“The studies reviewed were small (124 people, on average), notes Andrea Furlan, M.D., Ph.D., the review’s lead author and a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto. “I really believe massage is effective,” she says, “but we need bigger and better-designed clinical trials before we can be sure.”
So, how might massage ease discomfort? Scientists haven’t pinpointed a mechanism, but they think it might stimulate nerves that mute pain signals. Another theory suggests that massage may trigger the release of pain-reducing hormones called endorphins.
Research suggests that massage may have benefits beyond pain relief. For instance, a 2010 analysis of 17 clinical trials found that it may help relieve depression.
“Trying massage for back pain probably won’t hurt, and might help,” says Lipman. But if you try it, tell your practitioner beforehand about medical conditions you have and medicine you take. Massage isn’t appropriate for everyone. People taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin or generic), for example, should avoid deep tissue massage because intense pressure could cause bruising. “
Subject: Okinawa’s Longevity Lessons
Embrace an ikigai
Older Okinawans can readily articulate the reason they get up in the morning. Their purpose-imbued lives gives them clear roles of responsibility and feelings of being needed well into their 100s.
Rely on a plant-based diet
Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives. Their meals of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, and tofu are high in nutrients and low in calories. Goya, with its antioxidants and compounds that lower blood sugar, is of particular interest. While centenarian Okinawans do eat some pork, it is traditionally reserved only for infrequent ceremonial occasions and taken only in small amounts.
Almost all Okinawan centenarians grow or once grew a garden. It’s a source of daily physical activity that exercises the body with a wide range of motion and helps reduce stress. It’s also a near-constant source of fresh vegetables.
Eat more soy
The Okinawan diet is rich foods made with soy, like tofu and miso soup. Flavonoids in tofu may help protect the hearts and guard against breast cancer. Fermented soy foods contribute to a healthy intestinal ecology and offer even better nutritional benefits.
Maintain a moai
The Okinawan tradition of forming a moai provides secure social networks. These safety nets lend financial and emotional support in times of need and give all of their members the stress-shedding security of knowing that there is always someone there for them.
Enjoy the sunshine
Vitamin D, produced by the body when it’s exposed on a regular basis to sunlight, promotes stronger bones and healthier bodies. Spending time outside each day allows even senior Okinawans to have optimal vitamin D levels year-round.
Older Okinawans are active walkers and gardeners. The Okinawan household has very little furniture; residents take meals and relax sitting on tatami mats on the floor. The fact that old people get up and down off the floor several dozen times daily builds lower body strength and balance, which help protect against dangerous falls.
Plant a medical garden
Mugwort, ginger, and turmeric are all staples of an Okinawan garden, and all have proven medicinal qualities. By consuming these every day, Okinawans may be protecting themselves against illness.
Have an attitude
A hardship-tempered attitude has endowed Okinawans with an affable smugness. They’re able to let difficult early years remain in the past while they enjoy today’s simple pleasures. They’ve learned to be likable and to keep younger people in their company well into their old age.
This is an excerpt from Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest by Dan Buettner, Copyright 2008, all rights reserved.
“This being the case, it only makes sense that those aches and pains you see your massage therapist for might disappear faster, stay away longer, or even go away altogether with more frequent visits. Stress might never reach those physiologically detrimental levels where the immune system is suppressed or the nervous system is sent into an alarm state if you are able to receive stress-relieving bodywork with some consistency. Not only would your body benefit by regularly unleashing its aches and pains instead of adapting to them, but your mind would have time to wash away the stresses of a life lived in overdrive. Both are critical pieces for living well.”
I love this rewarding occupation! I’m so glad I found my passion after 56 years.
Kinessage has changed my approach in addressing my client’s muscular discomfort. I have integrated Kinessage (Kinesiology and myofacial release) when muscle texture dictates which has helped many clients.
This article helps illustrates how facia affects the body and how releasing it could help you.
Studying and applying Erik Dalton “Motion with Lotion”
How Bodywork Lubricates Joints and Fascia
Is Motion ‘the’ Lotion
by Erik Dalton, Ph.D.
There’s a saying in orthopedics that “motion is lotion for joints,” but what about muscles, fascia, and neural structures? Aging causes us to produce less synovial fluid for joint lubrication, and hyaluronic acid for musculofascial gliding (Fig 1). Consequently, each day our bodies “dry up” a bit, get a little shorter, and hurt more. Living structures are perfectly adapted to work with maximal efficiency and low levels of energy. Sadly, our clients often present as noisy machines, which waste a lot of energy. But, motion is lotion and nothing brings back the juice like good bodywork and corrective exercise. The burning question is: “how does hands-on therapy produce the ‘lotion’ that restores ‘motion’ to stuck fascial layers, adhesive joint capsules, and injured ligaments”?
Some researchers believe that dried-up hyaluronic acid (HA) due to lack of movement, postural stress, or tissue injury, may be the glue that causes fascial adhesions. Hyaluronic Acid or hyaluronan is present in every tissue of the human body. It is most concentrated in the synovial fluid which bathes the joints, but also appears at the junction between the deep fascia and the muscle layers (Fig 2). In a fully functioning body, fascial layers secrete HA which allows smooth gliding between fascia and neighboring muscles. But, tissue trauma, overuse, and resultant inflammation can cause overproduction of HA, leading to molecular fragmentation and degradation. In time, the granulated particles form a sticky, dehydrated gel which may decrease fluidity, resulting in a binding or “gluing” of myoskeletal layers.
Most manual therapist’s hands have experienced the deep tissue release that comes when slow sustained pressure is applied to thickened fascia or fibrosed joint capsules. But, as yet, no one has presented clinical evidence for the histological changes that occur during this tissue remodeling. Dr. Philip Matteini, et al, found that HA molecules progressively broke down when the temperature was increased to 99-104º F.1 Although research is still limited, it is theorized that manual pressure may create a local inflammatory process and, as temperature increases, the dried-up hyaluronic gel rehydrates into a more fluid-like medium. This transformation may be what therapist’s feel as the tissue slowly yields to steady deliberate hand, elbow and finger pressure.
Whether the release we feel is from the ‘gel-to-sol’ hyaluronic acid transformation or a neural explanation such as fascial mechanoreceptors, practitioners must first hone their palpation skills to differentiate quality, range and end-feel of various soft tissues including joint capsules. Mentally ask yourself, during end-range of motion; does this tissue have a boggy, leathery, spasmodic, or hard end-feel? When comparing side-to-side, are there areas of bind in one limb and greater ease of movement in the other? What about hypermobility, length/strength imbalance, and resultant loss of proper joint centration?
In our new ‘Motion is Lotion’ 3-dvd set, my special guest Paul Kelly and I offer the following formula for restoration of pain-free movement:
• Recognize the restriction
• Restore mobility
• Rehab through movement
• Reintroduce the activity
Hopefully, the routines presented in my new videos (see video) will produce a number of beneficial effects for competing athletes, computer addicts, as well as our elderly population. The art of restoring pain-free range of motion and joint-play should rank high on today’s bodyworker’s list of treatment protocols.
1. Matteini P, Deil, Carretti E, Volpi N, et al. Structural behavior of highly concentrated hyaluronan. Biomacromoleculoes, 2009;10(6):1516-1522.
2. West DC, Shaw DM, Lorenz P, Adzick NS, Longaker MT. Fibrotic healing of adult and late gestation fetal wounds correlates with increased hyaluronidase activity and removal of hyaluronan. Int J Biochem Cell Biol, 1997;29:201-210.
Last day of class. A great learning experience of this breakthrough therapeutic massage. Kinessage® Massage Through Movement is a next generation method of therapeutic massage that effectively relieves pain and increases range of motion. The intent is to administer Myofascial release (or MFR) with movement with less discomfort for the client.