You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
According to estimates, over 51 million adults in America communicated with their healthcare providers (and/ or doctors) regarding massage therapy in 2015. These statistics show that more and more people view massage therapy as an important part of their overall health regimen.
Thus, as a health nut, it might be necessary to know when massage is necessary for your health condition. Research has found that patients with the following medical conditions below can gain a lot from undergoing through massage therapy.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes, also abbreviated as T2D, is responsible for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. This is a chronic disease that affects the body’s way of metabolizing glucose or sugar.
This happens in two ways. First, a person might resist the effects of the hormone insulin which is responsible for regulating the flow of sugar into his or her cells. Or, the body might not produce adequate amounts of insulin to maintain normal levels of glucose within the blood. In both scenarios, the vital fuel source is compromised.
A common complication of Type 2 Diabetes is peripheral neuropathy. This refers to nerve damage due to chronically high levels of blood sugar. Numbness, pain in the hands, legs, and feet, and loss of sensation are common symptoms. Impaired balance is another symptom that happens to patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy in the feet.
Two different clinical researches stated that patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy in their feet can enjoy multiple benefits from undergoing through foot massage. Each of the two studies used a different technique. But both of them had similar positive results.
A study conducted in 2015 involved 60 patients suffering from T2D. The research recommends Thai foot massage as a viable alternative mode of treatment for feet sensation, range of motion of the feet, and balance performance for diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy.
A Thai foot massage is quite similar to that of acupressure massage. This technique is a deep massage that uses the pressure of the thumb and applies it along the leg’s and foot’s meridian lines. Application of thumb pressure on certain areas of the soles is believe to stimulate reflex action in that of other bodily parts.
This is the most common type of arthritis and affects over 30 million American people. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joints and most people who are over 60 years old have it to a certain extent.
OA occurs because the cartilage located at the end of the bones wears out. The bones that are usually affected including those located in the spine, hands, hip joints, and knee. Symptoms include stiffness, pain, swelling, and a reduced range of motion.
One study funded by NCCIH focused on OA in the knee. The research concluded that a 60-minute session of Swedish massage done weekly helps relieve pain. Two different groups were assessed with one group receiving “usual care” without added massage therapy. The other group received massage therapy.
After 8 weeks, those who participated in massage groups have reported that they had significant improvements in knee function, pain, and stiffness relative to the control group. During this time, range of motion was not found to be significantly different between the two groups. After 24 weeks, significant clinical benefits were found suggesting that consistent therapy is necessary for improvement.
Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease
These two conditions are often mistaken for one another. Dementia refers to a group of various signs and symptoms which affect cognitive tasks including memory, thinking, and communicating. Dementia is not actually a disease. It is an umbrella terms that encompasses various progressive neurodegenerative diseases that have similar clinical profiles.
Alzheimer’s is within that umbrella. Thus, research that relates massage therapy to that of dementia can be applied to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Below are symptoms of dementia that apply to that of Alzheimer’s disease:
- Having trouble with focusing
- Difficulty in the performance of ordinary, daily tasks
- Dramatic mood swings that might be in the form of outbursts of anxiety, anger, and depression, among others.
- Feeling frustrated or confused especially during nighttime
- Feeling disoriented
- Trouble communicating
- Getting lost easily
- Physical problems (e.g. poor coordination and odd walks)
A study spanning 6 weeks found out that gentle, tactile hand massage led to reduced aggressiveness, enhanced physical relaxation, improved psychological well-being, and decreased levels of stress among elderly patients diagnosed with dementia.
A pilot study done on 40 patients found out that 3-minute back massages using slow strokes done before bedtime on elderly patients diagnosed with dementia and sleep problems increased their sleep time by an average of 36 minutes relative to the control group.
Mood disorders refer to emotional disturbances that consists of long period of excessive elation or excessive sadness, or both. These significantly impair a person’s capability to function normally. Experts believe that this is an open-ended definition.
According to multiple studies, both small and large, massage therapy can help to sooth symptomatic and stand-alone mood disorders. Clients report and studies suggests that massage can help with pain relief and improve a patient’s quality of life. Massage doesn’t lead to total elimination of stress. However, it helps people cope with stress better and it also leads to alleviation of many symptoms.
Multiple studies have stated that there is a strong correlation between massage therapy and healthier capabilities to help tackle mood disorders. For instance, a meta-analysis of about 17 different published and controlled studies came to a conclusion that massage therapy significantly helps with alleviating symptoms of depression.
In addition, another study found out that healing touch therapy administered to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulted in reduced physical tension and pain. Depression was significantly improved for these patients and had a variety of other benefits including decreased anxiety, worry, stress, and irritability.
Cancer is a debilitating disease that continues to bring those people afflicted with depression, pain, and anxiety. Within these particular areas, massage therapy has been shown to help promote relaxation, reduce discomfort, and boost one’s mood.
Oncology massage necessitates a qualified therapist that has a great deal of knowledge about the disease. Oncologists have found that massage therapy helps with reducing the pain associated with chemotherapy’s side effects. It also helped with fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
A recognized institution stated that therapists must take particular precautions when working with cancer patients. They should avoid massaging the areas stated below:
- The area directly over the location of the tumor
- Bruises and open wounds
- Areas that have skin breakdown
- Areas that have a blood clot within that of a vein
- Sensitive areas especially those after implementation of radiation therapy
Multiple studies have indicated that massage therapy is best to relieve pain, anxiety, and fatigue for those diagnosed with cancer.
Chronic conditions come with a lot of pain, depression, and anxiety especially for those who are diagnosed with it. Along with suffering caused towards the person who suffers from it, the people around him or her are afflicted by negative emotions as well.
With research surrounding massage therapy, multiple conclusions have stated that certain techniques can be used to alleviate symptoms associated with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, cancer, and mood disorders.
Thus, if you are a patient suffering one of the chronic conditions stated above, you can talk to your specialist if massage therapy can be one of your alternative treatments. And if you received the go-signal, don’t forget to find a massage therapist near you.