Massage: A useful therapy in life-limiting illness

Massage: A Useful Therapy in Life-Limiting Illness

Although massage is a great way to help you relax if you’re under a lot of pressure, relieve aches and pains, and help you to tone up, massage therapy is not just beneficial for people who are in reasonably good health. If you have a diagnosis of a more serious condition, particularly one that may be life-limiting, massage can offer a suitable complementary therapy to the treatments you may already receive from your doctor. There is certainly evidence that when there is no cure for your illness, massage can help to improve the symptoms you experience and reduce your suffering. While there are a variety of life-threatening conditions that may potentially benefit from massage therapy, from severe heart failure to progressive conditions that affect your nervous system, here we focus on the research conducted into the positive impact of massage in cancer and HIV.

Massage and cancer

The number of cases of many cancers are on the increase and at present around 40% of us are predicted to develop cancer during our lifetime. While the growing incidence of cancer in part relates to poor lifestyle choices in relation to diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits, even when making healthy choices it isn’t possible to prevent cancer altogether, as a range of factors contribute to its development. If you are unfortunate enough to develop cancer, you may develop a range of unpleasant symptoms, and while effective treatments are available, these are not without their side-effects and the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis can also take its toll. Thankfully, complementary therapies such as massage can offer some relief from the problems associated with cancer and are a safe adjunct to medical treatment.

Chemotherapy is effective against rapidly dividing cancerous cells, but this also means that it destroys healthy cells in the body that have a high growth rate. For instance, your white blood cells drop in number, which places you at increased risk of infections, which is not only unpleasant for you, but can delay further treatment. However, there is evidence that cancer patients who receive massage alongside chemotherapy can benefit from a stronger immune system. An example of this was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, where patients with colorectal cancer undergoing chemotherapy also received a week’s course of massage using aromatherapy oils. The study showed that massage significantly increased the number of white blood cells in the patients’ blood, but not only this, as they also benefited from reduced symptoms, pain and lower stress levels.

Other research also backs up improvements in symptoms among cancer patients receiving massage. For example, a study reported in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, where people with cancer that had spread to other parts of the body received on average three sessions of massage, showed they experienced reduced pain and improved sleep. This is helpful, as pain is a common symptom that accompanies cancer, especially during its advanced stages, and poor sleep may occur due to the combination of physical symptoms and worry felt by cancer patients. The study also found that participants reported improved quality of life, which is often compromised during the progression of cancer.

Massage and HIV

Close to 800,000 people in the United States have HIV and receiving this diagnosis is not easy to accept. Although an early death is not inevitable thanks to more effective drugs to manage the spread of the virus, a later diagnosis increases the risk of ill-health and the complications associated with HIV. Both physical and psychological symptoms occur, which can reduce quality of life, though with the help of massage therapy it may be possible to reduce the impact of these.

For instance, low mood is common following a diagnosis of HIV, as you may worry about the toll the virus will take on your health and your relationships with those people close to you. While support groups are invaluable, complementary therapies may offer a useful addition to any treatment prescribed by your doctor to cope with depressed mood. Massage therapy shows promise for this, as highlighted in a study where patients with HIV received massage for an hour twice weekly. The research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that after four, six and eight weeks, patients receiving massage reported a significant improvement in depression.

A common complication of HIV is peripheral neuropathy, which leads to numbness, tingling and pain. Although medications are available to manage these symptoms, various non-medical options may also play a role in its treatment. This is highlighted in the journal AIDS Care, which discusses massage as one of the options often used by patients with HIV to provide symptom relief from peripheral neuropathy.

As massage has the potential to enhance immune function, this may prove useful for patients with HIV to help slow the progression of their illness, as it is the cells of the immune system that HIV invades. Although research into this has focused on younger people with HIV, the results are promising. For example, a study of children with HIV who received massage therapy twice weekly for three months benefited from either stable white blood cell counts or an improvement in their number of white blood cells. Starting massage soon after diagnosis may therefore be an effective way to preserve immune function in HIV.

Submitted by Jenni Waters

Sources:

Allinson Mitchinson et al, Integrating massage therapy within the palliative care of veterans with advanced illnesses, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine, Volume 31, Issue 1, February 2014, pages 6-12, accessed June 12 2014 http://ajh.sagepub.com/content/31/1/6.abstract

National Cancer Institute, SEER stat fact sheet: all cancer sites, accessed June 12 2014 http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html

Dr Weil, Cancer – the lifestyle connection, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART00668

Santisith Khiewkhern et al, Effectiveness of aromatherapy with light Thai massage for cellular immunity improvements in colorectal cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Volume 14, Issue 6, pages 3903-3907, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.apocpcontrol.org/page/apjcp_issues_view.php?sid=Entrez:PubMed&id=pmid:23886205&key=2013.14.6.3903

Maria Torth et al, Massage therapy for patients with metastatic cancer, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 7, page 650, accessed June 12 2014 http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/88829027/massage-therapy-patients-metastatic-cancer-pilot-randomized-controlled-trial

STD Panels, Coping with HIV diagnosis, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.stdpanels.com/coping-with-hiv-diagnosis/

Cleveland Clinic, HIV for the primary care physician, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/infectious-disease/HIV-care/

Russell Poland et al, Trial of massage for treatment of depression in HIV infected subjects, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 4, pages 334-340, accessed June 12 2014 http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2012.0058

P Nicholas et al, Symptom management and self-care for peripheral neuropathy in HIV, AIDS Care, Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 179-189, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540120600971083?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed#.U5mKXChZidw

G Shor-Posner et al, Impact of massage therapy clinical trial on immune status in young Dominican children infected with HIV-1, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 12, Issue 6, pages 511-516, accessed June 12 2014 http://www.researchgate.net/publication/6903133_Impact_of_a_massage_therapy_clinical_trial_on_immune_status_in_young_Dominican_children_infected_with_HIV-1

 

Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

The Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Everyone knows that having a massage will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, but there are much deeper benefits to having regular massages. Massage actually has the power to increase your white blood cells and give your immune system a boost so that you won’t succumb to colds and other ailments as often as people who don’t have the advantage of massage. It also increases serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter in the brain that is thought to influence mood, giving you a safe and drug free alternative to anti-depressant pills. This is probably because massage stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller and prostaglandins, an emotion hormone that helps us feel bonded to other people. The feeling of natural pain relief and closeness boosts mood and positively enhances how we feel about ourselves.

Massage for Stress Relief

Due to its effect of lowering heart rate and blood pressure, massage can relieve the physical symptoms of stress such as hyperventilation and palpitations, in addition to relaxing you. People with specific conditions like depression, anxiety disorder, OCD, insomnia or post-traumatic stress disorder can also benefit from massage. Using partner-assisted massage, yoga breathing exercises, acupuncture treatments, nutrition counseling and exercise, people with emotional disorders had a reduction in their levels of anxiety. In fact, in a trial of different alternative therapies using all of these treatments, patients were able to reduce the amount of medications they were taking, even though this wasn’t the aim of the study.

Massage and Immune Enhancement

In addition to increasing production of white blood cells that help you fight infection, massage enhances the action of natural killer cells. These natural killer cells keep your cellular function in check by destroying cells that reproduce abnormally, decreasing your risk of cancer and also benefiting those who have already got cancer. In a study of the use of massage in women with breast cancer, women who had a light full body massage every day in addition to their radiotherapy had superior natural killer cell activity, making them more efficient at destroying cancer cells. Massage also lowered their heart rate and blood pressure, helping to keep them calm and relaxed during treatment. This is one of the many reasons why massage therapies are good for people who are recovering from illnesses.

Massage and Pain Relief

Do you suffer with back pain, headaches or some other chronic pain? If you’re fed up of taking painkillers and want to get off drugs today and get to the root cause of your pain, try adding regular massages into your schedule. A review of all the research done into back pain and massage found that massage was more effective than joint mobilization, relaxation therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture. The positive effects of massage were still evident in patients one year after the last treatment. If you suffer from stress headaches or migraines and you want an alternative to opiates, massage is a drug-free choice with few or no side-effects. Migraine sufferers who have massages have less pain, more headache-free days, less distress and they can sleep better than their counterparts who have used medication. They also have increased serotonin levels, which is probably why people with migraine who utilize massage are less distressed by the pain they do experience.

Massage and Weight Loss

Massage can assist you in losing weight, along with other healthy lifestyle options like eating smaller portion sizes, exercising and giving up ‘junk’ foods. Massage does this by various means. Firstly it creates heat which breaks up the fat cells in your body. It will also encourage the flow of oxygen to your muscles which will help revitalize them and help them to become firmer and more toned. Researchers in Turkey found that overweight women with cellulite that were treated with mechanical massage decreased the amount of fat in their bodies by thinning it out. It also helped to banish cellulite. Even if you’re not especially overweight, massage can be good for your self-esteem as it alters the way people perceive their body. Individuals who have regular massages have a higher regard for themselves and the way they look.

So if you want to feel like yourself again, you’re tired of all the stress at work, or you just think you could benefit from some pampering, call Harmony Health & Massage today and our high altitude therapists will help you discover the right massage for you. 970-485-3344 Located at 118 S Ridge St #2 in Breckenridge, CO 970-485-3344

Graciously contributed by reader, Jenni Waters

Creative Matrix ~ Flower of Life

Creative Matrix ~ Flower of Life

 

Sources:

Harmony Health and Massage, accessed May 28, 2014, http://harmonyhealthmassage.com/

Bonnie J. Dunigan, Teresa K. King, Brendan J. Morse, A preliminary examination of the effect of massage on state body image, Body Image, Volume 8, Issue 4, September 2011, Pages 411–414, accessed May 28, 2014,        http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.06.004.

V. Bayrakci Tunay, T. Akbayrak, Y. Bakar, H. Kayihan, N. Ergun, Effects of mechanical massage, manual lymphatic drainage and connective tissue manipulation techniques on fat mass in women with cellulite, Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Volume 24, Issue 2, pages 138–142, February 2010, accessed May 28, 2014, DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03355.x, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03355.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

Billhult A, Lindholm C, Gunnarsson R, Stener-Victorin E. The effect of massage on immune function and stress in women with breast cancer–a randomized controlled trial. Auton Neurosci. 2009 Oct 5;150(1-2):111-5, accessed May 28, 2014,  doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2009.03.010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19376750,

Choosing a Private Rehab Center, Rehabs, accessed May 28, 2014, http://luxury.rehabs.com/private-rehab-centers/

Furlan AD, Imamura M, Dryden T, Irvin E. Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD001929, accessed May 28, 2014, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001929.pub2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18843627

Maria Hernandez-reif, John Dieter,Tiffany Field, Bernard Swerdlow and Miguel Diego,  Migraine Headaches are Reduced by Massage Therapy, International Journal of Neuroscience, 1998, Vol. 96, No. 1-2 , Pages 1-11, accessed May 28, 2014, http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00207459808986453

McPherson F, McGraw L. Treating generalized anxiety disorder using complementary and alternative medicine, Alternative Therapy Health Medicine. 2013 Sep-Oct;19(5):45-50, accessed May 28, 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23981404

Oshadhi Professional Aromatherapy, accessed May 28, 2014, http://www.oshadhiusa.com/

Relax Peacefully CD, Serenity Supply, accessed May 28, 2014, http://www.serenitysupply.com/

 

Bodywork Guidelines ~ How to get the most out of your massage

Bodywork Guidelines ~How to get the most out of your Harmony massage

At Harmony Health & Massage, you are held in respect within a professional, therapeutic setting. Making the decision to receive a massage is a turning point for many who suffer from chronic tension, recurring pain, headaches, and anxiety. Massage is a natural remedy for many symptoms that stem from nervous system overload and soft tissue torsion that can linger.
Some first time questions could be…What should I expect? How much pressure will feel good? How much do I undress?

Here are some basic bodywork etiquette guidelines to help you get the most out of your session, create a healthy client-therapist relationship, and address some of those unknowns.
Read the full article from ABMP

Punctuality = Full Session

Honor Your Body

Shower Up

Consider Confidentiality

Get It Your Way

Sobriety, Please

Nope, Won’t Find That Here

You’re Human

Time To Wake Up

Tipping Tips
Inanna tuning into a client at Harmony Health & Massage in Breckenridge, CO

Inanna tuning into a client at Harmony Health & Massage in Breckenridge, CO

Our Flower of Life sacred geometry.

Our Flower of Life sacred geometry.

10 Simple Ways to Relax and Build Immunity

To enhance our self care simply choose from any of the few ideas here to boost your body, mind. Turn an everyday event into a self care ritual! From drinking a cup of tea to doing a self massage on our feet with essential oils every morning. We are at the steering wheel of our health and wellness. The therapists at Harmony Heath & Massage can help you transform stress into success! Your wellness is our specialty.

Read article from ABMP

aroma2

 

Welcome to InannaHall.com

Trikonasana Inanna

Trikonasana Inanna

Hello & Welcome to Harmony Health & Massage’s Blog & Discovery of Deep Wellness

As a master bodyworker, wellness guide and yoga instructor, in support of your journey, I am joyful to offer you a holistic approach to wellness. Certified in 1994, at the Cottonwood School of Massage Therapy, my continued studies of the healing arts include additional certifications in Ashiatsu™, Cranial~Sacral Therapy, Spinal reflex Therapy, Chi Nei Tsang, Reiki Master Level, and Classical Yoga Instruction.

Together, we will customize your session to inspire your body’s regenerative capacity. Understanding that everyone’s body has the inner wisdom to heal, we’ll transform stress into success, and explore new dimensions of health. As the owner and operator, my commitment is to support and guide you in managing stress and chronic pain. At Harmony Health our unique, wellness menu and time honored therapies will reshape your life into wholeness and balance.

Namaste, Inanna