Dr. Amber Mills' Health & Wellness Blog

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Massage

posted on 8:30 AM, April 10, 2014

Statistics show that around 350,000 to 500,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It is more common in women and Caucasians and is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 to 50.

The symptoms of MS can vary person to person but the common symptoms tend to be weakness, spasticity, balance problems, vision loss, numbness, tremors and fatigue. People that have MS may have times where they experience symptoms daily and then they may go into remission and have little to no symptoms at all.

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Rehabilitation (July 2013), people with multiple sclerosis who received massage therapy three times a week for five weeks showed significant improvements in pain, balance and walking speed. Massage can reduce muscle spasticity, which is often experienced by people with Multiple Sclerosis. If a massage therapist can reduce muscle spasticity by relaxing muscles, then the client can experience an increase in range of motion, and a decrease in pain.

Do you have a family member or client with Multiple Sclerosis? Do they have days when their symptoms flare up? Perhaps it’s time to recommend that they try massage therapy to bring them some relief.

Massage for Migraines

posted on 10:34 AM, March 11, 2014

A severe, throbbing head, nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound are just a few of the signs/symptoms that migraine sufferers can experience. Some migraines creep up with no warning. Others will give a days notice that they are on their way. According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 12% of the population suffers from migraines. Migraine sufferers are more at risk for developing anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and fatigue.[1]

According to a study from The Touch Research Institute, twenty-six adults with migraines received two 30-minute massages, over five weeks, and reported a decrease in pain, more headache free days, better sleep and had an increase in serotonin levels.[2] Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can trigger migraine headaches, so adequate sleep is important if you suffer from migraines.[3] Massage helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system allows you to calm down and relax, which will allow for more hours of sleep at night.

There is no cure for migraine headaches and medications don’t work for everyone. So, if you are a migraine sufferer, then perhaps it is time you give massage a try. It just might decrease the frequency and duration of your migraine attacks and allow you to get back to the things you enjoy!

[1] http://www.americanmigrainefoundation.org/about-migraine/

[2] http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html

[3] http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/features/do-your-sleep-habits-trigger-migraines

Massage helps oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy

posted on 2:26 PM, January 10, 2014

Massage therapy, according to a recent study published in “Applied Nursing Research”, resulted in decreased anxiety and lessened fatigue among 40 oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy. The study found that back massage significantly reduced anxiety and acute fatigue.

Pain and fatigue that are experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy are symptoms that haven't been well modulated in the past. More cancer patients are trying massage to reduce their pain and fatigue and are having great results. Cancer centers and hospitals are now using massage to provide relief to their patients, and new massage studies are giving evidence to the fact that massage can decrease pain and fatigue by boosting endorphins in the body. For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, massage is a way that they can fight off nausea, pain and allow their body to relax.

Many people have either been affected by cancer themselves or know someone who has. As a massage therapist, you may have clients who develop cancer and will undergo chemotherapy treatment. Oncology massage can be a powerful tool that you can use with your clients who are fighting cancer. If you are interested in learning Oncology Massage, The Soma Institute will be offering a 16 hour continuing education course on July 18 and 25, 2014. For more information on the course, contact me at .

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