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12 Things A Massage Therapist Knows About You After An Hour

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Sure, we expect massage therapists to ease muscle tension and help us work through injuries. But that hour on the table reveals a lot more than just the stress we’ve asked them to soothe. We talked to a few massage therapists to find out just how much they can tell about us and our health.

1. You love big purses.

If your body is tighter on one side, a therapist knows that you shift more onto one leg while standing (this happens with women who carry purses predominantly on one shoulder). Glutes, hamstrings, and quads will be tight, and you’ll also have an unnatural pelvic tilt.

2. You have a desk job.

The signs? A weak lower back, as evidenced by one hip being higher than the other. People who sit in front of a computer all day also have tight glutes and legs.

3. You’re a stomach sleeper.

This sleep position leads to extra strain on the neck, and massage therapists can feel the tightness.

4. You do a lot of driving.

Sitting behind the wheel leads to a far-forward posture. People who spend a significant amount of time commuting by car will often exhibit hunched shoulders because of this.

5. You’re injured.

If you have an acute injury, therapists can feel heat and inflammation. Chronic injuries show themselves in the form of dehydrated muscles that feel tight. And with repetitive motion injuries, tendons and muscles will feel wiry like guitar strings.

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Massage Away Depression and Anxiety

A friendly touch can do wonders for boosting your mental health

What it is: Massage therapists use arm, hand, fingertip, and elbow pressure to treat physical and emotional problems.

What traditional medicine says: Therapeutic massage was first described in China about 2,500 years ago. Around 400 bc, the Greek healer Hippocrates used massage to treat sprains. Most of the world’s medical systems, including Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurveda, developed their own versions.

What we know: Researchers at the University of Miami followed 37 breast cancer patients who received massage therapy or practiced progressive muscle relaxation for five weeks. Women in the massage group reported feeling less depressed and angry, and they had more energy. In a University of South Florida study of high blood pressure patients, those who got 10-minute massages three times a week for three weeks lowered their higher number by 11 points.

What new research shows: A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. In a series of studies including about 500 men, women, and children with depression or stress problems, researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53%. (Cortisol can drive up blood pressure and blood sugar levels and suppress the immune system.) Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.


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