Benefits To Massage Therapy

Research in massage therapy has been ongoing for more than 120 years.

Here are some reported benefits of massage:

  • Medical school students at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School who were massaged before an exam showed a significant decrease in anxiety and respiratory rates, as well as a significant increase in white blood cells and natural killer cell activity, suggesting a benefit to the immune system.
  • bullet Preliminary results suggested cancer patients had less pain and anxiety after receiving therapeutic massage at the James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
  • bullet Women who had experienced the recent death of a child were less depressed after receiving therapeutic massage, according to preliminary results of a study at the University of South Carolina.

Studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found massage beneficial in improving weight gain in HIV-exposed infants and facilitating recovery in patients who underwent abdominal surgery. At the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, researchers have found that massage is helpful in decreasing blood pressure in people with hypertension, alleviating pain in migraine sufferers and improving alertness and performance in office workers.

An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage 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 complete recovery from exercise or injury.

Research has verified that:

  • Office workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less stressed than those who weren’t massaged.
  • Massage therapy decreased the effects of anxiety, tension, depression, pain, and itching in burn patients.
  • Abdominal surgery patients recovered more quickly after a massage.
  • Premature infants who were massaged gained more weight and fared better than those who weren’t.
  • Autistic children showed less erratic behavior after massage therapy.

According to AMTA, massage helps both physically and mentally.

Physical Benefits Of Therapeutic Massage

  • Helps relieve stress and aids relaxation
  • Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Alleviates discomfort during pregnancy
  • Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
  • Enhances athletic performance; Treats sports injuries/work injuries
  • Promotes deeper and easier breathing
  • Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain
  • Enhances the health and nourishment of skin
  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the immune system

Mental Benefits Of Massage Therapy

  • Treats musculoskeletal problems
  • Rehabilitation post operative
  • Rehabilitation after Injury
  • Fosters peace of mind
  • Promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness
  • Helps relieve mental stress
  • Improves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately
  • Enhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity
  • Emotional Benefits
  • Satisfies needs for caring nurturing touch
  • Fosters a feeling of well-being
  • Reduces levels of anxiety
  • Creates body awareness
  • Increases awareness of mind-body connection

“Often times people are stressed in our culture. Stress-related disorders make up between 80-and-90 percent of the ailments that bring people to family-practice physicians. What they require is someone to listen, someone to touch them, someone to care. That does not exist in modern medicine.

One of the complaints heard frequently is that physicians don’t touch their patients anymore. Touch just isn’t there. Years ago massage was a big part of nursing. There was so much care, so much touch, so much better conveyed through massage. Now nurses, for the most part, are as busy as physicians. They’re writing charts, dealing with insurance notes, they’re doing procedures and often there is no room for massage anymore.

I believe massage therapy is absolutely key in the healing process not only in the hospital environment but because it relieves stress, it is obviously foundational in the healing process any time and anywhere.”

Schedule an appointment with us today.

What is ART? (Active Release Technique)

What is Active Release Techniques (ART) to Individuals, Athletes, and Patients?

ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.

How do overuse conditions occur?
Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:

  • Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
  • Accumulation of small tears (micro trauma)
  • Not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)

Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

What is an ART treatment like?

Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques?

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients’ problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART.

Don’t forget to ask your chiropractor about ART and how it can benefit YOU!

Backpack Safety Tips

At What Point Is A Child’s Backpack Too Heavy?

As kids return to school this Fall, don’t wait for them to complain about back pain. Instead, pay attention to their posture and keep an attentive eye on all of the items that are loaded into their backpack each day.

Chiropractors recommend that kids carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 13,700 kids, ages 5 to 18 years old, were treated in hospitals and doctors’ offices for injuries related to backpacks.

“When used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of the school day,” said orthopedic surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) spokesperson Melanie Kinchen, MD. “Backpack injuries are commonly caused by wearing overloaded backpacks, as well as lifting and carrying them incorrectly. Parents and teachers should guide kids to take preventative measures. Start by choosing a backpack that is appropriately sized for your child or have them use a rolling backpack as an alternative to carrying their heavy load on their shoulders.”

The Academy recommends the following safety tips to help eliminate pain and discomfort due to backpacks:

  • Always use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed.
  • Tighten the straps and use a waist strap if the bag has one.
    • Remove or organize items if too heavy and place biggest items closest to the back.
    • Lift properly and bend at the knees to pick up a backpack.
    • Carry only those items that are required for the day; leave books at home or school, if possible.
  • Keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping over them.

Parents Also Can Help With Backpack-Related Pain:

  • Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack, like numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
  • Purchase a backpack appropriate for the size of your child and look for any changes in your child’s posture when he or she wears the backpack.
  • Watch your child put on or take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle. Do not ignore red marks on the shoulders if your child or teenager expresses discomfort.
  • Talk to the school about lightening the load. Keep the load under 10-15 percent of the child’s body weight.
  • Be sure the school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day.

Teachers can help by following these tips:

  • When planning lessons, take into consideration ways to lighten a child’s backpack load.
  • Allow enough time for kids to stop by their lockers to drop off books.

Remember, prevention of injury is better than sustaining an injury!

More Commonly Treated Disorders With Physical Therapy

Welcome to our continuation of common disorders treated by Physical Therapy!

Treatment by a physical therapist may be prescribed by the referring physician and/or a plan the PT develops following a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s condition. Therapies are described as passive or active. Passive therapies do not require the patient’s participation, active therapies do.

The goals of physical therapy include reducing inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and increasing flexibility (range of motion), strength, and mobility. Postural correction, ergonomics (proper body mechanics), and prevention are key to all physical therapy programs.

Passive Therapies: It includes heat and ice, joint mobilization, manipulation, massage, myofascial release, spinal traction, transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), and ultrasound.

Active Therapies: It includes stretching, strengthening, and aerobic (cardiovascular) training. Therapeutic exercise may be performed in a swimming pool (anti-gravity environment) to make stretching and strength building easier for patients who find weight-bearing exercise difficult.

Sciatica

Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to help you relieve your sciatica and restore movement. Physical therapy includes both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help to relax you and your body. They also prepare your body for therapeutic exercise, which is the active part of physical therapy.

Your physical therapist may give you passive treatments such as:

  • Deep Tissue Massage: This technique targets chronic muscle tension that could be pressing on your or related nerve roots. The therapist uses direct pressure and friction to try to release the tension in your soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles).
  • Hot And Cold Therapies: By using heat, the physical therapist seeks to get more blood to the target area because an increased blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to that area. For example, a heat pack placed on your piriformis muscle may help to reduce muscle spasms that could be causing your sciatica. Cold therapy slows circulation, helping to reduce inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. Your physical therapist will alternate between hot and cold therapies.
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): You could even use this at home, if your therapist thinks it’s necessary. A machine stimulates your muscles through variable (but safe) intensities of electrical current. TENS helps reduce muscle spasms, and it may increase your body’s production of endorphins, your natural painkillers. The TENS equipment your physical therapist uses is larger than the “at-home” use machine. However, whether large or small, a TENS unit can be a helpful therapy.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound sends sound waves deep into your muscle tissues and creates a gentle heat that enhances circulation and helps to speed healing. Increased circulation helps to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness, and pain.

In the active part of physical therapy, your therapist will teach you various exercises. Your physical therapy program is individualized, taking into consideration your health and history. It may include aerobic conditioning, strengthening exercises, and movements to increase flexibility and range of motion.

If needed, you will learn how to correct your posture and incorporate ergonomic principles into your daily activities.

Fibromyalgia

Physical therapy often takes a hands-on approach, which may make you cringe if you’re experiencing pain from multiple hypersensitive tender points. However, physical therapy uses methods that are gentle, effective, and will most likely play a major role in managing your fibromyalgia symptoms.

There are a variety of physical therapy techniques. Passive treatments relax your body and include deep tissue massage, heat therapy, hydrotherapy, electric muscle stimulation, and ultrasound.

Your physical therapy program will usually begin with passive treatments. When you feel ready, you will start active treatments that strengthen your body and prevent further fibromyalgia pain. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop a plan that best suits you.

Passive Treatments

  • Deep Tissue Massage: Unless you’re in an extreme amount of pain, deep tissue massage is an ideal fibromyalgia treatment because it uses a great deal of pressure to relieve deep muscle tension and spasms. Spasms prevent muscle motion at the affected level, which is one of the reasons people with fibromyalgia experience a decreased range of motion. Physical therapy techniques, including deep tissue massage, will help you use your muscles more effectively. This treatment may be combined with heat or cold therapies to boost the benefits.
  • Heat Therapy: Heat therapy is one of the most preferred methods of reducing chronic aches and pains associated with fibromyalgia. Heat triggers the body’s natural healing process by relaxing your muscles and speeding up blood flow to the affected area. Extra blood delivers extra oxygen and nutrients. Blood also removes waste byproducts from muscle spasms.Heat may not completely eliminate the source of your pain, but it can effectively reduce your pain. This therapy is used in a couple of ways—through dry heat (a heating pad or a dry, hot towel) or moist heat (steam heat or a moist, warm cloth).When using heat therapy on your own after physical therapy ends, never overheat painful areas. If you’re using a heating pad, set it to low or medium. When using a hot towel, touch it first to make sure it’s not too hot. Excessive heat may not only exacerbate your fibromyalgia pain but also potentially cause burns.
  • Hydrotherapy: As the name suggests, hydrotherapy involves water. As a passive treatment, hydrotherapy may simply involve sitting in a whirlpool bath to relieve pain, relax muscles, and condition your body without adding unnecessary stress.
  • Electric Muscle Stimulation: Electric muscle stimulation sounds intense, but it really isn’t painful. This technique reduces muscle spasms and is generally believed to trigger the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers.
  • Ultrasound: This therapy uses sound waves to create a gentle heat that increases blood circulation to your deep tissues. Ultrasound helps reduce muscle spasms, inflammation, stiffness, and pain and is most effective in relieving range of motion limitations in chronic pain sufferers,as opposed to those with acute inflammatory conditions.

Active Treatments

Active treatments help address core stability, flexibility, strength, and joint movement. An exercise program may also be prescribed to achieve optimal results. This will not only curb recurrent pain but will also benefit your overall health. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop a program based on your specific symptoms and health history.

Active treatments include:

  • Core Stability: Your core (abdominal) muscles have a greater impact on your overall health than you may think. Strong core muscles serve as good allies to your back muscles in supporting your spine. It’s called the core because it’s the central powerhouse of your body. Naturally, a healthy core provides your body with a strong, stable center point.
  • Muscle Flexibility And Strengthening: Your range of motion will likely be restricted if you’re experiencing fibromyalgia pain. Using customized stretching and strengthening exercises, your physical therapist will help you lengthen and strengthen your muscles, and improve joint movement. Strong, lean muscles better handle pain.
  • Hydrotherapy: Water-based exercises may be recommended to provide gentle aerobic conditioning.

Your physical therapist will teach you self-care principles so you understand how to best treat your symptoms. The ultimate goal is for you to develop the knowledge to help control your symptoms. It’s essential that you learn the exercises and continue them after the formal therapy ends. If you fail to keep with a fitness regimen, you won’t enjoy long-term results from your physical therapy. By taking care of your back on your own, you’ll reduce further fibromyalgia pain.