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“She’s keeping me going,” the dancer Bourtasenkov said [Timour Bourtasenkov, a principal dancer with the Carolina Ballet, talking about Natallia Pierce of Master Therapy Massage Center]. He said doing big jumps and stretches and lifting 100-pound women over his head takes its toll. He’s had therapeutic massages all over the world. “She’s one of the best,” he said.

He sometimes rides down from Raleigh to see her.

© StarNews

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The science behind massage

[…]The most obvious and most often claimed benefit [to massage] is increased circulation. This is definitely true to the area being massaged, and the evidence is the skin having an increased reddish color, pretty simple.

Ok, so your neck hurts and rubbing increases the circulation, but so what, why does more blood in that area make it feel better?

The increase of blood flow delivers more nutrients to nerve and muscle cells and also aids in flushing away cellular toxins. As cellular health improves, the tissues function more efficiently. Body tissue that is starved of nutrients and oxygen heal slowly.

Just as if a garden hose has a kink in it, and then you undo that kink, the water has a burst of flow from the built up pressure, then the water flows easily through the hose again.

Ok, so back to that achy neck that you’ve been rubbing. Remember when you were little and you bumped your knee and just that little kiss from mom seemed to make it feel better? It really does! The sensation of pressure helps to block pain sensations from going to your brain. The idea of blocking pain with another sensation is commonly known as Gate Control Theory, even that shaking of your finger when you bang it with a hammer does the trick.

What else is going on when you get a massage?

When the muscles are tight or there has been an injury, the body develops adhesions, or bands of rigid tissue. These adhesions block circulation and limit movement. The tissue will “forget” that it can be looser and longer and muscles will stay contracted. Massage will physically break down these adhesions, softening them, stretching them or re-organizing them to go with the direction of the muscle fiber instead of against, to restore normal range of movement. Rubbing those muscles relaxes the tissue, reducing painful contractions and “reminding” the tissue that it can be looser.

And now our first big word of the day: Piezoelectricity. It actually means electricity resulting from pressure and parts of the body generate this electricity, including the repair material used after trauma or inflammation. The pressure from getting a massage stimulates, down to the molecule, that material to heal faster than it normally would.

It must be mentioned that massage doesn’t just feel pleasant and relax muscles, but also has a much more complex effect on your mental and emotional state. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce blood pressure, which is an indicator of stress.

When it feels good to be in your skin, you gain emotional and psychological benefits that are virtually impossible to measure. Massage can change your sense of self and be a catalyst for personal growth.

With all these benefits, you can see why regular massages (even once a month) are a good investment.[…]

The Science of Massage by Jennifer Kantzer

Massage helps start living from a preventative perspective

It’s one of the oldest healing arts, and today the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation and depression. Many people will also attest that massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.[…]

Making time for massages is something persons from all walks of life should do because the benefits are numerous, says Orthopedic Sports Therapist Edwardo Thompson[…].

“You don’t have to lift something heavy to put your muscles under stress — it could be something as simple as a thought, so therefore that stress level that you’re now putting on your body needs to find its way out. I like to look at the body as a big chain of energy. Anytime you have a short circuit, it has to go somewhere. Electricians will tell you that the reason you have circuit boxes is because if you have a shortage somewhere it’s going to trip the breaker, so the same thing with stress. When your body becomes stressed then you start having boils and lumps and all these other things, and this is when diseases start to form. It has to go somewhere, and nine times out of 10, what massage does is help the body to relax. It helps the body to get rid of that load. Muscles are designed to move, so all the movement that you do over a period of time weighs you down and puts tension on you. It actually strains the muscle, so a good therapist will actually lengthen the muscle tissues and that’s where the results will come.”

Going for days, weeks and months on end without having your muscles relaxed to release the chemical reaction isn’t good says Thompson[…].

“The true benefit for me when I work on my clients is to really help them prevent stress … even disorders. Sometimes we [massage therapists] are the first ones to recognize a problem with a client. Sometimes the client doesn’t even know they have a problem. Because we’re working on them on a consistent basis, we’re able to identify things and sometimes we make suggestions,” he said.[…]

While the country is in an economic bind and most people are watching how they spend their “pennies,” he suggests that you start living from a preventative perspective instead of waiting for something to happen. Thompson says getting massages gives you the opportunity to maintain a perfect health, to recover it, and ensure that your body is performing at an optimum level at all times.

“Spend that quality time for yourself. To really look at it from the perspective that you not only want to live longer, but you want to live healthier. When you get a massage, it’s not that you’re getting a relaxation massage or feel-good massage, you’re actually helping your body to function.”

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The Oprah Magazine looks at the hidden health benefits of massage

“Rapaport’s curiosity [Mark Rapaport, MD] led to a study, published last fall, that looked at 53 healthy adults who received one of two types of touch treatments. Blood tests revealed that those who had a Swedish massage with moderate pressure experienced decreases in stress hormones and increases in white blood cells, indicating a boost in the immune system. Meanwhile volunteers who had a “light touch” treatment showed higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding. Based on the findings, Rapaport believes that massage might be effective in treating inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.” More

New study finds how massage affects stress hormone levels

Recently published in The Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine, researchers tested the blood of 53 adults via intravenous catheters before and up to an hour after they received deep Swedish massages or light massages.

According to researcher Mark Hyman Rapaport and his colleagues at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, one session of massage may lead to immediate, significant positive biological changes.

The 29 adults who received 45-minute Swedish massages had small decreases in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and large decreases in levels of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can increase cortisol levels.

The 24 adults who received light massages had greater increases in levels of oxytocin, a contentment hormone, than those who received Swedish massages. This may mean light massage is just as beneficial as a deeper Swedish massage, which involves therapists using “long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping,” according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Sleep disorders? Memory issues? Stress? Common colds? Try massage.

Massage is nothing new, it has been here for ages. It is a great way to help treat many ailments, aid in relaxation, and help athletes to recover from sports injuries. But behind all that is the benefit that can help many of us that we are not even aware of. It is known to help those who suffer from sleep disorders; since it is known to increase the delta waves that help promote sleep. Falling asleep on the table during the massage will help you for a couple of days afterwards, helping you to keep the deep sleep benefits.

If you are having any memory issues or want to help boost brain activities, massage is a great way to achieve this. There are some companies that actually promote the use of a massage chair in therapy to help their employees get the brain booster massage. It takes only fifteen (15) minutes daily and help them boost their mental alertness and improve awareness.

Since Massage releases natural antibodies in our system, it can help with many physical and mental aliments. It helps to enhance our immune systems and can actually decrease the cortisol levels that are present with stress. Even common ailments like PMS, minor depression and even the well-known common cold can actually be prevented using massage therapy.

It can help you with minor depression and sadness since it is said that a massage stimulates the left portion of our brains that is stimulated when we are happy, pleased or excited. Thus, making us maintain a positive and happy attitude.

There are many positive sides to massage therapy which can include, but not limited to some of the following: it will reduce your stress levels and it’s harmful effects that it has on our bodies; it is good for blood circulation and our immune system; heals our minds and makes us feel a sense of well-being; it stimulates production of certain endorphins and helps with pain in injuries as well as in PMS; calms our central nervous system; help to improve sleep patterns; relaxes the muscles and reduces tension; aids in digestion; improves concentration by enhancing our brain activity; and it actually lowers our cortisol production and other known stress hormones.

Massage therapy helps prevent injuries

Massage therapy can help treat and prevent not only sports injuries, but also injuries received during everyday activities such as house cleaning, gardening, moving items, and many more. It provides a number of therapeutic effects that help minimize the chance of receiving an injury. For instance, over time, muscles can tighten and shorten which increases the risk of muscle, ligament, and tendon strains. Regular massage sessions help keep muscles and tissues loose and flexible decreasing the risk of strain and tears. A deep tissue massage will improve circulation so that blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues will be increased. This will optimize muscle and ligament health and relieve muscle stiffness and tension.

It has also been shown that massage therapy on a regular basis can not only help prevent injury, but it also helps extend an athlete’s career by maintaining physical health. Ways regular massage sessions help prevent injuries include: improving mobility, joint flexibility and range of motion, increasing circulation, strengthening the immune system, and alleviating musculoskeletal problems which will improve posture.

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