Sunday, August 6, 2017

Massage Therapy for Stroke Recovery

Massage Therapy for Stroke Recovery
Individuals who have suffered a stroke are likely to receive treatment and support from a wide range of healthcare professionals, including licensed massage therapists. Massage therapy can help improve the nerve function and joint mobility and relieve stress that is associated with the trauma of having a stroke.

Following a stroke, the intent of therapeutic massage is to stimulate the nerves, so the nervous system is not able to ignore the stimulation. This physical stimulation of the nerves causes the nervous system to follow and process the tactile sensations. When the brain is trying to find better and more efficient ways to handle the information, it is forced to develop new connections by creating new cellular circuitry around the damaged areas. This is called neuroplasticity.

Massage therapy is recommended for stress relief and therapeutic benefits, but the primary focus of treating strokes with massage is to stimulate the nerves. One of the most common massage techniques that are administered to people who have suffered a stroke is Swedish massage. Some benefits of Swedish massage include:

  • Anxiety relief due to the trauma of experiencing a stroke and its adverse results
  • Improved joint function
  • Reduced muscle tension and increased relaxation
Swedish massage uses long, gliding movements to help relax the entire body, increase levels of serotonin, and decrease levels of cortisol. This massage technique also improves blood circulation and blood oxygen levels throughout the body. Stroke patients who are suffering from swelling, a reduced range of motion, or numbness in their arms and legs are likely to experience the benefit of improved sensation and mobility after having a Swedish massage.

Before having a massage, the massage therapist will sit down with the stroke patient to talk about their specific therapeutic goals. This may include topics such as improving their balance and ability to walk or improving the use of their arms.

Starting with a whole body Swedish massage, the massage therapist can then narrow down their center of attention and choose to focus their treatment on some specific muscles and joints. This will help the patient achieve their individual goals for enhanced mobility and healing.

Massage for the nerves is done by dragging the full palm slowly and lightly from the patient's head to their feet or down their arms to their hands. The course of motion is often changed throughout the massage, so it does not become repetitive.

After a few gliding motions in one area, the therapist will move to the other side of the body or begin to focus on one particular point. The massage is also varied by adding in some fast, brisk movements starting at the feet and moving towards the head before resuming the customary slow, tactile movements.

It is best to begin a massage regimen as soon as possible after the stroke has occurred. Massage can help people who have suffered a stroke both mentally and physically. While it can relieve stress and assist the patient to feel physical comfort, it can also help the nerves to create new connections to help restore body function. While other therapies should be taken into consideration before a massage is given, it is important to consider this additional type of therapy as soon as possible after the stroke has occurred.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website.

Additional Resources

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Becoming a Massage Therapist in NY State

How to Become a Massage Therapist in New York State

Becoming a Massage Therapist in NY State
In New York State, not just anyone can walk in and become a licensed massage therapist. There are steps you must take including tests both on your moral character and your skills. Your skills tests are a result of your classroom and hands-on training, which are required to test for the state license exam. Once you are licensed, you will be able to work either on your own, in a salon, or a full massage parlor or establishment.

The need for licensed massage therapists in New York State is always high; this type of position is always in high demand, so you can be sure that once your testing and training are complete, there will be no shortage of employment opportunities.

Before You Begin

Before you start any training program for massage therapy, you will have to prove that you are worthy of the position. Since this is a position where the majority of patients who come in are typically vulnerable, the state needs to be sure that you are a person with a high moral compass. This simply means that you will need to pass a background check before you can start the required courses. The background check will show if you have ever been convicted of a felony or accused of charges like abuse, family member assault or fraud. This step reduces the risk of allegations; it is there to protect you as well as your patients.


Before you can apply for the state massage therapist examination; you must first go through 1,000 hours of in-depth training that includes courses in anatomy, physiology, myology or kinesiology, depending on what you are planning on for your future specialty.

You must also go through training that focuses on the chemistry of the products you will use on your patients, which will show you when to use what product, how to use it, and what kind of reactions to watch out for. During this final 1,000 hours of training, you will also be required to have 150 hours of that time dedicated to hands-on training. During your program, you will also become certified in CPR, a certification that must be renewed every three years.

The training cannot be done at just any school; it must be completed at a school that is registered and accredited with the state of New York. It should also provide a healthy balance between Western and Eastern techniques and procedures.


Once your training is complete, you will need to apply to take the state exam. It is only after this exam that you will be able to practice as a fully licensed masseur. The exam is offered twice per year, once in January and once in August. To be considered for the January test, your application needs to be received in November, for the August testing it should be received in June. In future years, you will need to apply for your license renewal at the same time of year.

The typical cost of the examination is $108, which includes the examination and your first-year license. The examination itself is a two-part test that will prove you are more than capable of anything your new career might throw at you. There are four parts to the exam and 140 questions. Twenty of these questions are part of Eastern medicine, and 6% is based on ethics and business practices.

The written and physical, or skills, parts of the exam are similar in that they both go through each step of the massage process, but on one, you will show what you know on paper, and on the other, you will have to prove it. You will also be tested on your knowledge of how to come up with treatment plans for all patients including those who suffer from various injuries and conditions. Another piece of the testing will be based on differing techniques like the use of oils, heat, and cold.

What Happens if You Finish Training In Between Testing Dates

Let's say you complete your training in November, but you miss the date to apply for your testing in November. This means that you will have to wait until August to take the exam and become fully licensed. For $35, you can apply for a limited permit. When you have a limited permit, you are legally able to work as a massage therapist but only under the direct supervision of a licensed massage therapist. This helps bridge the gap, so you do not lose your new skills while you earn a living doing what you love.

Becoming a licensed massage therapist in New York State is not an easy process, but the toughness of the program makes you appreciate what you have, and it will make your patients appreciate you. In the end, the hard work you put into it will pay off when you help people feel their best!

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website.

Additional Resources

Saturday, April 22, 2017

How Massage Therapy Helps Boost Your Immune System

How Massage Therapy Helps Boost Your Immune System
There is nothing like being on the receiving end of a good, relaxing massage to make you feel loose and stress-free, right? Did you know there are more health benefits that you can reap when you get a massage?

There is no doubt that everybody has heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but many have not heard that massage can have the same effect - the effect of boosting your immune system through massage therapy.

How it Works

White blood cells are the types of cells that are vital in your immune system. It is these cells that help your body fight off serious diseases as well as the simple ones like the cold and flu. As you receive a massage, these white blood cells, more specifically the lymphocytes, are activated throughout the body making it easier for the cells to keep you healthy by fighting the things that are making you sick.


There have been numerous studies to determine the effect that massage therapy has on the immune system. One study done on a group of HIV-positive patients showed that regular massage helped enhance the functionality of their damaged immune system. Another study was done on women who were suffering from stage one and stage two breast cancers revealed that the long-term effects of massage showed an increase in cancer-killing components like serotonin values, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes. Additionally, there were also immediate improvements in mood and anxiety levels.

Massage, Lymph Nodes, and Your Immune System

The lymphatic system is very complex and can be compared to the sanitation department of our bodies. As cells die, the debris must be filtered and carried away and it eliminated. This is the role of the lymphatic system. It is a very superficial and delicate system and requires a very light touch. In it holds the function of organs like adenoids, tonsils, spleen and the thymus. Most people think that we don't need these organs and they are removed if they become inflamed too often. Before these get inflamed, the lymph nodes often show signs that many people miss. They may become swollen and enlarged and sometimes become very sore.

Your lymph nodes are the focal point of the lymphatic system and your immune system functions. They collect the toxins that produce poison into your body that can be drained through massage therapy. Manual lymph drainage is a technique used by licensed massage therapists to drain the toxins out of the lymph nodes, creating a type of detox for your body.

Some of the toxins you can relieve with this technique include viruses, bacteria, dead cells and unnecessary fluids. This boosts the immune system to the point where you reduce the chances of getting the flu, the common cold, and even more serious diseases. This technique also reduces swelling and helps ease the pain for those who suffer from chronic joint pain and arthritis. It is often used post-surgery to help ease pain and swelling, promoting a faster healing time from the procedure.

Manual lymph drainage should only be performed by a licensed massage therapist who has had extra training on the technique. When you receive this treatment, it should only feel like light strokes, not like your typical massage where the therapist is trying to dig deep into your muscles to get them to relax. Instead, the therapist uses gentle strokes that will stimulate the lymph nodes to bring them back to life.

Stress and the Immune System

Have you ever noticed that when you go through a very stressful situation, you felt great but stressed, and then when it is over you get sick? When you become overly stressed, it creates havoc on your immune system. The hormones that are supposed to keep you healthy begin to break down and harm you. When you receive a good massage, these hormones are released, and as you begin to feel the stress slip away, your immune system gets built back up to where it was supposed to be.

When Should You Get a Massage?

Regular massage can boost your immune system, relieve the stress and anxiety of everyday life, and relax the muscles and organs of your body. It is a preventative measure where you go in before you feel ill to ensure that you remain healthy.

A massage feels good. That is no secret, but many don't know of the other health benefits that you can achieve by getting regular massage.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website at

Additional Resources

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Study Examines the Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Hormones, Immune Function

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Common Misconceptions About Massage

Man receiving a sports massage
As massage therapy continues to become more popular, myths regarding the practice have surfaced as well. Some people choose massage therapy to have a relaxing experience, while others use massage as a healing experience for the mind and body. There are several myths linked to massage therapy that should be made clear before anyone chooses this form of treatment.

Myth #1: All massages are the same.

There are over 200 types of massage, with each having its own focus. A spa massage is done for tension and stress relief and trigger the relaxation response. Sports massage, on the other hand, is great for athletes because it helps to keep the joints and muscles in great shape and correct muscle imbalances. Orthopedic massage is geared more toward healing a specific injury and keeping the joints and muscles mobile during recovery.

Myth #2: The benefits of massage are temporary.

While many people do enjoy getting a massage weekly, that doesn't mean that its effects are short-term. The benefits of a massage can be long-lasting, as massage is meant to retrain your muscles to let go of stress and tension of different areas of the body, which leaves you with a long-lasting, comfortable posture and relaxed feeling in your muscles.

Myth #3: Pregnant women should not get a massage.

While people once believed that getting a massage could release hormones in a woman that would cause early labor, this myth has been proven not to be false. A prenatal massage can actually benefit pregnant women by reducing bodily aches and pains, decreasing stress, and letting the mother-to-be relax.

Myth #4: You have to drink a lot of water after getting a massage.

While many people think that getting a massage releases toxins from the muscles that then need to be flushed out by drinking an excess of water, this isn't necessarily true. As long as one's body is healthy with normal kidney function, respiratory function, and liver function, the body is able to deal with the toxins on its own. That said, water will not hurt you after a massage, it just isn't required.

Myth #5: You should never interrupt the therapist.

Communication is important during a massage. Whether you are experiencing pain or you feel like you are benefitting from a certain amount of pressure, it is important to communicate with the therapist. For example, if you have knots in your muscles, parts of the massage may feel uncomfortable. This is normal. If you feel discomfort or pain, it is important to speak up prevent even more discomfort.

Myth #6: Massage can get rid of cellulite.

Cellulite and massage really have nothing to do with each other. Cellulite is a normal sign of subcutaneous fat cells, which is more connected to one's genetics than anything else. The only way that massage could possibly reduce cellulite is if it helped relieve post-workout muscle stiffness, which then kept you on your fitness routine. Exercise can slightly reduce the appearance of cellulite with time.

Myth #7: Massage therapy only involves moving muscles.

Massage has more effects on the body than simply manipulating muscles. It can stretch areas of tissue that are tightened, relieve bones, and organs. It can also help to manually move fluids, which will result in the loosening of joints and reduction of swelling. Moving fluids around in the body can also help to make movement easier. For example, the fluid that lubricates the joints, synovial fluid, can build up in arthritic joints, resulting in pain. Lymph, which typically moves through the body fighting infections, can lead to painful swelling. Massage, however, can help to increase blood circulation, moving nutrients throughout the body more effectively and speeding up healing.

Myth #8: Massages don't help migraines.

Massage therapy can help treat migraine headaches. Putting pressure on the trigger points for migraine headaches in the neck, head, shoulders, and face can help relieve tension. This can help to interrupt the pain signals that cause migraines by traveling up to the brain. When these blood vessels malfunction, it results in severe headaches, nausea, visual disturbances, and light sensitivity.

Myth #9: If you are not sore the next day, it didn't work.

Some people can be sore, especially after their first massage or if they have not been active in a long time. Massage may also release trigger points or lactic acid, resulting in some soreness. However, there is a good chance that you will not be sore the next day, and that doesn't mean that the massage was ineffective.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website at

Additional Resources

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Massage Therapy in the Office: A Win-Win for Everyone

Woman benefiting from corporate massage therapy in the office.
Massage therapy is a luxury, it is something that you get to do when you have time and money to be able to lay down and just relax; but is it a luxury or is it something that every office worker should receive on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis? The fact is, your employees and your business will benefit from regular massage from a licensed massage therapist; think of it as an investment in your business, just like advertising.

Less Stress and Anxiety

Most employers don't know what kind of stress a coworker is going through. It is very possible that your employees are going through a stressful situation at home that weigh on them at work. When you offer them a corporate chair massage in the office, they can let go of their stress and become more productive. When they let go of the stress, they can focus on their job, not on everything else they have going on at the time. It is only when their stress and anxiety is relieved that they can do their very best for you, their employer.

Reduction in Work Comp Claims

The top workers' compensation claim for office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is caused by using your hands to type for prolonged periods of time. The most common course of treatment for carpal tunnel is surgery which results in excessive and expensive work comp claims.

The second most claims for those who sit at a desk all day includes injury to the neck and shoulder muscles. This is caused by sitting in the same position all day, every day, staring at a computer screen. The muscles in the neck and shoulders begin to tighten, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to relax, often resulting in taking time off work for physical therapy and other treatments. When you bring a corporate massage into the workplace, these muscles are relaxed by a licensed massage therapist who will ensure that the muscles stay loose and limber. The tension that is released will keep your employees happy at their job and continue to do their best for you, their employer.

Improved Morale in the Workplace

It is a well-known fact that when employees are happy there is a boost in production and performance. Those who enjoy their jobs are the ones who will go to the ends of the earth for their employers. Massage is one way where employers can show their employees how much they appreciate all that their employees do for them.

Regular massage also shows that the employer knows that the employee sacrifices their physical health and sanity for their career. They will appreciate that and use some of the techniques to relieve the stress and injury from sitting at a desk all day. When you offer massage in the workplace, you can count on employees who feel appreciated; meaning they will give you 110%.

What is Corporate Massage?

Corporate massage therapy consists of a massage therapist bringing a chair to massage any employee who might need or want one in the office. This type of massage has been found to be very productive. Clients do not need to get undressed and are sitting in a massage chair and is usually done in 10 to 20 minute time slots.

Massage therapy is a practice that will prove cost effective to both you and your employees. While your employees will enjoy a relaxing chair massage from a licensed therapist, you will reap the benefits of having a happy workplace as well as better retention of employees and a reduction in employees missing work due to injuries and illness. This is truly a win-win scenario for everybody involved.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website at

Additional Resources

Massage Therapy Styles and Health Benefits - WebMD

Saturday, January 28, 2017

How Regular Massage Therapy Improves Your Sleep

For centuries people have been getting massage therapy to relax from a rough day or intense physical strain. But, did you know that a regular massage session in your routine can have a dramatic effect on your overall sleep patterns? Here we will explore a few of the ways that this has been proven to work wonders for many people suffering through sleepless nights.

Have you been feeling tired no matter how much rest you've been getting? This is happening more and more often to many people who are normally high energy folks. Having massage as a regular part of your week's schedule may be the answer you're looking for.

The Importance of Good Sleep

Many studies have proven that a good night's rest on a regular basis is vital to the proper functioning of the human body. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lack of drive, motivation, cognitive ability and focus in many cases. More serious is the fact that it has also been linked to numerous workplace incidents and car accidents. Constantly being tired is a signal from your body that something is not right. Studies have also proven that many people who are not getting the sleep that they need on a regular basis can and does lead to a shorter overall lifespan.


Besides the obvious fact that you feel more relaxed after a proper massage, it actually helps the muscle tissue regenerate faster where it's needed most. It also helps the blood flow move unrestricted through the many veins and arteries deep in the muscle tissue. This allows for more oxygen to enter the muscles and also circulate back to the brain for higher levels of energy naturally. If you go to the gym or exercise regularly, this is a great benefit. It works for people in heavy labor jobs as well. There is no denying that more relaxed muscles lead to a more relaxing and good night's sleep.

Reduction of Stress Hormones in the Blood

Lack of sleep can lead to many disorders in the body, one of them being a higher production of stress hormones brought on by the body fighting to stay more alert and functioning properly. As we all know, life has many obstacles in the day to day of work and home. Getting a regular massage into your schedule benefits the body greatly by actually relaxing the person's body to the levels of actual real sleep. In many cases, people fall asleep during the massage itself. This greatly helps towards lowering stress in the body overall and a greater night's rest in general.

Increased Serotonin Levels

Massage therapy on a regular basis has also been shown in studies to increase the body's production of serotonin. This is a vital hormone the body creates for good rest. Without serotonin levels being regular in the body, you also have lowered melatonin which is vital for deep sleep and proper circadian rhythms. Even if you only receive a massage 2-3 times per month, this can put your body back into balance and help you to be more in tune overall. The effect of proper hormone levels or lack thereof can be drastic to the performance of your day to day activities.

Exercise and Massage

Did you know that exercise can actually improve your sleep? Besides making you feel more tired at the end of the day, exercise on a routine basis has been proven in many studies to aid you in a good night's rest. It promotes activity in the body's natural functions and greatly increases circulation in the cardiovascular system, leading to more balanced hormone production as well. By adding regular massage into your scheduled workout routines, you greatly improve your overall sleep and good health. The exercise gives the body it's proper circulation while the massage helps to promote the much-needed relaxation of the important muscle groups.

Self-defeating Habits to Break

An important side note to all of this is the habits many people have that keep them from getting the amount of rest that they need. Regular massages will definitely assist you, but many folks out there are taking away their own rest without really knowing it. For example, instead of vegetating in front of the television right up until bedtime, try turning off all distractions about one hour before bed. This will aid you in winding down, and your body will relax easier. Things like caffeine and alcohol should be avoided in the later hours as well. Caffeine will deprive your rest and alcohol will make you sleepy, but when it wears off, it will be more difficult to get back to sleep.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website at

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Massage Therapy for TMJD

Many people suffer from pain in their jaw, face, and head due to TMJD. TMJD is the acronym for the joint between the temporal bone (located on the side of the head) and the mandible (jaw bone), which is why it is called the TemporoMandibularJoint. The "D" is for Dysfunction or Disorder.

We will refer to this joint as the TMJ. The TMJ is a hinge type joint that helps with speech, eating, chewing, and opening and closing the mouth. There are a lot of muscles involved in making this joint work. These muscles can develop trigger points and, when tight, can cause headaches, muscle spasms, and other annoying types of pain, as you will see. 

What is TMJD?

A picture is worth a thousand words:

In the picture above, you will notice the Temporo Mandibular Joint. This is a hinge joint that connects the mandible (jawbone) to the temporal bone, which is one of the bones of the skull. There is a disc in between the mandible and temporal bone called the intra-articular disc. This disc acts as a cushion that allows the joint to move back and forth (extending and retracting the jaw) and also side to side (for chewing and flexibility). There are many muscles that allow this joint to move in these directions.

Temporomandibular joint disorders can occur because of a blow to the jaw or other trauma, by stress (which can cause one to clinch or grind their teeth while sleeping), by chewing gum (overdevelopment of the muscles by continuous exercise), chewing food on one side of the mouth, etc. Clenching or grinding of the teeth can cause the intra-articular disc to wear down and you may hear a clicking or popping sound as you open and close your mouth. Also, you may notice that one side of your jaw opens wider than the other. 

Types of Massage for TMJD Can Vary 


Stress is a major cause of TMJD. Very often, when people clench their jaw, abnormal pressure is put on the joint itself and can cause the discs to wear down, causing pain or changing one's bite. The jaw muscles inside and/or outside of the mouth can develop trigger points. The whole head, neck, and shoulders can be affected. Assessing one's daily habits, stress level, and determining which muscles are involved is key to giving a great treatment. I begin the treatment by assessing the joint's range of motion. 

I also have the client go through each motion of the jaw and determine which motion causes pain. If a person comes in complaining of TMJD and has a high-stress level, I factor in the stress and ask if they wear an appliance at night to help with night-time grinding. Getting such an appliance is usually given by a dentist. Once I assess, I can then begin to massage the joint and the muscles that affect the joint. By using a variety of techniques; active release, trigger point, myofascial release, and even intra-oral massage, I have achieved great success in treating TMJD.

Eugene Wood is a Licensed Massage Therapist located in Nassau County NY. Learn more about advanced massage therapy by visiting his website at

Saturday, December 10, 2016

How Your Pets Benefit from Your Massage

A relaxed pet benefitting from a massage
Everyone knows the benefits of massage for humans, but did you know that your pet can benefit from it too?

In fact, pet massage is a great way for pet owners to participate in their pets overall well-being, and when combined with professional massage, makes the massage and petting you already do, more powerful, more effective, and a more effective health experience for your pet.

What is Pet Massage?

Pet massage incorporates techniques involving medical or Swedish massage and variations of human energy bodywork and is even used by animal trainers, handlers, and behaviorists. Following the massage, pets are reported to be more radiant, more comfortable with their bodies, they appear to be more relaxed, and they are more comfortable with their families.

The Benefits of Pet Massage

The benefits of pet massage run far and wide, including giving them the ability to reach their fullest potential. Studies show that pets that receive touch are happier, more willing to accept guidance, and are easier to train. These same studies show that those who were deprived of touch suffered physical and emotional development, including low circulation, stress dwarfism, depressed immune system, smaller stature, and are more susceptible to injuries and disease.

Some other benefits of pet massage:

Enhances Bonding

During massage, pets experience critical psycho-social interaction, which strengthens their connection, enhances their trust factor and improves their bond with their owners. This is beneficial for behavior modification and teaching and training. The repetitive movement of a pet massage also reinforces their need for comfort.

Improves Circulation, Flexibility, Muscle Tone, and Endurance

The pulling and pushing of the skin and muscles and the gentle manipulation of the limbs improve circulation, flexibility, and muscle tone similar to exercise. Sports pets and those used in competition develop stronger, faster, and more symmetrical frames with massage. They also mend faster and are less prone to injuries. Massage also increases the rate of respiration, which strengthens your pet's respiratory system. A strong respiratory system improves breathing, which provides more oxygen to the muscles and improves your pet's endurance.

Helps Relieve Joint Pain and Stiffness

Sometimes your pet can suffer from joint pain or stiffness as a result of lack of exercise. When they have no way to work off their food, it can turn to fat. The fat puts extra strain on their heart and muscles, which can result in joint pain and stiffness.

Furthermore, large joint movement increases lymphatic drainage from the extremities. When they do not engage in large joint movement, it can result in unrelenting and unresolved fluid pressure, or inflammation, within the joints, fascia, and other tissues. Lastly, without the opportunity to increase respiration and expel chemical toxins and dust, it can clog their lungs and make it harder to breath.

Helps Pets Rehabilitate After Surgeries and Other Traumas

Pet massage has been shown to be effective in helping pets in post surgery and post-traumatic rehabilitation. During massage for rehabilitation, techniques are presented as gentle physical therapy, focusing mainly on the affected portions of your pet's body. Treatment centers on the notion that dogs have an inherent intuitive drive to achieve balance and wellness. During therapy, the movement of a limb within a specific range and the application of specific strokes are used to bring about the healing of the affected body part.

Massage therapy balances the hormones, removes lactic acid from muscle tissue, provides emotional stability, improves intestinal organ system functions and skin, and raises the body to an elevated, more healthy state.

Provides Ongoing Assessment of Your Pet

When your pet undergoes massage on a regular basis, either by you or a professional massage therapist, it allows you to know your pet's body and how they respond to touch. Over time, you will become more aware of how your pet is moving and acting. Any change in the way your pet moves or reacts is a red flag that there is an imbalance in their body. Any unrecognizable shape, heat, texture or reaction to your touch, may signal a problem, in which case, it may warrant a trip to your vet.

Pets whose health can be compromised in many ways desperately need pet massage. However, healthy pets also benefit from massage. Pet massage integrates well with traditional veterinary medicine. When used in combination, whatever conventional or holistic treatment was given is generally more effective. When the pet is emotionally stable, the pathways and receptors are open, which means the pet more readily accepts treatment and recovers more quickly and more thoroughly.

Eugene Wood is a leading NYC and Long Island Massage Therapist and the Education Chair for the NY Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association. Eugene has offices in Manhattan and Wantagh, Long Island. Learn more by visiting his website at

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Massage Tips for Parents with Young Children

Massage Tips for Parents with Young Children
Every mother and father who has a baby in their life has been there. The baby is crying away, and you have tried everything to help make it better for the little darling. You have done everything. Feeding, holding, playing, singing to them, and so on.

But, did you know that giving your little bundle of joy a massage can dramatically help not only their emotional well-being but also their overall health?

We'll explore this a bit here as we go into the subject of the benefits of massages for infants. Have you ever had that night (or many nights) where it seems like the only thing that calms your little one is when you are holding them? Obviously, you cannot do this all of the time, or you'd never sleep. Studies are showing now that giving your baby a gentle massage routinely can and will help dramatically in the way your child feels and its ability to relax and sleep through the evening.

These studies are beginning to show and prove more and more that massaging your infant or toddler reduces separation anxiety, stress, fussiness and overall wellness. This method has been proven to reduce the risk of constipation, colic and even boost the immune system of your little angel. This is great news for any parent, especially if you find yourself in a bind where they simply will not let you put them down.

When you massage your infant, you are actually serving to stimulate their central nervous system. This, in turn, helps their little body produce hormones such as serotonin more frequently. Serotonin levels are what the brain produces to make you feel relaxed and generally good about things. It also serves to reduce cortisol, which is a chemical produced that is linked directly to stress. One of the very best things for a mother or father to feel is the safety and well-being of their newborn baby. A loving and tender touch of your massaging hands will to exactly that. After all, your baby is hard-wired to want the loving attention and care of their parents.

It does not take a long time to do this for your baby, and you can make it part of a daily routine. Take 10 minutes or so when your baby is calm and awake to gently work your hands over them to relax and soothe them. It is a great idea for after you give them a bath for example. After bath time, your baby is alert and calm typically which makes it ideal. If you try to do this while your little one is fussing and not in an overall good mood, it may only serve to further their irritation and fussy behavior.

If you make this massage part of your daily routine, you will begin to see the benefits of it soon enough. Your baby will be generally more relaxed and ready for bed when it comes time for it. Your baby's overall happiness and calm demeanor will be more frequent allowing for better rest through the night, for you and the baby. With that being said, let's go over a few techniques you can use at home.

Neck Massage

Make sure to give proper support to your newborn's head and upper body with one hand. With your free hand use two fingers and gently rub the baby's neck in small circular motions, making sure that the neck is properly supported while doing so. Repeat this a few times. You don't want to do it for an extended length of time so as to not cause any discomfort.

Tummy Massage

Placing your hands just under the navel, rub your fingertips in small circular motions on the belly area. Repeat this a few times to help aid in proper digestion and constipation relief. Make sure again that your baby is properly supported while doing so, either horizontally in the crease of your lap or on the floor with a blanket.

Arm Massage

Apply gentle pressure holding your baby's arm between your fingers and roll their arm in your fingertips while working your way from the shoulder down. Do this a few times then switch to the opposite arm and repeat.

Leg Massage

Again, applying gentle pressure, wrap your hands around the thigh and work your way down to the ankle while you rub. Repeat this a few times then move to the opposite leg.

Colic Massage

After performing the tummy massage, bend their knees gently upwards toward their belly. Hold this position for 30 seconds and release. After you repeat this, gently glide your palms in a circular motion from the navel down the stomach to relieve a gassy baby.

Eugene Wood is a leading NYC and Long Island Massage Therapist and the Education Chair for the NY Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association. Eugene has offices in Wantagh and Massapequa, Long Island. Learn more by visiting his website at

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The History of Massage Therapy

The History of Massage Therapy
Whether you have reaped the benefits of massage or are wondering how this type of therapy can help you, it's a good idea to take a look at how massage therapy came into practice. The history of massage as a tool for healing both body and spirit goes back a long way.

Ancient Cultures

People were using the power of massage for healing dating back thousands of years. In fact, written data on massage therapy was first discovered in China as far back as 2700 BCE, when a Chinese text titled, "The Yellow Emperor's Classic Book of Internal Medicine" was written. The book is now used regularly in massage therapy training and other alternative medicine tools, such as acupuncture and herbology. The Chinese believed that all illness came from an imbalance in the body's energy pathways. Placing pressure on specific parts of the body would let the energy flow more freely, allowing the body to heal more quickly in a natural manner.

A couple of hundred years after this Chinese text was recorded, Egyptian tomb paintings were discovered depicting persons being kneaded by others. Ancient Egyptians are also credited with developing reflexology, a form of massage that involves placing pressure on specific points of the feet or hands to relieve pain.

Some believe that the practice of massage therapy originated in India in 3000 BCE or even earlier. Hindus were utilizing healing by touch when combined with meditation and aromatherapy while practicing Ayurvedic medicine, a Sanskrit term meaning "life health."

These ancient cultures found that massage could heal injuries, remove pain and even cure or prevent illnesses. People who received the healing powers of touch were also more relaxed and free of stress. Massage began as a form of sacred, natural healing.

Japanese Shiatsu

Around 1000 BCE, Japanese monks who were studying in China noted the healing benefits of massage being used there. The monks brought the idea of healing touch back to their country, where the art was customized, and Japanese massage was born, leading to Shiatsu.

Shiatsu massage is used to increase a person's energy levels, which then improves the internal organs and the immune system. Shiatsu practitioners work on the body's pressure points to impart more energy, using fingers and palms of the hand.

Western Civilization Catches On

By the 8th Century, Eastern massage philosophy and practices were employed by the Ancient Greeks to help their athletes stay in top physical condition, combining massage with aromatic herbs and oils. Sometime in the 5th Century, Hippocrates used "friction" to treat ailments. He explained the treatment to his medical colleagues as a way of helping the body heal itself. Hippocrates also put forth the idea that a blend of massage, healthy diet, daily exercise, fresh air and music would make people healthier.


Galen, the physician to emperors of Rome, began using massage by the 1st Century BCE. He also believed in the prescribed health benefits that Hippocrates put forth hundreds of years earlier. Rich Romans were massaged privately in their homes. In the public baths, individuals would bathe themselves, and then receive a massage to stimulate blood circulation, loosen their joints and relax muscles. Aromatic oils were often added to soothe and condition the skin.

Massage in the Roman baths became a very popular activity, leading the public to think of this hands-on therapy as more of an excess in pleasurable enjoyment rather than medicinal healing. The Roman Emperor Constantine eventually condemned using the public baths for massage, believing the art was becoming a sign of sexual excess in Roman culture.

Massage therapy steadily declined after that in popularity in the Western world until around 1600 CE. Doctors and scientists began to document the benefits of massage, but it wasn't until the 19th Century that the practice found footing again in the West.

The Western World and Massage

By the early 1800s, a Swedish doctor named Per Henril Ling formulated a method called The Swedish Movement System. This method became the cornerstone of today's Swedish massage methods. The common hand strokes that are now associated with Swedish message, however, were developed by a Dutchman named Johan Georg Mezger.

New techniques of massage and rediscovered ones came into practice in the 20th Century. During World War I, veterans were given massage therapy to treat nerve pain or shell shock. The practice was still thought of as a luxury for the mainstream world. This is particularly true when massage parlors became synonymous with the sex trade.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, however, massage as a therapeutic tool was revived as natural medicine gained in popularity. The practice of massage therapy became regulated by the government, and licensing, and educational standards were developed.

Today, massage therapy is a respected form of alternative medicine to prevent illness, maintain wellness and help heal injuries and disease.

Eugene Wood is a leading NYC and Long Island Massage Therapist and the Education Chair for the NY Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association. Eugene has offices in Manhattan and Wantagh, Long Island. Learn more by visiting his website at