Overall Health Benefits Gained From Massage

Image of Candles and towelsEver feel so tired when leaving work that you just know you will fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow? Only to lay awake for hours, tension building while your mind and body seem to laugh at your thwarted efforts to sleep? Do you find the more you exercise, or even try to take that after dinner walk with your favorite four-legged family member, that your legs ache, your back gets stiffer and stiffer and overall you feel less like you did something good for yourself and more like you just created more problems? Is your doctor telling you that your blood pressure is slowly rising, but he doesn’t seem to know what to tell you is causing it to rise?

Well the good news is, you are not alone, and there are studies showing the answers you seek are simple and even inexpensive. Very simply put, without medications, expensive or painful procedures or time missed from work, you can change your overall health, create patterns of relaxation and give your body the healthy boost it needs. The solution you seek is massage. I know, as you sit there reading this blog you wonder how in the world something so minimally invasive could do so much.

Some basic ways that massage can impact our health are:

  • Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. What does this mean to you? More serotonin and dopamine in your system means that your body will be better able to deal with stress and that you will have an overall feeling of having less anxiety. These hormones also have a major influence on levels of sadness and depression.
  • Massage increases blood flow to the muscles, which may help them heal, blocks your nervous system’s pain receptors and can ease distress caused from migraines.
  • Since types of brain waves determine how alert we are, or how sleepy we are, massage can be used to increase delta waves — those linked with deep sleep, thereby giving us a better nights rest.
  • One of the most amazing effects of relaxing the body, increasing blood flow and limiting stress is that massage can decrease diastolic and systolic blood pressure, giving us a way to help control this silent killer. During massage the nervous system is calmed lowering the heart rate and the muscles become relaxed. With the combination of the above long-term effects of less stress and anxiety and a better night’s sleep, the high blood pressure suffered by one out of three people is better controlled. This in turn helps lower the risk of having a heart attack, kidney failure, or a stroke.
  • Poor leg circulation which is a by-product of diabetes or high blood pressure can cause blockages in your veins that can lead to stroke or heart attack. Symptoms of this include pain in the legs, numbness in the limbs and or water retention. By seeking regular massage, the circulation problems attributed with high blood pressure are also improved, enabling those who want to exercise to safely do so.

To find out just how the health benefits of massage can help you, make an appointment today, and get on track to a healthier, happier you.

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Fibromyalgia: What is it, who has it, and how to live with its effects?

With no known cause and perpetual ongoing pain that radiates throughout the body, it is no wonder that Fibromyalgia gives most of us pause. With all of the media and commercials that advertize the medications intended to relieve the sleep deprivation, Tension or migraine headaches and or fatigue brought about by this dreaded culprit, we are all left wondering who is at risk, and how to overcome the effects if or when we are diagnosed.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term, body-wide chronic disease. It causes pain and “tender points” in joints, muscles and within the deep tissue of the body. These tender points are found in the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, and knees. Symptoms may include but are not limited to numbness or tingling in the hands and/or feet.

Not much is known about what causes Fibromyalgia, but some triggers are thought to include physical trauma, some type of emotional traumatic event or perhaps an abnormal pain response within the brain. Symptoms seem to increase with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia is made by testing of on-going pain in at least eleven of the eighteen tender-point sites. These soft tissue sites are found in:

  • Arms (elbows)
  • Buttocks
  • Chest
  • Knees
  • Lower back
  • Neck
  • Rib cage
  • Shoulders
  • Thighs

Anyone can be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but it is found most prevalently in women between the ages of 20 to 50.

Doctor’s focus for treatment is usually directed in relieving symptoms by any means necessary. Diagnosed patients may be told to reduce stress, exercise more, even though they are in pain much of the time, or seek support groups to learn to deal with the pain. Sometimes medications are prescribed such as muscle relaxers.

With tried and true methods of massage, that incorporate stretching and mobilizing of tight muscles, the stiffness in joints and muscles as well as the plaguing neck and back pain will disappear over time. Massage can relax and relieve pain in known trouble areas for those suffering with Fibromyalgia. One final and very important way relief by massage benefits Fibromyalgia sufferers is by the refocusing of the mind when the body is gently stretched and muscles are frequently brought to a relaxed state.

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