Monday, February 25, 2013

5 Massage Benefits to Help Your Workout

Mel’s noteYou may think massage would be of little benefit to you, but my guest post today, from Elise Degrass, explains why it’s so important to your exercise routine.
Exercise can help us better manage our body and our health, improving fitness levels over time.
However, to make sure you are exercising in the most effective manner, massage is an important addition.
Incorporating massage into your exercise regimen can help you avoid overworking your muscles, or putting strain on your body.
There are five specific ways which show the true massage benefits for helping your exercise routine.
1. Prepares you for exercise
Massage helps to loosen your muscles, which can be essential for a proper, and injury-free workout.
When you exercise, you are at risk of injury if you aren’t conditioned properly. So, along with warm-up exercises, massage can prepare you for a good workout.
2. Alleviates pain in the muscles
As you exercise, your muscles are working hard to achieve a peak fitness level.
And, when you finish your workout, it is important to massage the muscles to help alleviate pain.
3. Prevents tension in the muscles
Working out and stressing your muscles into toning, can cause your muscles to relax during workout, but tense up afterwards.
Massage will prevent this painful tension, allowing your muscles to be conditioned properly.
4. Eases stiffness in the muscles after exercise
As well as extreme tension, exercise can also cause stiffness within the muscles, especially for beginners.
Again, massaging the area will make sure the muscles do not stiffen up, and lead to pain.
5. Boosts immunity
Exercise not only bolsters your physique, but it’s also way of enhancing health and fitness.
In fact, massage has been shown to boost immunity, which is important to help you exercise at the highest levels.
Other benefits
Massage can be a great way of relieving stress, managing anxiety and depression, as well as reducing high blood pressure.
We already know just how beneficial and important exercise is in our lifestyle, but working out in the safest and healthiest way means performing the appropriate warm-up and cool-down exercises, as well as massaging the targeted muscles.
From preparation, to effective alleviation of post-exercise muscle afflictions, massage provides a therapeutic and relaxing, as well as comforting means of ensuring your muscles are conditioned.
Elise Degrass writes about Massage Therapy for


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weather and Pain

Why the weather forecast can make you ache

By Brenda Goodman

It’s not your imagination; the weather can cloud your health. Here’s what research reveals about the connection between weather and pain.

Changes in temperature or barometric pressure, a measure that refers to the weight of the surrounding air, trigger joint pain, though researchers aren’t entirely sure why. In 2007, researchers at Tufts University in Boston reported that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. Increasing barometric pressure was also a pain trigger in the Tufts study.
In fact, studies in cadavers have found that barometric pressure affects pressure inside the joints. In one experiment, when pressure in the hip joints was equated with atmospheric pressure, it threw the ball of the hip joint about one-third of an inch off track.

The conventional wisdom that thunderstorms wash pollen, smoke, mold and pollutants out of the air, making it easier to breathe, may be wrong, according to scientists at the University of Georgia in Athens and Emory University in Atlanta. Climatologists and epidemiologists who looked at 12 years of records from 41 hospitals around Atlanta, found that visits to the emergency room for asthma spiked on the day after a thunderstorm. The link got stronger during storms with moderate-to-high wind gusts and moisture.
Though they aren’t sure why asthma gets worse after a storm, the scientists think that rain causes pollen grains to burst into pieces that are even smaller and easier to inhale. Lightning in the atmosphere may also spark a chemical reaction, turning pollutants into asthma triggers.

Migraine Headaches
Studies have found that 50 to 80 percent of all people who get migraines believe weather can set off a headache. The exact weather patterns that precipitate migraines remain a mystery, however.
In a study published in 2004, Patricia Prince, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, asked 77 migraine sufferers to keep calendars documenting their migraines over a period of two years. She then compared those to records kept by the National Weather Service.
About half of study participants got migraines that coincided with weather changes, but not all who were weather sensitive had the same triggers. Some seemed most vulnerable to a combination of high heat and high humidity, while others got headaches under the exact opposite conditions – low temperatures and low humidity.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Does Sports Massage Improve Performance or Recovery

Does therapeutic sports massage improve performance or recovery?

By , Guide
Updated June 27, 2010

Many elite athletes consider sports massage an essential part of their training and recovery routine. Theses athletes report that a sports massage helps them train more effectively, improve performance, prevent injury, and recovery quickly. Historically, competitive and professional athletes have been some of the biggest users of sports massage. Today, a growing number of massage therapists offer therapeutic sports massage and many recreational athletes enjoy sports massage on a regular basis.
What is Therapeutic Sports Massage?
Therapeutic sports massage is a type of massage technique that focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pain and injuries that are associated with recreational activities. Massage can reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
While many athletes are convinced of the physical benefit of massage, research on its effectiveness is currently limited. Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues, and this is believed to result in improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decreased muscle stiffness.
The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow during the massage and increase muscle temperature. Massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Most people report a feeling of pure relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result. Athletes may indeed find an edge in these psychological benefits.
On the other hand, very little scientific evidence supports claims that sports massage improves performance and prevents injury. A limited amount of research finds that post-exercise massage reduces the intensity of muscle soreness, but has no effect on the muscle functional loss (weakness, fatigue, decreases in strength, etc.) that often occurs after intense training or competition.
Still, for most athletes, enjoying less muscle pain and stiffness and improving sense of relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular massage. And as research continues to study the mind/body connection, we may discover that the psychological benefits of massage do, indeed, improve our physical functioning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Often Should I Get A Massage?

By , Guide

How often you should get a massage depends on your needs, your budget and your stress levels. Massage has significanthealth benefits that are best experienced when you get massage regularly.
Typically, once every week or two is ideal for keeping your muscle tissue pliable and in good shape, if you can afford it. If you are in chronic pain or have a special issue to address, you might need to come weekly (or even twice a week) until you feel better.
Once you're feeling good, once a month is probably the minimum for maintaining the health of your tissue. If you start stretching the massages out too far, then your muscles can revert to their old patterns and you'll have to start all over again to restore their suppleness and pliancy. Listen to your body, but don't wait too long in an effort to save money.
Make sure you find a good massage therapist that you feel comfortable with and whose style you like. You might even want to have a few different therapists you can call on. They all have their own styles and specialities. Sometimes your body might need a vigorous deep tissue massage and sometimes something gentler, like craniosacraltherapy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Can Massage Help My Health and Well-Being?

Generally, people use massage for either general relaxation and well-being, or to address a specific complaint, such as pain or limited range of motion. Research suggests massage therapy may contribute to both goals. 
Some of the general benefits of massage therapy may include:
·                             Physical relaxation
·                             Improved circulation, which nourishes cells and improves waste elimination
·                             Relief for tight muscles (knots) and other aches and pains
·                             Release of nerve compression (carpel tunnel, sciatica)
·                             Greater flexibility and range of motion
·                             Enhanced energy and vitality
·                             Some clinical styles may help heal scar tissue as well as tendon, ligament, and muscle tears

What specific conditions can massage therapy help?

Massage therapy may help the body in many ways.  Massage can relax muscle tissue, which may lead to decreased nerve compression, increased joint space, and range of motion. This may lead to reduced pain and improved function. 
Massage therapy may also improve circulation, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells and helps remove waste products. These circulatory effects of massage may have great value in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or edema (an excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues). 
Massage therapy is also thought to induce a relaxation response, which lowers the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure; boosts the immune system; and generally decreases the physical effects of stress.
These effects suggest that massage may be helpful for a wide range of conditions.  Some of these are listed below.
**Decreases pain and increasing functioning in these conditions: carpal tunnel, sciatica, tension headaches, whiplash, scoliosis, torticollis, tendon&muscle tears, thoracic outlet syndrome, varicose veins, pregnancy-related back pain and other discomfort, myofascial pain, sore or overused muscles, muscle injury, etc
**Helps treat , manage, and reduce risk of chronic diseases: gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscular dystrophies, raynaud’s disease, diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure, reduces risk of chronic diseases, etc.
**Other psychological emotional, and physical benefits: improved mood, reduced anxiety, lower stress levels, lessening of depression, reduced anger and aggression, improved sleep patterns and decreased sleep disturbance, reduced fatigue, enhances immune system, improves athletic performance and enhances recovery.

Massage Therapy & Insurance

People seek massage therapy for a number of reasons, including relaxation and stress release. Other individuals obtain massage therapy as part of a process of physical therapy. As you consider massage therapy, you need to determine whether your health insurance policy provides coverage for this type of treatment.

The underlying function served by massage therapy is the key consideration as to whether health or medical insurance will cover the treatment. If massage therapy is deemed medically necessary, a typical health insurance policy likely provides at least some coverage for it, according to the University of Minnesota.

A number of factors come into play in determining whether massage therapy is medically necessary. If you suffer an injury that requires physical therapy, massage therapy is considered to be a complementary element of that treatment. Another factor used in determining medical necessity is a consideration of the anticipated benefit of the treatment. For example, merely providing you stress release and relaxation is not likely enough. However, if a demonstration is made that massage therapy hastens recovery, an insurer likely deems it medically necessary.

Preventative Care
An increasing number of health insurance companies, HMOs and PPOs provide coverage for massage therapy prescribed by a physician, according to These carriers permit coverage based on the premise that professional massage therapy is useful in assisting people maintain better health and reduces the overall costs associated with medical care.

Alternative Insurance
In addition to some health insurance policies providing coverage for massage therapy, there are automobile insurance polices that allow for this type of coverage in some cases as well, according to the University of Minnesota. As with health insurance, an automobile insurance policy provides coverage for massage therapy following an accident if the treatment is deemed medically necessary and is prescribed by a physician.

Expert Insight
A consumer must obtain pre-approval from an insurance company before seeking massage therapy. Even if an insurance policy otherwise pays for massage therapy, the failure to obtain pre-approval for that type of treatment oftentimes results in a denial of coverage.

• Massage Craze -- Hands-on Therapy Attracting More Patients
•    University of Minnesota: How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost?
Read more here