Therapeutic Massage can relieve sore muscles

A new study shows that massage therapy can help ease sore muscles as well as improve blood flow for active and non-active individuals. The positive effects can last for more than 72 hours, and those with poor circulation or limited ability to move may benefit the most from massage, according to researchers. For the study, researchers asked 36 healthy but inactive young adults to use a leg press machine until their legs became sore.  Half of participants were given a Swedish leg massage after exercise, and all participants rated their muscle soreness on a scale from one to 10.

A third comparison group did not exercise but received a massage.   A HealthDay news report notes that although both exercise groups were sore right after their workout, the persons who got the massage said they had no soreness 90 minutes later.  However, those in the group that did not receive a massage said they were sore 24 hours after they exercised.

The research team also measured the participants’ brachial artery flow mediated dilation in their arms, which is a standard measure of general vascular health, that was taken 90 minutes as well as 1, 2, and 3 days after exercise. The people who received a post-exercise massage had improved blood flow at every testing interval and the benefits of the massage didn’t dispel until after 72 hours had passed.

Nina Cherie Franklin, PhD, first author of the study, says, “We believe that massage is really changing physiology in a positive way. This is not just blood flow speeds — this is actually a vascular response.” The research team also found that the control group who received massage only showed virtually identical levels of improvement in circulation as the exercise and massage group.

Franklin states, “Our study validates the value of massage in exercise and injury, which has been previously recognized but based on minimal data. It also suggests the value of massage outside of the context of exercise.”

Sciatica Pain associated with Pregnancy

Some lucky women breeze through pregnancy with hardly any physical discomfort. But for others, unexpected aches and pains become a constant part of the nine-month journey. One of the most common complaints a massage therapists hears about relates to sciatica pain. Fortunately, one of the most effective treatments for this issue is massage.

The sciatic nerve runs from the neck through the midsection of the back of the body and into the leg. As a woman’s pregnancy advances, this nerve bears the brunt of the growing fetus and expanding uterus. Additionally, swelling from water retention can increase pressure on this nerve, contributing to inflammation. Pregnant women who drive long distances or have jobs that require sitting for long periods of time may have a higher risk of developing sciatica. And, of course, the position of the fetus significantly affects sciatic-related pain.

Sciatic pain typically affects only one side of the lower body and may extend from the lower back into the back of the thigh and down the leg. In some cases, the pain may also radiate into the foot or toes. As the fetus moves, the pain may subside or worsen. Unfortunately, sciatica is fairly common during the second and third trimesters.

However, each woman has a different pain threshold and will experience different symptoms. In some cases, sciatic pain can be quite severe and debilitating. In others, the pain could be fleeting and mildly discomfiting. Some women report a pinprick sensation in the leg, foot or lower back. Others experience mild numbness and tingling, a dull ache or burning sensation. In extreme cases, the pain can be incapacitating. Sciatic pain is unpredictable and could resolve on its own.

Before beginning massage, the therapist needs to identify the severity and point of origin of the pain. Bending the knee and lifting the foot will help to lengthen the piriformis muscle. A professional massage therapist will warm up the area with a series of passes using your fist, forearm or elbow, followed by static compression with the elbow or a loose fist. Constant pressure on the piriformis and gluteal muscles helps them relax and reduces spasms.

Pain associated with sciatica may continue after the baby is born, since the rate at which the uterus returns to its normal size varies from one woman to the next. Regular massage post delivery can help relieve discomfort and allow the new mom to enjoy her infant. As a reminder, a sciatica injury that was present before you became pregnant, will eventually go away.

Massage can aid in pain relief

No matter how you look at it, pain is a part of life, and how you deal with pain can either enhance or diminish the quality of your life.

In 2006, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in a spe­cial feature in their Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans that more than one-quarter of Ameri­cans over the age of 20 report hav­ing experienced pain persisting more than 24 hours, and adults age 45-64 are most likely to suffer or complain of pain.

One of the things we know from re­search on massage therapy is mas­sage can help relieve pain. In addi­tion to helping fibromyalgia patients, massage therapy can be used to re­duce pain associated with many con­ditions, including carpel tunnel, lower back pain, headaches, leg pain, mus­cle cramps and tension.

Massage and Summer Activities

Many of us are now eagerly harvesting our gardens planted, mowing our lawns and keeping our flower beds free of weeds.  You may also be experiencing new aches and pains from muscles and joints that haven’t been utilized in quite this way for many months.  This is a good time to consider massage therapy to keep you going and to keep your muscles, bones, and connective tissue in good working condition.  Here are some of the many benefits massage therapy provides.

  • Relieves stress, pain, pain induced anxiety, and muscle congestion
  • Improves range of motion increasing flexibility and muscle tone
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Improves metabolic waste removal strengthening immune function
  • Improves alertness
  • Reduces swelling
  • Clears thinking
  • Encourages faster healing time
  • Relieves tension headaches
  • Provides a sense of well-being
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Supports white blood cell proliferation aiding our immune system
  • Reduces depression
  • Relives symptoms of nausea and vomiting for the cancer patient
  • Enhances body image

Equally important as the season changes is to maintain adequate hydration.  Muscles and tissues require lots of fluids as well as good wholesome nutrition to function properly and to avoid spasms and sprains.  When we work or exercise hard our muscles build up lactic acid.  This is normal, but often can become lodged within the tissues when spasms or strains occur.  This creates those painful “knots” we often experience that can shorten our range of motion as well.

Massage therapy can release these pockets of lactic acid and return muscles to their optimal best functioning.  If left unattended, lactic acid can become more toxic to the body.  This causes an inflammatory response by the immune system and the pain cycle advances.

A professional massage therapist will apply the right kinds of techniques to muscles and joints to release tightness, cramping, spasms, and knots.

Keep yourself going great all summer, consider regional or full body massage to be your optimal best and complete all your summertime tasks with ease and comfort.

Contact Widdoss Therapeutic Massage to schedule your appointment next time you are in the Birmingham AL area.  Call 205-394-5900 or visit our website at www.wtmmassage.com for our current specials.

How to maximize the benefits of massage

Getting a massage is undoubtedly one of the best options of making the body more rejuvenated and stress free. Massage therapy has been around for centuries and it now forms as an important adjunct therapy for the treatment of chronic diseases. There are many benefits derived from a professional massage service and it is a proven way of improving one’s general well-being. While massage used to be popular only for being a form of a relaxation and leisure, it has currently developed to become a norm of treatment in relieving stress on the muscles, joints, ligaments and soft tissues.

Massaging the body enhances the blood flow throughout the body while it helps to remove the metabolic wastes that are the common cause of pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints. It also helps to enhance your mood and it promotes a relaxed mind as well. If you want to maximize your massage experience and to enjoy the optimized benefits from a massage, you can do the following in order to ensure that you spend some quality time for a better mind and body rejuvenation experience.

Determine your health goals

By defining your health goals you will be able to choose the specific type of massage that will best address your health needs. Because there are many emerging massage types with distinct styles and therapeutic approaches, you should narrow your choices when selecting for the best option by first understanding why you need a massage. This will help you accomplish making the right choice on which type of massage therapy will help you attain your purpose.

Understand the different massage therapy types

As you define your health goals, your next step is to understand the various types of massage to help you in selecting the one that will meet your preferences. A Swedish massage for instance will consist mostly of gliding and gentle strokes that aim to promote general wellness and relaxation to the body. This type of massage is best suited for someone who wants to experience a soothing effect on a sore muscle. For chronic pain in the body, a deep tissue massage is perfect as it targets to relieve deeper tissues that are strained and tensed.

Drink plenty of water after a massage

During the massage, the body usually perspires and it needs more water in order to help it eliminate the toxins that were released from the body caused by the increased circulation as a result of the therapeutic response of the body to a massage. Water helps the kidney to become more effective in flushing out the body toxins and other waste products too. By drinking water after a massage, you replenish the liquid lost from the body and it further complements in making the body more effective in eliminating toxins.

Hire a professional massage therapist

You can maximize the benefits of enjoying a great and pleasurable experience of a massage treatment when it is performed by a professional massage therapist. Professional therapists are skilled because they receive the proper training and education in massage therapy. You will feel more confident and safe when the massage therapy is performed by someone with the proper training and can perform accurately the proper strokes and manipulations for more efficient therapeutic effects of a massage.

Take a nap

A nap is the perfect way of complementing the therapeutic effects of a massage to your body. While the massage brings your body and energy in harmony, a nap will further re-enforce its effect of recharging your body to make it more rejuvenated. Some experts recommend that a thirty minute nap will suffice. However, giving your body a longer time to sleep is the best way of maximizing your massage experience.

Keep away your gadgets and avoid other distractions

You don’t get to receive a massage every day and you might as well maximize that relaxing moment you have for the day. Avoid distractions that can keep you away from a relaxing mood and stress free condition such as your laptops, smartphones and other gadgets that can keep your mind and body off from a relaxed mode. It is best to free your day from appointments and activities and devote the day for getting a therapeutic massage while allowing your body to completely recuperate better after the long days of stressful work and activities.

If you want to pamper yourself with a relaxing massage treatment, it is best to do it now! Give us a call at 205-394-5900 or visit our website at www.wtmmassage.com fill out a contact form and we will call you!

Benefits of Massage

First time massage is often motivated by a stressful or painful condition, but the benefits of massage go much deeper and offer you far more than you may have ever suspected. Regular massage can greatly benefit your overall health and well-being.

The most obvious benefit is that a massage makes you feel great! The stress-relieving, soothing results alone are enough for many to include massage as a regular part of their lives. What of the less obvious benefits?

The first sense to develop is your sense of touch. It’s not surprising when you consider that each square inch of your skin contains roughly 50 nerve endings. With as many as five million touch receptors in your skin relaying messages to your brain, your body’s initial response to massage is to relax, lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate. Massage also signals the brain to produce endorphins, your body’s natural pain suppressors.

Going deeper, massage helps restore suppleness and strength to your muscles, improving their overall function. Massage is the ideal treatment for releasing tension or muscles in spasm and helps to release the toxins produced by muscle tissue during exercise.

Proper circulation is vital to continued health. Your blood and lymph carry nourishment to the trillions of cells throughout your body and then carry away the waste. Massage encourages a better exchange of nutrients at the cellular level.

The nervous system is your internal communication network, sending messages constantly that determine proper functioning throughout your body. Stress affects the ability of the nervous system to do its job. The many nerve endings found in the skin and muscles are soothed by massage.

Massage also aids in maintaining flexibility in your joints, such as the knee, hip, spine, shoulder, and neck. These joints are thoroughfares for nerves, veins and arteries, so their freedom of movement allows energy and blood to flow unimpeded.

All forms of massage therapy and bodywork can be therapeutic when applied by a skillful and knowledgeable therapist.

Some of the more common massage techniques include, but are not limited to: Swedish Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, Positional Release, Trigger Point Therapy and Rehabilitative Stretching Procedures.

It is common for some to play down the effects of so called Relaxation Massage and to even call it “Fluff,” however, as we learn more about the stress response and it’s role in creating disease, we see a definite need for this type of service.

The capacity to combine intuitive and scientifically proven principles defines the art and science of massage therapy.

What are the benefits of massage therapy?

• Releases tight and sore muscles which can cause ischemia, a lack of blood supply to soft tissues, which causes hypersensitivity to the touch and allows for further injury to the tissues.

• Helps relieve nerve compression or entrapment. (Pressure on a nerve by soft tissue, cartilage or bone, which can contribute to muscle atrophy and referred pain.)

• Deactivates myofascial trigger points. These are areas of high neurological activity, which refer pain to other parts of the body. Research has shown, trigger points may be responsible for as much as 74 percent of everyday pain.

• Decreases pain and inflammation. Massage can restore suppleness and strength to your muscles, improving their overall function. It’s the ideal treatment for releasing tension or muscles in spasm.

• Alleviates stress and improves circulation. Proper circulation is vital to continued health. Your blood and lymph carry nourishment to the trillions of cells throughout your body and then carry away the waste to be eliminated from the cells. Remember, the future “you” is determined by how well your army of cells regenerate themselves, so this is indeed a critical part of remaining healthy. Massage has been practiced for thousands of years and is one of the earliest health treatments known to man. That is why it remains one of the best ways of dealing with everyday stress.

• Aids in Digestion. Massage can improve digestive motility.

• Increases flexibility and range of motion. By reducing hypertonicity and hypotonicity the muscles allow for normal ranges of motion to be restored. This also reduces the forces being applied to the joint capsule and diminishes the potential for joint and disk degeneration.

• Calms the nervous system. Stress can affect the ability of the nervous system to do its job. The many nerve endings found in the skin and muscles are soothed by massage, and this contributes to keeping your internal lines of communication open and operational.

• Alleviate headaches. Frequent headaches are not normal and, with a little proactive planning, there is something that can be done to manage and even prevent them. Headaches come in many varieties. Following is a short list of the most common types.

Migraine headaches occur when the blood vessels in the brain become dilated, usually due to a chemical reaction, such as food allergies or a stress response. They often start with visual disturbances and quickly develop into severe head pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. They’re usually felt on one side of the head, but can be on both sides. Migraines are often managed with medications and avoidance of foods known to trigger them. However, some bodywork techniques can also be effective in easing migraines or decreasing the frequency.

Tension Headaches, exaggerated by stress, are related to poor posture, jaw problems, and neck pain. Tension headaches are most often caused or exacerbated by poor posture, work station positions, and body mechanics, creating undue stress on the upper neck muscles.

Mixed Headaches is used to describe a tension headache that leads to a migraine. Typically, the tension headache starts first and the chemicals produced from the pain of it create conditions for a migraine to develop. In people with patterns of mixed headaches, the best way to avoid the onset of a migraine is to treat the tension headache.

• Improves posture and coordination

Massage is cost effective. By assisting the client towards a quicker recovery from acute headaches, neck and back pain, skeletal muscular strains, sprains, etc. he or she is able to return to a normal productive life more quickly. Massage can also help to prevent future chronic pain conditions by effectively dealing with the cause of the problem and eliminating it. It is shown in scientific literature that over 80 percent of the pain comes from soft tissue injuries, and over 74 percent is directly attributed to trigger points.

A massage does not have to be painful to be beneficial. On the other hand, you may enjoy a really hard massage. And you can continue having massages even after your muscles have totally released the memory of injury.

There is something particularly satisfying when your massage therapist locates the exact place where your pain is, and you can really feel that part of you being released. After a while, your muscles and joints feel so much better.  A good massage is just amazing – You walk in, lie down, and walk out feeling so much better.

Defeat Depression with Massage

Taking time for massage is as important for people dealing with depression as it is for people dealing with arthritis, sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. WebMD reviewed more than a dozen studies that revealed how massage can fight depression by lowering cortisol levels.

Cortisol is the body’s response to stress, and massage therapy lowers it by as much as 50%. At the same time, massage also can increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help stabilize your mood.

Results of Massage

The International Journal of Neuroscience studied a group of people with spinal cord injuries who were also suffering from depression. Twice a week for five weeks, half the patients received two 40-minute sessions of motion exercises while the other half received two 40-minute massages.

Both groups improved their physical abilities during that time, but the people who received massage therapy also became less depressed. So even while exercise has long been accepted as a means of combating depression, massage not only provides additional benefits but can also relieve stiffness and soreness resulting from physical exercise.

Commitment to Well-Being

Sometimes it can be difficult to make time for taking care of yourself, but scheduling appointments allows you to find an effective way to budget your time, your money, and focus on the attention to your wellness. Ongoing massage therapy promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness, which reinforces a positive attitude.

Reserving some specific time for a professional massage, customized to address your personal needs, makes it easier to remember that you deserve to feel good and that you’re taking important steps to make it happen.

Widdoss Therapeutic Massage is here to help!  Give us a call today at 205-394-5900 to schedule your appointment with one of our professional therapists.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Some recognizable symptoms of fibromyalgia can include irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, migraines, numbness in the upper and lower body, and joint stiff ness that is distributed around several areas of the body. This condition is usually diagnosed when a minimum of 11 out of 18 tender points are active with pain to the touch. The areas where pain is most common amongst patients include the neck and lower back. Additional symptoms include recurrent feelings of exhaustion, musculoskeletal pain and a tingling or prickling feeling known as parathesia, which is similar to that of pins and needles and mainly caused by pressure or damage to the peripheral nerves. Generally speaking, too, fibromyalgia suff erers often have acute, superficial tender points.

According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, more than 6 million Americans, 90 percent of whom are women, suff er from fibromyalgia, with symptoms typically showing up between the ages of 20 and 55. Additionally, somewhere between 25 percent and 65 percent of the time, fibromyalgia presents along with other pain syndromes—most commonly rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and spinal arthritis.

Massage can help!  Give Widdoss Therapeutic Massage a call 205-394-5900 – we are conveniently located in Birmingham AL near Hoover, Pelham, Helena area – 5 minutes or less off of Interstate 65 near the intersection of Valleydale and 31.