Author Archives: Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

Doug Powell, LMT, is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Florida offering Swedish, deep tissue, sports and therapeutic massage therapy. He is a graduate of the Orlando Institute of Massage Therapy where he finished his studies at the top of his class. He has practiced professional massage therapy in Orlando since 1996 and is a member of the Massage Network and International Massage Association. If you suffer from chronic muscle tension, pain or persistent stress, discover how my professional services can help you! Get Well and Stay Well My goal as a natural health care practitioner is to encourage the body and mind to regain and maintain their normal function. Indeed, when you create health, dis-ease disappears. As you help the body regain it’s normal function, many health problems resolve naturally. Some of the conditions I have successfully worked with include: low back pain joint pain neck and shoulder pain chronic low energy/weakness stress overload Is This Work Right for You? People come to me for a variety of reasons. For many, a weekly massage serves as an antidote to stress or as a recuperative phase of their fitness program. Others are looking for help with chronic pain or injuries. The services I offer are tailored to meet your needs whether you are ill, in tip-top shape, or somewhere in between. The goal is to increase your wellness: your vitality, your ease of movement, the function of your body, and your peace of mind.

What are the Physiological Effects of Massages?

What are the Physiological Effects of Massages?

Massages are a popular leisurely activity that helps people relax and wind down, particularly during times of stress. People enjoy them because they are often synonymous with meditation and relaxation. While many people claim feeling better after they get a massage, there has not been too much scientific literature to back up the claims with physiological data. A new study tries to quantify the effects by looking at the impact of massages on immune, hematological, and psychological states of adults.

The study had 32 participants with each participant receiving a 25-minute, full-body massage from a trained professional. The type of massage was based on Chinese techniques known as Amma. The order and objective of the massages were followed per protocol and began with certain parts of the body and had a consistent flow between study participants. Subjects were encouraged to provide feedback on their comfort levels throughout the massage, particularly in regards to the pressure exerted.

State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), a questionnaire based anxiety measurement was taken before and after the massages were given. Blood and saliva samples were also taken to look at various markers including cholesterol levels. Each person served as their own control (the before massage numbers were the control and the after massage numbers were the comparator).

The 25-minute massages showed induction of relaxation, with better STAI scores in the after group. There was also some evidence of hemodilation and decreased cholesterol numbers in the patients. These findings are very interesting and may form the basis for future research in the area. This study alone is not enough to draw any strong conclusions, particularly in regards to the cholesterol numbers, since the number of participants in the study was so small. It will likely lead to future studies that take a m ore rigorous look at this though.

Massages can be extremely pleasurable and may have a physiological impact that is positive for you as well. It will be interesting to see where the research goes and how future data look because this has the potential to change certain disease treatments. Massage might be a much safer alternative to treating anxiety than the commonly prescribed BZDs which have a number of issues including substance abuse forming problems. The increased blood flow also has a lot of potential benefit in some people.

There are many medical groups which are likely looking for more data on these benefits because it can change their practices, the outcomes of their patients, and the public health. It will be interesting to see where clinical decision-making goes if these data are validated since it may also eventually lead to more broader coverage of massages and similar therapies by traditional payers such as insurance companies. This has the potential to make professionally delivered massages much more accessible to your average person since right now a large barrier to that is the cost associated with hiring a pro. If you are a massage fan, keep doing what you are doing because it may just be helping you be healthier.

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Can massage help muscle recovery after workout?

Can massage help muscle recovery after workout?

Massages are thought to help recovery after working out by increasing blood flow and transport of vital building blocks to the exercised body parts (as well as removal of waste such as lactate). Because of this thought, many professional athletes get massages as part of their training regimens. A new report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says that the scientific literature on this is surprisingly lacking. While the physical benefits of massage after a workout are uncertain, there may be psychological benefits which still make it worth it according to the article.

A recent study that was conducted on people who worked out and then got massages found that there was no change in lactate levels after the massage. Lactate is produced by the body’s anaerobic respiration process which is what cells use when we exercise and get low on oxygen. This is what brings part of the soreness that so many people feel after they exercise. It is known to cause much of the pain which is associated with soreness too.

While it looks like there may not be an impact on lactate levels, surveys of people who got the massages after their workouts found that their perception of recovery was improved. The finding is contentious with people not sure why it came out that way. It is possible that those who felt better did so because of the placebo effect, a well-known phenomenon in which the thought of getting something useful actually leads to physiological improvements. Others think that it may have to do with the timing of the massage after the workout. A 1994 study showed that the massage was not helpful in the recovery process when done right after working out, but if it was given 2-6 hours later, it significantly reduced soreness.

While it is still unknown and more research is needed, there isn’t much to support the ideas that massages actually hurt the recovery process. Given this and the relatively low cost of getting a massage, it is likely that many athletes will continue to try them just in case there is an impact (or if they believe in it, a placebo effect). Some contacted marathoners said they will still be continuing their previous regimens in light of the recent journal report and it is highly unlikely that professional athletes who used to get massages will now stop. It will be interesting to see where the scientific consensus on this one ends up as more data come out.

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Can Massage Relieve Anxiety?

Can Massage Relieve Anxiety?Many people suffer from anxiety as a result of our busy lives, demanding jobs, and familial duties. The increasing stress of our everyday lives often leaves people with anxiety about what is next without the appropriate or healthy means to cope with that. There are medical diagnoses for anxiety (there are various types in the DSM diagnostic manual) and some medications, but nothing that is a surefire cure and really not much that helps for the long-term. Furthermore, one of the most popular medication classes, which constitutes the majority of anxiety-related prescription fills, can cause addictive behavior and has in the past ruin lives due to drug-seeking behavior. All in all, we just don’t have any great treatments for anxiety when it comes to drugs, particularly for those who suffer long-term.

There have been many studies and people who are seeking more options for the growing body of patients suffering from this ailment. Amongst the studies, some are looking at behavioral techniques to control the symptoms rather than drugs. Things like massages come in to play here. Some data and case studies suggest that a professional message therapist can help reduce the muscle tension that is often associated with anxiety and in turn, lead to relaxation. Part of this is due to the relaxing sensations that result from the mechanical procedures, but there appears to be a chemical change brought about by massages too. Studies have shown increases in hormones oxytocin and serotonin as a result of massages. These can help lower blood pressure and elevate the level of happiness that a person feels and in turn rid them of that crushing feeling of anxiety.

When the body is relaxed, the synergies in regards to wellness and health are almost endless. The fact that massages might be a powerful weapon against anxiety is getting a lot of attention from researchers and clinicians alike. Future research will almost definitely look at massages and the outcomes associated with them, particularly in gold standard studies known as randomized controlled trials (RCTs). If the data show that massages are superior to placebo in reducing anxiety, then they are almost definitely going to make it into the treatment paradigms of established health-related professions and may offer doctors a new tool (which is ironically a very old tool) in an area with a very large unmet medical need. So the answer to the question “can massage relieve anxiety” may well be yes.

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Athleticism and the Mystery of Massages

weight-lifting-Dunca Daniel-6349588_lMarathoners, weightlifters, and sports enthusiasts alike have often debated the benefits of a massage, in particular post-workout.

According to recent studies presented in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, individuals that received a massage post-exercise did not necessarily benefit in the ways in which many speculate. In fact, lactate build-up in the body is not only a vital element in which commonly causes muscle soreness and failure at the gym or on the track, but it’s massage also considered responsible for muscle recovery – as it’s reduced. This however, is has not been proven to be countered by a post-exercise massage in most cases.

On the other hand, scholars and professionals alike are weary to admit that massages between 2-6 hours post-exercise may very well be beneficial in some ways for athletes. According to Lewis Maharam, MD, president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, DOMS, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, can be treated with a professional, medically-based massage post-exercise.

These findings are both difficult to prove, as well as to demonstrate and depict the differences between various benefits of such post-exercise medical approach or treatment. Since the blood-vessels are believed to play critical roles in both muscle soreness and recovery, the idea of a massage for most, makes sense. However, at the same time adequate scientific research into these findings and hypothesis are limited, and sometimes contradictory in nature.

What many scholars and professionals – as well as athletes – alike believe is that there’s likely a correlation between the placebo effect of a massage, and how this interplays on someone that has sore or damaged muscles from exercise or other athletic activities.

Along with the effects of DOMS, medical researchers and athletes alike have discovered muscle pain in general to be minimized with proper prevention and treatment approaches. In particular, within 24-48 hours of a workout or exercise – when individuals are most susceptible to the effects of DOMS. In such instances, a prior massage seems to have played a positive, preventative role of such.

Some nutritionists and physicians dedicated to sports nutrition and health redirect scholars and interested athletes attention back to the realistic benefits and purpose of pre-workout and post-workout stretching.

Many bodybuilders for example, have claimed that post-workout stretches in particular were especially helpful to minimizing the effects of DOMS both in the short, and long-run. This makes sense, as an individual that stretches before a workout is preparing his or her muscles and improving flexibility or “elasticity”. Secondly, an athlete or bodybuilder that then stretches post-workout is helping to improve blood circulation, muscle elasticity again, and increases the likelihood of a “speedier recovery”.

Unfortunately, many bodybuilders and other athletes alike do not take the values of stretching seriously, and in turn often acquire many undesirable, painful, and time-penalizing side-effects or injury. Because of this, physicians and scientists are trying to reeducate and motivate athletes to take into consideration the scientifically proven values of not only a therapeutic massage, but also stretching, and why it’s important in the long-run – as it can also help to prevent serious injuries from improper form or over-exertion during a workout.

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Massage Is A Real Therapeutic Solution

Massage Is A Real Therapeutic SolutionThroughout all human history, massage has been part of our lives. It’s a natural process that allows for one of us to help another of us relax and perform better. Humans engage in intense work and play habits to the point of exhaustion. Mental stress from dangerous or problematic jobs or personal responsibilities can cause one’s muscles and tendons and ligaments to tense up, knot up, and become an impediment and in some cases a disability. Massage can help in alleviating these problems and for good reason.

The primary benefit of massage is that it causes the body to relax. When the muscles are relaxed less stress is put on the ligaments and tendons as well as the functions of respiratory and cardiovascular. Not to mention easier digestion can occur. When the body’s respiration and cardiovascular systems are working nominally, the rest of the body and mind will be working more optimum as well.

Any athlete, professional or amateur will attest to the benefits of massage. Just about every pro athlete has a personal masseuse who has high accreditation. Masseurs have to go through lots of training and meet certain credentials before being allowed to practice. In some countries more than others. Often doctors take courses in massage as a prerequisite or an elective. In searching for a masseur, it is highly advised to check their credentials. Ask for their credentials and ask around to find satisfied clients.

Make sure your doctor, your primary care physician, knows your intentions regarding getting massages. In most cases, your doctor can actually prescribe massage and your insurance company will pay for it. In that case, you’ll be good to go on a major basis.
Once you go into massage, you may find your masseuse/masseur will recommend seeing other specialists like a chiropractor or dietitian. They should coordinate with your doctor and work out a regimen that benefits one and all.

You should also keep detailed statistics regarding your massage treatments. See how your overall health improves like endurance and strength. Your overall well being should improve as well, especially stress levels. Stress is known as the ‘silent killer’ and science has proven that. Massage helps in alleviating stress and that’s a good thing.

Now, if one really wants to advance regarding massage, one can learn how to do self massage. Humans naturally do so like when you rub your arm or leg or neck to alleviate tension or pain. Massage is a big part of today’s pain management therapies. There are techniques you can learn and apply to yourself. If you really want to get in on the massage fitness end of things, you take a course in it. You might even have your family, friends, and employees to join on on learning massage. It will foster a sense of togetherness as well as have more arm’s reach support should you need a massage or be required to perform.
You can apply massage to just about any area and activity of life, and you can even perform it on animals like pets. They love massage.

So don’t underestimate the value of massage as a therapeutic advantage, it’s all in the hands and mind.

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The Level Headed Fitness Regimen

The Level Headed Fitness RegimenGetting back into shape can be a daunting thought and much more regarding action, but if you’re going to jump into a fitness regimen after a long period of inactivity, you’ll need to do so with a level headed approach or you could end up in major trouble.

Before engaging in any form of fitness regimen you should consult your doctor. Your doctor will know what you should and shouldn’t be doing. They may also recommend other specialists like nutritionists and so on, so that you’ll get well rounded advice across the board. This is a great way to start and also, keep a journal with statistics so that your doctor and specialists can review what you’ve been doing and they’ll be able to tell at a glance the best direction for you to go.

Don’t take armchair advice from anyone. They’re not professionals and could convince you to engage in actions that could be detrimental to your overall well being. Study and apply and consult. Don’t compare yourself with others either. You are an individual and specific in design. What worked for your brother or cousin may not work for you.

Next is setting up the schedule for working out. Only you will know what’s best for you and this will take some experimentation. You’ll need to start out in the morning. See how it works out for you. If it invigorates you and you’re not fatigued for the daily activities, then this is your time slot. Other people workout at lunch or dinner time and others just before bed. Some even have split sessions, with a workout in the morning and one in the evening. Don’t overdo it, just take it easy and find out what’s best for you.

Use the right equipment and clothing. If you’re going to run, get running shoes. They’re engineered to maximize efficiency and safety. If using weights, have a mat on the floor to prevent slipping and noise. Your fitness equipment should come from a reputable company and not be second hand. It’s hard to resist that name brand equipment on sale for cheap second hand, but it might not have a warranty and it might have flaws that could lead to injury. Remember, you’re investing in your health and that should be worth every dollar you invest.

Do all exercises right. Don’t try to innovate. Study or get training from professionals. Most gyms have classes and just one class can set you on the right path. There are a plethora of exercises and equipment and it may take time for you to find what’s best for you.
Finally, leave some time for recovery. Rest is a major part of fitness as the body has to recover and repair itself. Muscle grows because during exercise it gets torn and then rebuilds itself with more muscle thus making it grow. Having enough rest is essential to this process.

So once again, being level headed about fitness will get you the goals you’re looking for safely and soundly.

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Getting The Best Massage Experience

Getting The Best Massage ExperienceThe purpose of massage is to alleviate physical problems arising from emotional and physical stress and trauma. It takes expertise to be an effective masseuse, and it doesn’t come easy. As a person who needs a massage therapist, it takes some know-how to determine if you’re getting the best massage experience.

First of all, make sure your massage therapist is certified. And has insurance. That’s key because it shows that the practitioner has passed muster and is authorized to administer massages.

That’s not all that’s required of a massage therapist. Knowing the basics of massage that pass certification isn’t enough. It calls for expertise and personal acumen that makes the practitioner effective. It calls for knowing some basic medicine and knowing the right bedside manner. The massage therapist is there to make things go easy and smooth, not convoluted and stressful. It takes knowing the patient and diagnosing where the problem areas are in the body and how much both mental and in some cases spiritual, so as better to apply the proper massage techniques.

Your massage therapist should at first ask you tons of questions. They might even ask for your medical history. It’s because they don’t want to aggravate an existing or old physical problem. Knowing your regular routines, like what sports and activities you engage in will help the massage therapist better approach you.

The place where the massage takes place should be clean, professional looking, and most of all peaceful and tranquil. The right equipment should be placed for easy access and should be comfy as well. Since some massage therapists are taller than others, or stronger or whatever physical configuration, they’ll adjust their methods to the equally assorted shapes and sizes that clients come in. Basically, the proper massage therapist will accommodate you. If they don’t, if they’re rough, rude, pushy, then you’re dealing with someone only interested in money and not your well being.

It’s all about making your massage session and experience worthwhile.

So in a recap, a pro level massage therapist is going to have the credentials to back up their knowledge and skills. Their office will be clean, professional looking and accommodating to the clients. The massage therapist will ask the client a ton of questions during consultations which will involve lots of patient history, massage techniques, and more. A professional massage therapist will then discuss costs and client’s responsibilities such as not engaging in activities that cause the need for a massage therapist.

Massage therapy calls for not only scientific, medical, and other sciences, but primarily the skills to apply massage for effective and sane treatments that should go hand-in-hand with your regular work and exercise regimens as well as lifestyle overall.

One might say that a massage therapist has a real ‘hands on’ occupation.

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Massage Is Good For Sports Year Round

Massage Is Good For Sports Year RoundOne of the oldest forms of remedial therapy for athletes is massage. Yes, after a rigorous workout or game, the body’s muscles need attention, and massage is the best way of handling things.

When the body is in motion, the muscles take charge. In addition, you have to coordinate on several levels of consciousness in order to control the muscles and make them operate at peak performance without causing injury. Sometimes people overdo it and put excessive stress on muscles, ligaments, and tendons. When this occurs sprains, and injuries can occur, but if massage is applied immediately after such activities, these maladies can be prevented allowing the athlete to get back into the swing of things.

Massage isn’t that difficult as there are levels from novice to professional. One can learn the rudimentary massage techniques and it’s well said that human beings have a natural sense of massage they use all the time. The art and science of massage, however, developed to make sure certain techniques actually work on specific areas of the body all the time. This systematic approach allows for precise study and application so that the working techniques can be passed on to others.
Learning massage is easy as well. There are plethora of video tutorials, books, classes, and more. Just glancing at these, one gets an idea of how massage is applied. It takes a professional, however you’ll need to get certification if you expect to do massage professionally.

There are lots of new sports arising because new devices are being created. One such is the new hoverboards that people all over are playing with. As easy as they appear, they still call for balancing and muscle control. After a fair amount of time on one, massage would come in handy to cool down the participant the same way you would use massage to cool down a football player or tennis player. Massaging the muscles so that they don’t bunch up causing cramps and so on.

Winter can take a real toll on athletes or anyone who has to battle the chilly temperatures, impact with snow and ice and so on. Since the muscles are working sometime twice as much as they would on land not covered with snow and ice, the cool down time could surely benefit from some massage, and anyone who has gone cross country skiing will agree.

So don’t sneeze at the benefits of massage. It’s a great way to prevent and handle physical problems and you can apply it to yourself as well as others too.

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Arnica Flower Health Benefits

Arnica Flower Health Benefits

Recent research and studies conducted by the Integrative Medicine Department at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center demonstrate that regular, daily usage of Arnica flower concentrate on the skin can promote better blood circulation and lower inflammation.

While this method of holistic approach to poor blood circulation and musculature discomfort may be beneficial for many, it’s not recommended for those whom have allergies to the Daisy flower family or other flowers. It’s best to first check with your healthcare physician if you have allergies, including those to pollen, before applying this concentrate oil onto your skin.

Why the Topical Approach?

Arnica flower creams and oils seem to be most effective by being massaged into your skin on a daily basis. This allows the natural, concentrate oils to directly penetrate the skin and work its way into your blood stream.

In fact, the Arnica flower has proven in scientific studies to not only reduce inflammation in your muscles, but also promote your body’s natural functioning processing of excreting bacteria and other unwanted germs from your system.

Using Arnica the Right Way

While there are various forms of the natural flower Arnica, it’s most effective to focus on purchasing and using oils, as they are the most concentrate form. Unfortunately, creams and even vitamins containing the natural flowers compounds can be deprived of its original concentration and overall effect on your body.

Should you decide to add Arnica into your daily or regular massage routine, may it be from someone else or self-application, keep in mind that when adding other creams or ointments that little should be used to prevent negative interactions with Arnica—depriving it of its chemical benefits and compounds.

Arnica’s Origins

Like the Sunflower, Arnica flowers have many origins. It’s worth pointing out that the higher elevation in which your Arnica oil comes from the more likely it is to be effective—or of higher potency.

Although continued scientific research is understandably required and expected before the FDA approves it as a recognized effective form of therapy and treatment for inflammation and blood circulation, it’s significant to consider that there are definitely no negative factors in trying it out, and seeing if it works for you.

Just as with all medicines, including holistic approach, not every method will work for every person. Some chemicals simply have no effect, just as some are immune to different chemicals or medications—and their natural ingredients.

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Massage Is Definitely Good For You

Massage Is Definitely Good For YouIt won’t take much to convince most people the benefits of massage and massage therapy. There are two fronts here, massage what people do to one another and massage therapy that is done by a professional.

People are natural masseuses, it’s part of our natural healing process from rubbing our necks and arms and legs to going to a professional parlor or office and getting the works done.

Massage isn’t something that you just up and do without a strategy, you have to have technique. You do it wrong and you can end up causing someone some injury like cramps or bruises.

Athletes will testify to the benefits of massage and their need for such therapy has led a multi billion dollar industry. There are specialists and massage gurus all over the place. There are support merchandise and classes.

Science has examined the field of massage and there are numerous debates regarding clinical data. It shows that massage does allow for rehabilitating the body and that means positive things overall. This opened the door to people going out to learn massage techniques to use at home or as a business.

You’ll find massage therapists at hospitals now and even traveling therapists who make house calls. Some therapists who cater to celebrities make incomes in the seven figure column and these positions are highly coveted.

It’s only when massage therapy gets combined with other philosophies that it gets into trouble. People are always trying to put a new spin on things and that can cause the subject to be chastised. The bottom line though is that whenever massage is practiced by competent people, it works.
It even works on animals. Many veterinarians use massage therapy on animals. It relieves stress and tension as well as have a somewhat healing affect on the body.
Getting trained in massage is relatively easy. You can attend classes that are certified and uncertified or you can watch tutorials on sites like YouTube where massage specialists will walk you through the basics so that you’ll have a good grip, no pun intended, on what massage can do.

If you’re going to get massage therapy, it’s best to read up on it. There’s lots of material on the subject and sometimes a professional is just what you need if you have the money for it. Pros use oils and lotions made of special herbs and spices. Sometimes massages are meant to coax toxins out of the skin and rehabilitate the skin’s flexibility. That is where the pros come in. They’re trained to focus on multiple approaches to massage, each one resulting in a different affect but each in harmony with the others. You get skin rehab and then muscle, joints, tendons to get the body working properly. It relieves stress and lowers blood pressure. Overall, an inside and outside workout kind of therapy that millions will swear by.

So don’t be put off by hearsay regarding massage. It’s an age old tradition that’s been tried and true since the dawn of civilization.

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