Massage Therapy
Massage is one of the oldest, simplest forms of medical treatment.  It is a therapy that can relieve pain, heal certain conditions and help prevent their return. It is one of the best known antidotes for stress. Reducing stress gives you more energy, improves your outlook on life and, in the process, reduces your likelihood of injury and illness.

Touch is our first sensational experience and remains, along with smell, the most immediate link between mind and body.  The skin is the body's largest sensory organ and thousands of specialized receptors in the dermis (the second layer of skin), react to external stimuli such as heat, cold and pressure by sending messages through the nervous system to the brain.

Degrees of pressure vary, depending on the type of massage. Kneading actions enhance circulation, while long gentle strokes communicate calmness as well as flushing toxins out through the lymphatic system.  Gentle therapeutic massage affects the nervous system through nerve endings in the skin, stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain reliever), to help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenalin. It helps reverse the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate and respiration.  Stronger therapeutic massage eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, often improving mobility and flexibility.

An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.

Research has verified that:

▶Office workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less     stressed than those who weren't massaged.
▶Massage therapy decreased the effects of anxiety, tension, depression, pain, and itching in burn patients.
▶Abdominal surgery patients recovered more quickly after massage.
▶Premature infants who were massaged gained more weight and fared better than those who weren't.
▶Autistic children showed less erratic behavior after massage therapy.

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