July 1, 2008

Getting Deep into Massage Therapy

By Amber Dilley, Glasgow Daily Times, Ky.

Jul. 1--GLASGOW -- Massages aren't just an indulgence offered at the spa anymore.

According to a survey done by the American Massage Therapy Association in 2007, 32 percent of Americans say they have used massage at least once for pain relief. Massage therapy is sneaking up on traditional pain relief like chiropractic therapy -- 38 percent and physical therapy -- 44 percent.

"It's no surprise that people are turning to massage therapy to improve their wellness," said Dr. Leena S. Guptha, president of the AMTA. "It's a proven way to manage pain, recover from injury and improve one's quality of life, often reducing the need for medications or invasive treatments."

Mary Christensen, a therapeutic masseuse at On The Spot Massage Therapy in Glasgow, said that most of their clients are people suffering from pain and some are referrals from doctors.

"A doctor might tell them that they should get a massage," Christensen said. "Most people that have problems with chronic headaches will get a neck massage, shoulder massage. Those are for tension headaches, those come from the neck."

Christensen said the most popular form of massage is deep tissue.

"The most requested would be deep tissue. Most of the people that request it have got areas that are bothering them with tension," Christensen said.

Deep tissue massage focuses on loosening and realigning deeper layers of muscles and can be used to relieve chronic pain from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia.

While most insurance companies don't currently cover massages in their plans, some are starting to recognize alternative health options for their customers.

Mark Quigley, massage therapist at Glasgow Physical Therapy, said that it depends on the patient's plan.

"Most aren't covered right now, but it depends on the individual insurance plan," he said. "Some are starting to include it in their plans."

Quigley, who does deep tissue, Swedish and accupressure massages, said that deep tissue massage has many benefits.

"With the deep tissue, it helps athletes with sports injuries, tight muscles, people that have had resistance due to tight muscles, it also increases the circulation," he said.


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