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The Benefits of Sharing Massage

Inspire Health Event Calendar January 21, 2011

InspireHealth members are supported to make healthier lifestyle choices and adopt practices to maximize healing. Some of these practices can feel challenging at times, some are enjoyable, most bring wonderful benefits and can fit into your daily schedule. One practice that provides tremendous benefit and enjoyment on many levels is massage. Some people tend to dismiss massage as a costly and time consuming luxury but the truth is that anyone can learn simple massage techniques to share with a friend or family member from the comfort of one’s own home–making it free, accessible and beneficial.

Of the five senses–touch, sight, sound, taste and smell– touch is the only one that covers ourbody entirely. Touch receptors send instant and direct signals to our brain affecting how we feel, how our body responds to stimuli and, potentially, how our body heals. Knowledgeable and safe touch has the ability to engage the body’s ‘rest and repair’ response – the parasympathetic nervous system. Through massage our breath can slow and deepen, the regulation of our heart rate is supported; and blood flow improves, potentially bettering digestion, nutrient assimilation and the elimination of toxins; tissue function may move into healing and repairing mode; and our mind may feel better equipped to handle the stresses we face.

While numerous studies suggest the benefits of receiving professional massage or acupuncture as a complement to cancer care, evidence-based research also demonstrates the benefits of exchanging simple massage/touch specifically with your support person. In a National Cancer Institute funded study, symptoms of stress, anxiety, pain, fatigue and nausea experienced by cancer patients undergoing treatment were reduced by 29-44% after a fifteen minute massage from their support person [1].

InspireHealth offers FREE, instructional massage classes called InTouch. Members attend with their support person to learn how touch can benefit health, including identifying acupressure points for self care, and a simple foot and lower leg massage routine that promotes relaxation. The techniques learned support immune function, digestion, and stress-reduction. The routine is easy to do and feels great for both giver and receiver. This is a hands-on class, no oils are used, and the massage is done through clothing or with socks removed. Reclining chairs, mats, blankets and pillows are all available for your comfort. Adaptations are reviewed to ensure you can take the techniques you learn home to use when convenient and most needed.

In addition to these classes, InspireHealth associate practitioners offer private massage, bodywork, and acupuncture sessions. The skills you learn and apply from the InTouch massage class can extend the benefits you receive from these private sessions.

Comments from InspireHealth members who’ve attended the InTouch massage class include:

“This is the first time in a while my mom has fallen asleep so easily!”

“The numbness and tingling in my feet has reduced.”

“The massage techniques are easy to do.”

“My whole body feels better.”

InTouch massage classes are free and open to all InspireHealth members. Classes are held from 3 – 5pm every other week, on Fridays following the LIFE Program. The next class is January 28th. Check upcoming InTouch class dates and register in advance by calling InspireHealth at 604-734-7125.

Darlene Hegedus InspireHealth InTouch Facilitator

Darlene Hegedus, a Vancouver based registered shiatsu (a type of massage) therapist with over ten years of experience, donates her time to InspireHealth’s members as the facilitator of the InTouch class. She has advanced training and experience in providing massage for those in cancer care and recovery. Her goal for the class is to demonstrate that massage can be a simple, easy-to-learn pleasure that has health benefits for cancer patients and supporters alike.

Darlene can be contacted at shiatsu@telus.net