Navigating the Path to Wellness with Massage Therapy

The following are excerpts from an article by Donna Shryer which appeared in Massage Therapy Journal dated August 22, 2017.

(My comments are in parentheses.)

Consider this: 20 years ago, massage for cancer patients was categorically judged unwise for fear that it accelerated the spread of the cancer. However, recent studies reverse this opinion, highlighting specific instances where massage is both indicated and highly beneficial for cancer patients. Similarly, researchers now feel that patients with any of the following five chronic medical conditions—or pathologies—can benefit from massage therapy.


The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease of the joints that affects more than 30 million Americans. Most people over age 60 have OA to some degree, which occurs as the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down. Bones most often affected are in the hands, spine, and knee and hip joints, with symptoms including pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. (**Study results showed that massage therapy enabled significant improvements in pain, function and stiffness.)

Type 2 Diabetes 

Affecting 29.1 million Americans, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases diagnosed. A common T2D complication is peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage caused by chronically high blood sugar. Symptoms include numbness; loss of sensation; pain in the feet, legs or hands; and, specific to diabetic peripheral neuropathy in the feet, impaired balance. (**Study results showed improvement in balance, foot sensation and mobility.)

**In a study presented at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, massage was shown to greatly decrease CIPN (chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy) -associated symptoms, increase skin temperature in fingers and toes, and generally improve quality of life in persons affected by chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia 

Dementia is a group of signs and symptoms, an umbrella term that covers multiple progressive neurodegenerative diseases with similar clinical profiles. Alzheimer’s is under that umbrella. Here’s a brief list of dementia symptoms that apply to Alzheimer’s:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Difficulty performing ordinary activities
  • Feeling confused or frustrated, especially at night
  • Dramatic mood swings—outbursts of anger, anxiety and depression
  • Feeling disoriented and getting lost easily
  • Physical problems, such as an odd walk or poor coordination
  • Trouble communicating

(**Several small studies showed decreased aggressiveness, improved relaxation and decreased stress levels.)


Cancer defies a simple, singular definition due to hugely positive advancements in the study and treatment of tumors. However, the disease as a category continues to bring with it some degree of pain, anxiety and depression. In these areas, numerous research reviews and clinical studies suggest that at least for the short term, massage therapy can help reduce discomfort, promote relaxation and boost mood.

Mood Disorders 

Mood disorders, as defined by Salvo, “are emotional disturbances consisting of prolonged periods of excessive sadness or excessive elation, or both, that significantly impair the person’s capacity to function.”

What is clear is that studies large and small have shown that massage therapy can help soothe stand-alone and symptomatic mood disorders. “Research suggests and clients report that massage therapy can reduce pain and improve quality of life,” Salvo says. In addition, Salvo writes in her textbook Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists / Edition 3, “Although massage does not eliminate stress, it often helps us cope with it better and alleviates some symptoms.”

Feel Better, Stay Well. Body Dialog Massage.

Stick with it

Got an injury that’s sticking with you? Kinesio Tape will help you feel better so you can stick to your activities.

Traditional athletic taping has been around for years and used especially when a coach would tape a boxer’s hands or a runner’s ankle to support them during a burst of activity. The tape was rigid and uncomfortable to wear so was only left on for short periods of time. Recent improvements in the tape itself and the development of specific techniques of taping have brought this useful modality to the active general public.
  • What is Kinesio Taping?

It’s a therapeutic taping technique that permits full movement, provides support and allows the body to heal. Kinesio tape is made of 100% cotton on one side with a mild, hypoallergenic acrylic, heat-activated adhesive on the other. The tape is highly elastic to allow for many different types of application and will stay in place for 3-5 days through activity and showers.

  • How does it work?

The condition must be correctly assessed for the best results. The tape lifts the skin away from the muscle to decrease pressure on a damaged area and to allow for drainage and proper blood flow. Depending on the specific technique used, the tape can relax or contract a muscle, or stabilize a joint.

  • How is it applied?

First, clean the skin of oils, sweat or excess hair. Then, apply the tape over the stretched muscle. Tape from muscle origin to insertion to strengthen a weak muscle, usually in a chronic condition. In this application the tape facilitates muscle contraction. Tape from insertion to origin to relax a tight, overused muscle often in an acute condition. In this application the tape inhibits tension.

  • What is it good for?

Taping helps with a limitless array of injuries and some inflammatory conditions (because it facilitates lymph flow). It provides relief and support for anyone who has muscle soreness or joint pain. I have used Kinesio tape for plantar fasciitis, low back degenerative pain and shoulder weakness, but there are many, many other useful applications.

  • Where can I have Kinesio tape applied?

Many athletic trainers, medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and some massage therapists offer applying kinesio tape as a service that layers nicely in with their work. Most often I will massage the area, clean it, stretch it and apply the tape to maintain the changes I have made during the session. An initial 30-minute session allows for assessment and taping at $40. Re-taping is $20 or I can incorporate it into your massage time and just charge you $5 for the tape.

  • How do I remove the tape?

Most people allow the tape to wear off but it can be easily removed with oil or an oily lotion. It’s safe for pediatrics to geriatrics and is well tolerated because it’s so light (roughly the thickness and weight of our skin) and is completely latex -free.

Call me to try Kinesio Taping as part of your pain relief plan.

Feel Better, Stay Well. Body Dialog Massage.