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Power of Massage The Healing


From Body Repair to Reversing the Blues by Case Adams


I


n 1886, Dr. William Murrell stated in the British Medical Journal, “Mas- sage is of such inestimable value in the treatment of many intractable diseases that it is regretted that so little is known about it in this country, and that it is so rarely employed as a thera- peutic agent.” A 2013 survey by the American Massage Association (AMTA) showed that a majority of us are choosing massage therapy to treat such condi- tions as stress and pain management, according to Winona Bontrager, the association’s immediate past president. Of 1,007 adults surveyed, 75 percent opted for it within the previous year for stress or medical reasons, and 88


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percent view massage as effective for pain relief. “A growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health condi- tions,” reports Bontrager, adding that massage is rapidly becoming recog- nized as an important part of health and wellness.


Cody Landis, a licensed massage therapist and instructor at the Swedish Institute’s College of Health Sciences, in New York City, explains, “In the last few years, massage therapy research has been focusing more on the mecha- nisms by which the potential health benefits may be occurring—looking at the response of the brain, the immune


system and the mechanisms of repair inside of muscle cells themselves.”


Relieves Stress An AMTA survey reported that 32 per- cent of positive respondents used mas- sage to relieve stress, and numerous recent studies have confirmed this. Re- search from Harvard Medical School shows that massage reduces pain and anxiety while increasing sleep and quality of life among metastatic can- cer patients. Boston Medical Center researchers saw similar results among 60 cancer patients that underwent port placement surgery; 20-minute mas- sages before and after surgery reduced participants’ stress and anxiety.


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