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.

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

 

 

 

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.
facebook twitter linkedin
 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.

~~continued at link above