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Therapeutic Massage - Making It Work For You.

Her techniques provide the perfect combination of gentleness and strength... Find out why Mara believes adding a weekly massage to your training schedule may actually benefit your workouts and wellness.

By: Pamela Micks

Therapeutic massage is a technique that relaxes, rejuvenates, rehabilitates, and re-energizes. For this article, I interviewed registered massage therapist Mara Nicandro, who has a successful wellness clinic in Plano, Texas.

Her clients describe her techniques as providing the perfect combination of gentleness and strength; offering a massage experience that is unequaled in combining strength, knowledge, and experience with an acute sensitivity to minimize pain and stiffness.

Find out why adding a weekly massage to your training schedule may actually benefit your workouts and wellness.


[ Pamela ] What are your credentials and how long have you been involved in therapeutic massage?

    Mara: I am trained through Hands on Approach in Dallas, fully certified by the State of Texas and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the premier professional association representing the field of massage therapy. I also had an intense 6 month apprenticeship that provided me with the Shiatsu technique I use today. I have been involved in Therapeutic Massage for approximately 4 years.

    What is Shiatsu?
    A form of therapeutic massage in which pressure is applied with the thumbs and palms to those areas of the body used in acupuncture. Also called acupressure.


[ Pamela ] How is Therapeutic Massage different from a pure relaxation massage? Are there different types and techniques? Who would benefit from each technique?

    Mara: Therapeutic Massage varies from the relaxation and Swedish massage in that its purpose is to reduce pain to groups of muscles. A therapeutic massage may be uncomfortable due to certain areas that may be tender. These problem areas can be worked on to ultimately massage away any toxins that may be in the muscle tissue.

    This type of massage can be for the sole purpose of working on the specific problem areas only, or can be combined with the Swedish massage. Massage Therapy has become a necessity instead of a luxury in today's fast-paced and stressful society.

    What is Swedish Massage?
    A style of massage that utilizes long, flowing strokes, often but not necessarily in the direction of the heart. Swedish massage is designed to increase circulation and blood flow, and concentrates on the muscles and joints.

    Each client is unique and special; deserving of a customized massage to meet their individual needs, mixing different modalities of massage and different levels of pressure making sure each massage is as unique as the individual.

    RELATED ARTICLE
    The Benefits Of Swedish Massage Therapy For Athletes.
    There are numerous types of massage, but perhaps the most popular and commonly known is Swedish Massage.
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[ Pamela ] What are some of the benefits of getting a therapeutic massage on a regular basis?

    Mara:
    • Increasing circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
    • Stimulating the lymph system, the body's natural defense, against toxic invaders.
    • Relaxing and softening injured and overused muscles.
    • Reducing spasms and cramping.
    • Increasing joint flexibility.
    • Reducing recovery time for strenuous workouts and eliminating subsequent pains of the athlete at any level.
    • Releasing endorphins, the body's natural painkiller. For this reason, massage is being incorporated into treatment for chronic illness, injury, and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain.

    What Are Endorphins?
    Endorphins are neurochemicals occurring naturally in the brain. They have painkilling and tranquillizing effects on the body. In addition, endorphins are also thought to be connected to physiological processes including euphoric feelings, appetite modulation, and the release of sex hormones.

    Prolonged, continuous exercise contributes to an increased production and release of endorphins, resulting in a sense of euphoria that has been popularly labeled "runner's high".

    • Reducing post-surgery adhesions and edema and reducing and realigning scar tissue after healing has occurred.

    What Is Edema?
    Edema is the abnormal, observable swelling of any organ, tissue, or body cavity due to the accumulation of excess fluid.

    • Improving range of motion and decreasing discomfort for patients with low back pain.
    • Relieving pain for migraine sufferers and decreasing the need for medication.
    • Providing exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reducing shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion.

    What Is Atrophy?
    Atrophy is a decrease in size of an organ or muscle from its fully developed normal size, caused by disease or lack of use. Disuse atrophy of muscles and bones (with accompanying loss of mass and strength), can occur after prolonged immobility, such as extended bedrest.

    Temporary atrophy may occur in muscles that are not used, as when a limb is encased in a plaster cast. This type of atrophy can usually be reversed with exercise.


[ Pamela ] How do you define wellness?

    Mara: I believe wellness embodies a satisfying balance of self care, play, and productive activity, both in the physical and state of mind.


[ Pamela ] Would you consider massage therapy a necessary component of overall wellness?

    Mara: Yes, I do. It's an effective way to get more in tune with your body and provides the extra boost that will keep you strong and prevent slight imbalances from turning into significant health problems.


[ Pamela ] How can therapeutic massage work in a preventative health nature?

    Mara: As a preventative medicine massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. It helps the body release endorphins, the body's natural painkiller. For this reason, massage is being incorporated into treatment for chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain.


[ Pamela ] Can massage be helpful in managing stress and tension?

    Mara: In the 21st century, we experience stress in many forms that can leaves us with out the ability to adapt or cope and this can lead into illness. Massage can be a useful tool in managing stress by giving you a quiet place where nothing is demanded of you other than to breathe, relax and cooperate in your own healing.

    It relaxes the parasympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system. It reduces oxygen consumption, decreases the respiratory and heart rates, blood pressure and muscle tension.

RELATED ARTICLE
The Benefits Of Massage Therapy
Regular massage therapy is much more than a mere luxury or a whimsical extravagance. Rather, it is an investment, an investment in yourself... in your health. Learn why!
[ Click here to learn more. ]


[ Pamela ] How often and how long will a new client have to wait to notice benefits?

    Mara: The effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often a person gets a massage, the better you feel and the more quickly one's body will respond. From one session to the next, relaxation deepens as the chronic patterns of stress in the body are affected and released.


[ Pamela ] How can regular therapeutic massage help a fitness enthusiast or body builder?

    Mara: The benefit includes relaxation, improved circulation and relief of muscle tension. It helps improve flexibility, muscles tend not to be as sore and stiff, it also helps in recovery time between workouts.

RELATED ARTICLE
Theraputic Aides For Fitness & Bodybuilding!
Learn about common therapies that will help you recover from training, relax your body and muscles, and enhance performance. Read it and relax!
[ Click here to learn more. ]


[ Pamela ] What would you say to someone who thinks that massage is a luxury that they cannot afford?

    Mara: Massage is not only for the indulgent and wealthy. The biggest relief is felt by the stressed-out and tense, and that's something all of us have. Every day stress can have a negative influence on your body. Therapeutic massage sessions and other health-enhancing therapies on a regular basis improve circulation, remove waste, and eases mental and physical stress.


[ Pamela ] Could the addition of an employee benefit of massage help reduce sick time and stress leave for companies and corporations?

    Mara: Research indicates that massage therapy can decrease stress, lower fatigue and anxiety, decrease muscle tension, prevents Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), obtain more alertness, increase productivity and more concentration and focus on daily tasks. Ultimately employees start feeling better. From that point this can reduce sick time and stress leave.

What Is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)?
Repetitive Strain (or Stress) Injury is any damage to muscles, tendons, nerves, and other soft tissues that is caused by the continual repeated performance of a limited number of physical movements, and is characterized by numbness, pain, and a wasting and weakening of muscles.

Examples of RSI include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Injury, Tennis Elbow, and back injuries from repeated heavy lifting.


[ Pamela ] How can someone locate a reputable massage therapist?

Therapeutic Massage - Making It Work For You.
pamela@realbodyfitness.com

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I like the concepts expressed in this article. I am a fan or massages.

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