Is massage good for you, or does it just feel nice?


Will a deep tissue massage really reduce aches and pains? Will a sauna clear up my cold? And will a foot reflexology session have a long-lasting effect on my overall health?

All common questions about various well-known spa modalities, but what are the scientifically based answers?

Recently key members of the Global Spa Summit (GSS) unveiled a new portal, Wellness Evidence, that gathers medical evidence for spa and wellness therapies.

It provides an easy way for people to check out the laboratory-based research that has been done to date on spa treatments.

  • A Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre study reveals a single 45-minute Swedish massage decreases cortisol levels and increases the immune system's white blood cells.
  • The University of Miami compared light and moderate pressure massage, and found that only moderate/stronger pressure enhances growth/development in infants and reduces stress in adults.
  • The University of Auckland, NZ, study found massage decreased migraine frequencies, improves sleep quality and induced heart rate and cortisol decreases for migraine patients.
  • The University of Goteborg, Sweden, found massage reduces nausea in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Read the rest here.

The Mind-Body Benefits of Getting a Massage


To keep it real: Much of the research is preliminary. But many findings show that even just a 15-minute treatment can be a boon to your well-being, and whether you're a deep tissue kind of girl, or Swedish is more your style, you can reap serious blissed-out benefits. Now, weekly massages might get a little pricey, but monthly? You could probably swing a massage every 4 weeks through 2017, and your mind and body would be better off for it. If you need a little convincing, here's why regular massages are worth a shot.

Massage keeps sickness at bay.

Getting kneaded out could boost your body's immune system. "One of the benefits of massage is that it leads to an increase in the circulation of white blood cells," says Rapaport. And it's not just the cold-busting kinds of cells, but NK cells in particular, he adds. These are commonly called "killer cells" because they serve as your body's primary defense against more serious infections.

Read the rest here.


When Sports Injuries Lead to Arthritis in Joints

from the NY Times:

When a physically active person like me injures a joint, especially one as crucial as a knee or ankle, one of the first thoughts, if not the first thought, is likely to be “How fast can I get back to my usual activities?”

That kind of thinking, however, could set the stage for a painful chronic problem years later: post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

In the rush to get back in the game, whether as part of a team or elite sport or simply a cherished recreational activity like jogging or tennis, it is tempting to short-circuit the rehabilitation needed to allow the joint to heal fully. But adequate recovery, including rehab measures aimed at strengthening structures that support the injured joint, is critical to maximize its stability, reduce the risk of reinjury and head off irreparable joint damage.

Read the rest here.

Rolfing: The technique that may help treat injuries, pain, bad posture or muscle tension

from Netdoctor:

Every now and then a treatment comes around that gets everybody talking - and right now, it's Rolfing. If you haven't yet heard of it, Rolfing (that's Rolfing Structural Integration) is a technique that involves the manipulation of the fascia (connective tissue around your muscles) to create proper alignment and balance in the body.

Named after its creator, Dr. Ida Rolf, 'Rolfers' (people who've undergone 'certified' training) say the technique helps treat injuries, pain, bad posture or muscle tension caused by dodgy alignment or imbalances. Their reasoning is that imbalances in the body can go on to cause serious problems later down the line, so they aim to release tight tissue to allow free, natural movement.

The treatment has steadily been rising in popularity with athletes and dancers who use it to break up scar tissue and help fix injuries, but office workers are increasingly booking in for RSI and back pain, too.

Read the rest here.


Legit, Science-Backed Ways a Sports Massage Can Improve Your Workout

from Shape:

You put a lot of work into staying in shape. Maybe you HIIT and run. Maybe you flow, spin, and do as many reps as possible in boot-camp class. Whatever your mix, you're likely missing one simple, science-backed way to maximize the benefit you get out of every drop of sweat: Give your body the targeted TLC of a sports massage. "Athletes typically work sports massage into their regimen to reduce muscle soreness and help treat problem areas," says Beth Mignano, a licensed massage therapist who assisted USA Track and Field at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. The idea is less pain, better training—a sound formula for anyone with a fitness goal. (BTW, did you know organ massage is a thing?!)

"Plus, getting a regular massage—even once a week—is also a great way to develop another level of body awareness," Mignano says. "When you have greater body awareness, it can serve to guide your training choices: If you feel something outside the norm, you might be able to prevent an injury or improve performance by adjusting a drill, a technique, or your intensity. (Not to mention, massage of any kind can do some great things for your mind.)

But these aren't run-of-the-mill spa treatments. Sports massages can consist of some heavy-duty manipulation techniques, including deep-tissue work and stretching, so they're not always relaxing. (Locate a sports massage specialist near you at What therapists are after is creating myofascial release to help you move better—myo refers to muscles and fascial refers to the continuous elastic sheet of connective tissue, or fascia, that covers them.

Read the rest here.


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