction in their use of all forms of hands-on therapy, despite the fact that 85 percent continued to have significant difficulty with their FMS, and 54 percent were taking over-the-counter drugs for pain and 39 percent were using antidepressant drugs.21

~~continued at https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1839

Research Exclusive: Study Focuses on Massage Therapy Efficacy Beliefs

posted:9/27/2013
Author: Albert Moraska.
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 A recent study focused on the belief in the efficacy of massage for muscle recovery after running a race. After gathering and analyzing data from runners who had just completed a race, researchers found massage is well-accepted as an aid in muscle recovery, especially among females and people who have received massage in the past.

The study, “Massage Efficacy Beliefs for Muscle Recovery from a Running Race,” involved 745 people who completed the same 10-kilometer race. Study data was collected from subjects within one hour postrace. The mean subject age was about 37 years.

Participants were approached right after the race and asked whether they were interested in completing a short questionnaire. This survey asked each subject to record his or her gender, age, race finish time, time since he or she finished the race, number of professional massages received and number of hours slept the previous evening.

Participants were also asked to rate their perceived exertion, muscle soreness and fatigue on scales from zero to 10. For one of the study’s main outcome measures, subjects were asked, “Do you think massage would be beneficial for your muscle recovery from today’s race?” They could elect to answer yes, no or unsure. The “no” and “unsure” answers were grouped together for analysis.

The data showed female racers reported a younger age, longer race finish time and lower perceived exertion, muscle soreness and muscle fatigue than male racers. Participants who reported having had massage in the past were among the older racers. Subjects who believed massage would aid in muscle recovery were those who were older and reported greater perceived exertion, muscle fatigue and muscle soreness.

The numbers also showed 80 percent of the 745 runners surveyed believed massage would benefit muscle recovery following the race, even though only about 44 percent of the runners had received massage in the past.

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Document Details Why Massage is an “Integral Component” in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits

08/01/2013

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=14161&catid=1&title=document-details-why-massage-is-an-qintegral-componentq-in-the-affordable-care-acts-essential-health-benefits-

Some leaders in the massage field are taking steps to try and ensure that massage becomes a greater part of the U.S. health care system, as the implementation date of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes closer. A section of the ACA, which goes into effect in 2014, prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against health care providers—including those licensed as complementary health care providers—relative to their coverage and participation in health plans.A group of Washington state massage therapists has written a document titled “Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits.”

The document summarizes “the high-quality evidence for [massage therapy’s] effectiveness in treating medical conditions and populations” pertaining to the three (out of 10) Essential Health Benefits described in the ACA.

The authors are Marissa Brooks, L.M.P., Michael Hamm, L.M.P., Benjamin Erkan, Diana L. Thompson, L.M.P., and Kenneth Pfaff, H.F.W.L., H.P.C.U.H.G.S.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) supports the integration of MT into state-regulated insurance plans, both in its definitions of health care practitioners, and in its definition of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs),” the authors wrote, adding that two sections in the ACA provide for massage therapists to provide care: “Section 2706: Non-discrimination with respect to licensed or certified providers acting within their scope [and] Section 3502: Establishing community health teams that include CAM practitioners … ” The authors also noted that of the 10 EHBs specified in the ACA, massage therapy “has shown substantial benefit in three primary categories: 5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment”; 7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices”; and 9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.”

The documents reviewers include Ruth Werner, the current president of the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF). Thompson is MTF past president. Tracy Walton, L.M.T., and Albert Moraska, Ph.D., reviewed the document as well. The document was funded by the American Massage Therapy Association’s Washington chapter.

Read the document here.

—Karen Menehan, Editor in Chief

Adults Demonstrate Modified Immune Response After Receiving Massage, Researchers Show

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094809.htm

Sep. 9, 2010 — Researchers in Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences have reported people who undergo massage experience measureable changes in their body’s immune and endocrine response.

Although there have been previous, smaller studies about the health benefits of massage, the Cedars-Sinai study is widely believed to be the first systematic study of a larger group of healthy adults.

The study is published in the October printed edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

“Massage is popular in America, with almost 9 percent of adults receiving at least one massage within the past year,” said Mark Rapaport, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. “People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

In the study, 29 subjects received 45 minutes of Swedish massage and 24 received 45 minutes of light touch massage. Each participant underwent informed consent, a physical and mental evaluation and was deemed to be physically healthy and free of any mental disorder. Massage therapists were trained in how to deliver both Swedish and light touch using specific and identical protocols.

Prior to the massage, study participants were fitted with intravenous catheters in order to take blood samples during the study session. Then participants were asked to rest quietly for 30 minutes. Following the rest period, blood samples were collected from each person five minutes and one minute before the massage began. At the end of the 45-minute massage session, blood samples were collected at one, five, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after the massage.

“This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you,” said Rapaport, the principal investigator of the study and the Polier Family Chair in Schizophrenia and Related Disorders. “More research is ahead of us but it appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit.”

Among the study’s results:

  • People in the Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes ,(lymphocyte numbers and percentages white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease.
  • Swedish massage caused a large decrease (effect size -.74) in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to helping cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Swedish massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Swedish massage caused a notable decrease in most cytokines produced by stimulated white blood cells.