The Amazing Benefits of a Far Infrared Sauna

I just started using the far infrared sauna about a week ago…and I’m sold! You can burn up to 600 calories in one hour and it’s a total detox! I interviewed America’s Integrative Pharmacist Dr. Lori about this topic and told her to send me a note about the benefits.

– Randy Alvarez / CEO The Wellness Hour Inc.

Dr. Lori wrote: Saunas have been used in Europe, especially the Scandinavian region, for hundreds of years. The Finns popularized sauna use by utilizing sauna for mental, spiritual and physical cleansing. In the United States, Native American Indians used “sweat lodges” for cleansing and purifying, recognizing the benefit of a sweat, as well. For centuries, our ancestors have experienced the tremendous benefit of using saunas. 

What’s the difference between a traditional and far-infrared sauna?

Traditional sauna uses heat and humidity to warm the air, which in turn warms your body. There are increasingly more controlled studies being completed utilizing “Far”-infrared sauna (FIS). FIS uses light to create heat and only heats 20% of the air, leaving 80% of the heat available to heat the body. This in turn warms the body more efficiently at lower temperatures with warm and dry heat, making FIS more accessible to people who cannot tolerate the excessive heat and humidity seen in traditional sauna. By breathing cooler air, many users of FIS report a feeling of warmth and well-being as an after effect.

The appeal of saunas is that they cause reactions, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate, similar to those experienced during moderate exercise. FIS may induce up to 2 to 3 times the volume of sweat produced in a traditional sauna while operating at significantly cooler temperatures. In addition, infrared heat panels are so safe that they are even used in hospital nurseries to warm newborns.

What are the benefits of using a sauna?

Many medical journals tout the benefits of sauna. In an article published in 1981 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), the authors found that “regular use of sauna may impact a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise.” In 1982, JAMA authors noted, “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna, consuming nearly 300 kcal, which is equivalent to running 2-3 miles. A heat-conditioned person can easily sweat off 600-800 kcal with no adverse effects. While the weight of the water loss can be regained by drinking water, the calories consumed will not be.”

“Far”-infrared sauna is great for the traditional uses of meditation and detoxification. Detoxification of the body can optimize the efficiency of the immune system. Toxins in the body can accumulate in the skin and the liver and sweating is one of the body’s natural ways to remove toxins. As a result, detox helps avoid disease, prevent illness and improve general health and vitality. FIS heats the body from the core, therefore, it allows you to sweat up to 7 times more toxins than traditional saunas. Daily sweating can help detox the body as it rids itself of accumulated heavy metals as well as alcohol, nicotine, sodium, and sulfuric acid. FIS helps with acne by purifying the skin and cleansing the pores thus ridding accumulated dirt, cosmetics, blackheads and dry skin cells. Less toxins in the skin means healthier skin with improvements in skin complexion, tone, texture, elasticity and overall appearance.

A weight loss benefit can be seen with FIS. Studies show that just 30 minutes can burn upwards of 600 calories! When using FIS core body temperature increases and the body works hard to cool it down which then causes an increase in heart rate, metabolic rate and cardiac output allowing you to burn calories while you relax. Cardiac improvement can be seen in congestive heart failure, and improved circulation benefits individuals with high blood pressure, sciatica, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. FIS can help you maintain healthy levels of your stress hormones, like cortisol, thus leading to relaxation, better sleep and an overall feeling of being refreshed and rejuvinated. FIS works by deeply penetrating joints, muscle and tissues, which increase circulation and speeds oxygen flow. Many physicians recommend FIS for pain relief and to athletes for sports injuries, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain syndromes.

In 2009, authors published a study in Clinical Rheumatology. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis were treated with infrared sauna.  After 4 weeks and a total of 8 treatments, pain and stiffness decreased significantly and improvement was seen in fatigue. In yet another article published in 1994 in Respiration, authors found “sauna therapy can help respiration in patients with asthma and bronchitis, and lung function was improved in patients with COPD”. Japanese and Chinese practitioners have utilized FIS and have noted benefit in the following:  Arthritis (TMJ, Traumatic, Rheumatoid, DJD), compression fractures, muscle tension and spasms, post-exercise muscle pain, bursitis, low-back pain and lumbar strain, menstrual pain, joint stiffness and eczema.

Depending on the degree of detoxification needed, benefit with “far”-infrared sauna was seen in many studies in as little as 15-30 minutes 3 to 5 times weekly. In patients who require a higher degree of detoxification, daily treatment may be more beneficial. By utilizing detoxification through diet and FIS, in addition to the restoration of necessary levels of nutrients, optimal healing and well-being can be accomplished.

Dr. Lori – America’s Integrative Pharmacist

Dr. Lori Arnold, Pharm.D., FAARM, is “America’s Integrative Pharmacist.” She has established her expertise in pharmacy practice in traditional medicine, and has a passion and love for natural, functional, holistic and integrative medicine. She has a desire to “integrate” the traditional and the functional approach to medicine and has a vision to have these schools of thought coexist. Dr. Lori has set forth on a mission to educate healthcare practitioners and patients on nutrition, wellness and longevity and believes in the body’s amazing ability to heal itself. Dr. Lori is an advocate for practitioners who “talk the talk, and walk the walk.”

Dr. Lori’s love for the medical field started at a very young age. She was diagnosed with asthma at six years old. Growing up in a small farming community of Hettinger, North Dakota, the prevalence of childhood illnesses was high. Much time was spent in and out of the hospital being treated for acute exacerbations, and multiple trips to specialists for allergy regimens and injections. It was then that she developed a personal fondness and respect for her physicians, nurses and pharmacists and knew she was destined for a career in health.

Dr. Lori attended Montana Tech of the University of Montana and received an Associate’s Degree in Chemistry. She went on to attend the University of Montana School of Pharmacy, in Missoula, Montana. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in 1999, and completed her Doctorate degree in Pharmacy in 2000. Dr. Lori was very active in Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA), and American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). Through her involvement in APhA, she was awarded a grant to develop an asthma support group and education, and went on to become the youngest member of the Board of Directors for the American Lung Association of Montana and North Dakota.

Dr. Lori Arnold’s career as a pharmacist has included a variety of practice settings, including clinical hospital practice, home care and infusion services, community practice, specialized medication therapy management, academic mentorship, and most recently, medical affairs with pharmaceutical industry.

After obtaining her Pharm.D., Dr. Lori returned to North Dakota. She worked as a clinical pharmacist in the hospital setting. While there, she took pride in developing new protocols, guidelines and processes that improved patient care, while offering education to the medical staff.  She avidly participated in several internal committees including: Investigational Review Board, Internal Marketing Committee, JCAHO Steering Committee, Bioethics Committee, Committee and Employee Activities Committee. She was a volunteer for the local hospice and dedicated time to helping patients and families with comfort care measures and provided education on pain management to local and state hospice meetings. She also spent time working with the local long-term care facilities on a consultant basis.

Dr. Lori moved to California in 2003. She spent a year as Director of Pharmacy for a home infusion pharmacy in Palm Springs. She then returned to clinical hospital practice where she remained an active patient advocate for seven years. Dr. Lori polished her inpatient skills and created a position as Medication Safety and Compliance Officer, where she practiced in this setting for 4 years. She was very active in numerous internal committees and provided ongoing education to physicians, nurses, pharmacists and students. She also spent time as a per-diem pharmacist for a Medication Therapy Management anticoagulation clinic. During this time, she also held a 3 year position as Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science at Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy. In addition, Dr. Lori’s love for community service landed her in Ibarra, Ecuador, in July 2009, for a medical mission with the International Medical Alliance (IMA).

In 2010, Dr. Lori accepted a position with medical affairs for the pharmaceutical industry where she prepares and delivers scientific seminars to medical professionals. She spent 1 year as an educator in the cardiovascular disease state, atrial fibrillation, and was transferred to the disease state of diabetes a year later. With the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes, or as Dr. Mark Hyman calls it, “Diabesity”, more and more attention needs to be focused on helping educate patients and practitioners on the appropriate treatment of this condition.

Dr. Lori has always had a strong desire to learn about the functional approach to wellness, therefore, in 2010 she attended her first natural medicine conference with the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine (A4M). This meeting lit a fire.  Within eight months, Dr. Lori completed a fellowship and became a board certified pharmacist with A4M. She continues to develop her intense interest in herbs, supplements and other complementary therapies. She has a personal appreciation of the need for an “integrative” approach to health and healing, which encompasses nurturing the mind, body, and spirit. This has led to the creation of “America’s Integrative Pharmacist.” Dr. Lori has made several appearances on The Wellness Hour, and highlights educational efforts through her social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.

Far Infrared Sauna vs. Near Infrared Sauna


Posted by JNH Lifestyle on July 11, 2017


With many famous people praising the health benefits of the infrared sauna, you have to wonder if these units live up to the hype, or if they’re just another Hollywood trend. The debate is made even more complex with proponents of near and far infrared saunas (FIR) insisting that one is particularly more beneficial and safer to use than the other.

What’s the difference?

Despite the fact that these two wavelengths are from the same IR spectrum, they represent different spectral regions. The near infrared (NIR) spectra is electromagnetic radiation usually used for visible light inspection because of its rather short wavelength. Meanwhile, at the opposite end, FIR is no longer in the visible spectrum. The only way you’ll know it’s there is when you feel the heat that it emits.


Though both IR spectra are being used by modern saunas as their heat source, there is no denying that the far-infrared sauna is far more superior, regardless of what your fitness instructor tells you. After all, only FIR saunas are backed by moderate, peer-reviewed research that shows evidence of their many health benefits.

Relief for chronic diseases?

As opposed to NIR saunas, which lack any scientific studies in support of its claimed superiority, there are ongoing studies on the medical effects of FIR saunas on the human body. Claims that FIR saunas can potentially help with the treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases are generally supported by numerous scientific papers, published by known and licensed medical professionals.

Meanwhile, Asian countries - Japan, China, and Taiwan - are conducting extensive studies on the use of far infrared to enhance blood flow, alleviate symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus, provide relief for both acute and chronic pain, alleviate stress, and generally improve overall health. In the West, both Harvard Medical School in the U.S., University of Jyäskylä in Finland, and The College of Family Physicians of Canada are dedicating a fair amount of effort to dig deeper into the medical benefits of FIR saunas.

While a simple Google search might bombard you with position papers written by so-called health and wellness experts touting NIR, don't rush your purchasing decision. You are better off buying equipment that is substantiated, corroborated, and supported by reputable medical and scientific sources. Far-infrared saunas have shown to be the wiser choice for personal use when it comes to wellness.


Far-infrared therapy: a novel treatment to improve access blood flow and unassisted patency of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients,
Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men,
Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence,

Massage Therapy and Pain Management

Incorporating massage therapy into comprehensive pain management programs may yield better outcomes.

By Brenda L. Griffith

A growing body of research shows massage therapy can be an effective part of pain relief and management. This research data, and the experience of physicians, massage therapists, and patients should encourage pain specialists to consider incorporating massage therapy into their pain management programs.

Some base findings about the value of massage therapy for pain relief have included the following:

  1. According to Cherkin, Eisenberg, et. al. in the April 2001 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine,1 massage is effective for providing long-lasting relief for patients suffering from chronic low back pain.
  2. Data collected nearly 10 years ago indicates that therapeutic massage promotes relaxation and alleviates the perception of pain and anxiety in hospitalized cancer patients.2 Recent studies have confirmed the findings and others indicate positive effects for massage in decreasing pain intensity among cancer patients.3
  3. In 1990, Jensen et al. published data indicating that massage was better than cold pack treatment of post-traumatic headaches.4 The October 2002 issue of the American Journal of Public Health reports that new research by Quinn, Chandler and Moraska showed muscle-specific massage therapy is effective for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headaches.5
  4. A pilot study in 2000, conducted by Gregory P. Fontana, MD at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, found that massage reduces pain and muscle spasms in patients who have multiple incisions. When surveyed, 95 percent of patients felt that massage therapy was a crucial part of their hospital experience, while need for medications dropped on days they received a massage.

In the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals: The Official Handbook of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), updated in August 2000, recommends massage as a non-pharmacological therapy that can be used successfully in pain management. Some hospitals, because of public demand, are including massage therapists on patient care teams to fight pain. The teams may include a physician, several nurses, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor, a chaplain, and a massage therapist. More research needs to be done to evaluate the effectiveness of such teams and the optimum combination of therapies for different types of patients and different types of pain.

The effectiveness of massage lies in a simple and direct strategy: working from the external, outer mechanisms of pain to the primary, root cause. Massage therapists utilize a holistic approach, focusing on the entire body system and its relationship to soft tissue — their care is not focused solely at the site of pain.

Another benefit of massage therapy — from a patient perspective — is that it helps patients become more aware of their bodies and better familiarize them with the pain they experience. The massage therapist not only helps relieve muscle and other soft tissue pain, but also has an impact on the patient by virtue of human touch. This is especially pronounced for women facing mastectomies and dealing with the outcomes of that surgery. While women directly benefit from various forms of massage that focus on lymph drainage and muscle pain, massage also helps them feel comfortable once again with their bodies, improves their confidence and allows them to better deal with pain.

Although more research is needed to confirm the optimal uses of massage, the potential for a positive impact on patients with acute or chronic pain is clear. As it stands, enough research exists to encourage pain management specialists and massage therapists to forge professional relationships. These pain management relationships should exist in the hospital, in clinics, in private practice offices and in home care.

Longevity Wellness: Massage and Bodywork Expansion Annoucement

To All Current and Prospective Clients,

We are so happy to formally announce the expansion of our massage therapy office! This change would never have been possible without the continued support from you all. This new chapter will bring many positive changes and we just know you will want to be here for the ride! We still have the same mission in mind to be your medical massage therapy provider and whether we solve your problem in one appointment or you choose to take advantage of one of our treatment packages or massage/ sauna memberships, we will provide you with the in office and self care tools to identify your target areas and maintain the benefits of your treatment.

As many of you know, our expansion is taking place in the same office; we are taking over the larger portion of our suite in the Indigo Place Plaza Mt Pleasant. This means that you will not have to worry about traveling to a new location to receive our services and can enjoy the many benefits of our larger space. Our centrally located office allows us to provide our massage therapy and bodywork services to the greater Charleston area and is a quick ride from downtown Charleston, West of the Ashley, and accessible from the North Charleston and Summerville area, being located close to 526 access.   Some of these benefits will include:

  • Larger reception and common area for a comfortable and relaxing environment
  • New massage therapists to join the team bringing different modalities to our already  skilled massage therapy staff
  • A two-person infrared sauna in addition to our existing single-person infrared sauna. This two-person sauna means that you may enjoy time with a partner while receiving the many benefits of the sauna (detoxification, pain relief, weight loss, relaxation, improved circulation, skin purification and much more)
  • Stretch room for stretch therapy, one on one stretching instruction, small group self care classes, postural evaluations, a necessary assessment for those who are looking to see what muscles are tight or restricted, and what muscles need to be strengthened
  • Foam rolling instructional classes for muscular tension relief.

There is so much more coming in the following weeks and we cannot wait to see our dreams come to fruition!

Please stay tuned for an open house announcement as we are also celebrating our 4-year anniversary! Thank you all again for your support. We are so excited!

Longevity Wellness Team

NFL Player Uses Cupping to Cope

By: Peter Gwin

Photographer: Fritz Hoffmann

New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison knows about pain—KNOWS about it. For more than two decades, he has been delivering and receiving crushing blows on football fields. The violence has taken its toll, including a serious back injury six years ago that required multiple surgeries. Nevertheless, Sunday night, at age 39, he will step onto the field for Super Bowl LII as the reigning oldest defensive player in professional football.

Last spring, photographer Fritz Hoffmann and I visited him in Arizona to document his offseason workouts (lots of power lifts) and meticulous health routine (no alcohol, refined sugar, or processed carbs). In between his mammoth weightlifting sessions, we asked him his secret for playing such a brutal game at such a high level for so long. “Ain’t no damn secret, man. HARD WORK, lots of hard work!”

Well that, and a lot of attention to caring for his body. Harrison said he spends about $350,000 a year employing a team of specialists, including massage therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors, who help manage the punishment his body endures. (He noted that it’s a tax-deductible business expense.)

His interest in alternative treatments goes back to his childhood. “I was in a car accident when I was about eight or nine. It messed something up, knocked me out of alignment. My father’s boss’s brother was a chiropractor, and I started going to see him. I’ve seen a chiropractor from that point through the rest of my life.” Over the years he’s tried several different chiropractors. “I can tell as soon as a new guy puts his hands on me if he knows what’s he’s doing,” said Harrison.

His current chiropractor lives in Denver, and Harrison flies him in twice a week during the season for treatments. He also flies in Lisa Ripi, an acupuncturist from New York, and Codi Hoos, a massage therapist based in Tempe who uses cupping, an ancient therapy practiced for centuries in China. Plastic cups are placed over certain muscles, and little plungers on the cups allow the air to be sucked out creating a vacuum that pulls blood out of the muscles and leaves round, crimson bruises on his skin. The combination of all the different treatments, Harrison said, reduces muscle soreness and allows his body to bounce back quicker from his intense workouts and practice sessions.

I mentioned to Harrison that scientists are skeptical about chiropractic treatments, cupping, and some of the other therapies he uses. Harrison shrugged. “All I know is before I get treated, I HURT, and after, I feel better.”

His teammate quarterback Tom Brady is also a believer in what many consider alternative medicine. A year older and among the NFL’s oldest offensive players, Brady employs his own strict diet and regimen of therapies. These, he has said, have allowed him to keep competing past the age when most players’ bodies break down.

“Some guys do some of the things I do,” said Harrison. “Some don’t. Players try different things. You have to find what works for your body and be committed,” said Harrison. “Guys come to me and tell me they want to do what I do. I tell them the price, and they say, ‘I’m not going to give someone $10,000 for a season of treatments.’ But they’ll run their ass to the club and drop $5,000 or $10,000 on a table,” he shakes his head. “And you can’t write that off.”

Massage Therapy has Grown in National Cancer Institute-Designated Health Systems

By: Karen Menehan, MassageMag

A cancer patient might face such medical procedures as surgery, medication and chemotherapy, as well as ongoing treatment post-recovery.

Increasingly, therapies such as massage are used to mitigate pain and anxiety.

A new analysis of U.S. cancer centers’ websites indicates massage, along with acupuncture, consultations about nutrition and dietary supplements are the integrative therapies most commonly offered in National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated health systems.

Additionally, the analysis found a statistically significant increase in the number of websites mentioning integrative therapies, including massage therapy, on those systems’ websites in the last 12 years.

MASSAGE Magazine spoke with a leading oncology massage educator to help determine the reasons behind this growth.

Growth of Oncology Massage

The analysis states that the most common integrative medicine therapies offered in the NCI-designated health systems are consultations about nutrition (91.1 percent), dietary supplements (84.4 percent) meditation and yoga (68.9 percent each), massage therapy and acupuncture (73.3 percent each) and herbs (66.7 percent).

“Compared with 2009, there was a statistically significant increase in the number of websites mentioning acupuncture, dance therapy, healing touch, hypnosis, massage, meditation, Qigong and yoga,” according to the authors of “Growth of Integrative Medicine at Leading Cancer Centers Between 2009 and 2016: A Systematic Analysis of NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Websites.”

Reasons for Growth

Johnnette du Rand Kelly is a massage therapist who practices oncology massage. She is also founding director of Greet The Day, a Newport Beach, California-based organization that provides therapies for adult and pediatric cancer patients and provides education for licensed professionals.

MASSAGE Magazine: The authors of the analysis mentioned that conventional cancer treatments can produce challenging effects like hot flashes, nausea and fatigue. How does massage therapy benefit cancer patients?

Johnnette du Rand Kelly: Research shows that massage reduces pain and anxiety.

When a cancer patient or family member asks me about the benefits of massage, I often like to also add that it is touch that feels good at a time when touch often does not, and that massage is a reminder for the patient that they can feel better, possibly even good, at a time when their body hurts.

Being able to meet the basic human need of safe and comforting touch is in and of itself therapeutic.

MM: In your experience, what has the response been by cancer patients to massage therapy? Are they aware of it, do they feel better after receiving it, do they request it?

JK: In both in- and out-patient settings, patients’ response to massage is, unsurprisingly, very welcoming and overwhelmingly receptive.

In the two academic cancer centers that Greet The Day works in, the patients who are aware of massage as an available service regularly request it. For others, it’s a pleasant surprise to be offered massage as a part of their care.

In the centers where we work the demand for massage outweighs the service availability, so at times the massage program feels like the best-kept secret at the cancer center.

MM: In your experience, why is there a trend toward more medical centers offering integrative therapies?

JK: As much as I’d like to say the trend toward more medical centers offering integrative therapies hinges on empathy and compassion in health care, I think it rests more on consumer demand, budget and workflow management.

Patients and the clinical staff who work with those patients are first-hand witnesses to—and already understand the benefits of—massage and other integrative therapies in in- and out-patient settings.

I think the growth that we are seeing with more medical centers offering integrative therapies such as massage for their patients hinges on patient request, aka client demand, situations where patient satisfaction scores can positively influence hospital federal funding, and the recognition of hospital administrators that massage not only feels good but does the patient good—and that the happier the patient is the less demanding they are on clinical staff time, which in turn helps better manage work load demand for nursing staff.

MM: What is the next step toward greater implementation of massage therapy in cancer-focused health care?

JK: The benefits of inpatient massage programs are well understood and fairly well established nationwide.

I think the next step necessities in supporting the development of these types of integrative care services for cancer patients are learning how to incorporate accredited continuing education for clinical staff on the value and benefits of integrative care for their patients, and recognizing the value of massage for cancer patients in the outpatient setting as a national norm.

During the course of cancer treatment, patients visit infusion treatment centers many times, and each of those visits often takes three hours and upwards.

As many patients as massage can reach in the inpatient setting, having massage available to cancer patients in outpatient settings would exponentially … expand the population served.

I think that focusing on the development of massage therapist competencies in infusion center massage delivery and as a contributing member of the health care team should be our next goal in helping mainstream health care delivery expand the reach of integrative care massage programs. (Editor’s note: Read “Your Guide to Employment in Oncology Massage” in the February 2018 print issue of MASSAGE Magazine.)

Analysis Citation: Hyeongjun Yun, Lingyun Sun, Jun J. Mao; “Growth of Integrative Medicine at Leading Cancer Centers Between 2009 and 2016: A Systematic Analysis of NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Websites,” JNCI Monographs, Volume 2017, Issue 52, 1 November 2017.

Massage Titles Matter: Why We Don't Use "Masseuse"

Simply put, this word does not encompass what we do for work. 

Source: MassageMag

The History of Masseuse and Masseur 

The titles masseur and masseuse have a long and colorful history related to massage. Both terms were used to describe men and women, respectively, who provided massage in exchange for payment. But these terms, especially masseuse, were hijacked by prostitutes operating under the guise of “massage,” beginning in the 1950s.

Over the past 30-plus years, massage professionals have worked to help get laws enacted that protect titles that reflect their training and professional standards. Today, state laws protect titles including massage therapist, massage practitioner and massage technician.

Therapists who attain licensure or certification are allowed to use designations such as L.M.T. for licensed massage therapist and C.M.P. for certified massage practitioner, among others.

States that regulate massage generally require practitioners to graduate from massage school, pass a licensing exam, pay a licensing fee and earn continuing education units in order to maintain licensure. Most massage therapists purchase liability insurance as well. Strict codes of conduct must be adhered to, and therapists who are found to have acted outside the law can lose their license. 

Still, the words masseuse and masseur live on as ways of describing the kind of touch not practiced by educated massage professionals. A search online for either word brings up references to services such as “sensual massage” and “massage by men for men only.” Such services should be steered clear of, unless one is willing to participate in probably illegal activity.

“You can read a person’s body language when they are using the term masseuse as a means of being derogatory,” said massage therapist Robin Wooten, L.M.T., who practices in Phoenix, Arizona. “We massage therapists have a duty to educate the public regarding the benefits of massage therapy. It’s the uneducated public that uses terms we deem offensive—it is also the uneducated public who use offensive terms without knowing those terms carry a past connotation. 

“Educate, educate, educate,” Wooten added.

In general, massage therapists acknowledge that maintaining a polite demeanor is an important aspect of professionalism, even when a client or acquaintance uses the term masseur or masseuse.

“Some people ask what term is correct, and in those cases I explain we now prefer massage therapist,” said Danette Nelson, L.M.T., who practices in Lakeland, Florida. “If they look curious or ask, ‘Why?’ I sometimes go on to explain that unfortunately, ‘masseuse’ has negative connotations related to prostitution.

“If they don’t ask, I simply use the term massage therapist when referring to myself, and after a couple times, clients usually switch,” Nelson added.

Self-referencing as a massage therapist, as Nelson does, is a technique many practitioners use to gently inform people of their correct title.

“I just use the term massage therapist in the conversation, said Alice Sanvito, L.M.T., who practices in St. Louis, Missouri. “For instance, the other day an elderly gentleman called and asked if I was the masseuse. I responded, ‘Yes, I’m the massage therapist.’” 

Where Did Masseuse and Masseur Come From?

The original writings about Per Henrik Ling’s Swedish system of gymnastics, which is considered by many people to be a foundation of Swedish massage (although others say Johann Georg Mezger was more involved in its development—and that’s the topic of another article), used French terms to describe stroking (effleurage); kneading (petrissage); and tapping (tapotement), according to the book The History of Massage: An Illustrated Survey from Around the World, by Robert Noah Calvert (1946–2006), who also founded MASSAGE Magazine. Perhaps this is how the French terms masseur and masseuse became engrained in the American massage profession.

In French, the word masseur is related to the word masser, meaning knead or rub. Masseuse is the feminine form of masseur. These terms remained popular and in use in the U.S. throughout most of the 20th century, until the push toward state massage laws took flight in the 1980s.

Many states’ regulations were initiated in order to control prostitution, because prostitutes had begun advertising their services as massage, and calling themselves masseuses. Today, according to MASSAGE Magazineresearch, 45 states plus the District of Columbia have laws regulating massage.

Patience in the Face of “Masseuse”

Many therapists say title terminology provides an effective way to educate potential clients about the health benefits of massage, as well as the legitimacy of professional massage practice. 

What the general public should be aware of is that individuals and the massage profession as a whole have worked tirelessly to secure legal protection for the practice of massage, and for its professional titles.

Still, most massage therapists say that patience—and even a sense of humor—should be maintained when a correction is needed.

“I usually say, ‘Masseur is to massage therapist as stewardess is to flight attendant,’” said massage therapist Scott Blackson, L.M.T., who practices in Milford, Delaware.

“They have to think about that for a minute, so it doesn’t usually come across as angry or condescending,” he added. “If they don’t catch on, I add, ‘I really don’t want to be called a stewardess.’”

The Private Practice Advantage

By: Catherine Ming, NC LMBT #13880 

Wondering what the difference is between the private practitioner massage therapist with his or her own office and the national spa chain franchise at the shopping center, or the multi-therapist practice not owned by the therapists themselves?  Let us examine some of the differences between these options which one may experience.

Unlike national and international chain spa franchises, often found at local shopping centers, a privately practicing Massage Therapist (MT) will not rush you into and out of your therapy session.  Chain franchise owners, who are often not massage therapists themselves, frequently do not allow their employed therapists any time between scheduled appointments with clients.  The therapist in such a setting is pressured to get the client out quickly in order to turn the room for the next client, change the table linens, clean the room and table, restock supplies, make notes in the client's file, and check the next client's file in a matter of a couple of minutes.  How thoroughly can these processes be completed in such a brief timeframe?  A private practitioner, however, schedules enough time between clients to take care of these tasks.  Time will be scheduled to have a detailed conversation both before and after the session about the client's concerns, health, and treatment plan, and to perform any assessments or special testing that may be necessary.  The therapist in private practice will make plenty of time to give the client stretching and self-care homework to empower the client to help themselves, and to (hopefully) allow a longer period of time between sessions, thus saving the client money.

Many chain franchises pressure their customers to purchase a membership to presumably get a cheaper price for their sessions.  These agreements can be difficult or impossible to cancel, locking the client into a membership for a certain length of time regardless of changing circumstances.  Although this may seem like a great way to save money, in the long run it may be more expensive, especially if the client is forced to buy more sessions than they need.  These businesses are usually located in a shopping center for a reason:  they are primarily retail establishments.  A chain spa may charge $50 and up for a 50 minute session, plus the client would tip $15 or more, bringing the total to at least $65 for less than an hour session.  For just a few dollars more, a client can see a privately practicing massage therapist who will spend extra time before and after a full hour of massage to ensure that the client's health and wellness are fully and properly addressed.  Most MTs in private practice do not expect additional tips any more than a physical therapist, psychologist, or dentist would, thus saving the client money.

It can be difficult to schedule with the same MT each visit to a chain spa franchise because of high turnover of employees and scheduling conflicts.  A private practitioner will be the only therapist you see in his or her own office.

Since chain franchise owners are usually not massage therapists themselves, they do not fully understand the anatomy, movement (kinesiology), physiology, contraindications (reasons why massage should not be performed due to a medical condition or medication), or pathologies that may be present.  Unfortunately, it is the experience of many MTs that such business owners' main concern is making money, not the wellness of their clients or therapists.  This can lead to terrible conflicts of interest, such as the owner trying to force the MT to work on a client who has an absolute contraindication because the owner wants the client's money regardless of the danger to their health.  Additionally, it should be noted that just because a client has a doctor's note granting permission to receive massage does NOT mean it is OK to massage.  Most doctors are not massage therapists, and are unaware of the contraindications which may endanger the client.  The MT should have the last word and final say on whether a client may receive massage, NOT the franchise business owner.

Many chain spa owners who are not MTs themselves are unable to discern whether each MT employee they have interviewed and hired is truly a knowledgable, skilled therapist, or just a person with a massage license who gives decent backrubs.  I and many other therapists I know have worked in such places where many MTs were shockingly ignorant of basic massage techniques, anatomy, kinesiology, contraindications, etc.  I have worked with other MTs who worked in such a dark room that they could not see if they were massaging right through a bruised or injured area, an area with varicose veins, or a patch of ringworm.  These situations are dangerous to the client for obvious reasons.

MTs at spa chain franchises or multiple-therapist practices are often poorly paid, thus relying on tips for a significant portion of their income.  The majority of your massage fee at such establishments goes to the business owner and not your therapist.  If the average MT can work 20-25 hours per week without overdoing things and injuring themselves, but are only making $16 per hour plus tips, they will be tempted to work longer hours to make ends meet, risking injury.  One of the top two reasons MTs leave their field is due to injury from seeing too many clients per day.  Particularly common are back injuries, shoulder injuries, and wrist and hand injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.  The more clients a MT is forced to see per day to earn a decent living, the more their effectiveness and quality of massage suffers, especially for the clients scheduled later in the day.  A private practitioner MT controls their own schedule so that their fourth massage of the day is just as good as the first.  Of course, if a therapist in a franchise location is not getting enough hours to earn a full-time living, that is yet another problem.  Many locations have too many therapists for the amount of work to go around.  This is the other top reason therapists leave the field:  lack of income.

Privately practicing massage therapists with their own offices have made the commitment to start their own businesses and devote their lives to helping people.  They do not share their income with any other employer, business owner, or entity.  Many MTs have made complete career changes to enter this field to help others. That commitment will be evident in the level of care that is experienced by their clients.

Having said all this, spa chain franchises and the like may be the only option some people may have to experience massage, and it should be noted that not every single chain franchise is a totally bad experience.  There are some good therapists in such locations.  Clients and the general public will hopefully be educated about the options, experience the differences in various bodywork practices, and continue to see the value and advantages that a private massage therapy practice can provide.

Tips For Finding the Right Massage Therapist 



Finding “your” massage therapist is a process that can take a while.   Often times, it will take two or three tries at different locations to find the massage therapist who “gets you”.  This process can be frustrating, and let’s face it, expensive!  There is nothing worse than going to a massage with your expectations of feeling like a new person, only to feel that you spent your money to have lotion rubbed on your body and listen to relaxing music.   This article is to help you find the right massage therapist for you!

Some tips and tools to know about when you begin your search for that healer you will look forward to seeing once, twice, or multiple times a month!

When choosing a therapist, some helpful qualities and characteristics to look for:

  •  They work a regular schedule- The massage therapist has a set time of hours, and will be able to provide therapy during those times.  They will be at the scheduled appointments, because they aren’t constantly changing hours or running around town for all different appointments.
  •  The massage therapist is professional and accessible- They have a website, email, Facebook, and Instagram page.  They care about their professional image.  When contacted, the massage therapist is prompt and timely with responses.
  • They run on time!  Usually, when a massage therapist has a full day, meaning they are in demand, a must is to stay on time to keep the day running smoothly.  They will be ready for you when you arrive!
  •  The massage therapist has continued their education, with different certifications in their area of focus.  This doesn’t mean just massage therapy, other education to enhance the practice and further your well being are a major plus!
  • People refer to him or her.  They are a trusted provider due to their job performance, knowledge, and skill. 
  • Reviews-They have a lot.  They have helped people and clients have taken the time to write something kind about them to show their appreciation.

Generally speaking, if someone is in private practice, there is a reason.  They are successful in what they do and have been able to sustain and maintain their business.   

Stay tuned for upcoming articles of the benefits of private practice vs. spa massage therapy. 


Five Benefits Of Massage In The Winter Months

By: Inside Out Coaching 

The chilly days and dark nights are coming in quickly and the arrival of the winter months can lead to us staying indoors more, exercising less, sleeping more & eating more. But if you slot in some massage to your winter schedule it can really help boost your body. Here’s a rundown on how massage can help you this season…

1. Boost Your Immune System

Winter means colds & flu galore but massage can help your body fight these by boosting your immune system. This is through increasing the lymph flow which is loaded with lots of white blood cells which then go and fight infections around the body.

2. Helps Dry Skin

As the humidity drops in winter the cold, dry air makes the water in your skin evaporate quicker, making your skin drier. The oils and lotions used in massage contain lots of vitamins to nourish & hydrate your skin – making you feel better on the inside & out!

3. Improve Circulation

Your circulation may need a little help if your hands and feet are always chilly or if you’re having some aches and pains in the colder weather. Regular massage can help by enhancing blood flow and body warmth, which in turn increases the flow of oxygen around the body.

4. Banish The Winter Blues

Massage encourages positive changes in the endocrine system where hormones are created. These changes decrease cortisol levels (stress related hormone) & increase oxytocin levels (happy hormone) leading to the release of serotonin and endorphins, relieving the stress and enhancing your mood. Bye, bye winter blues!

5. De-Stress

The build up to the holidays can add extra stress in to our lives with the endless personal obligations, last minute Christmas present shopping & the list goes on! Taking some time out for a massage can really help boost your well-being & help to reset the balance in your life by aiding the release of stress.  It will also help to improve your sleep to give you more energy during the busy winter months.

Is Massage Therapy's Happiness Factor the Key to Public Awareness?

By: Karen Menehan 

When wellness experts Lynda Solien-Wolfe, L.M.T., and CG Funk got together a couple of years ago to figure out a way to educate more people about the benefits of massage therapy, they brought to the conversation a combined half-century of experience in the massage and spa fields.

What resulted was the identification of a truth that is powerful in its simplicity: Receiving massage makes people happy.

Now, Wolfe, who is vice president of massage and spa for Performance Health, and Funk, have just launched their Massage Makes Me Happy Initiative, sponsored by the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates the public and private sectors about preventive health and wellness.

The initiative will promote massage’s ability to benefit recipients on the physical and emotional-mental levels—or, more simply, to make people happy—through education, advocacy and global awareness.

“People are coming around to, ‘[Massage] helps me feel good,’ but they don’t know why,” Funk told MASSAGE Magazine. “They relate it to a physical aspect, like, ‘My back doesn’t hurt me as much anymore,’ but they don’t relate it to, ‘I feel calm, I feel relaxed.'”

The initiative’s mission is to promote awareness of the positive benefits of massage, to consumers as well as to medical, spa and wellness professionals, by using the message of happiness.

More specifically, those involved in the initiative will create a global platform and rallying cry around “Massage Makes Me Happy”; consolidate existing clinical research and support new research for deeper integration of massage into wellness practices; encourage storytelling of the benefits of massage; and promote massage and massage careers worldwide.

Massage & Happiness

“Can we prove that massage makes you happy?” Solien-Wolfe asked rhetorically. “The research supports it. Your mood levels change, your pain levels go down.”

Research conducted so far indicates that massage therapy lessens depression, especially in pregnant and post-natal women and in cancer patients (those populations have been studied more than have others) also diminishes anxiety and pain, and spurs the release of oxytocin, a “feel-good” hormone, among other benefits.

Tiffany Field, Ph.D., has led much of that research since 1992, via the Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida, which she founded and directs. Field is also one of the founding members of the Massage Makes Me Happy initiative.

“Our first plan is to compile the research that already exists and be able to highlight studies on pain and depression,” Solien-Wolfe said, adding that the group plans to promote how massage really does create happiness in a human being’s life.

“We haven’t seen anyone focusing on this, and we thought it was a big missing piece of the puzzle,” she said.

Promoting Massage

The initiative will also help promote massage and massage careers by elevating the perspective of massage work itself, Funk said.

“There is still a perspective out there of ‘I’ll get a massage, but I wouldn’t want my daughter be a massage therapist,’ so by helping consumers understand the deeper aspects of massage through happiness and happiness markers, career promotion can be dovetailed into that,” she explained.

Funk added that she’d like to see massage therapists have more pride in their professional identity, and more young people make massage therapy their first career choice.

Another way the initiative will support massage therapists in their careers is by including spa owners and directors in the educational component—not as teachers so much as students, Solien-Wolfe said.

She explained that massage is a huge money-maker for spas worldwide, yet the real health benefits that come from receiving massage therapy can get overlooked or are sometimes not fully understood by the people who own and run spas.

“We noticed there was a big gap in the things and topics and subjects and conversations that came up around spa and wellness businesses and initiatives, and the actual work being done every day by trained massage therapists,” Funk explained.

The beginning conversations about the initiative will take place at the Global Wellness Summit in Palm Beach, Florida, an event often heavily attended by spa and wellness personnel.

How To Age Well

By: Tara Parker-Pope

Getting older is inevitable (and certainly better than the alternative). While you can’t control your age, you can slow the decline of aging with smart choices along the way. From the foods you eat and how you exercise to your friendships and retirement goals — it all has an effect on how fast or slow your body ages. Keep reading for simple ways to keep your body tuned up and your mind tuned in. And the good news is that it’s never too late to get started.

Click the title of this post to read the article in full. You won't be disappointed!

Reiki Helps Patients Undergoing Knee Replacement

By: Ann Linda Baldwin, Anne Vitale, Elise Brownell, Elizabeth Kryak and William Rand

Patients undergoing knee replacement surgery who received three or four 30-minute sessions of reiki experienced benefits ranging from less pain and lower blood pressure to reduced use of pain medication and a shorter hospital stay, according to recent research.

The study, “Effects of reiki on pain, anxiety, and blood pressure in patients undergoing knee replacement: a pilot study,” involved 46 patients undergoing knee replacement surgery with an age range of 50 to 85 years.

Participants were randomly assigned to either the reiki group, the sham reiki group or a control group that received only standard care. Those in both the reiki and sham reiki group received standard care along with the intervention protocol.

Subjects in the reiki group received three or four 30-minute sessions of reiki during their hospital stay. Those in the sham reiki group received three or four 30-minute sessions of sham reiki during their hospital stay.

Participants assigned to the control group received standard care for patients undergoing knee replacement surgery and also participated in three or four 30-minute session of quiet time during their hospital stay.

The 30-minute sessions of reiki, sham reiki and quiet time took place one hour before surgery and then 24, 48 and 72 hours after surgery—the latter happening only if the patient was still in the hospital.

According to the study’s authors, the reiki sessions were provided by one of three master-level reiki practitioners, and the sham reiki sessions were provided by one of two people not trained in reiki or any form of touch therapy. Both the master reiki practitioners and the sham reiki providers followed the same routine as far as which hand positions were to be used when and where.

The main outcome measures in this study were pain, blood pressure and respiration rate. Assessments of all three outcomes took place before and after each intervention session. Subjects also completed the State Trait Anxiety Inventory before the first intervention session and again after the last intervention session.

In addition, researchers gathered data on each patient’s length of stay in the hospital following surgery and use of narcotics or analgesics after surgery while still in the hospital.

Results of the research revealed patients in the reiki group alone showed a significant decrease in pain, blood pressure, respiration rate and state anxiety. In addition, reiki coupled with a pharmacologic pain-management protocol resulted in improved postoperative pain management and reduced use of narcotic pain medication as compared to sham reiki or standard care alone. The study’s authors also found the highest percentage of hospital discharges at 48 hours rather than 72 hours among patients in the reiki group.

“Positioning reiki as an adjunct to [standard care] should promote a more generalized adoption and acceptance,” state the study’s authors. “Reiki is additive and may increase patient compliance while allowing on-time discharge and fewer complications.”

Sports Massage

By: Sports Injury Clinic 

Sports massage can play an important part in the life of any sportsman or woman whether they are injured or not. Massage has a number of benefits both physical, physiological and psychological. It can help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.

Physical effects

Pumping - The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.

Increased tissue permeability - Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.

Stretching - Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up.

Break down scar tissue - Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.

Improve tissue elasticity - Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.

Opens micro-circulation - Massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.

Physiological effects

Pain reduction - Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins.

Relaxation - Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.

Psychological effects

Anxiety reduction - through the effects mentioned above relaxation is induced and so reduces anxiety levels.

Invigorating - if massage is done with brisk movements such as what would be done before an event then this can produces an invigorating feeling.

Therapeutic Massage

By: Julie Griss

Therapeutic Massage Therapy is defined as the mobilization of soft tissue (such as muscle, fascia and body fluids) to restore normal systemic and biomechanical/functional use. It can be used to assist in the treatment of most musculo-skeletal and associated problems, and regular Therapeutic Massage Therapy results in improved circulatory, lymphatic and neurological functioning.

Therapeutic Massage can be stimulating or soothing depending on the technique, depth and speed. Carried out by a Registered Therapist, Therapeutic Massage Therapy is both safe and effective and helps to create balance and harmony from within.

Today, given the high levels of stress under which many people live, Therapeutic Massage Therapy is not only a highly beneficial therapy, but also one of the healthiest options to improving one’s quality of life.

Finally Recognized as a Profession:

In 1989 the Massage Therapy Association of South Africa (MTA) – formerly known as the Holistic Massage Practitioners Association – was founded to work towards the professional recognition of Therapeutic Massage Therapy in South Africa.

From 1995 to 2001 members of this Association negotiated with the Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Interim Council for the registration of Therapeutic Massage Therapy as a statutory recognized profession. This recognition was achieved on the 12 February 2001 when Therapeutic Massage Therapy, along with eight other health professions, was officially recognized as a statutory registered profession.

The Allied Health Professions Act No. 63 of 1982 was duly amended to include the newly registered professions. The passing of this Act on 12 February 2001 has had, and will continue to have a profound effect on the profession for years to come.

Benefits of Therapeutic Massage Therapy:

The benefits of Therapeutic Massage Therapy are profound and are becoming even more attractive as the world around us becomes more stressed, aggressive and anxiety ridden. Many companies are beginning to adopt Therapeutic Massage Therapy in their own organizations and are actively encouraging their employees to have ongoing treatments.

Therapeutic Massage Therapy could be a relevant choice of health care in the following areas:

- Health maintenance and/or health promotion: Promotes general tissue health and encourages lifestyle and general health awareness

- Stress management: Helps relieve associated muscular tension and encourages general relaxation

- Post-operative care:  Helps reduce recovery period and speeds up elimination of anesthetic, as well as reducing pain and stiffness associated with bed-rest

- Emotional and/or psychological disorders: Releases endorphins that help to uplift and reduce depression

- Terminal illness: Helps reduce pain and discomfort associated with long term bed-rest as well as providing support and reducing the effects of emotional stress for the patient as well as the family

- Chronic pain: Helps break the “pain spasm” cycle whilst reducing associated muscle tightness

- Care of the disabled: Provides emotional support as well as assisting in the maintenance of general tissue health

- Pre and/or post-event sports’ participation: Improves performance and recovery and reduces the likelihood of serious injury

Types of Therapeutic Massage Therapy:

Read any newspaper, health magazine or journal and you will see Therapeutic Massage Therapy described in many different ways. For example, Relaxation Massage, Rehabilitation Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Anti-Stress Massage, Sports Massage; the list is almost endless. All of these “types” of massage fall under the one umbrella heading of Therapeutic Massage Therapy.

Choosing a Therapeutic Massage Therapist:

It is vitally important that the Therapeutic Massage Therapist that you choose to consult is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council. This will ensure that they are properly trained and qualified to carry out a therapeutic treatment.

Study of Therapeutic Massage Therapy:

The study of Therapeutic Massage Therapy isn’t a simple one-week course. As a registered profession, education and training is monitored by the AHPCSA, the Dept of Education and the Dept of Health and requires two years of intensive studying. Subjects studied include Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Pathophysiology, Listening Skills and the practical application of correct massage techniques amongst others.


Although little formal research has been conducted into the multitude of benefits of Therapeutic Massage Therapy in South Africa, it has been well researched in other parts of the world, including the United States of America. In 1991 the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami moved Therapeutic Massage Therapy into the mainstream by conducting a number of qualitative studies on the beneficial effects of Therapeutic Massage Therapy.

Some research has found the following:

- In the April 2001 issue of “The Journal of Internal Medicine”, massage was found to provide long-lasting relief from chronic low back pain. These findings were further supported by an article by Hernandez-Reif, Krasnegor and Theakson in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.

- Recent research has shown that massage can help relieve chronic pain

- It has found to benefit children who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder as the study showed that after a month of weekly massage they were less hyperactive in class

Treatment Procedure:

For those who have not yet enjoyed the benefits of a Therapeutic Massage; this is what usually happens in a therapeutic massage session:

The treatment is done in the privacy of a therapist’s rooms. The initial and confidential consultation with the patient lasts about 2 hours. The first half hour is used to take a detailed medical history and to determine whether therapeutic massage is indicated for the patient. The patient/therapist relationship remains confidential and the therapist explains his or her code of ethics and scope of practice. The patient is also asked to sign an indemnity form for both the patient and therapist’s protection.

After that, the patient undresses in the privacy of the treatment room or bathroom and then lies down on the massage table. Towels are provided with which to cover one. Every care is taken to protect the dignity of the patient and at no time should one feel ‘invaded.’ High quality natural oils are used and the work is rhythmical, gentle yet firm - the idea is not to cause pain that would nullify the benefits of the massage. The therapist works methodically over the entire body, ensure at all times that the patient is comfortable.

After the treatment the patient is encouraged to drink plenty of water since there is a detoxifying effect from a therapeutic massage session. It always takes more than one session to see real improvements in specific areas of the body, however even one therapeutic massage can start to have a profound effect on the patient’s physical and mental well-being.


Therapeutic Massage Therapy encompasses the philosophy that the body knows how to heal itself and touch is the messenger that sends the signal to the body to do what its own wisdom tells it. If it is practiced in a professional environment and applied correctly, it is one of the most powerful methods of treating and preventing pain as well as helping one to achieve a total state of well-being in a non-invasive, safe and healing way.

Adding This Method of Cupping Decompression Aids in the Treatment of Scoliosis

By: Anita Shannon 

Soft tissue manipulation has proven itself to be beneficial for scoliotic conditions, and vacuum manual therapy is providing a valuable missing link in treatment protocols.

Adding this method of decompression aids the tissue by releasing deep patterns that hold the bony structure in a forward or sideways twist associated with conditions such as hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis and scoliosis.

Soft Tissue Memory

Neuromuscular function creates soft tissue memory from trauma, which could include trauma from an injury or repetitive movements. The three dimensional fascial system, as seen in “Strolling Under the Skin” by Jean-Claude Guimberteau, M.D., can also get stuck in position from the same causes.

The strands of fascia become tangled and dehydrated from inflammation, and vacuum decompression helps draw fluids into the area while it gently pulls the strands apart.

The Diaphragm

One of the most critical areas to address in working with spinal curvatures is the diaphragm. If all or part of the diaphragm is elevated, the surrounding structures have no choice but to accommodate the abnormality.

The diaphragm can be affected by so many life experiences, such as compression during birth, a multitude of other childhood injuries and illnesses, falls that “knocked the wind out” of the lungs, asthma or chronic bronchitis, pregnancy with a large child and even traumatic experiences such as car accidents or physical abuse.

One case that stands out for me is a young man who was beaten and robbed in his home. His spine had curved into the position he took to protect himself and would not release.

While it was a challenge to access his diaphragm, it proved to be the main cause of his dysfunction. Once it was released to return to its normal position, the upper body structures could revert as well.

Vacuum manual therapy makes the process of releasing the diaphragm so much easier, and if manual techniques such as massage therapy are added in, accessing the diaphragm is much more comfortable after the vacuum has been used to pull it down.

Hypertonic vs. Hypotonic Tissue

Once the diaphragm has been addressed, the next step is to release hypertonic tissue and strengthen hypotonic muscles. For most spinal curvatures, anterior and posterior muscle groups must be included to address all compensatory patterns.


For the anterior neck, use the vacuum cup to release the contracted sternocleidomastoid and platysma, with special attention to the clavicular attachments.

Use a smaller cup to soften scalenes. For the posterior neck, use a smaller cup and deeper vacuum pressure to tone splenius capitus and splenius cervicus, along with levator scapulae.

Anterior Torso

Release anterior deltoid and pectorals, especially the attachments along sternum. Then release serratus anterior, anterior intercostals, rectus abdominus and obliques from their locked and contracted positions.

Posterior Torso

Tone erector spinae, posterior intercostals, latissimus, serratus posterior, along with rhomboids, obliques, trapezius, levator scapula and posterior deltoid.

The vacuum cup may be parked over the belly or attachments of any weak muscle just before the muscle is activated to contract the tissue while it is elongated up in the cup.

Rotator Cuff Muscles

It is vital to address the forward rotation of the shoulders that occurs with most spinal curvature conditions. Assess restrictions and treat subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and the upper bicep to tone hypotonic and release hypertonic tissue.

Working with Rods, Plates and Cables

Many people have had corrective surgeries and appliances implanted after being diagnosed with scoliosis or other spinal curvature disorders, while others are told to simply live with the condition.

Vacuum manual therapy can help relieve soft tissue issues, and this gives appliances the ultimate opportunity to assist the structure to stay in place.

One very fascinating case presented itself recently, a young woman who has had multiple surgeries since late childhood that included implantation of Harrington rods, plates and cables. We began work on the diaphragm and lower intercostals, and discussion began about childhood injuries.

Due to her posture, I began work on the anterior torso and then moved up to release the anterior neck. As the session progressed to the posterior of the body, evidence of some kind of trauma showed itself in the clients’ shoulders and neck.

As it turned out, she had found out from her mother that she suffered a very serious fall down cement steps when she was 3 or 4 years old. She had basically fallen down the stairs on her head.

Patterns showed up in her tissue indicating compensatory patterns and restrictions. I followed them around her body with the vacuum cup. By the time her session was done, her shoulders were lying flat on the table and her posture had changed considerably. Now the appliances can work even better to keep her structure in place, and a series of treatments will be required to recondition the soft tissue.

The results in her first appointment were a great indication of the positive outcome from a customized treatment protocol.

Childhood Injuries

As seen in the case above, there can be a logical event in childhood that could begin the development of scoliosis, hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis. Working with the extra-large cups and observing the tissue can offer big clues about the origin of dysfunction in the form of restrictions and discolorations.

These can clearly be seen through the vacuum cup as it is moved over the area, and restrictions look like large dents, while the discolorations can range from black, brown, yellow, gray, red and even green. All of this is old blood and other substances that became trapped at the site of injury.

The truly interesting part is helping the person being treated to remember what incident or activity could be showing itself in their tissues.

Childhood events such as falls in gymnastics and ballet, equestrian pastime injuries, car and bike accidents or even years of mucking out horse stalls can clearly show themselves in the restrictions and colors under the skin.

It is an amazing moment to realize that even experiences so long in the past can still have an effect on our current posture and movement.

Vacuum manual therapy provides a new window into assessment of spinal curvature conditions, as well as aiding in the release and re-patterning of the tissues to maintain optimal spinal health.

The addition of powerful micro-cup magnets into the treatments can also help produce positive results.

Effective Treatment

There is so much to learn about scoliosis and other spinal curvature disorders, and truly effective treatment incorporates a team of professionals that often includes medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and massage therapists.

Specific exercises, some of which involve a special “ladder” or even particular yoga movements that are designed to help support correction of curvatures, are also a big part of an effective treatment regimen.

"A Healthy Thing That Is Pleasant To Do, and Involves No Sacrifice"

By: Nicholas Bakalar 

A Finnish study suggests that regular sauna visits can reduce the risk for high blood pressure.

The study in the American Journal of Hypertension, included 1,621 middle-aged men with normal blood pressure who were followed for an average of 25 years. During that time, 251 developed hypertension.

Compared to those who reported one sauna session a week or less, those who took two to three session were 24 percent less likely to have hypertension, and four to seven visits a week reduced the risk by 46 percent. The study controlled for body mass index, alcohol consumption, resting heart rate, smoking, family history of hypertension and other variables.

The study is observational and does not prove cause and effect, but the senior author, Dr. Jari A. Laukkanen, a professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, suggested several possible mechanisms. The warmth of the sauna, he said, improves the flexibility of the blood vessels which eases blood flow, and the warmth and subsequent cooling down of a typical Finnish sauna induces a general relaxation that is helpful in moderating blood pressure. Also, sweating removes excess fluid, acting as a natural diuretic. Diuretics are among the oldest drugs used to treat hypertension.

"This is good news," he said, laughing quietly. "A healthy thing that is pleasant to do, and involves no sacrifice." 


What Are the Benefits of Cupping Massage?

Cupping is a massage modality that finds its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The practice uses glass cups to create a vacuum seal on areas of the body. The suction created by this seal brings blood to the surface of the skin and is thought to help expel negative energies from the body. Although cupping is not painful, the recipient commonly walks away with circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied.

Improved Energy Flow

In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is used to improve the energy flow throughout the body. The bruises caused by the procedure are thought to be the negative energy elements coming to the surface and exiting the body. The cups can be placed over the traditional energy collection points, which are also stimulated during acupuncture and shiatsu massage. A healthy energy flow is thought to improve both the physical and mental well-being of the client.

Pain Relief

“Massage Magazine” reports that clients who received cupping sessions found that it relieved chronic pain and helped improve range of motion to injured areas. The clients who experienced this pain relief reported that the effects lasted longer than the pain relief associated with other massage modalities.

Loosen Muscles reports that cupping is an effective way to reduce the muscle stiffness associated with the disorder. Cupping loosens the muscles and brings an influx of blood to the area and softens the underlying muscle tissues, leading to increased flexibility and a better sense of mobility.


Like other massage modalities, cupping can be incredibly relaxing. The work is usually performed in soothing setting and the therapists touch is very light. The therapist might move the cups around the body, mirroring the strokes that you would receive during a standard relaxation massage. While the goal of the session is to target different areas of the body, a cupping treatment can improve your general sense of relaxation.

Massage for Pain Management

Written by: American Massage Therapy Association

New Research Analysis Indicates Massage Therapy Strongly Recommended for Pain Management

Based on the evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage their pain.

This is the conclusion of a collaborative meta-analysis of research on massage therapy for pain conducted by the Samueli Institute and commissioned by the Massage Therapy Foundation, with support from the American Massage Therapy Association. The first part of the three-part review and analysis has been published online by the journal Pain Medicine.

Pain is a major public health concern, affecting approximately 100 million Americans.1 It is currently recognized as the most compelling reason for an individual to seek medical attention, and accounts for approximately 80 percent of physician visits.

Not only are individuals affected, but also their families, the national economy and health systems. It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for approximately $600 billion in annual health care expenditures and lost productivity. This annual cost is greater than the cost of other national priority health conditions, highlighting the significant economic burden of pain.

Research Supports Massage Therapy for Pain Management

Based on the evidence, massage therapy, compared to no treatment, should be strongly recommended as a pain management option. Massage therapy is conditionally recommended for reducing pain, compared to other sham or active comparators, and improving mood and health-related quality of life, compared to other active comparators.5

Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for people with various types of pain.

About the Study

Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for pain populations. 

This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to rigorously assess the quality of massage therapy research and evidence for its efficacy in treating pain, function-related and health-related quality of life in cancer populations. It is the first of a three-part series of articles which assessed research on massage therapy for various aspects of pain.


Lymphatic Draining? Infrared Sauna? Cupping? What I've Learned


Written by Alexa Roberts

All my life I have been health conscious but had no idea how much there was still to learn until I set foot in Longevity Wellness. For the past month, I have been a new employee here at Longevity working the front desk, booking appointments, learning about massages, and becoming a part of the team. Being constantly surrounded by therapists who are so knowledgeable about the body is an eye-opening experience to say the least. 

A huge factor that sets this business apart from other bodywork places is the professionalism and education that the therapists put forth each day. Every therapist is familiar with her client on a level that encourages growth and wellness. Not only are they licensed massage therapists but receive additional credentialing in techniques like lymphatic drainage, cupping, trigger point massage, Thai yoga and much more. 

I've learned that progress is a goal here. Before starting my job at Longevity, I thought massages were simply a way to relax. However, in addition to relaxation, massages reap many benefits. The team here is committed to working alongside clients' healthcare providers to ensure progress and growth towards whatever the goal may be. Take an example, the lymphatic drainage massage. I've learned that this type of massage is used to help guide lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes and in turn aids to dispel toxins. Lymphatic drainage massage is known to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. The ability to feel confident when discussing massage and techniques is a gift that Longevity Wellness has provided me with. 

One of my favorite aspects of this practice is the infrared sauna. Not only is it extremely relaxing, wonderful for sore muscles, and aids reducing stress, but the sauna works to improve skin tone and reduce acne, something I personally struggle with on occasion. As I look to the future and consider my position at Longevity, I am eager to learn about new techniques that the therapists are practicing. Currently, cupping is a buzz word here as the therapists train and I learn. It is exciting to learn alongside skilled therapists as they perfect techniques and add new ones to the wealth of knowledge we have here. 

Integrating myself into the health and wellness community through Longevity Wellness has forced me to reflect upon my preconceived notions on massage and address the actual facts behind it. I like to think of this first month as a point of origin in terms of my health and wellness knowledge. From this point, I am able to envision all that I will be learning about massage, the various systems in the body that massage touches upon- no pun intended, and the latest developments in the world of health and wellness.