Whether new to massage therapy or long time patron, there eventually comes a time when massage recipients need to seek out a therapist. But how do you go about looking for one? Should you take your chances with the phone book, or ask coworkers or friends to recommend someone? Should you try newspaper ads, the Internet, or maybe a day spa? Considering your experience receiving massage, do you know what to look for in a massage therapist, and, for that matter, are you even aware of your needs during a massage session?
“When you suffer an attack of nerves you’re being attacked by the nervous system. What chance has a man got against a system?” —Russell Hoban
New research verifies what massage therapists have always known: massage eases chronic tension headaches (American Journal of Public Health, October 2002). The small study measured baseline values of 14 non-migraine, tension headache sufferers for four weeks, documenting frequency, duration and intensity of the headaches. Subjects then received two 30-minute massage sessions each week for four weeks, emphasizing the neck and shoulder area. After just one week of therapy, subjects reported significant reductions in headache frequency, which continued throughout the study.
Breathing in aromas rich in antioxidants — the agents in fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamins C and E — may be an option for good health, according to Kwang-Guen Lee, a researcher at the University of California at Davis. Lee distilled and extracted 30 chemicals to produce aromas from 10 plants, including soybeans, kidney beans, eucalyptus leaves and several types of spices, including basil, thyme, rosemary and cinnamon. Lee then tested the extracts for antioxidant levels and found them to be similar to those in vitamin E.
Mention flexibility and most people envision twisting themselves into a pretzel. But as we age, maintaining flexibility is less about being a contortionist and more about the ability to perform everyday activities. This is why regular stretching is especially important to stay limber and prevent atrophy as our bodies mature.
You probably know that problems can occur when you combine different drugs or use certain drugs in conjunction with certain foods. Yet, are you aware that a wide variety of commonly used drugs — including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal products — can affect your response to exercise, potentially increasing your risk of injury? Discover how to stay sage using these tips from Carol Krucoff, coauthor of Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments with Exercise.
Q. Being fairly new to massage, I’m always unsure about whether to tip or not? Is there some sort of tipping protocol like in dining, or is tipping my massage therapist like tipping my doctor?
Q. Is there any way for me to get my massage expenditures reimbursed by insurance?
Q. My therapist told me that massage and bodywork can be helpful for eating disorders. How can this be?
A. The truth is, millions of American men and women suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Bodywork, however, can help lessen the chasm between body and mind that helps “feed” these disorders. According to author Merrill DeVito, who went on her first diet in the fifth grade, the self-loathing that accompanies eating disorders gets trapped in the entire body, but bodywork helps release it.
Q. It’s hard to miss the fact my cat loves a good belly rub. It makes me wonder if animals benefit from massage the same as we do?