The Right Massage Can Relax the Body and Improve Health

Released: 1/29/2013 3:35 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University of Alabama at Birmingham
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Newswise — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Massage therapy can lower blood pressure, help prevent colds, enhance skin tone and more, according to an expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Licensed Massage Therapist Arnold Kelly, who provides massage therapy at the Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic at the UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center, said massage provides two types of benefits: immediate and cumulative.

“Immediately following massage, you can experience reduced tightness in the muscles, improved blood flow and breathing, plus reduced anxiety and stress,” Arnold explained.

“Over the long-term, the benefits of massage accumulate; massage can increase a person’s range of motion, strengthen the immune system and provide an improved sense of well-being,” Arnold added.

Stress seems to creep into the lives of almost everybody at some point, and Arnold said a massage can do a lot to help.

“Swedish and deep-tissue massages are two of the ‘big four’ types of massage,” Arnold explained. “Swedish is for those who are interested in just relieving stress. If there are deeper aches and pains, deep tissue can help take care of it.”

Neuromuscular and trigger point therapy are the other two major types of massage that have proven to be universally beneficial, according to Arnold.

“Clients often inquire about which form of massage therapy is right for them,” Arnold said. “What you should look for and ask about are things like: how long the type of massage therapy has been around; how long the massage therapist has practiced it; what it is based on; and whether it focuses more on the physical or mental aspect.”

How often massage therapy should be utilized varies from person to person.

“Someone who has little to no physical issues and is simply looking to relax and unwind can benefit from massage as little as once a month,” Arnold said. “Someone who has a problem that can benefit from regular massage can be seen as often as once a day. My regular clients average about once a week.”

Arnold recommends those considering massage first visit a physician to see if this form of therapy will help then choose a licensed therapist.

The Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic at Spain Rehabilitation Center offers massage therapy to UAB staff, patients and the general public. Appointments are available Monday through Friday by calling 205-975-4922.

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is the state of Alabama’s largest employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center; its professional schools and specialty patient-care programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 50. Find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on all consecutive references.

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