Today, massage is considered a necessity, an integral part of any health and wellness regime. Some of the things massage can help with are anxiety, sleep quality, energy, concentration, focus and circulation, to name just a few.
Used as a complement to traditional Western medicine, massage therapy can ease pain and anxiety after major surgery, promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment. It may help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, nausea, or depression or improve the function of your immune system.
Several studies show massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol (often considered responsible for those ever-expanding waistlines), while boosting the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Those changes slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and block your nervous system’s pain receptors. Massage also increases blood flow to the muscles, which may help them heal.
It’s more than just pain management, though. Massage relaxes people, and when relaxed, people just deal with their stresses better. That results in faster recovery; in fact, it’s now estimated that over 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage is also a form of touch therapy, and touch in itself is healing.
ABC-TV News recently reported that a study revealed that just twenty minutes of massage was equivalent to the patients getting a dose of morphine, and many hospitals, over the past decade, have routinely recommended massage as an effective post-surgical treatment.
In fact, back in 2004, well-known health and wellness journalist Mike Adams reported on his site, NaturalNews.Com:
“As more and more people are discovering, massage therapy and healing touch therapies are proving to be extremely good medicine for treating those with chronic diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and even circulatory disorders. There are several good reasons for this, such as the fact that massage therapy helps move lymph fluid around the body and oxygenate organs and tissues.”
The number of doctors and hospitals recommending therapeutic touch has been increasing over the last few years. Adams continues, “True healers are willing to get involved with their patients in terms of understanding them, seeing the world from their perspective, and even touching them in a healing way with positive intent.
The lymphatic system is particularly important, because it is the body’s natural defense system. It drains fluid from bodily tissue and allows immune cells to travel throughout the body. It also carries nutrition to all of the cells in the body and to remove toxins, waste products and pathogens. Many immune reactions take place in the lymphatic system.
Sometimes, however, the lymphatic vessels become congested and damaged. When that happens, the system actually transports damaged cells and inflammatory
tissue back to the blood stream.
Although that can happen to anyone, it’s estimated that 10 to 15 percent of breast cancer patients experience it at some time. Very gentle massage (too vigorous can actually cause fluid to accumulate) often helps.
And, on the subject of breast cancer, we encourage you to participate in the Revlon Walk for Women’s Cancers here in New York on May 5, 2012.