Balance Blog

Jun 12th

Swedish Massage and Arthritis

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June is National Arthritis Month.  For the many people who suffer from this painful disease, this month is a way to raise awareness, be in community with other arthritis sufferers, and to learn about new methods for dealing with the pain of arthritis, such as medications, herbal remedies, yoga and massage therapy.

Swedish massage can be a powerful addition to an arthritis sufferer’s treatment plan.  According to researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center, massage therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce pain and improve function in adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.    Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects 21 million Americans and causes more physical limitation than lung disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Massage is free of any known side effects and according to our results, clearly shows therapeutic promise,” said senior investigator of the study David L. Katz, M.D., associate adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at Yale School of Medicine and director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center. “So-called ‘alternative’ treatments like massage are most important when conventional treatments are far from ideal. Currently available non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often not well-tolerated by older adults with osteoarthritis. Cox-II inhibitors like Vioxx were developed as substitutes for traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, but pose highly-publicized toxicity problems of their own.”

“Our results suggest that massage therapy can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment for osteoarthritis,” said Perlman. “Ultimately, massage may be shown to lessen a patient’s reliance on medications and decrease health care costs.”

Since deep tissue massage is contraindicated for certain types of arthritis during flare ups, Swedish massage is the modality most often used to help ease arthritis pain. Swedish massage utilizes five basic strokes: long, slow strokes (effleurage), kneading (petrissage), a tapping stroke called tapotement, friction, and vibration or rocking.  Swedish massage can be done with a variety of pressures, but generally addresses the joints and surface layers of muscles, as opposed to deep tissue massage, which reaches the deeper tissues.  For arthritis sufferers, Swedish massage is beneficial not only for pain, but also for the anxiety and depression that can result from living with chronic pain.

During this National Arthritis Month, treat yourself or someone you know who lives with arthritis to something healthy and rewarding: a yoga class, a gentle walk, or a relaxing, pain-reducing massage.  When we treat our bodies lovingly, like a friend, chronic pain can become easier to live with.

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Apr 27th

The Benefits of Sports Massage for Children

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The Benefits of Sports Massage for Children

It’s estimated that nearly 250,000 children get injured each year playing sports.  Often an injured child  will have to sit out for several weeks or months to allow the body time to heal. Sitting out for a season can be frustrating and upsetting.  Massage can help the recovery process go a little smoother. Some benefits of sports massage are:

Faster recovery time

Most children are anxious to get back on the field after an injury. Sports massage can shorten the length of time needed for recovery by stimulating the flow of oxygen and healing nutrients to the muscles.  It can also reduce scar tissue and relieve stress on the injured joints and connective tissues.

Increases flexibility and range of motion

Sports massage can improve the elasticity of tissues, helping to increase flexibility and range of motion. Children who are more flexible and have a wider range of motion are less likely to suffer a second injury.

Helps eliminate lactic acid

Lactic acid is a substance that builds up in the muscles after an intense workout. Lactic acid and other muscular waste products can irritate the muscles and cause soreness. A massage can help alleviate soreness by helping the body remove excess waste products, replacing them with the oxygen-rich blood muscles need for healthy function.

Can help boost performance

Many children fear that their performance will suffer if they sit out for too long. The improved flexibility and range of motion that massage offers can help enhance a child’s athletic performance, after an injury or at any time during the playing season.

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Apr 20th

Try A Workout For Couples Therapy

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A love relationship is one of the most fulfilling things we can have in our lives.  After a while, though, any couple can start to experience difficulties. How can you take action to bolster a relationship that’s starting to feel strained?

Couples therapy is an option, helping a relationship become stronger by providing a safe setting for open, honest communication and working out issues. After a while, if work and family have taken center stage, sometimes what a couple needs is to simply make time for each other. Start something new together: a hobby you can share, reading to each other, dinner dates at your favorite restaurant, and couples massage are a few ideas.  Get to know each other again!

Spring is the time to shake off the winter blues and get healthy – and creating a fun workout is a great way to create a bonding experience for a couple or family. You don’t have to buy a gym membership; try small steps, like taking a family bike ride in the evenings, walking the dog together, hiking on a local trail or playing frisbee in the park. Studies have shown that an exercise workout boosts levels of serotonin, a hormone that improves your mood.  Sunlight also increases serotonin, so taking your workout outside is a double dose of natural antidepressant. With the body refreshed and the mind clear, relationships can be seen with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Use your workout time to help each other achieve a goal. Supporting each other in doing something good for your health shows mutual caring, reigniting positive feelings toward each other. Getting outside and getting healthy together with a good workout – it’s good therapy!

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