The AWC Massage Therapy Program is preparing professionals for a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Students are learning that massage can benefit the body in many ways. The clinical research studies that examine the benefits of massage have provided the data to provoke insurance companies to take a look at the preventative-care advantages of massage. Many of these companies are offering some coverage in the alternative or complementary medicine field, with massage among the most sought-after and recognized options.
For all of the conditions listed below and more, massage or bodywork treatments can
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion,
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays,
- Ease medication dependence,
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow -- the body's natural defense system,
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles,
- Help athletes at any level prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts,
- Improve the condition of the body's largest organ -- the skin,
- Increase joint flexibility,
- Lessen depression and anxiety,
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks,
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation,
- Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling,
- Reduce spasms and cramping,
- Relax and soften injured, tired and overused muscles,
- Release endorphins -- amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller,
- Relieve migraine pain.
A powerful ally
There's no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of 90 percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
- Decreased anxiety
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Greater energy
- Improved concentration
- Increased circulation
- Reduced fatigue
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance that bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits are.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage
- Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
- Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
- Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching and anxiety.
- High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and stress hormones.
- Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
- Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch -- for treatments ranging from chronic diseases, neurological disorders and injuries, to just the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat post-surgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
Increased benefits with frequent visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you'll be and how youthful you'll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health.
And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
AWC Student Massage Clinic
A great way to take advantage of massage is to experience the student massage clinic where AWC soon-to-be graduates of the massage program practice their skills. A one-hour session is $35. Clients are asked to critic their student therapist and give them feedback. Clinic is available on Friday's and some Saturdays. Appointments can be made at 317-7529.
Complete information also is available on the Massage Therapy Program page on the AWC website or at the program office, 336-1307.
Kate Turpin is the program coordinator for the AWC Licensed Massage Therapy Program.