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Pampering Or Panacea? An Insight Into Massage Therapy

~Rebecca Meldrum

Massage is most commonly defined as soft-tissue manipulation using hands or a mechanical device on any body part. It has a reputation as an indulgent alternative treatment and also an increasingly popular form of medical treatment and healing. Some of the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of massage via a number of different massage therapies is quite limited and somewhat biased. Strong anecdotal evidence and some evidence-based research suggests the benefits of massage include: Reduce or eliminating pain Improve joint mobility Improve circulation Improve immunity Stimulation of lymphatic system Improved rate of healing among soft tissue Improved skin tone Reduction of stress hormones Aromatherapy Aromatherapy massage uses essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers and fruits to naturally enhance the benefits of massage. The purpose of aromatherapy massage is not to deeply work on the mus-

cles, but to assist the body and mind to relax and reduce any stress. Although the evidence-base reporting physiological benefits is limited, the psychological benefits are well documented and acknowledged. Infant massage Infant massage is a type of complimentary treatment that uses massage therapy for infants. It has been practised globally and been increasingly used in Western countries. Some research suggests that infant massage promotes weight gain, alleviates sleeping problems and benefits of the mother-infant interaction. However, many students have been found to be biased and more research is required (Underdown, Barlow, Chung & StewartBrown, 2006) Reflexology Reflexology refers to the application of presOct 2014

sure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger and hands techniques. It is based on the principle that specific locations on the feet, hands and even ears have connections to the rest of the body, which is thought to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. Some studies report that reflexology can be used to treat headaches, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and low-back pain. The most recent systematic review on the effectiveness of reflexology found that of the 23 trials where reflexology had been compared to no treatment, there was insufficient evidence supporting reflexology as an effective treatment. It is

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PTW: October 2014  

Multi-World-Record Holder Stig Severinsen shares his story, we look at the question 'what is love?' the world of drugs, drug addiction, mass...

PTW: October 2014  

Multi-World-Record Holder Stig Severinsen shares his story, we look at the question 'what is love?' the world of drugs, drug addiction, mass...

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