Body Sense

Autumn/Winter 2010

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Massage, Science, and Your of Medicine that Can Transform Our Future (Hudson Street Press, 2009) and a longtime proponent of integrative medicine, had a chance to sit down with Body Sense magazine to discuss the science behind massage and other effective complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments. N Loolwa Khazzoom: What do you see as the benefits of massage? Andrew Weil: Whether a massage therapist focuses on your feet, hands, scalp, or entire body, massage can be both wonderfully relaxing and clinically effective. It is also one of the CAM therapies most readily accepted by conventional medical doctors and hospital administrators. Research demonstrates that massage therapy can offer a variety of healthful benefits, especially for people with significant stress or anxiety, strained muscles, or osteoarthritis. Massage therapy can enhance immune function, increase circulation while reducing heart rate and autumn/winter 2010 Health A CONVERSATION WITH DR. ANDREW WEIL By Loolwa Khazzoom oted physician Andrew Weil, MD, author of Why Our Health Matters: A Vision blood pressure, boost levels of endorphins and serotonin (the body’s natural painkillers and mood regulators), and reduce stress hormone levels, all while easing sore and achy muscles. If you have problems with tension headaches, back or neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, experiment with massage as an enjoyable way to help reduce or even eliminate associated pain. Mothers-to-be can reduce stress levels and pain associated with labor, preemies may gain weight faster, and children with asthma may breathe easier when massaged. Studies also suggest that massage therapy can help prevent or manage some side effects and complications commonly experienced by people with cancer, both during and after treatment. Anyone with open wounds should wait until they are healed to receive bodywork, and deep- tissue work should be considered cautiously by people on blood thinning medication (warfarin, for example) and anyone recovering from surgery. Other than that, work with a licensed massage therapist to ensure you get the most out of your session. Many forms of massage therapy are available. It pays to ask massage therapists what types of therapy they have studied and whether their skill sets are a good match for your needs. LK: What are some common ailments you have seen treated effectively through other CAM methods? AW: First of all, in treating autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, I have seen great success using an anti-inflammatory diet. I Body Sense 11 Photo Courtesy of Weil Lifestyle, LLC.

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