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The Value of Massage for Caregivers
By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer 

(Page 1 of 5)

Massage therapy isn’t just a luxury anymore and has actually become a vital part of health care practices worldwide. It is a holistic therapy that has shown positive effects on physical and mental health in addition to enhancing medical treatments. Having a massage does more than just relax the body and mind. There are measurable physiological and psychological changes that occur; especially when massage is used as a preventative and continuous therapy. The effects of massage on the body’s systems can be profound, directly impacting our immune system, digestion, respiration, circulation, nervous system, muscle health and more. It has been said that, “Massage is to the human body what a tune-up is for a car.”

Experts estimate that 80-90 percent of disease is directly related to stress, therefore, massage is one way to combat the effects of stress and promote relaxation. In addition, massage can lower blood pressure, increase circulation, improve recovery from injury, help fight fatigue, promote more restful sleep and increase concentration. Pain relief can also be achieved by the stroking of the affected muscles to increase blood flow throughout the body. This in turn brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and helps eliminate acids and accumulated waste products. Other benefits include relief of mental stress, peace of mind, reduction of anxiety, and an increased capacity for calm thinking and creativity. The satisfaction of our need for caring and nurturing touch directly leads to a feeling of well-being.

Current research shows that more people are getting massages and as they become more mainstream, they are now appealing to all age groups. Recent national surveys have found that many physicians are encouraging patients to pursue massage as a treatment. In addition, the number of hospitals that offer massage therapy as a patient service has increased by more than one third over the past two years. Some employers have also found that offering massage therapy during break times actually increased staff alertness, motivation and productivity and reduced sick leave days.

Massage is suggested on nearly every caregiver self-help list, yet it seems that only a small percentage actually takes advantage of its benefits. Modesty, unfamiliarity or lack of information about the massage experience may prevent caregivers from participating in a valuable form of self-care and positive, healing touch. The following paragraphs provide caregivers with the information they will need to make an informed decision about massage.

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