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August, 22 2010

Massage Therapy Shown to Reduce Stress, Enhance Well-being

Massage therapy was found to greater enhance positive well-being and reduce stress among adults age 60 and older, compared to guided relaxation, according to a recent study.
In the pilot study “A randomised study of the effects of massage therapy compared to guided relaxation on well-being and stress perception among older adults,” a group of 49 independently living adults age 60 and older were randomly selected to a guided-relaxation group or massage-therapy group to assess levels of well-being and stress perception. Participants were screened via telephone and in person for inclusion criteria. Participants who received massage within three months of the start of the study were excluded from the experiment.
The massage-therapy group received 50-minute massage sessions twice weekly for four consecutive weeks. The sessions were conducted by licensed massage therapists and included neuromuscular, myofascial and Swedish massage techniques. Approximately 20 minutes of the session included work with participants in the prone position, with the remaining time spent in the supine position.
The guided-relaxation group received 50-minute relaxation sessions twice weekly for four consecutive weeks. During the sessions, a trained research assistant read a script to participants and used visualization and muscle relaxation while the participants were lying in the supine position on a massage table.
To measure the participants’ well-being and stress perception, a General Well-Being Schedule (GWB Schedule) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were used.The GWB Schedule measures anxiety, depression, positive well-being, self-control, vitality and general health. High scores in this measurement indicate a greater well-being or less distress. The PSS is a 14-item scale with a five-point response format that measures the degree of stress in one’s life during the past month. High scores in this measurement indicate a greater perceived stress.

Data from each participant was collected one week prior to the start of sessions and one week after the last session.

Before receiving the sessions, the groups did not differ by level of distress. However, after completion of the sessions, results of the study showed the massage-therapy group experienced significantly positive changes in anxiety, depression, positive well-being, vitality, general health and perceived stress, compared to the guided-relaxation group.

“This study supports the potential of massage therapy as an adjunctive therapy in enhancing positive well-being and reducing stress perception among older adults,” say the study’s authors.
Source: Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina; Department of Exercise Science and Perceptual-Motor Development Laboratory, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina; University of Nevada, Reno, School of Public Health, Reno, Nevada; and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Authors: Patricia A. Sharpe, Harriet G. Williams, Michelle L. Granner and James R. Hussey. Originally published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2007) 15, 157¬–163.

The full research report of “Massage Therapy Shown to Reduce Stress, Enhance Well-being,” ran in the print edition of MASSAGE Magazine’s December 2007 issue.

I found the above version of the article on

Photo: Kai Buanoi


August, 16 2010

Some of the benefits of lemon or lime in your water


Detoxifying, alkalizing, energizing qualities abound in this little gem of nature. According to Paul Pitchford, lemon and lime is “Perhaps the most valuable fruit therapeutically for people who have eaten a high-fat/protein diet. (It) destroys putrefactive bacteria in both the intestines and mouth; used to purify the breath. It’s antiseptic, anti-microbial, and mucus-resolving action make it useful during dysentry, colds, flus, hacking coughs, and parasite infestation. Benefits the liver, encouraging the formation of bile; improves absorption of minerals; promotes weight loss; cleanses the blood; treats high blood pressure, thick, poorly circulating blood, and weak blood vessels. Alleviates flatulence and indigestion in general.

Lemon increases the production of fluids in the body. It’s juice, diluted with water, is often used for reducing the effects of summer heat, calming the nerves, treating sore throat, cramps, and diabetes, which are often marked by fluid deficiency.”*

*Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods

Image care of

August, 3 2010

Quote of the Day:

“Each indecision brings it’s own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days…What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has Magic, Power, and Genius in it.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Image: Goethe’s color wheel, courtesy of:

July, 28 2010

Quote of the day:

spiro-5The intimate relationship between the emotions and posture, and the mechanical use of the body, should be emphasized. Insofar as the soft tissues are concerned the relationship is a palpable one. Anyone who wishes to demonstrate this connection to themselves, need only sit for a moment or two and imagine an emotion, such as anger or disappointment, or any other strong feeling. Allow yourself to think and feel these emotions for some seconds, and become aware of the subtle, but noticeable, change which begins to occur in the muscles of the abdomen, the jaw, the shoulders, etc. Imagine then the effect of holding such emotions, not for a minute or two, but for months or years. The changes in the tissues would be dramatic, and would influence all function, and certainly posture.

-Leon Chaitow, Soft-Tissue Manipulation

July, 27 2010

Homeostasis: Metaphor or Simple Fact?

Homeostasis is the process by which the internal enviornment of the body is kept relatively stable despite changes in the world around us.*

*The Human Body, Bruce D. Wingerd

Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

July, 17 2010

Good Ol’ Epsom Salt



Otherwise known as magnesium sulfate. Studies have shown many of it’s health benefits:*

  • Eases stress and improves sleep and concentration
  • Helps muscles and nerves function properly
  • Regulates activity of 325+ enzymes
  • Helps to prevent artery hardening and blood clots
  • Makes insulin more effective
  • Reduces inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
  • Improves oxygen use
  • Flushes toxins
  • Improves absorption of nutrients
  • Helps form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
  • Helps prevent or ease migraine headaches
  • Draws out boils, acne, and splinters


Image: Epsom Salt Council

For therapeutic baths, the rule of thumb is to make the water as hot as you can comfortably stand it, and mix in 2-4 cups of epsom salt. Soak for 15-20 minutes, then shower off.

Epsom salt is also a great conditioner for magnesium deficient soil. Your roses, tomatoes, and peppers will especially love it.

It’s cheap and easy. You’ll find it at most drug stores and supermarkets for under $5.

July, 13 2010