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August 2015

Hello, and welcome to this month’s article! Have you been enjoying your summer? Be sure to make it a priority to reserve time for periods of relaxation.

On counselor Renee Meggs’ website (reneemeggs.com), she says: “One of the most important benefits of relaxation—for me at least—is that it can help me remember what’s really important to me. It gives me the opportunity to get off automatic pilot and remember why I’m doing something, it helps get me back on track, and it helps me re-connect with the people most important to me in my life.” Good advice!

This month’s featured article was originally published in Body Sense magazine and offers an excellent reminder on how beneficial regular massage can be to your overall health and well-being.

Your future self will be the product of all the choices you make along the way, so do your best to choose wisely and reap the long-term rewards.

Enjoy the rest of your summer; see you soon for your next massage!

Massage, Science, and Your Health

Excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Andrew Weil by Loolwa Khazzoom

Noted physician Andrew Weil, MD, author of Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine that Can Transform Our Future (Hudson Street Press, 2009) and a longtime proponent of integrative medicine, had a chance to sit down to discuss the science behind massage and other effective complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments.

Loolwa Khazzoom: What do you see as the benefits of massage?

Andrew Weil: Whether a massage therapist focuses on your feet, hands, scalp, or entire body, massage can be both wonderfully relaxing and clinically effective. It is also one of the CAM therapies most readily accepted by conventional medical doctors and hospital administrators.

Research demonstrates that massage therapy can offer a variety of healthful benefits, especially for people with significant stress or anxiety, strained muscles, or osteoarthritis. Massage therapy can enhance immune function, increase circulation while reducing heart rate and blood pressure, boost levels of endorphins and serotonin (the body's natural painkillers and mood regulators), and reduce stress hormone levels, all while easing sore and achy muscles.

If you have problems with tension headaches, back or neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, experiment with massage as an enjoyable way to help reduce or even eliminate associated pain. Mothers-to-be can reduce stress levels and pain associated with labor, preemies may gain weight faster, and children with asthma may breathe easier when massaged. Studies also suggest that massage therapy can help prevent or manage some side effects and complications commonly experienced by people with cancer, both during and after treatment. ...

LK: What is the backstory on scientific studies of massage?

AW: Unlike pharmaceuticals, which can be manufactured to small tolerances, dosed by weight, and compared to placebos, bodywork is less consistent and often better tailored to an individual's needs. Massage therapy, nonetheless, has been studied and scientifically proven to be effective for reducing pain, fatigue, anxiety, and stress in patients with a wide range of medical problems, and to relieve a variety of symptoms in people with specific illnesses. In addition, the number of sound research trials into the potential benefits of massage therapy has grown significantly in recent years. Still, funding remains an issue. As is the case with any CAM therapy, funding will never be as accessible for research into massage therapy as it is for drug company studies.

A strong body of research that defines the clinical effectiveness of, and indications for, massage therapy will help promote greater acceptance of the approach and perhaps lead to wider coverage by insurance companies. I would like to see more studies comparing the effects of massage therapy to pharmaceutical agents for the relief of pain and anxiety, as well as cost-benefit analyses of the preventive effects of regular massage. Further investigation into the underlying mechanisms behind the benefits of massage should be encouraged as well. ...

LK: Is there anything you would like to add about getting professional massage treatments?

AW: Keep in mind that massage therapy typically provides short-term relief of symptoms and that the benefits of massage accrue over time. To experience the greatest benefit, try to schedule sessions at regular intervals and treat them as you would any important business appointment: non-cancellable.

Loolwa Khazzoom (www.loolwa.com) is a health and wellness coach, journalist, and media strategist.

Deaths linked to sugary drinks—

Health officials around the world have warned that drinking soda or other sugary beverages is harmful, but now a team at Tufts University has some hard numbers to back it up. The new study ties sweet drinks to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year, including 25,000 in the U.S. alone. After analyzing dietary surveys involving more than 600,000 people from 51 countries, conducted between 1980 and 2010, the Tufts group found 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 from cancer. All of the fatalities could be directly attributed to sugar-sweetened drinks, including fruit drinks, soda, iced teas, and sports drinks that deliver 50 calories or more per 8-ounce serving. “This is not complicated,” the study’s senior author, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, tells the Los Angeles Times. “There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages,” and the potential impact of reducing consumption may be the prevention of “tens of thousands of deaths each year.”

— The WEEK, July 16, 2015


Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by
going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

—Eddie Cantor


The content of this article is not designed to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2015 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.

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