If you've had massage therapy previously, you know its benefits. There are many forms of massage, but they all have the objective of manipulating muscles and connective tissue to promote relaxation and well-being. Therapeutic massage can ease tension and reduce pain. Massage therapists use their hands, their fingertips, and their elbows to get at the source of your pain and discomfort.
Back to the East
Massage comes to us from Eastern Medicine. The Chinese used therapeutic massage some 2,500 years ago, and it was also practiced in India. The word itself is of Arabic origin — from
The Healing Touch
The power of human touch cannot be overestimated. A series of studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage therapy lowered the stress hormone cortisol levels by up to 53 percent. It also increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression. Simply stated, massage relieves the symptoms of depression.
As you've seen, there are many forms of alternative therapy. Some have proven their effectiveness, while others have not. Any form of alternative or complementary therapy should be approached with caution and should be discussed with your physician before you add it to your treatment protocol. This chapter focused on practices; the next chapter covers herbal and supplement alternative therapies.