Whether it's Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatzu, hot stone or Rolfing, there are many different types of touch therapy. In this video, icyou's Medical Editor, Dr. Mona Khanna, explains the why's and why not's of massage therapy.
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Rebecca Fox: Some people swear by having frequent massages others have never had one in their entire life, whether it’s Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, hot stone, Rolfing or there are many different types of touch therapy. icyou’s medical Dr. Mona Khanna joins us now with a whys and why not of massage therapy. Dr. Mona we know massages feel good, but are there proven health benefits? Dr. Mona Khanna: Okay, well the first thing I got to do with full disclosure, I am a massage enthusiast. I get anywhere from between one and four massages a month. So having that said, I will tell you that when I was doing my research for this piece I was actually shocked at the proven health benefits. And when I say proven I mean massage benefits that have shown to have a difference in medical outcomes. Now, some of the things we know it does is it can decrease lower back pain, it increases circulation, it helps stretch the muscles and therefore increases range of motion and flexibility. It can decrease swelling and adhesions especially after surgery. Adhesion are when the tissues kind of come together. It can decrease spasms, cramps and migraine pains, certain medical conditions that respond very well in some cases to massages. Patients with asthma can have increase airflow in their lungs. Patients with back pain can have relief of the back pain. Burn patients actually feel less pain and less itching with routine massages. People with high blood pressure have been shown to have decreases in their blood pressure over the long term with massages. Patients with PMS have decrease of cramps and decrease of bloating and water retention. Patients with arthritis have better joint movement, and preterm babies that are born before their full gestational age they have actually been shown to be able to respond very well physically and heal better, as well as psychologically be more responsive at later ages to massage. Now these are the things that I just told you that are basically proven through studies and research. What we suspect but has not been per se are that massage therapy can help decrease your stress, decrease depression, decrease anxiety, maybe decrease scar tissue as it decreases adhesions, decrease stretch mark and fatigue, increase your energy level through a substance called serotonin increase the way you feel about yourself and increase your quality of sleep. So I know those are very, very long list but just to show you massage isn’t just about feeling good it actually has medical benefits as well. Rebecca Fox: Dr. Mona you sold me on this. Is there any way to get the health benefits without spending a lot of money? Dr. Mona Khanna: Yeah, we hear that a lot. It’s very difficult for people to be able to get regular massages. So there are some techniques though. The first thing is check your health insurance. If your health insurance has chiropractic coverage the vast majority or chiropractors have a massage therapist on staff and that could be covered through health insurance. You may have to pay a co-pay but it will be a fraction of what you would normally pay for a full massage. If you want to have a massage at a spa you typically can buy series. For example you buy six you get one free. That’s another way of cutting down the cost of each individual massage. Because we have these proven medical outcomes that I just mentioned to you especially for those people with certain medical conditions we are finding now that hospitals and even health programs are starting to incorporate massage therapy into their treatment plans and prevention plans. So for example neonatal intensive care units, they are now starting to employ massage on a regular basis for the neonates that as I’ve said earlier were born pre-term. Other programs that are starting to integrate touch would be hospice programs, pain programs, and programs for patients who have had surgery because the healing seems a little bit calmer, a little bit faster the pain seems to go down

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