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How hand and foot massage can benefit patients with ACS by lowering anxiety.

While many view anxiety as solely a mental health issue, this condition affects far more than just the mind. Important functions like respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and myocardial oxygen demands are significantly challenged by anxiety.

These functions all have one thing in common—they are indicative of cardiovascular performance, which means anxiety has negative consequences to what is arguably a person’s most vital organ. There is a great deal of research pointing to massage therapy as being able to help reduce stress, but a new study suggests that massage therapy’s ability to help people better manage anxiety could be imperative for the health of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Study

In a May 2018 study, researchers performed a single-blind clinical trial on 70 patients with ACS. The aim of the study was to test the effects of hand and foot massage on the anxiety levels of patients with ACS. Patients were randomly assigned to case and control groups. Anxiety levels were measured 30 minutes before treatment and 15 minutes after treatment. Additionally, vital signs of the patients were checked before, immediately after, 60 minutes after and 90 minutes after the treatment. The researchers then used SPSS software, statistics, independent t-test, paired t-test and chi-squared test to analyze the data.

The Results

While there was no observed difference before the treatment, levels of anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate saw significant improvement after the massage treatment, suggesting massage therapy may benefit patients who have ACS. “Hand and foot massage can be a useful nursing intervention in attenuating anxiety levels and improving the vital signs in patients,” researchers wrote.

References

  1. Alimohammad HS, Arsalan K, Ghasemi Z, Morteza S, Shahriar S. “Effect of hand and foot surface stroke massage on anxiety and vital signs in patients with acute coronary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial.”Complement Ther Clin Pract, 2018 May 31.

Article reprint from Massage Therapy Journal, November 7th 2018


joe-azevedo2Joe Azevedo is a New York State/NCBTMB Licensed Massage Therapist, ARCB Certified Reflexologist, Certified ThaiYogi, and an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and is the owner and founder of Brooklyn Reflexology.

Massage therapy is commonly used for relaxation and pain relief, in addition to a variety of health conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammation after exercise. Massage therapy can also be an effective therapy for aspects of mental health. Recent research suggests that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression may be positively affected with massage therapy.

Here are some recent research findings which highlight the role of massage therapy in mental health and wellness, compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association.

Massage Therapy for Depression in Individuals With HIV

Research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicates that massage therapy can reduce symptoms of depression for individuals with HIV disease. The study lasted eight weeks, and results show massage significantly reduced the severity of depression beginning at week four and continuing at weeks six and eight. American Massage Therapy Association President Winona Bontrager says of the study, “This research suggests that regular therapeutic massage could be a useful tool in the integrated treatment of depression for patients with HIV.”

Massage Therapy to Reduce Anxiety in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

Research published in Applied Nursing Research shows that back massage given during chemotherapy can significantly reduce anxiety and acute fatigue. “This research demonstrates the potential value of massage therapy within the full cancer treatment spectrum, particularly during the often mentally and physically exhausting chemotherapy process,” says American Massage Therapy Association President Winona Bontrager.

Massage Therapy for Reduced Anxiety and Depression in Military Veterans

Research published in Military Medicine reports that military veterans indicated significant reductions in ratings of anxiety, worry, depression and physical pain after massage. Analysis also suggests declining levels of tension and irritability following massage. This pilot study was a self-directed program of integrative therapies for National Guard personnel to support reintegration and resilience after return from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Massage Therapy for Nurses to Reduce Work-Related Stress

Research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice shows that massage for nurses during work hours can help to reduce stress and related symptoms, including headaches, shoulder tension, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. “This study affirms the important role massage therapy can play in the work setting, in this case to ease stress for health care providers who, in turn, can better provide optimal patient care,” says Bontrager.

Article reprint from amtamassage.org, research roundup.


joe-azevedo2Joe Azevedo is a New York State/NCBTMB Licensed Massage Therapist, ARCB Certified Reflexologist, and an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and is the owner and founder of Brooklyn Reflexology.

Thai Yoga Massage (TYM) is an ancient form of bodywork that combines elements of yoga, Tai chi, and massage. Its origins are rooted in Ayurvedic medicine and date back 2500 years to India and the Buddhist temples of Thailand. Often referred to as “Assisted Hatha Yoga,” the practice is performed on a mat on the floor with the client wearing loose comfortable clothing to facilitate ease of movement. Practitioners guide the client through various yoga poses and stretches while palming and thumbing the energy lines of the body, known as Sen lines. The slow, rhythmic movements used in TYM create a flow that gently balances the body’s energy lines, while increasing range of motion, improving circulation, and relieving chronic muscular tension.

The founder of Thai Yoga Massage was an Indian, Ayurvedic doctor by the name of Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha. His renown for treating kings and noblemen led him to become the Buddha’s personal physician. The Buddha’s teachings eventually became a huge influence on Jivaka and his work. When Buddhism spread to Thailand, the practice of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine also followed. TYM, also known as Nuad Boran in Thailand, took shape in the Buddhist temples of Thailand and was passed down from master to apprentice through oral tradition. Because Buddhist philosophy is so enmeshed in the practice of TYM, practitioners view it as the physical application of “metta,” which translates into – loving-kindness.

Thai Yoga Massage has since evolved into two main styles, the northern and the southern. The Old Medical Hospital in Chang Mai, Thailand has become the main hub for the northern style and Wat Pho in Bangkok, the center for the southern style. Although the two share a lot in common, they differ in how the energy lines are worked. The northern style involves palming and thumbing of the Sen lines and is generally a bit more active with its stretches and yoga poses. The southern style is more relaxed in its approach and uses a technique known as plucking to stimulate the energy lines via the nerves. These days, more and more practitioners are combining elements of both styles making it harder to distinguish between the two. In addition to these techniques, practitioners of both styles will often use their forearms, elbows, knees and feet to work the body.

There are a few other key distinctions worth noting between the different styles of Thai massage, namely the pacing and amount of pressure used. These elements do have a stylistic component to them but more often than not are influenced by the individual practitioner. Some may choose to use a quick and vigorous pace to work the energy lines of the body, while others will work in a slower, more deliberate manner. The other element is how much pressure is used during a session. Originally, Thai massage was widely administered as a form of medicine for various types of malaise throughout Thailand, so relaxation was not considered its main objective. In the hands of a few master practitioners however, the application of pressure could vary greatly from a light to deep touch depending on the client and the area being worked on. Working in this fashion takes into account both our physical and energetic bodies and becomes meditative in nature.

Traditional TYM focuses a good amount of time on the legs and lower body. The reason for this has to do with how much time Thai people spend on their feet. A majority of them spend their day working on their feet. By contrast, most westerners spend most of their day sitting in a chair in front of a computer. They also tend to be taller and heavier and have more upper body issues. At Brooklyn Reflexology a form of northern Thai massage, which addresses both the lower and upper body is used. An emphasis is placed on flow and fluidity of movement to help create a deeply therapeutic affect on the body, mind and spirit.


joe-azevedo2Joe Azevedo is a New York State/NCBTMB Licensed Massage Therapist, ARCB Certified Reflexologist, and an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and is the owner and founder of Brooklyn Reflexology.

Some Recent Research: Massage Therapy for Reducing Pain, Anxiety, and Muscular Tension in Cardiac Surgery Patients.

A study published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery reported that during a randomized trial, researchers found massage therapy was more beneficial for cardiac surgery patients who were experiencing pain, anxiety and muscular tension when compared to cardiac patients who were involved in the same study and received an equal amount of rest time.

Study methods: There were 152 adult patients recently admitted for cardiac surgery involved in the study. The participants were randomly put into two groups: one received massage therapy after surgery while the control group was simply offered rest time. Of the 152 patients who participated, only 146 of them went on to receive rest time or massage due to complications, such as cancelled surgery or being waitlisted.

Pain, anxiety, relaxation, muscular tension and satisfaction were measured with visual analog scales. Prior to day one of the study and after its conclusion, participants’ heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure were also measured. Researchers gathered additional information by holding focus groups and listening to the participants’ feedback.

Protocol: Participants were given a total of four massages or rest time sessions over a six-day period, beginning on day three or four and then again on day five or six after surgery.

Results: For those volunteers who received massage, there was a 52 percent reduction in pain in comparison to the participants who received an equivalent amount of rest time, who saw no major improvements.

On day three and four, participants receiving massage therapy reported a 58 percent reduction in anxiety, and this reduction increased on days five and six. Both groups saw significant improvement in relaxation on days three and four, but only massage was effective on days five and six. Additionally, a 38 percent reduction in pain was also noted on days five and six in the massage therapy group.

This trend continued throughout the study, with massage patients reporting greater relaxation scores and a 54 percent reduction in muscular tension. Participants offered rest time did see a reduction in muscular tension on the third and fourth days, however the results were not the same on days five and six.

References

Braun L.A., Stanguts C., Casanelia L., Spitzer O., Paul E., Vardaxis N.J., Rosenfeldt F., Massage Therapy for Cardiac Surgery Patients—a randomized trial. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 2012 Dec; 144(6):1453-9, 1459.e1. doi: 10.1016/j. jtcvs.2012.04.027. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Article reprint from Massage Therapy Journal, Fall 2013


joe-azevedo2Joe Azevedo is a New York State/NCBTMB Licensed Massage Therapist, ARCB Certified Reflexologist, and an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and is the owner and founder of Brooklyn Reflexology.

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