Surgery, while often a necessity, can be a traumatic event, causing pain and discomfort to the body. Research indicates many patients descend into chronic post-surgical pain. This is any pain that lasts two to three months after a surgical procedure. The question has to be asked: How can you manage chronic pain until your body has had a chance to recover from a surgical procedure?



Are you a woman who gets massages? If so, what is your reason for calling and making that appointment? We all have different reasons as women for seeking massage therapy. Perhaps it is to relax. Maybe it is because you are a mom and you need some mommy time. Maybe you are an active woman and you get massage to aide in your recovery from the gym. Perhaps you are having a difficult monthly cycle and massage helps ease your discomfort.



The field of oncology massage has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade. With the increase in evidence-based, peer review research around the efficacy and effectiveness of oncology massage, more and more massage therapists are being trained in this needed and meaningful field. More importantly, more and more cancer patients are receiving the healing power of touch.


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Are you feeling a little down – or even really down – lately? Have you found yourself loading up on carbohydrates and staying in bed later? Maybe you have a sense of blah you just cannot seem to shake. It sounds as though you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

According to Mental Health America*, SAD affects four out of five Americans every year, particularly women ages 20 to 30 years. SAD saps your energy, leaving you feeling lethargic. Many sufferers report losing interest in daily activities; even special occasions seem to lack their normal luster. In some cases, SAD can result in severe mood changes, feelings of guilt and anxiety and social anxiety.

Luckily, there are some great treatment options you can discuss with your doctor. The Mayo Clinic reports** many sufferers of SAD utilize phototherapy — purposefully exposing themselves to moderate or intense light — to help improve their mood and kick their sadness. Frequent exercise may help ease some SAD symptoms by improving sleep and alleviating other underlying health conditions.***

Personally, I’ve battled SAD for several years now. And while phototherapy and exercise are a huge part of my self-care, nothing beats receiving a relaxation-based massage. Relaxation massage,

also known as Swedish massage, utilizes longer strokes to help ease the body into a state of peaceful bliss. While all forms of massage offer relaxation to the body, Swedish massage has a well-documented history of helping bodies let go of tension, anxiety, pain and even depression.**** Swedish massage helps release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals the brain utilizes when in physical or emotional pain. The long, gentle strokes ease the nervous system and defuse the tension that may be hiding in your muscles.

Massage has other benefits for SAD patients. SAD often results in less energy, making it difficult to do anything but daily mundane tasks. Massage does not require you to expend any energy, except in making your way to the treatment table. After an initial interview with the massage therapist, the client is invited to take a passive role in the treatment. The client lies on a nicely warmed table in clean linens, and the therapist does all the work. The relaxing environment created in most massage treatment rooms adds an extra layer of physical unwinding. Imagine letting someone else nurture your health while you listen to calm music and drift in and out of sleep.

While we’re on the topic, let’s discuss sleep and SAD. One of the major factors in SAD is the disruption of a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia with feelings of lethargy during the day are common symptoms of the disorder. One of massage’s biggest benefits is improved sleep.***** Getting a full night’s rest can have a positive impact on all forms of depression, even seasonal. It’s one more reason to get on the table for a little relief from the winter blues.

More important, science agrees massage can improve depression. One study, “Treatment Effects of Massage Therapy in Depressed People: A Meta Analysis,”****** looked at most of the major research performed on massage for depression. In every study, massage helped alleviate moderate to severe depression. Receiving routine massages can result in an improvement in quality of life for sufferers of SAD.

If you’re interested in seeing if massage can help with your winter blues, there are some factors to consider. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any long-term depression you may be feeling or any new therapies you’d like to try. While massage is safe for everyone to receive, it’s best used in conjunction with other treatments. Also, make sure you find a massage therapist who fits your needs. Comfort on the massage table achieves the best results when receiving treatment. Find a licensed massage therapist you feel comfortable with. Make sure he or she can answer any questions you may have about the treatment or refer you to other sources for more answers.

One resource you can utilize is the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Its Web site is www.amtamassage.org. The AMTA has a multitude of articles and other resources accessible to anyone. Or you can call the clinic at Lexington Healing Arts Academy at (859) 252-5656. Lexington Healing Arts Academy has been providing safe, comfort-based touch for nearly two decades and is full of professionals with answers to all your questions. Feel free to give us a call, and we can help you book the best massage for you.


* Mental Health America.  www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sad

** Mayo Clinic. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

*** Harvard Health Publishing. www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression

**** Livestrong.com www.livestrong.com/article/114831-benefits-swedish-massage/

***** American Massage Therapy Association. www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/

****** Hou, W.H., Chiang, P.T., Hsu, T.Y., Chiu, S.Y. and Yen, Y.C. (2010). Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-           analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 71(7):894-901


Jeff Zutant is a licensed massage therapist (LMT) and a staff member at Lexington Healing Arts Academy. Beyond his role as massage therapist Jeff coordinates the academy's compliance efforts including student retention and placement.  

more articles by Jeff Zutant