The Benefits of Massage for Chronic Inflammation

The feel of strong hands on your body, working out every muscle, kneading every knot, relieving every bit of tension until your body falls into a jelly-like-puddle of submission. There are few who would debate the sensual effects of a good massage, but what about its healing power?

While it’s clear going for a massage can provide temporary pain relief, can it actually offer a more permanent solution?

For those who suffer from chronic inflammation, pain is a fact of life. For many, massage provides a welcome escape, but can it actually reverse the effects of the condition itself? Read on to find out the impact of massage on chronic inflammation.

What is Chronic Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural series of bodily responses to injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a foreign agent. Inflammation is a normal and desirable defense mechanism, but it normally goes away when the cause does. However, in the case of chronic inflammation, this is not the case.


Chronic inflammation can last from a few days to a lifetime. It is thought to be the leading factor in all autoimmune diseases, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Causes of Inflammation
The causes of inflammation may include stress, dietary choices, artificial chemicals in food, water, aid and cosmetics and pathogens like bacteria and viruses. However, while science seems to acknowledge many of the causes of inflammation, it is less forthcoming about possible strategies for dealing with it. While the use of anti-inflammatory drugs has proven effective, long-term use can lead to dangerous side effects, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and hemorrhages.

Reversing Chronic Inflammation
Since the biological processes of inflammation are turned on by pain, then it is possible that the inflammation will decrease with the pain signal, giving the body more energy to heal itself. Massage is an effective way of doing just that. The key lies in applying the correct techniques and working with, rather than against the body.

Massage and Chronic Inflammation
A massage therapist needs to be aware of the variations in pain levels in the body’s client with chronic inflammation. Generally, full body massage can circulate white blood cells, boosting their efficient and worsening the client’s condition.

The following are a list of treatments designed to alleviate body systems with our significantly increasing full body circulation:

  • Abdominal massage can greatly improve organ efficient. Chi Nei Tsang is a form of abdominal massage present in Chinese medicine which can be beneficial in this respect.
  •  Stretching provides the client with myofascial benefits without greatly impacting circulation.
  • Myofascial release is a good way to free blockages in the body’s myofascial network. It is well tolerated by clients during flare ups.
  • Shaitsu and Thai massage combine stretching while focussing on musculotendon pathways and specific muscle regions. They can vary in intensity depending on the client’s level of tolerance on the given day.

Have you used massage to treat chronic inflammation? What do you think? A short term relief or a long term cure? Let us know!

Old couple drinking wine.

Undiagnosed Glucose Intolerance Common in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

New research being conducted at Georgetown University suggests that people suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease should be routinely tested for glucose intolerance. Alzheimer’s is “…a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Most believe that Alzheimer’s is a disease that only the elderly population struggles with, but there are many individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that has no known cure and that progressively worsens over time. Research out of Georgetown University suggests that those with early onset Alzheimer’s may have something else to be concerned with.

The Study
Dr. R. Scott Turner, MD, Ph.D. is a neurologist at Georgetown University and while conducting a nationwide study on people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, discovered that a large number of the participants were found to have undiagnosed glucose intolerance. According to an article published online at Diabetes News Journal, the study examines resveratrol, a natural phenol which can be commonly found in blueberries, red grapes, mulberries, red wine and raspberries, to determine whether or not it could bring about a change in the glucose levels in patients who suffer from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Turner also noted that resveratrol is believed to act on proteins in the brain in a way that mimics the effects of a low-calorie diet.

The way in which resveratrol works on proteins in the brain is important because previous studies indicate that calorie restrictions can help in preventing issues such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Dr. Turner’s study began with an emphasis on resveratrol and Alzheimer’s and for patients to be admitted he ordered a fasting glucose tolerance test to provide a baseline level. Patients were retested two hours after they ate and a continued high sugar level after two hours shows that glucose intolerance is high. It was during the glucose intolerance screenings that Turner noticed an interesting pattern: “All told, overall prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance of diabetes at two hours was 43 percent or nearly half of the recruited study candidate cohort.”

The Indications
Further research is required to determine what link, if any, diabetes and Alzheimer’s have. Turner’s study was designed to study the effects of resveratrol in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, therefore, it was not set up to study the diabetes/ Alzheimer’s relationship.

All of this information is fascinating, but what impact does it have on your life? First, eating a healthy, low-calorie diet can help in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Secondly, another possible way to help prevent or slow serious diseases is resveratrol. A glass of red wine or a handful or blueberries may do far more than please your palette, it may keep degenerative diseases at bay. Of course, before making any additions or serious changes to your eating habits and diet, it is strongly advised to check with your doctor to make sure you really are making helpful and healthy choices.