Archive for the 'benifits of corporate massage' Category

Sep 29 2009

10 minute exercise

This page contains 10-minute exercise routines. Including these exercises in your lunch break or daily routine could help you improve your posture, feel more refreshed and less lethargic in the afternoon. You can print this page or use the timer. Drink before and after exercise.

 Onsite Massage is a great gift to give to your fellow staff, onsite massage also creates a great space for your staff to work in.

1. Stand with your legs apart, toes pointing to the sides. Keep your hips square to the front. Bend your right knee until your left leg is comfortably straight. Raise your left arm up and over your head toward the ceiling and then gently stretch over to your right. Keep your body in line and feel a gentle stretch along your left side, hold for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times to both sides.

2. Remove your shoes. Try to wiggle your toes one by one, starting at the big toe and work to a little toe. For most people this is a difficult exercise to do, even if it means that you wiggle all toes together, you are still exercising the joints of your toes. Repeat this exercise five times with each foot.

3. Do some deep breathing and relax your whole body. Find a comfortable spot on floor lying on your back. Breathe normally. Stretch arms out to the side at shoulder height with the palms of your hands flat on the floor. Raise your legs and bend your knees, slowly move your legs over to one side of your body keeping knees together. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat for the other side. Repeat twice.

4. Breathe out as you relax over your knees and breathe in as you do your stretch. Sitting on the edge a steady chair with knees bent. Relax forward over your knees with your head and arms down. Then lift your body upward, at the same time takes your hands forwards then upwards in a swinging motion to point to the ceiling. Then return and relax over your knees. Repeat 5 times.

5. Breathe normally. Sit on a straight backed chair keep your back straight your knees together and your feet flat on floor. Now take your arms behind the chair back, bringing your shoulders back as far as you can and hold to the count to 10 and relax. Repeat twice.

for all your onsite massages, corporate massages, event massages

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Aug 24 2009

Benefits of Massage Therapy For Neck Pain

Many people spend their lives dealing with pain. Whether it is from an accident, sports injury, or just plain bad posture, millions of people just mask the problem instead of getting to the root. One of the most common complaints of aches and pains is in the neck. There are many things that can contribute to neck pain. If you sit in front of a computer all day or stand for long hours at work, just having poor posture can contribute to neck pain. If you wake up with neck pain and/or headaches after an apparent good nights sleep, it could be that you were in an awkward position during the night. On the other hand, maybe you just need a different pillow or mattress. Neck pain can also be caused by a pre-existing condition or injury and only large doses of medication can temporarily relieve the pain.

Instead of trying to mask the pain, massage therapy gets the root of the problem – your neck muscles. Even if you see a chiropractor and you feel better after you get an adjustment, your spine is still attached to muscles, which pull the bones in the wrong direction. Think of your neck muscles as being like a rubber band. You can stretch it and stretch it, but it will always snap back to its original shape. Massage therapy changes the way your neck muscles behave by stretching and smoothing them out. This helps the muscles relax and return to the natural position in the body, without all the knots and strains that cause neck pain. Not only do the muscles in your neck relax, it helps your entire body to relax, alleviating the pain. It helps to go to massage therapy on a regular basis so that the muscles will get used to being relaxed.

Tim Dobbs has written many articles on health related issues and remedies. If you want information about portable neck massagers, please visit Cheap Personal Massagers. This website offers the best deals on neck massagers and is a great resource for information.

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Nov 25 2008

How to Give a Neck and Shoulder Massage

A neck and shoulder massage helps you relax, particularly if you’ve been working at a desk all day. It relieves you from pain and stress and charges you with energy you were looking for after a heavy work schedule or an outdoor journey. In this article you will learn how to give a neck and shoulder massage to get relief from stress and tension.

Steps for neck and shoulder massage –

For massaging neck and shoulder your partner should be lying on his or her back. Uncover the chest by folding down the towel or blanket.

1. Apply oil to your partner’s chest, shoulders and neck.

2. Begin effleuraging by placing both hands on the upper chest, fingers facing towards each other. Now slowly pull your hands round the shoulders and under them, then bring your hands in to meet at the back of the skull. Repeat four or five times.

3. Gently knuckle the chest and shoulders in the sequence shown in the diagram on the left. To knuckle make your hands into relaxed fists, and move the knuckles make your hands into relaxed fist, and move the knuckles in circular movements. This sounds more difficult than it is.

4. Gently turn your partner’s head to one side. Stroke along the top of the shoulder and the side of the neck with your first three fingers. Repeat three times.

5. Repeat the above sequence, but circle your fingers this time. Do this three times.

6. Turn your partner’s head to the other side and repeat movements 4 and 5. Return the head to the centre.

7. Slide your hands down your partner’s back as far as you can comfortably reach. Find the groove each side of the spine with your fingers. Pull your hands up the spine with a little pressure on the groove each side. Repeat three times.

8. Now you are going to stretch the neck – these movements stretch out the muscles of the shoulders and neck and ease tension. If your partner is relaxed you will take all the weight of the head. If he or she is tense, go easy and make the movements slow and gentle. You don’t want any pulled muscles.

9. Cup both hands under your partner’s head, your fingers resting in the base of the skull. Lift the head slightly gently pull towards you. Lower the head slowly repeat.

10. Hold the back of the head in one hand and move it slowly towards the left shoulder while gently pressing down on the right shoulder with your other hand. Bring the head back to the centre and then repeat on the other side.

Finish with some effleurage movements as you began.

Note: This massage shouldn’t be done on anyone with injuries to their shoulder or neck.

Hope you have now learned how to get relief from stress and tension with this natural method of pain relief.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek the insights of a qualified health professional before embarking on any health program.

Looking for some Home Remedies for Stress? Check out the biggest home remedies website and find some effective natural Home Remedies for Backache – natural pain relief methods to use at home.

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Nov 21 2008

What Type of Massage Should You Get? Rolfing? Polarity? Shiatsu?

With over 250 different types of massage and new types of massage emerging every day it is hard to know what is best for you and your needs.

For the most part, it really depends on your needs and the type of massage you like the most. Discovering your needs often involves trying different types of massage and even just different massage therapists to see what you like and don’t like.

Rolfing is named after a woman, Ida Rolf who created it. It is a series of sessions that is based on reorganizing the alignment of the body. It is deep tissue bodywork and works best when you are having structural based issues such as chronic knee problems, neck or back problems. It can be very painful at times and also more expensive than most types of massage. Rolfers usually go through more schooling than just regular massage therapists.

Polarity therapy is quite the opposite as far as the depth of the touch used in the massage. Polarity therapy isn’t really even massage in some ways. It was developed by Randolf Stone and combines pressure point therapy with diet and exercises that uses breath and sound and self awareness. The theory is that energy flows between two poles (negative and positive) inside and outside of our bodies. Increasing the flow of energy between the two poles can help alleviate pain and sickness. The Polarity therapist then applies pressure of varying degrees to areas of the body that are blocked and sometimes they don’t even put any pressure or touch at all. Practitioners are certified by the American Polarity Therapy Association.

Shiatsu is a system that uses ‘finger pressure’ to treat what are called ‘Tsubos’ or acu-points. There are 360 tsubos along the meridians on each side of the body. There are different types of Shiatsu – Zen Shiatsu, Macrobiotic Shiatsu, Integrative Eclectic Shiatsu, Japanese Shiatsu.

So you can see that just reading about different types of massage doesn’t do much to explain what it really is. Each therapist will also have a different learning background and own application of each technique making it even more difficult to know what type of massage to get.

In getting a massage some of the things to remember is to just always be honest with the massage therapist about what you are feeling. Many people think that going to a massage therapist that the therapist will know what is best. The fact is that you know best. If it hurts too much, if the pressure isn’t deep enough, if the room it too hot or cold or if you hate or love the music – let the therapist know.

Julie Onofrio a licensed massage practitioner in Seattle WA for 20 years and author of the “Massage Therapy Career Guide: The truth about becoming a massage therapist ” and “How to Find a Job in Massage”.

My websites and are great resources to help you learn more about different types of massage.

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Nov 11 2008

PICC and Mid-Arm Line Insertions with Massage in a Community Hospital

Jan Locke, LMT & Glenda Dennis, RN, CCRN

As the public begins to focus on integrative medicine, many healthcare systems are seeking to incorporate more holistic ways to deliver care. After incorporating massage therapy into the ICU, staff observed increased relaxation in patients and restoration of a degree of tranquility. Patients often encounter many invasive and frightening experiences while in the hospital, including the placement of PICC (Percutaneously Inserted Central Catheters) and Mid-Arm catheters. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of using massage on improving the patient’s physical comfort and reducing stress and anxiety levels during PICC and Mid-Arm catheter insertion. A Likert-scale survey was administered pre-procedure and post-procedure to 21 patients who required PICC/Mid-Arm catheter insertion at McKenzie-Willamette Hospital over a 15-month period of time. Results indicate a 39% improvement in anxiety levels and 23% improvement in physical comfort levels in the group who received massage during the catheter insertion. Those patients who experienced massage as a relaxation technique were also generally easier to cannulate for line placement.


· Patients were surveyed pre and post procedure using a Likert scale.

· 21 adult patients were surveyed.
9 of the patients received massage during the procedure.
12 patients did NOT receive massage.

· Massage was offered according to the patient’s comfort level. The massage therapist and the patient determined where the patient would feel most comfortable receiving touch during the procedure.

· Generally massage (light effleurage) was provided to the hand, arm (not receiving the catheter), feet, neck or scalp.

· The focus of massage was to redirect the attention of the patient and provide soothing, calming, comforting touch during the procedure.


· Those patients receiving massage indicated:
23% improvement in physical comfort levels post procedure.
39% improvement in anxiety levels post procedure.

· Those patients NOT receiving massage indicated:
08% improvement in physical comfort levels post procedure.
29% improvement in anxiety levels post procedure.

· Patients receiving massage demonstrated significant improvement in physical comfort and anxiety levels over those that did not receive massage.

· It was also observed that there was less vascular constriction and a more peaceful recovery among those patients receiving massage during the procedures.

· 77% of patients, when asked if massage affected their physical comfort level indicated, “very much” (the highest score they could give).

· 67% of patients, when asked if massage affected their anxiety levels indicated “very much.”


· “I think the massage caused a definite improvement in my comfort level. It kept me from focusing on the procedure and relaxed me.”

· “I’m glad that the massage was given. I have had this done three times before without massage. This was the lowest level of anxiety.”

· “Very good to me. Kept my mind off what you’re doing.”

· “Having had two PICC installs without massage, I can say it helped to have it. Thanks!”


· Highly recommend using massage to reduce anxiety and improve patient comfort during PICC/Mid-Arm catheter placements.

· Highly recommend trying massage to compliment other potentially anxiety or pain producing procedures such as thorocentesis, pre-cardioversion, or with naso-gastric or naso-duodenal feeding tube placement.

OUR PLAN is to modify our survey to include demographics such as gender and age to see if there is any correlation regarding perception of massage or its benefits. We also plan to gather data regarding massage as it affects physical comfort levels and anxiety levels during other invasive procedures in addition to the PICC/Mid-Arm catheter placements.

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Oct 27 2008

The Massage Chair

David Palmer is the San Francisco practitioner who created the world’s first massage-specific chair, the High Touch Massage Chair, in 1986. I remember visiting the factory in Santa Rosa, California, with David just a few months before its debut to see the prototype. David was excited about how the chair would revolutionize touch therapies, allowing anyone to get worked on without taking off their clothes, and to receive a full-body massage at nearly any location. His dreams have come true. Today we find the massage chair being used wherever one’s imagination may take them.

The original High Touch Massage Chair, which debuted in 1986, was created by David Palmer and manufactured by Living Earth Crafts. The photo shows the chair in its folded-up position, which allows it to be carried much like a suitcase, complete with handle and carrying strap.

An early attempt at using metal instead of wood, circa 1989. This model did not fair well, due to its poorly designed locking mechanisms that made the chair very unstable and unsafe.
The Massage Bar, created in 1993 by Cary Cruea of Seattle, Washington, utilizes a separate desktop face cradle attached to the countertop. The desktop face cradle was created about 1990 and was designed for doing massage where a chair was not available.

The latest development in massage chairs, circa 1999, this one from Golden Ratio Woodworks and the mind of owner John Fanuzzi. Many chairs look and act like this one, using high-tech tubing, quality vinyl and offering an easy-to-assemble set-up and easy-to-carry break-down. The Oakworks chair uses powder-coated aluminum and allows many adjustments.
The retail cost of that first chair was $385. With nearly a dozen manufacturers today and prices ranging from a low of $239 to a high of $551 (average $418) the chair costs about the same as a massage table.

The evolution of the massage chair since 1986 has been considerable in terms of the materials used to make them, the added features like wheels, covers and instructional videos (the first chair had no diagrams or photos on how to assemble it), the safety of transporting and adjusting a chair, and the stability and quality of the overall product.

Most notable has been the change from primarily wooden materials to high-tech metals and plastics, while the vinyls and under-padding have also improved with new technology. The range of adjustments on today’s table make the original look like a one-dimensional unit, even though the High Touch Massage Chair had a face rest, and seat, arm and leg adjustments. Today’s chairs have extensive face-cradle adjustments, and several models can take the client from a sitting position to a horizontal posture that is almost supine.

The chair has also spawned other related inventions, such as the desk-top face-cradle designed to attach to the top of a desk while the client is seated on an ordinary stool. (There’s also the new mobile massage tool for home use that provides a face-cradle at the end of your bed, supported with a metal support under the box springs and mattress.)

The massage chair has indeed been one of the most influential new tools for the practitioner since it was first introduced, and has contributed toward an expansion of the career opportunities in the industry like no other tool now on the market. David Palmer is still going strong, teaching his method of giving a session on the chair-right next to a large number of others trying to capture the market of those who want to learn how to use a massage chair and market its uses into today’s fast-paced world. Because with a massage chair, where you do massage is now as far-reaching as your own imagination.


Robert Noah Calvert is the founder and CEO of MASSAGE Magazine. The material for this column comes from two sources: the World of Massage Museum’s collections and Calvert’s book, The History of Massage published in February 2002 by Healing Arts Press.

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Oct 23 2008

What Is Massage?

Many definitions of massage can be found in the literature and regulatory archives of modern times, but there is no known definition of massage from the ancient world. Gertrude Beard and Elizabeth Wood, professors of physical medicine at Northwestern University Medical School and authors of the well-known book Massage: Principles and Techniques (1964), assert that “the early medical literature is devoid of any comprehensive definition of massage.” They also claim that ?there is little description of massage movements in the early literature.” However, Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.E.), widely regarded as the father of medicine and a renowned advocate of massage, wrote about the use of friction in the treatment of many ailments, as well as about its physiological effects: “Rubbing has the effect of relaxing, constricting, thickening, and thinning; hard rubbing constricts, soft relaxes, much rubbing thins, and moderate thickens.” The ancient Greeks used techniques that they called anatripsis and frictio. The word anatripsis – meaning “to rub up” – represents a transitional period in the history of massage (see Pages From History, “Rubbing up vs. Rubbing Down.”)

Greek physicians performed anatripsis on patients suffering from intestinal ailments and on athletes suffering from waste buildup in their muscles. Today we use anatripsis in much the same way, even though we have our own word for it and have developed more techniques and better rationale to describe its effects. The ancient physician Claudius Galenus, commonly known as Galen (131-201 C.E.), was a strong proponent of the Hippocratic method. In his extensive writings about massage he did not provide a definition; however, in his De Saniotate Tuenda (Hygiene) he did give descriptions of massage from which we might draw elements of a definition. He wrote that the objective is “to soften the body” before exercise. “And the rubbings should be of many sorts, with strokes and circuits [sic] of the hands, carrying them not only from above down and from below up, but also subvertically, obliquely, transversely, and subtransversely.” He goes on to give more details about how the hands should move “from every direction.”

From these instructions we can conclude that massage as practiced by the Greeks was a manual treatment of the body utilizing a variety of hand techniques. There are also references to utilizing cloth and water during the rubbings which expand the definition from the ancient to include the use of tools and mediums other than the human hands. The descriptions of massage have changed between the time of the ancient physician and the modern practitioner, but the essence of massage has remained unchanged – the application of human hands or another object to the superficial skin of a recipient for the purposes of rendering remedial or palliative aid.

Although positive references to the healing power of touch can be found in historical documents in many fields, the first lucid descriptions of the movements of massage, such as friction and rubbing, were given by the French physician Joseph-Clement Tissot. Writing in his 1770 classic text on exercise, Tissot devotes more than 20 pages to the subject of “friction, rubbing, kneading and alternate compressions.” He does not use the word massage because the word had not yet been created. Even so, Tissot expounds on the ancient virtues and modern benefits of the movements that make up, in large part, what we now know as massage.

During the latter half of the 19th century medical doctors in Europe and America began writing about the benefits of massage. As more physicians were introduced to the domain of manual therapeutics the terminology of the practice began to change, reflecting the physicians’ disdain for common massage; the commonly used terms were gradually replaced by more medically oriented terms. For example, rubbing, a term used in 1866 by Walter Johnson, became medical rubbings by the 1880s. By the turn of the century medical rubbing was replaced by Massage with a capital M. The distinction between massage with a little m and Massage with a big M reflects the physicians’ dislike of gymnasts, or “common rubbers” as they were called. The doctors argued that the massage done by gymnasts did not have the credibility of the massage used medically because only someone trained and/or supervised by a physician could be considered properly doing massage.

Thomas’s Medical Dictionary of 1886 defines massage in this terse way: “Massage, from the Greek, meaning to knead. Signifying the act of shampooing.” There is evidence in other historical texts that shampooing initially meant massaging or rubbing; only later did it come to mean cleaning the hair with special products.

George H. Taylor, M.D., in his 1887 book, Massage: Principles and Practice of Remedial Treatment by Imparted Motion, writes: “The word massage denotes any process of conjoint motion and pressure applied to parts of the living body, for remedial purposes. Massage implies some source from which the pressure-motion is derived arising from insufficient muscular action of the usual forms.”

Taylor was very concerned in his book with what he called “motor-energy,” derived from “nutrition” and responsible for all motion or power of the body. “The motor power of the human hand,” he affirms, “easily lends itself to this generous purpose; and it thus, almost by instinct, but in strict conformity with scientific principles and purposes, reinforces the vital needs and waning energies of the suffering.”

Douglas Graham, M.D., American Medical Association member and author of Manual Therapeutics, A Treatise on Massage (1890), defines massage in this way: “Massage is a term now generally accepted by European and American physicians to signify a group of procedures which are best done with the hands, such as friction, kneading, manipulating, rolling, and percussion of the external tissues of the body in a variety of ways, either with a curative, palliative or hygienic object in view.”

Although not specified in most definitions, these early authors also limited massage movements to those performed solely by the hands, often as an adjunct to other therapies in the treatment of disease. In his 1895 book, The Art of Massage, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, states, “Massage, or systematic rubbing and manipulation of the tissues of the body, is probably one of the oldest of all means used for the relief of bodily infirmities.” He also provides several terms related to the word massage, as well as their “right and proper” pronunciations: Massage is a noun, the literal meaning of which is kneading, as a baker kneads bread. This word, like many other terms relating to massage, is derived directly from the French. It retains its French pronunciation, and is pronounced as though spelled mas-sahzh, and not as though spelled massaj or massaje, which is so frequently heard.

Masser is a verb, meaning the act of applying massage.

Pe’trissage is pronounced as though spelled pa-tris-sahzh. It is a French term applied to deep kneading, as distinguished from superficial kneading.

Tapotement is pronounced nearly as though spelled tah-pote-mont, and indicates the act of percussion.

Effleurage is pronounced as though spelled ef-flur-ahze. It means light friction.

Noah Webster’s 1899 An American Dictionary of the English Language does not contain the word massage. It does define friction first as the act of rubbing two objects together to produce heat; second, as the scientific meaning of mechanical rubbing of two moving objects; and third, “In medicine, the rubbing of the body with the hand, or with a brush, flannel, etc., or the rubbing of a diseased part with oil, unguent, or other medicament.? Rub is also referred to as ?the act of rubbing, friction.”

Axel V. Grafstrom, M.D., in his 1904 book, A Text-book of Mechano-Therapy, writes, “By massage we understand a series of passive movements on the patient’s body, performed by the operator for the purpose of aiding nature to restore health. These passive movements are friction, kneading, percussion, stretching, pressure, vibration, and stroking.” Grafstrom used bold test in his book to assist students in finding key words for their studies.

Emil G. Kleen, M.D., of Sweden, a contemporary of Graham, defines massage in his 1921 edition of Massage and Medical Gymnastics as “a manipulation or handling of the soft tissues by movable pressure in the form of stroking, rubbing, pinching, kneading or beating performed with a therapeutic aim. This is generally applied by hand, but can, of course, also be given by means of instruments and apparatus of different kinds.”

Thomas Stedman, M.D.’s 1936 edition of A Practical Medical Dictionary defines massage as “a scientific method of manipulation of the body by rubbing, pinching, kneading, tapping, etc.; it is employed in therapeutics to increase metabolism, promote absorption, stretch adhesions, etc.”

And finally, a typical late 20th century dictionary defines massage as “act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, etc.”

We can see from these definitions a clear transition of terms and descriptions from the earlier examples. Even though the definitions become more succinct, they are broader in scope and in the end also provide examples of the benefits of massage.

Contemporary definitions of massage in the new textbooks seem to take a different course than historic definitions by extended definitions that attempt to include all manner of techniques and applications, as well as a growing list of effects. But none of the definitions found in regulations or textbooks provide a comprehensive historic definition of massage, nor do they include the indirect effects.

Massage: From the Greek word massein (to knead). The manipulation of the body by kneading, stroking, friction, percussion, vibration and other methods applied with the hands, feet, elbows, forearms, or with tools such as stone, wood, ceramic, ivory, metal, bone, or devices that operate by hand-crank, steam, battery or electric power; and the use of water, herbs, salts and muds, any and all of which may produce directly or indirectly various therapeutic effects, feelings of pleasure or pain, a sense of being nurtured and supported, an uplift of the spirit, and general well-being. Massage may also be applied adjunctively with other therapeutic measures such as physical therapy, dentistry, chiropractic and any stress- management regimen.


Robert Noah Calvert is the founder and CEO of Massage Magazine. The material for this column comes from the World of Massage Museum’s collection and Calvert’s book, The History of Massage, published in February 2002 by Healing Arts Press.

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Oct 17 2008

Events Mark National Massage

Massage therapists across the nation worked to raise the profile of massage therapy Oct. 21-27, with events commemorating the 10th annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week. The Week is sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association.

Following is a roundup of events nationwide, compiled from MASSAGE Magazine special reports and information covered in the mainstream press:

ARKANSAS: Massage therapists provided massage Oct. 25 in the rotunda of the state capital and Oct. 26 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, according to

CALIFORNIA: Members of the AMTA’s California chapter and local units were involved in various events to promote the week according to chapter President Terri Mongait:
• The Greater Sacramento Area Unit offered chair massage on the steps of the state capitol. Therapists worked for four hours, providing approximately 300 massages to the legislature, staff and other employees.
• The Los Angeles/South Bay Unit offered chair massage to staff and volunteers at Aveson charter school in Altadena.
• The Redwood Empire Unit offered massage to staff at the Fulton Campus of Memorial Hospital.
• The Orange County Unit provided sports massage for the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships in Costa Mesa.

CALIFORNIA: Diamond Massage & Wellness Center in San Francisco provided more than $2,000 worth of complimentary 30-minute massages for any schoolteacher living or working in San Francisco.

CONNECTICUT: Members of the AMTA’s Connecticut chapter fanned out across the state to provide hundreds of complimentary seated massages to students, faculty and staff at six colleges and universities, said Lee Stang, chapter president. Students learned how massage will assist them in their focus and clarity of thinking as midterms approach, and student athletes learned why massage should be incorporated into their overall training programs.

DELAWARE: Chair massages were given to members of the Modern Maturity Center, in Dover, according to AMTA-Delaware chapter President Wade Carey. More than 30 people were provided information about massage, including the pamphlet, What to Expect on My First Massage.

FLORIDA: The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Board of Massage Therapy both recognized Oct. 21-27 as National Massage Therapy Awareness Week.

MASSACHUSETTS: The students from Bancroft School of Massage Therapy performed seated massage for 200 staff and visitors at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Oct. 23, under the director of Sr. Pat Dowler, National Massage Therapy Awareness Week chair for the AMTA’s Massachusetts Chapter (AMTA-MA). Other AMTA-MA Chapter therapists participated in special events throughout the state, Dowler said.

NORTH CAROLINA: Massage therapists at Signature Spas provided free massages on Oct. 25, according to The Charlotte Observer.

TENNESSEE: Members of the AMTA’s Tennessee chapter boarded riverboats in Nashville and Knoxville on Oct. 21 to provide chair massage and raise money for Susan G Komen For the Cure breast-cancer foundation, according to chapter President Vicki Winston. Additionally, the mayor of Knoxville issued a proclamation for National Massage Therapy Awareness Week.

WASHINGTON: The AMTA-Washington, Olympic Peninsula Unit members planned to offer complimentary seated massages and distribute brochures on the benefits of massage on Oct. 27 at the Farmer’s Market in Port Angeles, Washington.

—Karen Menehan, MASSAGE Magazine editor in chief

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Oct 15 2008

Acupressure, Breath Awareness Help Diabetes Patients

A combination of acupressure and breath awareness may help people with diabetes, according to a study originally published in the journal Health & Social Work. The study showed that a short stress-relief program including touch could lower blood sugar and improve health in diabetic patients.

Researchers at the New Mexico State University’s social work department (now the School of Social Work) observed a high incidence of diabetes among Mexican-Americans in southern New Mexico. They believed that the use of a short relaxation program could have beneficial effects on the health of those with diabetes and their families.

In cooperation with the San Miguel clinic, a study was designed that provided 15 minutes of breath work and acupressure with the goal of relieving stress for both the patient and the patient’s family. Two students in the social work department were chosen to conduct the exploratory research study. A one-group, pre-test/post-test design was used. The group size was 12.

At the start of the project, clinic staff and patients were introduced to holistic health practices, such as breathing techniques, acupressure and stress management.

Once a week for six weeks, the patients came to the clinic for a “15-minute stressout,” which had three components:
First, the patient and researcher both focused on their breath throughout the 15-minute session, in order to maintain emotional balance and empathy.

Second, the researcher applied gentle touch: applying feather strokes on the back, shoulders and arms, squeezing the arms, stretching the hands, and gripping the wrists and fingers.

Third, the researcher used acupressure on points on the patient’s hands, shoulders, back, neck and head.

There were three dependent variables measured in the study: stability of metabolic control, measured with blood sugar levels; persistence of physical symptoms, as measured by the Dartmouth COOP charts ( a question-and-answer test that assesses health and functioning); and self-perception of well-being, using post-session interviews, more COOP charts, and a “stressout survey” that measured perceived benefits of the sessions to the patients and their family and friends.

Patients experienced an overall reduction in blood sugar, anxiety, headaches, depression, and work stress and anger. They also slept better and had improved relations with their families. Patients also reported an inclination to continue with a healthier lifestyle after the project’s conclusion.

Because of limitations to the study in terms of validity and reliability (lack of a control group, and the concurrent standard medical treatment for diabetes, which may have also accounted for improvements), the authors made no claims of statistical significance. However, they said, “These limitations notwithstanding, the authors believe there is sufficient evidence to support that this alternative health practice holds promise for this population and warrants further study.” They continued, “The results of this research project support the need to integrate holistic health concepts and practices into rural area health-care systems.”

– Source: Professor Gerald W. Vest, New Mexico State University of Social Work.
Originally published in Health & Social Work, 1997, Vol. 22, pp. 95-100

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Oct 14 2008

High Blood Pressure Reduced by Massage Therapy

Hypertensive adults who received regular biweekly massage sessions experienced less depression and hostility and showed a decrease in measured stress-hormone levels, according to a recent research study.

The study titled “High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy” was completed in May 1999, and was conducted in conjunction with the Touch Research Institute, the University of Miami School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Thirty adults with controlled hypertension (for at least the last six months) were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy group or a progressive relaxation group.

Those in the massage group were given twice-weekly 30-minute massage sessions in the afternoon or early evening for five weeks. Massages were given on a rotating basis by various therapists. With the subject in a supine position, the therapist would massage the head and neck, arms, torso and legs with stroking, squeezing, pressing and pulling motions. With the subject in a prone position, the therapist would massage the back of the legs, and would then massage the back.

Participants in the progressive muscle relaxation group received instructions on completing self-administered, twice-weekly 30-minute exercises for five weeks. Researchers instructed subjects to only perform their session in the afternoon or early evening on assigned days to ensure compatibility with the massage group’s schedule. Relaxation sessions began with participants breathing deeply for several minutes while in a supine position with the hands alongside the body. They then followed instructions to tighten and then relax different muscles, moving upward from the feet to the head. Muscle groups included were of the feet, calves, thighs, hands, arms, back and face.
Pre- and post-treatment assessments included: a state anxiety inventory (STAI) to assess current emotions; a salivary sample to measure the levels of the stress hormone cortisol; systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure measures; the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) questionnaire to rate depressive symptoms; Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) self-report symptom inventory of depression, anxiety and hostility; and urinary catecholamines (biologically active amines which affect the nervous and cardiovascular systems) and cortisol measurement.

Results showed that while both groups had lower anxiety levels (STAI) and lower levels of depression (CES-D), only the massage therapy group showed decreases in sitting diastolic and systolic blood pressure; decreases in salivary and urinary cortisol stress-hormone levels; and lower scores for depression, anxiety and hostility.

Researchers suggested that future studies be long-term, and examine the effects of massage on individuals who have high levels of stress.

“Longer-term follow-up might also help determine whether the results reflected short-term effects or whether the results would have persisted beyond the treatment sessions,” researchers wrote. “If massage therapy can effectively reduce symptoms associated with hypertension, then it might reduce life-threatening complications, such as the risk of stroke or heart attack.”

– Source: Touch Research Institute. Originally reported in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, January 2000, Vol. 4, No. 1.

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