Working those knots and kinks out can prove beneficial
By Kristen Raab
Tune into your body and notice if you have any discomfort.
If you noticed tension or tightness in areas such as your back or neck, you might consider massage. The Mayo Clinic states that massage can lead to significant pain reduction, relieving muscle tension and reducing stress.
Maeve Yourdon, licensed massage therapist, said massage does more than make a person feel relaxed. Blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature can all be lowered. In addition, levels of the stress hormone cortisol can be reduced. Blood flow is increased, and muscles, tendons and ligaments lengthen and relax.
“Experts estimate that upwards of 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Nothing ages us faster, internally or externally, than high stress. Massage is an effective tool for managing this stress, which translates into decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy, improved concentration, increased circulation and reduced fatigue,” sad Laura Weaver, licensed massage therapist.
Yourdon has 10 years of training, a New York state license in massage therapy and certifications in lymph drainage, reflexology, rotator cuff, fibromyalgia, and pregnancy. Weaver has been an LMT for six years.
Weaver has worked Scarafile Family Chiropractic in New Hartford for the last four years, and is “always excited” to go to work, she said. Weaver’s strong desire to help people initially led her to become a teacher of alternative medicine. After deciding she could help people in other ways, Weaver was accepted at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in Syracuse. “I don’t even view it as ‘work’ or a ‘job’ because it’s so much fun,” she said.
Who should get massages?
Yourdon says anyone can benefit from massage.
“A person could have a massage that has an issue, maybe a shoulder that hurts, or back pain, and massage helps,” she said.
Pain is not the only reason to get a massage though. “I have clients who are physically active and come in for maintenance to prevent injury,” she said.
And still others get massages to be sure “they stay on top of their stress both physically and mentally,” she added.
People of any age can get a massage. “Technically, I even treat the unborn during pregnancy massage. I do abdominal massage during pregnancy, and yes, I have been kicked,” Weaver said.
For women in the earlier stages of pregnancy, it can be difficult to find a massage therapist. Yourdon treats each client as an individual, and if “we reach an understanding, we sign paperwork and proceed,” she said.
Weaver said massage helps pregnant women by reducing pain and swelling and can also reduce their labor times and hospital stays. She added it may reduce the visibility of cellulite and stretch marks due to improved circulation.
For those who have an injury or unexplained pain, Yourdon recommends seeing a doctor before a massage therapist. In addition, “if there’s hot swelling, a deformity, or you are ever concerned, see a doctor,” she said.
It is also important to allow some healing to take place when one is injured.
A day or two will allow healing to begin if you have sprained your ankle, or participated in a marathon.
“Your muscles will need to swell because lymph is going to the area to bring white blood cells to begin healing, and I don’t want to upset that process,” Yourdon said.
Yourdon also recommends drinking a lot of fluids throughout the healing process.
Weaver says, “Traumatic experiences, grief, anger, fear, these emotions and many more take up residence in your tissues, muscles and body and manifest themselves as pain and disease when they aren’t dealt with properly.”
Therefore, while massage is good for physical relief, it is also helpful in dealing with emotional concerns.
The Mayo clinic says massage may be beneficial for most people. However, individuals with the following conditions should consult their physicians prior to booking a massage.
— Bleeding disorders or taking blood-thinning medication
— Burns or healing wounds
— Deep vein thrombosis
— Severe osteoporosis
— Severe thrombocytopenia
While many of us might love to get weekly massages, such frequent visits might not be practical.
“Two weeks is the ‘go-to’ for getting massages,” Yourdon says. At that point, most of the effects of the massage have worn off.
Yourdon recognizes that schedule might not be cost effective. Her clients are more likely to come in once a month.
“Most come for maintenance now. They have pain, but are in a place where they are good with that amount of time,” she said.