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Massage therapy is a useful tool

Stop by Health 1st’s Wellness Wednesday table in the Children’s Hospital lobby between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 13 to receive a free chair massage from a therapist of the Center for Therapeutic Massage.

by Steve Jurch
Licensed massage therapist
Every Jan. 1 millions of Americans wake up after a long night of celebrating and swear that the upcoming year will be full of changes, better known as resolutions. The recurrent underlying theme is that people want to take better care of themselves. Two of the most common resolutions are “I am going to get in shape” and “I am going to lose weight.” Despite the noble intent, these promises soon fall by the wayside.
Why do we tend to fall so easily? It might have to do with the nature of the resolutions themselves. Both getting in shape and losing weight have one thing in common, exercise. If you are not used to exercising, beginning a program can be a daunting task.
One key to a successful exercise program is consistency. Exercising once per month will do nothing to help you achieve your goals. It must be done regularly to recognize the benefits.
On the other hand, adversaries to a successful program include soreness and injury. If you are too sore or hurt to exercise, there is no way you will be able to keep that promise to yourself.
So what does all this have to do with massage therapy? The use of massage therapy in conjunction with an exercise program can dramatically increase the chances of success. Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of health care and its benefits range from improving circulation to reducing pain.
Massage can reduce the muscle soreness associated with exercise by flushing out the tissues and allowing them to function optimally. When muscles are sore, we are less likely to perform the exercises correctly or we may begin to compensate, which increases our chances of getting hurt. So by reducing the soreness, the chances of injury go down as well. If you do get hurt, massage can speed healing so you get back on track sooner. Just as exercise works best if it is done consistently, massage follows the same logic.
Receiving regular massage (about once per month) allows the tissue of the body to stay pliable and function optimally, which will prevent those aches and pains from building up until they are intolerable. So whether you have made a resolution and have fallen off the wagon and need a boost to get back on or are keeping with it just want to stay on track, massage therapy can be a useful tool in your arsenal.

Friday, Feb. 8, 2008
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