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Massage for more than relaxation

Massage for more than relaxation

A massage is a great way to soothe those aching muscles, relieve stress and provide some much needed relaxation, but in the hands of an experienced, trained professional, massage can also be a valuable asset to treatment for many medical conditions. Healthy Life talked to Ruth Kerchner of Blue Orchid Spa in Binghamton, about the benefits of targeted and specific massage modalities, and whom they can help.

Massage can be for just about anyone, even in cases of chronic illness, the human touch can bring relief for both physical and emotional discomfort. For example, someone undergoing cancer treatment may have compromised circulation. These patients can consult with their doctor to determine which modality of massage may best suit their needs. In some cases, massage may not be recommended for the entire body, but is beneficial for certain areas, such as the feet, hands or face.

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Ms. Kerchner says "Massage can also be beneficial for babies and children, as no one of any age is immune to emotional stress and its effects on the body as we try to make sense of our environments." For a person in reasonably good health, a monthly massage is a great way to maintain muscle health and flexibility by the flushing out of toxins such as lactic acid, stagnant lymph and other waste products of the metabolic process.

Types of Massage

Swedish, or relaxation massage is probably the type that people are most familiar with, but there are other types that are utilized by professionals to address each person's particular needs. Deep Tissue Massage is a slower and more sustained method that is effective for those with chronic tension, or on areas recovering from injury or trauma where the body is actively repairing itself.

Sports Massage is usually a combination of the above two methods, along with stretching, with special attention given to the clients' training routine or competition. The goal of the sports massage is to keep the client limber and to help expand their capacity to exert themselves. Other types of massage include Shiatsu and Foot and Hand Reflexology, which take a more holistic approach that are designed to address problems with the body by massage corresponding points on the hands or feet or through what would traditional acupuncture points.

Don't Forget Your Face

The muscles in our faces are among the most frequently used, but we probably don't think about treating them the way we would other muscles. A facial massage can relieve tension is facial muscles just as other types of massage address stress in other parts of the body. "With constant use of facial muscles," says Ms. Kerchner "they too become tense and retain fluid and waste products that can break down bodily cells. This can negatively affect the health of our facial skin and pores and accelerate the aging process, cause tension headaches or even TMJ."

Aside from pain and stress relief, massage offers targeted and diverse benefits for so many people: Athletes, those suffering chronic illness or recovering from injury just to name a few. Consider massage as not only a form a relaxation, but as a valuable tool in maintaining the efficacy of the complex machine that is your body.

Contributor:
Ruth Kerchner--Licensed Massage Therapist
Blue Orchid Spa
75 Court Street, Binghamton, NY

By Christopher Coyne