Vacation is over, but make massage part of your schedule

Rick Hayhurst, LMT


Don't let yourself give up those massages just because summer-and the vacations and relaxation that go along with it-is winding to a close. In a news update "Massage Therapy: What You Knead to Know," the National Institutes of Health reported, "an hour-long ‘dose' of Swedish massage therapy once a week (is) optimal for knee pain from osteoarthritis."


That news was anything but news to Rick Hayhurst, LMT, who specializes in neuromuscular therapy, craniosacral therapy, and sports massage at the Raby Institute. In practice for 20 years, Hayhurst knows massage works, and sees positive results daily in patients with various pain syndromes, ranging from musculo-skeletal pain to emotional pain.


"Massage is about listening, assessing," Hayhurst said "I'm looking at dysfunctions in the body to figure out which tools I can bring to create balance. Neuromuscular therapy, myofascial therapy, soft tissue manipulation-the way I treat you depends on the demands you have put on your body."


The benefits of massage are far-reaching, and can have major impacts on people who experience:


• Headaches, including migraines
• TMJ Pain & Dysfunction
• Whiplash
• Back pain
• Carpal Tunnel
• Sciatica
• Myofascial pain syndromes
• Paresthesias and nerve pain
• Myalgias and muscle pain
• Soft tissue strains or injuries
• Sports injuries
• Digestive disorders
• Fibromyalgia
• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Depression


The NIH article also cites a study looking at how massage affects muscles at the molecular level. Researchers found that "kneading eases sore muscles after exercise by turning off genes associated with inflammation and turning on genes that help muscles heal."


While pleased to see the NIH reporting on the benefits of massage, Hayhurst said he typically looks to the Touch Research Institute and the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies for the latest massage findings. The Institute is dedicated solely to studying the effects of touch therapy. Established in 1992, it began after Johnson & Johnson gave the University Of Miami School Of Medicine a start-up grant to create the first center in the world devoted to the study of touch in science and medicine. The Institute brings together a team of researchers from Duke, Harvard, and other leading universities.


However, Hayhurst said he was happy to see the NIH looking at massage seriously. "It's really exciting that that level of government is raving about massage therapy. They say it may improve your health, and they say that at the very beginning of the story. That is a powerful statement coming from this resource."


"My physician takes the time to talk to me. When I go to the Raby Institute I know I am going to get more than a prescription – I am going gain a deeper understanding of my complete health."
- Raby Institute patient