[MOL] Alternative/Massage Therapy...... [00241] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Alternative/Massage Therapy......

Studying Therapeutic Massage

The first presenter to speak was Janet R. Kahn, Ph.D., L.M.T., President, American Massage Therapy Association Foundation, and an NCCAM Advisory Council member. Dr. Kahn described the history of massage therapy and bodywork as an inherently integrative health modality. Dr. Kahn quoted massage therapist and author Deane Juhan by saying, “The skin is no more separate from the brain than the surface of a lake is separate from its depths.”

Research findings indicate that massage enhances relaxation, decreases both pain and our perception of pain, reduces anxiety and elevates mood, promotes a sense of well-being, and supports the body’s self-healing tendencies. It also may improve worker productivity. It has been used effectively to treat low back pain and lymphedema (swelling due to the buildup of certain fluids in the body) in some patients, such as women recovering from mastectomies. Massage also shows promise in reducing health-related complications for premature infants, as well as improving sleep and easing stress, anxiety, and depression among troubled youth who are institutionalized.

Dr. Kahn mentioned that, “One way massage therapy fits in an integrative health care system is by making difficult medical procedures more tolerable for patients, such as premature infants.”

Dr. Eisenberg added that, “Because massage therapy has shown promise in improving sleep patterns and enhancing well-being and mood in some patients, both Dr. Kahn and I are interested in studying the use of massage and touch therapy in hospice care.”

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