Pilot Study Finds Massage Benefits Burns Children

Aromatherapy massage treatments helps young burns victims relax, according to a new study conducted by researchers in Cape Town. The study was conducted in 2009 at a small paediatric burns unit with 17 beds, and included 71 test subjects, with the average age of the children studied at 3 years old.

129 sessions were undertaken at the centre, with stress levels assessed by measuring the children's heart rate, respiration, facial expressions, sleep/awake state and body posture.

The study found that the heart and breathing rates of the subjects declined, a recognised sign of relaxation. 92.8% of children exhibited positive responses to the treatment, for example falling asleep, asking for the treatment to continue, or appearing visibly calmed.

'Aromatherapy massage seems to be a helpful nonpharmacological approach to reduce hospitalized paediatric burn patients' distress,' noted the researchers. The study's results are encouraging, though those who conducted it admit that further work is needed to provide more concrete evidence of the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy massage treatment.

Massage Therapy and Immune Function

Much research has been conducted into the relationship between massage therapy and improved immune function.  While massage therapists have long claimed that the application of touch therapy techniques can boost the immune system function, few comprehensive studies featuring definitive results have been produced. Recently, there has been a trend towards laying the foundations for more comprehensive studies.

The most in-depth study into the connection between massage therapy and improved immune response was was undertaken in 2010 by Cedar-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. The trial found that even a single session of Swedish Massage Therapy spanning a mere 45 minutes elicited a measurable immune response: respondents experienced a large decrease in the hormone argnine vasopressin, which is involved in feelings of aggression and the production of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition,  white blood cells involved with healthy immune function were found to be stimulated to action after massage.

Studies have also been performed on patients whose immune system has been compromised, such as in the case of cancer and HIV/Aids. Results are promising: certain kinds of massage are popular amongst patients, despite past assumptions the treatment would be contra-indicated. On the contrary, studies have shown that cancer patients can benefit both mentally and physically from receiving treatment. A study performed on victims of breast cancer found the subjects had improved immune and neuroendocrine (brain hormone) functions following remedial massage treatment. The study notes that 'Women with breast cancer are at risk for elevated depression, anxiety, and decreased natural killer (NK) cell number.' Massage was shown to help alleviate these negative symptoms, bringing a more relaxed, balanced mindset to the patient, as well as improved immune function.

A study performed by researchers at Temple University focused on the effectiveness of regular massage therapy on inner-city residents living with HIV/Aids produced similar results. The conclusion was that even one massage treatment had a discernible effect upon the depleted immune systems of the subjects. No doubt further research is planned that will build upon the results of these encouraging results, improving the status of massage therapy as a valuable remedial treatment.

Good Intentions Lessen Pain

A new study conducted by researchers at The University of Maryland has discovered that how others perceive our intentions can improve our resilience to pain, our responsiveness to pleasure, even enhance our senses.

The study, to be published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science,  revealed that home-baked cookies made by a loving relative really do taste better and that a good bedside manner can ease the pain of a patient. While it would appear that the pain of a slap or the joy of a caress would relate directly to the physical experience of touch, it would appear that how they are percieved is influenced by the context in which they appear. Says Kurt Gray, lead researcher, 'The results confirm that good intentions—even misguided ones—can sooth pain, increase pleasure, and


make things taste better. More broadly, these studies suggest that basic physical experience depends upon how we perceive the minds of others.'

The conclusions of the study were drawn from three seperate experiments: examining pain, pleasure and the taste of a sweet treat. The study featuring pain found that bedside manner really does matter, with those from whom blood was drawn experiencing more pain than those being administered by a sweetly tempered nurse.

Meanwhile, those receiving help from family and friends felt more comforted if they believed the assistance was provided with generosity and compassion. And those eating sweet treats enjoyed them more when they thought that the cook had prepared it with love.

"It’s no surprise that food companies always pair their products with kindly old grandfathers and smiling mothers - thinking this make-believe benevolence likely increases our enjoyment.

"To the extent that we view others as benevolent instead of malicious, the harms they inflict upon us should hurt less, and the good things they do for us should cause more pleasure.”

This has clear applications in the field of massage therapy, demonstrating that therapists should cultivate a warm, responsive persona in order to give their clients the best treatment possible.

New Study Reveals Lavender Oil Improves Sleep Quality

Chronic sleeplessness is rife in today's society: 1 in 5 people living in the U.K. today suffers from sleeping difficulties, whether it be disrupted sleep, insomnia, or poor sleep quality. Usually, this is treated with sleeping pills, which can be harmful to your health, particularly if used frequently. It's no wonder, then, that a veritable torrent of research has been conduct in recent years into achieving good quality sleep through natural means, from meditation and exercise to herbal remedies and aromtherapy. Results have demonstrated that aromatherapy, in particular, can be useful in achieving restful sleep that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and alive.

One oil that researchers have been particularly interested in is Lavender. This powerful, yet soothing oil has long been known to producing calming, relaxing  affects, and has been shown in previous studies to help alleviate the symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other sleep disruption. One study, completed in 2005, demonstarted the effectiveness of lavender on patients with mild insomnia, while another, published in 2006, showed the effects of lavender on stressed college students.

New research conducted by the  Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, has revealed the effectiveness of the essential oil on patients in Coronary Care Units. As could be expected, patients in these units report poor sleep quality as a matter of course, so the oil's effectiveness was impressive indeed. The trial included 64 male and female patients suffering from unstable angina and myocardial infarction, revealing large differences in the average sleep quality scores between the group who received aromatherapy and those who opted for sleeping pills. On average, the group who received lavender oil therapy reported a postitive change in quality of sleep.

You can use lavender yourself: our resident aromatherapist, Susan Munro, recommends adding a couple of drops to a cotton ball and tucking into into your pillowcase before bed. Another option is having a lavender bath: add 5 - 10 drops of pure essential oil (diluted with 10 - 20 mL of carrier oil, such as sweet almond) to warm bath water for a wonderfully relaxing prelude to bedtime. Even a sprig of fresh or dried lavender tucked into the pillow can help you get a restful night's sleep. Susan is also able to make you up your very own sleepytime blend that can be applied to the wrists and temples before bed. Harness the power of aromatherapy for a wonderful night's sleep today.

Massage and Low Back Pain

A study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine has found that massage therapy may reduce or relive chronic back pain for a period of six months or more.

The randomised controlled, paralell-group trial was conducted by Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, of the Group Health Research Institute, in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues, at a local health care unit. The study focused on 401 people, each assigned either relaxation massage, structural massage, or usual medical treatment.

Cherkin's team of researchers discovered, "Massage therapy improved function and decreased pain more than usual care in patients with uncomplicated chronic lower back pain [LBP] after 10 weeks."

"We found that patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function," Dr. Cherkin said in a press release. "After 10 weeks, about two-thirds of those receiving massage improved substantially, versus only about one-third in the usual care group."

Interestingly enough, the study found that, "No clinically meaningful difference between relaxation and structural massage was observed in terms of relieving disability or symptoms."

The test subjects were mostly women with nonspecific chronic low back pain who were enrolled in a single healthcare system that provides treatment to a mostly white and employed population, suggesting more studies need to be done on the wider community in order to generalise the findings across socio-economic, gendered and ethnic borders. Results, however, are encouraging, helping to confirm what we see every day: massage therapy eases pain, promotes a relaxed, alert state of mind and a healthy body. Book a treatment with Wee Sally today to balance mind and body.

Benefits of Massage on Novice Runners

A study has been published that focuses on the benefits of massage for those taking up running to get fit or maintain health. The study comprised a ten week period with 16 runners recieving a half hour massage treatment once a week, while 12 control participants recieved no massage. All participants were asked to complete a daily journal, wherein muscle strength, leg pain, daily functioning, and running confidence were assessed. At the conclusion of the training period,  participants were asked to complete a 10 kilometre run.

According to researchers KA Dawson and others, the runners recieving massage didn't experience any change in, 'muscle strength, pain perception, daily functioning or running confidence', but 100% of the massage group completed the race versus only 58.3% of those who did not recieve treatment.

The researchers note that the running behaviour of the groups was very similar, with similar training programmes created. While each group ran with a considerable amount of pain, massage appears to have increased the tolerance of the runners to it. This study is the newest addition to the large amount of research that has been done in recent years on the relationship our pain threshold has to receiving regular massage.

New Study Reveals Massage Therapy May Improve Asthma Symptoms

A new study has revealed a link between improved lung function on asthma patients and simple, regular massage therapy. Undertaken by the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University, the study was performed on a group of children, 60 of which were assigned to receive 20 minutes of massage therapy daily. The massage was administered at home nightly by their parents, and was performed as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical care. A control group was also selected, who received conventional medical treatment alone.

A selection of lung capability and capacity tests were performed, including spirometry, which involves measuring the volume of air that can be taken in or out of the lungs. This test revealed significantly improved lung function in the group of children relieving massage, from the commencement of the test to its conclusion.

While further testing is needed to provide more concrete research findings, this is an exciting step towards proving massage therapy has benefits for people who suffer from respiratory complaints that affect their lung capacity and breathing mechanism. A news item which contains more information about the study appears on Natural Selection's website.

Introducing Lymphatic Drainage Massage

First developed in the 1930s by Danish doctors Emil and Estrid Vodder, Manual Lymph Drainage refers to a massage technique that utilises long, slow strokes to stimulate the flow of blood and lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymph is the clear fluid (otherwise known as blood plasma) that feeds nutrients to the organs of the body through capillary action from the bloodstream. In the absence of an active pump like the heart, lymph fluid is recirculated around the body by a system of one-way valves and muscle motion. You have just as many lymph vessels and capillaries as blood vessels and capillaries.

Lymph fluid is filtered by over 100 nodes filled with white blood cells which serve to destroy harmful bacteria, toxins, and other foreign bodies in the lymph. In this way the lymph system is an integral part of the immune system.

Sometimes, however, the circulation of lymph fluid is disrupted: this can be a result of genetics, inactivity, poor diet, stress, inappropriate posture, illness or injury. Manual Lymph Drainage Massage is especially useful in the treatment of fluid retention (oedema), especially prevalent in the lower extremities of the body.

Symptoms of Oedema include:

  • Puffiness of body part

  • Heaviness in limbs or extremities

  • Discolouration/paleness

  • Aching or tender limbs

  • Stiff joints

  • Fluid-filled parts of the body hold imprint of the thumb when pushed

Massage has been shown to help improve the circulation of lymph reducing the impression of puffiness, particularly in the hands and feet. Many studies have been done into the benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage: many of those conducted are listed at Dr. Vodder's website. 

Wee Sally's Susan Munro specialises in Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage: call  01506-238366 to book an appointment. She is available for appointments on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 12pm - 8pm, and on Saturdays 10am - 6pm.

Follow Friday: The Massage Nerd

'Welcome to the information highway of massage therapy' trumpets the home page of The Massage Nerd. The website certainly delivers on this promise: boasting the largest repository of information on massage of any website worldwide, MN is filled to the brim with information for anyone interested in massage and holistic practices.

The website is a fascinating resource for the active massage therapist, containing over 2, 000 massage videos, 10, 000 massage pictures and charts, thousands of test questions and a selection of free e-books, packed with plenty of introductory information on massage techniques as diverse as Thai massage, Sports, Reflexology and more, as well as an overview of more obscure massage techniques. Not just a resource for the established practitioner, Massage Nerd also includes plenty of basic information for the student therapist or curious client, including how to put together a consult form, handle a business practice, body mechanics for the therapist and a history of massage. If you're interested in expanding your understanding of the treatments we provide here at Wee Sally Therapeutic Massage, The Massage Nerd is a five-star resource.

Massage and Research

Research into the benefits of Massage is picking up steam with more and more studies releasing their findings to support the health benefits you can achieve with regular massage.

The most recent preliminary study into the effects of Massage on Hormone and Immune functions in normal (re:healthy) individuals came to the following conclusion:
Preliminary data suggest that a single session of Swedish Massage Therapy produces measurable biologic effects. If replicated, these findings may have implications for managing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

You can read the details of the study at the following URL:



I hope that I can continue to provide you with the latest research news for hte Massage Industry as they are released.

Beyond your treatment

Massage treatments are effective in relieving pain, and providing comfort at the time, however it is important to consider the advice offered to you by your therapist to ensure long term relief and improvement.
Educating our clients on ways to reduce the instance of pain or injury is very important to us, so we have decided to offer up for dowload a series of informational articles covering the most common complaints we hear at the clinic.

To review our list of documents and download your own copy please visit our Self Help page.

If you have any ailments you would like to see an article on, please let us know and we'll write one up for you.

Recovery and long term relief is our goal, and we want to do what we can to help you reach that goal.

How often?

I am sometimes asked by new clients, how often should they schedule for another massage.
As a therapist, this is a really tough question to answer, however I will share my views on the subject, and allow you to decide for yourself.

In an ideal world, one I certainly wish I could afford to live in, we would all get massages about once a week.
What a great way to reduce stress and help maintain good health, and physical fitness.
Sadly this is seldom possible for most people, so my thought is this:
Come as often as your wallet and your schedule will permit!

This may be once every two weeks, once a month, once every two months, the goal is to make you feel good, and to make Massage a regular part of your healthcare routine.
If you are suffering from an Injury that is being treated, the first few weeks of treatment are most important, so 1-2 sessions a week for the first week or two of treatment is ideal, but again, its not always possible or financially viable for people to do this, so as long as you take care of yourself between sessions and follow any recommendations for aftercare, you should still do well in your recovery.

Ask me about ways to treat yourself at home, or for suggestions on stretching after your workout routine. I love sharing this type of information with people.

Affordability is the biggest concern, especially when things in the economy are as tough as they are right now. Massage is viewed as a luxury, and one of the first things to go when people start living on budgets. However when you consider how much longevity you can receive in your health from regular massage, it may pay to keep up those appointments. Research has shown that people who receive regular massage often take less "sick leave" from work, and are generally happier employees. Your Immune system benefits, so you become less reliant on medicines to treat things like viruses and infections.

I have tried to ensure that I have priced my massage at a point where it doesnt break the bank.
Think of all the ways you could save that £35 a month to put towards your massage*?

Remember your body is the only you'll ever have, treat it with love, care and attention and it will take care of you and carry you for a long, long time.

*60 minute massage

Back to School at last!

The summer holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the years for parents.
Between having to keep the kids entertained for 7 weeks, planning a summer getaway and juggling your job on top of all that.
Now the sweet little cherubs are back at school again, and finally you can let out a sigh of relief.

The following article from Massage 101 describes how Stress can affect your life, and the positive benefits of receiving a massage to help handle stress in your life:
Prolonged periods of stress can negatively affect many systems of the body.

Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such problems as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune function. But it doesn’t just contribute to physical ailments. Stress can sap joy from your life, cause seemingly inexplicable fatigue, and leave you less able to enjoy your relationships and leisure activities.

Loved ones can become unfortunate victims of stress in your life. You will find yourself less patient and less able to mentally engage with the people you care about.

Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. We know this is true on an intuitive level. If even the untrained hands of a friend or partner can soothe aches and pains, and diminish anxiety, then imagine the effect of a therapeutic massage by a trained practitioner. Even the rituals of massage come as a welcome break from our hurried lives: dimmed lights, soothing music, the pleasant fragrance of a mild oil or candle - even without massage, these might help you relax. But coupled with the right massage techniques,  you’ll actually feel the stress leaving.

Massage boosts the body’s immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues.

Manipulation of the soft tissue decreases muscular tension, increases removal of metabolic waste and promotes nutrient delivery to healing tissue. Knots in your muscles can inhibit your ability to perform regular, daily tasks. As other parts of your body try to compensate for the ache of a tight muscle, they also start to become tight and uncomfortable. Before long, an injury that began in your neck can trace to your shoulder, down your arm and into your wrist. The reaction chain can take innumerable forms, but none of them are pleasant.

In short, with a therapeutic massage stress can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will increase energy, improve your outlook on life, and in the process boost your immune system function. Coupled with modest changes in nutrition and activity levels, massage can be the start of a profound change for the better in your health and well-being.


So why not book yourself in with me and treat yourself to a massage to unwind from the stressful holiday season?

Injury Season

It's Marathon training season, which for Massage Therapists means Injury season.
This year, I'm signed up to run a half marathon in April, and I've already managed to get myself an Injury hampering my training.

I can't quite pin point the reason for my new pain, all I know is that it's around my Peroneals and Tibialis Anterior.
So now not only am I working on other peoples Injuries, I can sympathize while trying to treat my own.
My current plan of action is to up my stretching and do some Trigger point release and Myofascial work on the leg.
I've already eased up on my training some, but I cant keep my miles too low for too long.

So here's to Massage and our Busy season.
What are the most common Injuries that you experience during this time?

How important is Organization Membership?

How important do you feel being a Member of the numerous Massage Therapy Organizations actually is?
I recently become a member of the ABMP, I chose this one as my first membership over the AMTA mainly because I felt for a fresh face like myself it was more accessible.

There are a plethora of other organizations out there that one can become a member of, for a cost of course, each with their own list of offerings on how they can help you become a better therapist and build a better practice.

I hope that I can use my Student pack, and additional booklets from my Welcome pack to help me through my final semester at school, as well as help me on the road to building my practice and making it successful.

Which Organizations do you belong to?
What are the reasons for choosing some over others?
I hope you will join me in a debate of this so I can thrash out the Pro's and Cons.