Massage & Health

Massage as a Treatment Tool for Opioid Dependence


Last month we introduced how massage therapy can help individuals who are drug dependent stay present in their bodies, rather than disassociating to the negative body outcomes of their substance of choice. We also discussed how massage therapy can break the cycle of stress and sleeplessness so common among the substance dependent, by encouraging deep relaxation and releasing serotonin, dopamine, and other feel-good hormones throughout the body. Those who abuse substances often rely on drugs to experience pleasure; massage, in contrast, helps people experience their bodies’ natural pleasure pathways. Today we’re continuing the conversation by taking a special look at how [...]

Massage as a Treatment Tool for Opioid Dependence2016-11-17T10:00:30-05:00

The Benefits of Pre-Race Massage


Picture this: you’re getting ready to run a 5k, you see a massage table set up, and next to it the massage therapist offering a, what you say, a “free massage!?” But wait. There are no lines? How could this be? As a massage therapist, one of my main goals is to support optimum performance for athletes. Often, I set up my massage table at local runs. One thing I’ve consistently noticed is that far fewer people take advantage of massage prior to the run than after. I find this surprising, given that the feedback from runners who’ve had a warm-up [...]

The Benefits of Pre-Race Massage2016-08-08T21:00:15-05:00

Massage Therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder: Research Review


A literature review of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for children found that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most commonly studied conditions, and that massage is one of the most commonly used CAM modalities (Snyder & Brown, 2012). According to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD “includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that there are 4.9 million children with ADHD in American schools. According to Dr. V.A. Harpin’s review of ADHD impacts over the lifespan, adolescents with ADHD “are at an increased [...]

Massage Therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder: Research Review2015-07-30T20:41:55-05:00

Massage in Grade Schools: Could it Help Fight Bullying?


In our massage training school, we teach adults how to treat and heal patients of all ages. Like students in all west coast massage schools, East West College students typically begin their massage training after high school. However, the success of in-school programs across the globe suggests that primary students can enjoy many benefits from learning about and practicing massage. Schools around the world are using student-to-student massage programs to reduce bullying, improve peer relationships, and increase focus. Read on to learn how international organizations are bringing massage to schools. Primary Massage Training: School Programs from Around the World Massage in [...]

Massage in Grade Schools: Could it Help Fight Bullying?2015-07-09T20:40:04-05:00

Cupping Therapy 101: How it Works, What Benefits it Brings


Quick: Picture students partaking in a class at a massage training school. You likely envision people using their thumbs, fingers, and elbows to press into muscles. Or perhaps, if you’ve ever experienced Thai Massage, you might see the therapists-in-training using their full bodies on clients, pulling and pressing while in yoga-like postures. For most massage modalities, this understanding of pressing into tissue to relieve pain and tension is correct. Cupping is an exception. While most manual therapies use downward pressure to alleviate muscle adhesions, cupping uses suction to pull tissues up. As an analogy, think of a dirty rug. You could [...]

Cupping Therapy 101: How it Works, What Benefits it Brings2015-06-25T20:29:57-05:00

Massage Therapy Modalities: Structural Bodywork


In our series on massage modalities, we’ve covered Thai massage, trigger point therapy, and Tui Na. Today we’re looking at a different form of massage: Structural Bodywork. At its crux, structural bodywork explores and offsets imbalances within the body. The mother of structural bodywork is Ida Rolf. Ida Rolf was a biochemist, yoga teacher, manual therapist, and sensorimotor educator who had a holistic vision of health. Her focus as a healer was to improve overall biochemical functioning, rather than treating certain systems. Rolf’s creation, Structural Integration, improves health by improving the human body’s structure in relation to gravity. Within this school, [...]

Massage Therapy Modalities: Structural Bodywork2015-06-11T20:27:07-05:00

Client Populations: Working with Elderly Patients


Massage careers can take practitioners all over the world, to all manner of settings. However, when envisioning a post-massage certification career path, the common image is that of a healthy middle-aged person receiving a basic Swedish massage. Reality is much larger in scope. In this series we will be discussing how to work with different client populations- in all ages and stages of life. We kick things off with a discussion of geriatric massage, including its challenges, effective techniques, and benefits. Challenges Massaging Elderly Clients Elderly clients can often be intimidating to massage, due to their unique health conditions and physical [...]

Client Populations: Working with Elderly Patients

How to Center Yourself Before Giving a Massage


Think back to when you were first dreaming of a career in massage. Perhaps you were contemplating getting a massage certificate, or eagerly flipping through pamphlets from massage schools in NYC or Oregon, dreaming of your future. One question that you may have asked yourself during this process—and a question massage therapists may ask throughout their career—is what constitutes the ideal massage?  Is it the perfect shiatsu technique, or being up-to-date on the latest trends? The ideal massage is not merely about a certain technique; it is rather grounded in how you show up in the space when giving a massage. [...]

How to Center Yourself Before Giving a Massage2015-05-07T20:18:51-05:00

Tui Na: Introduction to this Modality


West coast massage schools including East West College offer instruction in a variety of massage modalities. To give our readers insight into different types of massage, we have written on trigger point therapy, cranio-sacral therapy, and Thai massage. Today we’re looking into Tui Na, a Chinese form of manipulative therapy. Introducing Tui Na: Ancient Chinese Massage Therapy Tui Na features some manual methods found Western massage styles, but adds acupressure to remove blockages in muscles and energy pathways (called Meridians in Chinese medicine). This massage approach dates back thousands of years to ancient China. It may be used in tandem with [...]

Tui Na: Introduction to this Modality2015-04-24T22:49:06-05:00

Fun Facts About the Human Hand


Anyone who has ever given or received a massage can appreciate the importance of hands in massage therapy. Those attending massage schools, in Portland or elsewhere, can easily recognize that hands are the massage therapist’s most useful tool to convey healing and connection to the client. Our hands can transmit a variety of emotions. They can be used to love and nurture, to heal, and much more. Indeed, University of California Berkeley research conducted under Dr. Dacher Keltner has found that humans can convey emotions through touch alone more than half the time. Kelter’s experiment separated participants by a barrier; they [...]

Fun Facts About the Human Hand2015-04-17T22:46:38-05:00