Massage > Massage Therapy – So Much for So Little
An overview of massage in America by Pat Krajovic
Do you remember what it felt to be young? Muscles that weren't sore but that
were strong and flexible, joints that didn't ache, headaches that never were and
an energy supply that seemed endless. Sleep came easy. You were pain free and
full with life. You were alive! Would you like to feel that way again?
Massage therapy can help you restore the youthful sense of vitality that you
used to possess. Massage is a word that brings up a variety of feelings to
different people. To some a smile comes across their face at the sound of the
word as memories of ooh … and ahh… softly fall from their lips when their body
begins to remember past experiences of total relaxation. To others it brings up
uneasiness. They are uncomfortable with being touched by another in such a close
and intimate space. And to others, well they are just neutral and have no
opinion or experience one way or the other. All these feelings are right and
true for the person who is feeling them. I believe, however, that these
perceptions are changing.
In 2005, 47 million Americans received a massage. The primary reason was for
relaxation, stress relief or medical reasons. And last year 2 million more
Americans received a massage than the year before. According to a study at
Stanford University, 70% of Americans use some type of alternative therapy. With
more and more people using massage therapy there must be some reason. It is a
well known fact that people are becoming dissatisfied with the biochemical based
approach of western medicine, and they are seeking a more holistic and
integrated approach to health and well-being. There must be another way.
Massage Therapy has been at the forefront of the alternative/complimentary
medicine movement. Although the numbers vary depending on what is included in
the definition, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
reports that between $36 and $47 billion was spent on Complimentary and
Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 1997. And Massage Therapy was one of the top 10
alternative therapies used by consumers. Today there are literally hundreds of
studies that confirm the benefits of massage therapy. Most studies encompass a
relatively short period of time (months) and focus on stress reduction and pain
management for a variety of ailments. To my knowledge the studies have always
shown a statistically significant benefit to receiving massage therapy.
What are some of these proven benefits? Massage provides relief to people of all
ages—from infants to seniors—and from all walks of life—the weekend warrior or
tri athlete, the stay at home parent or the overstressed, overworked executive.
A Drug Free Therapy
Massage is a drug-free, non-invasive way to facilitate the body's own natural
healing process. Massage is effective for a variety of health conditions
especially with those that have a stress-related origin. And this is so
important to your well-being because the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention has stated that up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the USA may
be triggered by a stress-related illness.
Research indicates that massage can help with back pain, headaches, stress,
anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, depression, treating cancer-related
fatigue, sleep disorders, diabetes, immune system suppression, low energy,
autism, muscle stiffness, scar tissue, limited joint movement, poor
concentration, premature infant growth and awareness, surgical recovery times,
arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, age-related disorders, infertility, eating
disorders and smoking cessation to name just a few. How can something as simple
as touch help so much? The reasons are because massage:
These are wonderful benefits. As you can see having a massage does more than
just relax your body and mind - there are specific physiological and
psychological changes which occur, even more so when massage is utilized as a
preventative, frequent therapy and not simply as a mere luxury. Massage not only
feels good, but it can cure what ails you. It is no wonder the numbers of people
who receive massage is growing year after year.
Softens tense, injured and overused muscles.
Increases circulation enhancing the flow of oxygen and nutrients throughout
Stimulates the immune system.
Relieves muscle pain including headaches.
Enhances the removal of waste products from the body.
Reducing spasms and cramping.
Increasing joint flexibility.
Reduces workout recovery time.
Releases endorphins, the body's natural painkiller.
- Reduces swelling.
- Exercises atrophied muscles.
- Restores postural distortions.
But what makes massage so unique when compared to other healing modalities is
something that is so lacking in today's world: touch. As mentioned above massage
has been shown to help premature babies gain weight faster and shorten hospital
stays than for babies who are not touched. So how do we explain this affect? Is
it some new physiological benefit that we cannot as yet explain or is it
evidence of what compassionate touch can do on a deeper emotional/spiritual
Many adults have reported deep healing experiences on the massage table. While
the therapist unwinds stressed and tired muscles, pent-up emotions that don't
always have time to be processed during the day can become unwound as well. And
just being touched can be healing as it gives us a feeling of being connected to
something larger than ourselves especially if the touch is safe, caring and
compassionate. Studies continue to be done on the benefits of massage and the
power of touch. So who knows what the research will show.
About the Author
Mr. Krajovic earned his BS from Bucknell University and MBA from The
Pennsylvania State University. As a CPA, he offers financial consulting services
and has worked extensively in the corporate world including most recently as the
Chief Financial Officer of an automotive supplier. A nationally
certified massage therapist
with advanced training in many alternative healing techniques, he is available
for speaking engagements on a variety of health and wellness subjects, including
energy healing therapy
especially as they relate to the corporate world. Currently he works with
clients, conducts seminars and teaches classes at his clinic,
BodyWorks Healing Center in
Plymouth, Michigan with his wife.
Massage – Naturally Healing
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