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How can massage be medically beneficial? People find that therapeutic massage can help with a wide range of medical conditions, including:

• Allergies
• Anxiety and stress
• Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
• Asthma and bronchitis
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Chronic and temporary pain
• Circulatory problems
• Depression
• Digestive disorders, including spastic colon, constipation and diarrhea
• Headache, especially when due to muscle tension
• Insomnia
• Myofascial pain (a condition of the tissue connecting the muscles)
• Reduced range of motion
• Sinusitis
• Sports injuries, including pulled or strained muscles and sprained ligaments
• Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)

Types of Massage

Massage Therapy involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm and stress; and to promote health and wellness. The American Massage Therapy Association defines massage therapy as a profession in which the practitioner applies manual techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client.

It comes in many forms, including:

Table Massage — a clothed table massage will be offered! This technique combines the relaxation of a table massage without the hassle of getting undressed. The treatment consists of a therapeutic massage of the head, neck, face, arms, hands and feet. No oils are used. The massage is then completed with some assisted gentle stretches. There is a minimum scheduling requirement of 30 minutes in order to complete the massage.

Swedish — a gentle, relaxing massage; Trigger Point — helps release hyper-irritable points in muscle tissue.

Sports massage — focuses on muscle groups relevant to the particular sport.

Cranio-Sacral — a technique for finding and correcting cerebral and spinal imbalances or blockages that may cause sensory, motor or mental dysfunction.

Deep Tissue — releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue because it focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.

Effleurage — a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. This smooth, gliding stroke is used to relax soft tissue and is applied using both hands.

Friction — is the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses deep circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result increases blood flow to the massaged area.

Myofascial Release — a form of bodywork that is manipulative in nature and seeks to rebalance the body by releasing tension in the fascia. Long, stretching strokes are utilized to release muscular tension.
On-site Massage (also known as chair massage or corporate massage) — is administered while the client is clothed and seated in a specially designed chair. These chairs most often slope forward allowing access to the large muscles of the back. On-site massage usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and is intended to relax and improve circulation.

Petrissage (also called kneading) — involves squeezing, rolling and kneading the muscles and usually follows effleurage during Swedish massage.

Reflexology — massage based around a system of points in the hands and feet thought to correspond, or "reflex," to all areas of the body.

Although massage therapy does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.

Massaged adults showed 1) enhanced alertness; 2) math problems were completed in significantly less time with significantly fewer errors after the massage; and 3) anxiety, cortisol (stress hormone) and job stress levels were lower at the end of the 5 week period.

Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.

Touch Research Institutes
University of Miami School of Medicine
P.O. Box 016820
Miami Fl, 33101
(Located at Mailman Center for Child Development
1601 NW 12th Ave., 7th Floor, Suite 7037)

Phone: 305-243-6781
Fax: 305-243-6488

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