Additional Conditions Affected by Massage

Aches and pains, muscle soreness, headaches and general stress are common causes that drive people to seek Massage Therapy (MT). There is a plethora of additional conditions that can be positively affected by MT that the general public is unaware of. Below are some of these conditions and why/how MT can benefit them.

Constipation / Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Both of these conditions usually present themselves secondary to at least one primary factor. They could be a combination of diet, stress, poor work ergonomics, chronic low back pain, postural conditions like lordosis and increased muscle tension to name a few. Commonly, the smooth muscles in the large intestine are tighter than normal which reduces itís diameter. An RMT is trained to address the overlying cause, and also to massage the abdominal muscles and the intestines underneath to directly promote motility.

This case-study discusses different types of constipation, briefly details the history and progression of itís medical treatment and outlines the treatment of a woman suffering from constipation and incontinance.

Academic stress, Office productivity and Anxiety

The Stress Response is the body going into Fight-or-Flight (FoF) mode when the body is not in a situation that would require it. FoF is supposed to last roughly 5 minutes Ė the time it would take to run to safety. Slowed digestion, high blood pressure, poor nutrition, headaches, stomach ulcers, reduced focus and concentration are all conditions resulting from periods of extended stress. In the office or academic setting, people could be experiencing high levels of stress for months before they find relief.

A Special Report from UK based Gerry Pyves (www.nohandsmassage.com) lists the following reasons for workplace stress.

Deadlines (real or self imposed)
Presentations
Need for perfection
Disagreements with colleagues
Difficulties with bosses
Difficulties with staff
Changes to working practice
Threat of unemployment

This list could be extrapolated into a related academic list:

Assignments and tests
Thesis and projects
GPA threshold for school acceptances or advanced classes
Peer pressure, bullies and mark appeals
Difficulties with teachers in class
Difficulties with faculty outside of class
Curriculum changes
Academic probation, suspensions and faculty strikes.

When someone is in an office or at school, the person should be focusing on their purpose for being there Ė work or studies. Stress and anxiety distract people from their focus, reducing the personís productivity. This study correlates stress to reduced immune function, suggesting the possibility of further distractions by the increased rate of illness within the closed environment of an office, library or classroom. This study found that students who received a 1-hour massage treatment before an examination had an increase in the activity of the immune system and a reduction in their perceived anxiety levels. When people are happier and have less stress they are able to focus on their work.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, puts pressure on the arteriesí walls and the heart. Chronic hypertension leads to heart conditions, kidney damage, eye damage, stroke, embolisms, arteriosclerosis and more. This study provided a 20 minute, clothed chair massage to office workers in their boardroom and tracked the participantsí blood pressure and perceived stress. The results are that the massage groupís blood pressure showed a decrease after one treatment and also after the 4-week intervention; their perception of stress also decreased.

Massage Therapy is a healthy method to reduce stress and anxiety. Ontario RMTís are trained to provide stress relief in a variety of environments, for any length of time.

Chronic Pain or Irritation Conditions

When someone has an injury or a condition with pain, tingling or itchiness that doesnít seem to go away, it can have a profound effect on the personís ability to function in his or her life. Whether itís restrictions in simple tasks, reduced sleep, fatigue, or any other factors can begin a downward spiral that makes life more difficult.

Erythromelalgia means Ďred skinned limb painí and would therefore be burning, throbbing and redness originating in the skin of the limbs. It usually occurs as a symptom to another medical issue, but has appeared on itís own as well. This case study done on the effects of Massage Therapy (MT) on a 31-year-old woman with erythromelalgia found that MT provided short-term pain relief and a long term reduction of medication use, perceived anxiety and quality of living. MT may not be able to cure the condition, but can be used as an effective coping mechanism.

Other chronic pain or irritation conditions that could be positively affected by MT are: Chronic Fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Diabetes, Arthritis, Scleroderma and degenerative spine conditions, to name a few.