Massage affects the body as a whole. Researchers have estimated that 80% of diseases are stress related. Texas Tech Medical Center's Dr. Alan Kaye says massage therapy can help by counteracting those effects.
"We picked massage therapy knowing that many people believe that it is therapeutic for all types of muscle strains, aches, and even many chronic pain syndromes," explains Dr. Kaye.
Massage therapist Jan Swinford says massage is the application of pressure and movement to the soft tissue of the body, skin, and muscles. It encourages healing by promoting the flow of blood and lymph, relieving tension, stimulating nerves, and stretching and loosening muscles.
"Our study on massage therapy was performed over a four month period. It involved about 160 patients with a variety of different conditions. We looked at blood pressure and heart rate changes before and after therapeutic massage and found that essentially every patient had a significant drop in blood pressure heart rate," he adds.
There is really nothing more healing that the power pf touch, and massage is a wonderful intervention, but talk to your doctor before you try to treat an ailment for an alternative therapy.
Dr. Smith says other research studies have shown that with premature infants, massage therapy was found to enhance weight gain and shorten hospital stays. As for the high blood pressure, Dr. Smith says don't forget the value of conventional treatments like a healthy diet, salt restriction, and exercise. A good massage just complements those health benefits.