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Massage an old cure with a new crew

The history of massage therapy goes back thousands of years before Christ and the history of reflexology goes back an estimated 4,000 years B.C. Lots of scientific research on clinical effects of massage therapy has been done. Much of the evidence points to beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions.

There is evidence massage may help with back pain and may improve quality of life for people with depression, cancer and HIV/AIDS. However, much of the evidence suggests these effects are short term and that people need to keep getting massages for the benefits to continue, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Shawn Lowe, program coordinator and massage therapy instructor at Platt College, said there are lots of health benefits from massage therapy.

"The list is kind of long," Lowe said. "Everything from relieving muscular tension, it can help with headaches, it can help with insomnia. One of the main things that it does is lower stress levels of the body. We live in a fast paced world and everybody is running 100 miles an hour every day. When you're running 100 miles an hour every day like that, your body is under stress."

He said most people are in that stress mode all day until they go to bed, and their digestion isn't as good.

"Your immune response isn't as good as it should be because those stress hormones inhibit your body's well-being," Lowe said. "There's fight or flight, and then there's what they call that rest and digest mode, when you're in that rest and digest mode, that's when your body is working at optimal levels."

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