"Every child, no matter the age, should be massaged at bedtime on a regular basis.” So says Tiffany Field, PhD, of the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Florida. Field and her associates at TRI have worked diligently over the past decade to prove the benefits of massage for children. But this is not a new concept. Infant massage has long been a common practice in many cultures. Many indigenous tribes use some form of bodywork to soothe, relax, and heal their little ones, sometimes including scented oils and herbal remedies as part of the experience.
There is a growing body of research pertaining to the effects of various forms of foot massage—including reflexology—on anxiety, depression, immune system response, nausea, pain, and stress. A general review of the literature between the years 1999–2007 found that foot work is demonstrating significant outcomes within a broad spectrum of populations, from postsurgical patients to people with cancer to middle-aged women to hospitalized patients.1
Therapeutic touch is an instinctive and eloquent form of communication that has been molded into a healing art. Larry Costa, author of Massage: Mind and Body, writes that massage has many "physical and mental benefits, including ... relieving muscle soreness, increasing flexibility, easing chronic pain, reducing tension headaches, boosting the immune system, promoting restful sleep, and improving concentration." Massage positively affects the body's circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. By encouraging blood flow through the veins, massage benefits the entire body.
“One of the best things you can do for yourself when you are under stress is to take a break and get a massage,” says Kristine Kaoverii Weber in Healing Self-Massage. Here are a few self-massage techniques to relieve stress when you are between appointments for professional massage.
On the surface, it may seem that the best part of a massage is the wonderful feeling of relaxation and being touched, but the benefits are more than just skin deep. For almost two decades, researchers at the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine have documented the specific physiological and psychological changes brought about by massage therapy.
Soothing touch, whether it be applied to a ruffled cat, a crying infant, or a frightened child, has a universally recognized power to ameliorate the signs of distress. How can it be that we overlook its usefulness on the jangled adult as well? What is it that leads us to assume that the stressed child merely needs “comforting,” while the stressed adult needs “medicine”?
— from Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork by Deane Juhan
Chronic stress ages the body and can make cells appear up to 17 years older than they really are, according to a recent study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While researchers and healthcare practitioners have long thought as much, this study reveals exactly how stress takes its biological toll on the body.
Protecting the immune system and managing stress are vital aspects of living longer, feeling younger, and being healthy. Here are 10 ways to reduce stress, boost your immune system, and slow down the hands of time.
Physical activity. Regular exercise — whether it’s walking or dancing — strengthens your cardiovascular system, heart, muscles, and bones. It also stimulates the release of endorphins; improves mental functioning, concentration/attention, and cognitive performance; and lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, cortisol, and other stress hormones.
The early 1990s was a difficult time to be living in Washington, D.C.
Drive-by shootings, overwhelmingly high crime rates, and ruthless gang activity ruled the streets in this political town.
It was 1994, and as principal of the Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center, George Rutherford was searching for ways to keep his students safe.
“We were in competition with the drug dealers,” says Rutherford, who continues today as principal of D.C.’s Ideal Academy Public Charter School. “We were fighting for the kids. They wanted them and I wanted them.”
We all feel stress from time to time, and many of our lifestyle habits don’t support us in our journey along a healthier path. Here are 10 lifestyle changes that will help you become more relaxed and increase your overall feeling of well-being.