Massage Therapy – Enhancing your Health with Therapeutic Massage
excerpts from a pamphlet from the American Massage Therapy Association
Whether seeking relief for a medical condition, searching for a method to help deal with the stresses of daily life or wanting to maintain good health, more and more Americans are turning to therapeutic massage.
Massage doesn’t just feel good. Research shows it reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Therapeutic massage enhances medical treatment and helps people feel less anxious and stressed, relaxed yet more alert.
A writer for the Chicago Tribune stated, “Massage is to the human body what a tune-up is for a car.” Therapeutic massage can be a part of your regular healthcare maintenance.
The consumer demand for massage therapy is fed by the health and fitness movement as well as America’s growing emphasis on wellness and alternative care. Both the demand and the healthcare profession’s response are overwhelming.
Consumers spend $2 billion to $4 billion a year on visits to massage therapists, according to an American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) analysis of a study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993.
Current research shows people are getting more massages, and that therapeutic massage is becoming more mainstream ,appealing to everyone from young adults to seniors. People are experiencing the therapeutic benefits of massage and report getting massages mostly to relax, relieve aches and pains, and help reduce stress.
A national survey conducted by the State University of New York at Syracuse found 54 percent of primary care physicians and family practitioners said they would encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy as a complement to medical treatment, a third of those said they are willing to refer patients to a massage therapist.
The American Massage Therapy Association’s membership has increased nearly three-fold in the 1990’s, to more than 30,000.
There is also a growing trend of offering therapeutic massage in the workplace. Your employer may be among those who have learned that massage isn’t just a perk, but actually increases employee productivity and morale, and reduces absenteeism.
“Massage therapy has clearly been shown to be very beneficial, particularly in areas where conventional medicine has not been as successful, including chronic arthritis, musculoskeletal syndromes and chronic headache , among others.”
—Renslow Sherer, M.D. Director of the Cook County Hospital HIV Primary Care Center, Chicago.