MHP massage therapists Esther Rose and Michelle Hynick describe the many health benefits of massage to Lunch and Learn attendees on Tuesday.
OSKALOOSA — Massage therapy has a lot of health benefits for every system in the body – in addition to being relaxing.
On Tuesdays's Lunch and Learn at Mahaska Health Partnership, MHP Massage Therapist Michelle Hynick said for most people, massage is enjoyable, if sometimes painful.
"Some people love that," she said. "That's what they want, is to have that pain to release the muscles."
For the circulatory, endocrine, lymph and nervous systems, massage is especially beneficial, Hynick said. It increases blood circulation, gets the lymph moving throughout the body. It helps with relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety.
Hynick said when she was preparing for her presentation, she learned some things herself. She knew infant massage was beneficial but didn't know it helps infants grow, due to the increased blood circulation and stimulation to muscles and nerves.
"One of the reasons that I became a massage therapist, I have a son, when he was a baby, he had pneumonia twice and he stopped sleeping pretty much altogether," she said. "He would sleep for 15-20 minutes at a time and that was it. And that was getting a little old because by the time he turned a year old, I had another baby on the way."
Hynick said she was given information on infant massage.
"I tried that on him and it took a few days but it worked like a charm," she said. "And to this day, I am a believer. I have a little great-nephew now. He had some issues when he was little and my niece would bring him over and I would massage him and she would get a good night's sleep. So it's amazing the things that it can do."
Massage therapy is beneficial, Hynick said, in conjunction with other treatments, such as chiropractic care.
"Lots of times if you come get a massage, even just a half hour massage before you get your adjustment with your chiropractor," she said, "it can help his adjustment go easier and hold longer because your muscles are relaxed and not pushing the bones and things out of place."
Hynick said how often one should have a massage depnds on the person.
"I have clients who come every week, I have clients that come every two weeks, once a month, and sometimes we have people that just come once a year," she said. "It just depends on how you feel, how you think it's helping you. It's just such a varied thing, such a personal preference."
It is rare for massage to be covered by insurance, Hynick said.
"We're working on it. The massage industry and the insurance industry are working together to try to get it [covered], because it is a preventative thing," she said. "It helps with so many different things. It's kind of like when you go to the dentist to keep your teeth in line and healthy, massage keeps your body healthy. So hopefully someday we will get there where insurance will cover it but as of right now it usually does not."