Chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, is more widespread than most people know and can often be extremely debilitating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis. The Fibromyalgia Association estimates that another 10 million suffer from fibromyalgia. These chronic pain conditions often limit normal daily activities, disrupt sleep and trigger psychological distress. Maybe you toss and turn night after night because of a shooting pain that won’t go away, or perhaps simple tasks such as making your bed or cooking dinner seem daunting when joints are tender and stiff. Sound familiar? If so, make sure therapeutic massage is a consistent part of your wellness routine.
Mind and Body Benefits
For people with chronic pain, massage therapy can improve quality of life by impacting mood as well as pain. Following a massage session, specific physiological and chemical changes occur throughout the body. In a recent study of massage therapy for knee osteoarthritis, a group receiving massage therapy showed significant improvement in pain, stiffness and physical function. They increased their range of motion and reduced the time it took them to walk 50 feet. In another study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, people with arthritis in their wrist and hand reported less pain and greater grip strength after massage therapy. They also had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores.
Research continues to support the notion that there are enormous benefits of touch. Not only does it help with symptoms of chronic pain, but it also helps with neurological disorders and injuries. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing massage and it is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units.
Catching Your ZZZZZ’s
Sleep is important for everyone, as it’s a time for our bodies to heal and repair – ultimately sending the body into recovery mode. Without necessary restorative sleep, stress hormones can skyrocket and significant health problems can occur. One common factor in chronic pain syndromes can be lack of deep sleep, and massage is instrumental in positively affecting people’s sleep patterns. In the recent issue of Massage Envy magazine, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, noted that with massage, “there’s a release of serotonin, which is the body’s natural production of anti-pain chemicals. There’s a decrease in substance P, which causes pain.” Furthermore, “with more deep sleep, you have less substance P emitted, so you have less pain.”
Massage Envy provides carefully customized massage treatments that best fit the needs of each individual, plus is affordable and convenient (open late, seven days a week). Additionally, you can request an aromatherapy upgrade to any massage treatment. The Aches and Pains option further helps decrease pain in muscles and joints with its unique combination of clove, sweet birch, rosemary and cypress. Or, try going the Lavender Garden route – the distinctive blend helps reduce pain as well as promote restful sleep. FBN
Mark Love is co-owner of Massage Envy Flagstaff. For more information on the benefits of massage, go to www.MassageEnvy.com or Facebook.com/MEFlag.
Massage Envy has 30 locations throughout Arizona. The Flagstaff location is at
1235 South Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center off Milton next to Ross and Safeway.
To schedule an appointment, call 928-526-ENVY (3689). For additional locations and information, visit MassageEnvy.com.