Therapeutic Massage

Manipulation of the soft tissues of the body affects the skin, blood vessels, nerves, lymph systems, and muscles as well as some internal organs. When nerve endings in the dermis, the inner layer of the skin, are stimulated, they send nerve impulses to the spinal cord and brain. Touch nerve impulses can prevent pain nerve impulses from reaching the brain. Endorphins are also released. These are the body's own pain killers that can minimize or alleviate pain.

There are four basic movements in soft-tissue massage. Effleurage relaxes superficial muscles. Pettrisage releases tension from superficial and deep-muscle tissue and increases blood flow to the area. The third stroke, friction, breaks down adhesions between tissues and releases the tension of muscle spasm. The fourth, tapotement, has a stimulating effect on the skin and soft tissues and increases blood circulation. A familiar method of this technique appears like a karate chop—a movement that is swift and rhythmical.

Massage is beneficial for numerous health conditions including pain, respiratory ailments, circulatory and digestive problems, and psycho logical and stress-related illnesses. The therapy aids in the elimination of toxins from the body, for example, by stimulating the lymphatic glands. It acts as a sedative on the nervous system, and is the most frequently used therapy for muscu-loskeletal (muscle and skeleton) disorders. Muscle nerve fibers can become compressed by tension and stress, which causes muscle fatigue and pain. If prolonged, this contraction can interfere with the elimination of metabolic waste in muscle and surrounding tissue. Tension can also cause headaches and neck, shoulder, and lower back pain. At the University of Miami School of Medicine, a study found that premature babies who received a daily massage gained weight faster than those who did not. Another study found that individuals with eating disorders felt better about themselves and their bodies after massage treatments.

For more information contact: American Massage Therapy Association, 820 Davis Street, Suite 100, Evanston, Illinois 60201, 312-761-2682; National Association of Massage Therapy, P.O. Box 1400, Westminster, Colorado 80030, 800776-6268.

Constipation Prescription

Constipation Prescription

Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.

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