NYT Article on Massage Benefits

I stumbled upon this yesterday. It’s a very quick read. They studied the immediate effects of both Swedish and light massage. They tested blood right before and right after and found significant changes. The important stuff:

“Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.”

Important hormones in the natural treatment of pain. If you have RSD, ask your dr and  just make sure you stay within your limits. Last night i stepped outside of mine and will  pay for it for the day. But i will bounce back fine.

Massage Benefits

  • Back pain . More than one study has shown the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pain. In fact, one 2003 study showed it worked better than acupuncture or spinal modification for persistent low back pain — reducing the need for painkillers by 36%.
  • Headache . Another type of pain — headache — also responds to massage therapy, as shown by more than one study. Massage therapy can reduce the number of migraines a person has and also improve sleep.
  • Osteoarthritis . In the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of Swedish massage for knee osteoarthritis, participants who received a one-hour massage either one or two times a week had improvements in pain, stiffness, and function. The control group had no such change.
  • Cancer. Used as a complement to traditional, Western medicine, massage can promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment. It may help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, nausea, or depression, for example, or improve the function of your immune system.
  • Anxiety. A review of more than 12 studies shows that massage helps relieve depression and anxiety. It lowered levels of cortisol by up to 50%. And massage increased levels of neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.

From Web MD.  The most startling number here – that it can lower cortisol levels by 50%. Goodbye grey hairs!! 😉 And if you have pain of any kind, to increase the levels of neurotransmitters to reduce depression is a wonderful thing. You may not be actively depressed but there is a reason drs prescribe antidepressants to pain patients. Remember, i am not a doctor. I just have enough experience as a pain patient to have my opinions.


Check with your doctor. I am not allowed to do deep tissue massage because of the RSD. But Swedish massage has really been helpful and i am trying to incorporate it more often. It has so  many benefits and many people do not realize they have some massage under their health plan every year. You should check yours. I have some but the co pay is more than the place i go to around the corner.

I still very much love men

But i met the coolest girl yesterday!!  Unfortunately she was also at the iv therapy center to treat pain and fatigue issues. But it was great to meet someone who was there seeking the same things. We both griped about the fact that we can get Percocet for a lifetime but nobody will prescribe us the vitamin therapy.

Yesterday I skipped the high dose c and the B 12. I can’t explain it but i knew i could not handle the pull on my immune system. I have to trust my gut and how i feel as i maneuver through this process.  The Myer’s Cocktail and the glutathione made me feel like a million bucks after. I had so much energy and yet i felt calm at the same time.

I just booked a Swedish massage for the early evening.  I am realizing that the calming factor of the Swedish massage may help me even more than the direct help to my muscles and joints. I also did my qi gong last night before an epsom salt bath. It’s funny how i can feel stressed out (for no reason, just my system is amped) and put on a 20 minute meditative form of qi gong and basically fall asleep during it.  That’s what you call relaxation.  It felt like five minutes had gone by but it was 20.

Week Two: The Experiment

Well, my head is killing me but (bummer that i can’t really concentrate on TV – see post below. I am nuts) I am hopeful we are onto something. When I told Dr Lee my plan last week he looked at me and said he’d been waiting for me to ask for that, like i was Luke to his Yoda. It was a funny moment. Was asking him the way to know I was ready? And more seriously, does this mean i’m a Jedi?

So on the last two Mondays i have gone for Swedish massage (mainly for the benefit to my lower legs) but very light touch so as to not overstimulate the nerves. The first Monday night things were rough and by Tuesday morning just about every muscle was in spasm. On Tuesday afternoon I went and asked for moving cupping on my lower legs to attempt to desensitize them. I’ve been able to desensitize my feet much better than my lower legs. This just gets very painful.

After some screams that i imagine were akin to those you hear in a  North Korean prison, the electric feelings dissipated a bit and, of course, the muscles stopped their spasm. Yesterday I went for the Swedish massage and last night i was ok. This morning things were a bit off and my headache has been awful today (this was not helped by a run-in with an “eccentric?” neighbor).

I had moving cupping again today and i was even able to withstand some cups sitting there on their own for a bit and not screaming. Hoping next week will be even better.  I have egged on my own headache by exciting my nerves so I only have myself to blame for that one!


Day of full body massage: awesome

Night of full body massage: ut oh.

Next day after fully body massage: Sh*t.

I can’t WAIT to see Dr Lee today for some moving cupping to stop these spasms! Tried epsom bath last night and even added cucumber to the water for the extra magnesium. No dice.

Dr. Lee held out on me until recently with this where he puts some oil on my skin and lightly moves the glass bulb for cupping along my skin. Best feeling ever and knocks out the crazy spasms in minutes.

Not going to cancel my next massage because i want to see if i can desensitize the nerves this way. Massage then cupping if the spasms hit.