Therapeutic Massage and Therapeutic Massage Research

Therapeutic Massage--is it right for you?
by: Tracy Norwalk

Gives an overview of massage and its benefits. As little as 10 years ago, the concept of massage in most peoples mind’s was that of a luxury reserved for professional athletes, the rich and famous or at best as a self indulgent splurge while vacationing at a resort. Today however, massage has become a much more common and regular practice for the average individual, as more and more businesses continuing to offer this service proves. But, you may be asking yourself “is it right for me?”

To begin answering this question, let’s explore what happens during a therapeutic massage, what shouldn’t happen, and what the vast array of benefits are. If you are walking into a practitioners office for the first time, you will usually begin your session by being given a brief health questionnaire, so the therapist can determine the goals for the massage, as well as if any serious conditions exist why a massage should not be performed or the techniques limited. Once this step is completed, you will be left alone briefly to disrobe, lie down on a massage table and cover yourself with a top sheet. When the practitioner returns, he or she will almost always begin by gliding and stroking over the muscles and skin to warm them up and prepare them for deeper work, such as kneading and muscle rolling. As the massage progresses, you therapist will continue to work more deeply into your muscles, but should never cross the line where intense pain or discomfort are felt. As your massage is coming to a close, there will usually be a return to some gentle gliding and finishing strokes, before you are left in private to get off the table and dress.

Some of the many benefits of massage include regulation of circulatory function, energy levels and breathing, stimulation of lymphatic flow which helps the body eliminate toxins, muscle tone, cellulite reduction, immune system stimulation, and last but certainly not least a deep sense of calm, nurture and stress reduction.

Within a professional setting, there are a few guidelines that should never be crossed. You should never be told to undress further than you are comfortable with. You should never be embarrassed by private areas of your body being exposed. You should never be dealt with in a sexual or harassing manner and you should never have your threshold for pain and discomfort crossed.

It is unfortunate to also have to address a somewhat common misconception that getting a therapeutic massage can also have sexual implications in some peoples minds. Any therapist or client working within a legitimate office setting should never cross this boundary, and should result in the immediate termination of the session either from a client or therapist standpoint. It is far in-away more common for a therapist to have to deal with unwanted advances than it would ever be for a client to experience the same inappropriate behavior from their therapist.

A few final notes would include that the guidelines and information in this article basically pertains to Swedish Massage technique, which is by far the most common form of massage done today. There are other methods of bodywork such as Rolfing or Trigger Point therapy, which can work more deeply and produce a more significant amount of pain. Reflexology is a form of massage working with various pulse points on the feet, that correlate with various organs of the body. Applying fingertip or thumb pressure on the appropriate pulse point is said to promote healing and stimulation of the corresponding organ. Also, some other forms of therapy which work at the energetic levels of the body such as Reike, Therapeutic

Touch and Auric Stroking are performed with some degree of frequency, so it may be wise to check with your practitioner in advance to make sure you will be getting the type of session that you desire. Massage can be performed on men and women from the very young to the very old--is it right for you?

About The Author

In her diversified career as a holistic practitioner, Tracy Norwalk has conducted corporate stress relief programs, taught classes in Aromatherapy as a certified practitioner, and worked as a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist for state-of-the-art spas in both Pennsylvania and California. She has designed and sold her own all-natural bath and body line, and done freelance newspaper writing on topics pertaining to alternative medicine. In addition, she has studied and works with various forms of energy healing techniques. Web address:

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Therapeutic Massage Goes Mainstream
by: Angie Kocsi

Have you ever bumped your knee or elbow? What was response? Well, of course, you rub them in order to ease the pain and make them feel better. As the ancient art of therapeutic massage is enjoying a modern-day revival it is interesting to note that as far back as the fifth century BC, Hippocrates, wrote: "The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing...for rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid"

Therapeutic massage is becoming increasingly popular among people of all ages. This growth can be attributed partly to the growing population of baby-boomers and partly to the increased awareness of the harmful effects of stress on the body and the physiological benefits of therapeutic touch.

Massage therapists that once served only elite professionals and athletes now serve a much wider range of clientele. Using tried and true massage techniques, the skilful, well-trained massage therapist, relieves the tension in the muscles of the body and positively affects the health and well being of the client. Many spas now offer a variety of massage treatments both at the spa and also as a mobile service where the spa therapist comes to you.

Today massage therapy is well accepted as a method of reducing stress, pain and promoting relaxation. A large number of corporations, small businesses and municipalities have found the on-site massage service to be a low cost benefit with a high pay off. Studies have found that making massage available to employees reduces the incidents of headaches, back stain and fatigue. Productivity increased and sick leave decreased when employees received monthly scheduled massages.

To experience the benefits, relax and enjoy these calming therapies - chose the one that best suits you particular needs.

1. Swedish massage - A massage treatment using stroking, kneading or tapping to relax muscles gently.

2. Thai - A combination of deep tissue massage and passive stretching that can help to ease stiff, tense or short muscles

3. Sport Massage - a deep tissue massage to relieve muscle tension, stress and residual pain from workouts etc.

4. Couples Massage - A massage treatment for couples, side by side, in a calm and often romantic, candle-lit setting.

For information on where to find an experienced massage therapist in Canada and what to expect from the experience contact the spa team
About The Author

Angie Kocsi is co-founder of
After many years enjoying spas in Europe and drawing upon her knowledge of the corporate world along with an successful career in Public Relations and International Marketing was created

The Spas in Canada website provides a place where premier spas and industry professionals offer useful information for all spa lovers everywhere.

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Therapeutic Massage Research Findings
by: P. Sidney Parker

Research on massage therapy, and its benefits, continues to show that it reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases endorphins, and the circulation of blood and lymph fluids. Research has also shown that therapeutic massage relaxes muscles, and improves range of motion (ROI).

While massage does not increase muscle strength, massage can increase muscle tone. Therapeutic massage also helps the body's homostatic functions thereby decreasing the amount of time needed to recover after exercise or injury which is often caused by muscle stiffness (inflexibility). Massage helps in keeping the proper amount of fluid circulating between muscle fibers, and in rehydrating dehydrated fibers.

Joan Borysenko (, a medical scientist, licensed clinical psychologist, and cofounder of the Mind/Body Clinic at Harvard Medical School, had this to say when interviewed by the Massage Journal, in 1999:

"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 any more. Touch just isn't there. Years ago massage was a big part of nursing. There was so much care, so much touch, so much goodness 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 any more.

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."

In the past century research on the benefits massage therapy has yeilded some very encouraging findings.

There is research showing that Office workers felt less stress, experienced heightened alertness and increased performance, when getting regular massage sessions. Some of the other findings from research on the benefits of massage therapy are:

  • University students, in New Jersey, massaged before an exam showed a significant decrease in anxiety and respiration rates. It was also found they had a measurable increase their white blood cell count and in the production of T-cells so important to the immune system.

  • After receiving therapeutic massage a group of cancer patients experienced reduced pain and anxiety.

  • An university study found that mothers who had recently suffered the death of a child, experienced reduced levels of depression after receiving therapeutic massage.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted studies that found therapeutic massage was beneficial in improving weight gain in HIV infants.

  • Reseachers at the Touch Research Institute (University of Miami) found therapeutic massage helpful in reducing blood pressure. The same research has found that therapeutic massage helps in reducing pain in migraine sufferers.

Some of the other benefits of therapeutic massage are:

  • The skin
    • Improves tone and elasticity
    • Improves skin nourishment
    • Aids in normalizing glandular functions

  • Skeletal system (Myofascial)
    • Relieves stiff joints
    • Assists in proper body alignment

  • Muscular system
    • Reduces fibrosis and adhesions in fibers
    • Assists in maintaining flexibity
    • Can relax or stimulate fibers
    • Relieves tension, and stiffness

  • Circulatory system
    • Improves cell nutrition
    • Improves cell oxygen supply
    • Decreases blood pressure

  • Nervous system
    • Stimulates nerves
    • Relieves insomnia
    • Promotes a state of well-being

  • Lymphatic system
    • Increases circulation
    • Flushes out toxins and metabolic wastes

  • Athletes
    • Improves flexibility and ROI
    • Relieves tight and sore muscles
    • Decreases recovery time after exercise or injury

For more information on the benefits of therapeutic massage, visit the American Massage Therapy Association's web site at and my Holistic Health Therapy web site at

About The Author

P. Sidney Parker is a Holistic Health Therapist, with a practice in Phillipsburg, NJ which specializes in massage therapy and fitness training. For more info please visit or

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