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Benefits of Massage

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Many people today are sharing conversations about how to take better care of themselves and improve their health. Every day we read in newspapers and magazines about the rising numbers of people suffering from various cancers, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and especially the rise in obesity in young people. And we then ask ourselves, “How is this happening in our society so rich in access to information?”

It is important to understand that our national and global communities are the first generations to experience exposure to thousands of industrial chemicals and pollutants in our air, water, and food sources. Articles on manufacturing, slaughterhouse, and pharmaceutical contamination occur almost daily and have become a main focus of conversation. Again, we ask ourselves, “What can I do to help myself and not become ill?”

An effective answer to this important question centers on understanding how our bodies detoxify the pollutants we ingest; what actually happens within the body biochemically and physiologically that begins the undermining processes leading to discomfort and ultimately disease.

The body has two main pathways to detoxify unwanted materials. This science may be generally too complicated for the layman to understand at first; however, it is important to know that our bodies are capable of detoxifying most pollutants effectively. The breakdown occurs when too much pollution enters the body and backs up the detox processes, much like the Sandpoint summer tourist traffic congestion : it all just slows down the process. When this happens, chemical reactions begin to occur with the vast mixture of chemical compounds all competing for vital nutrients for breakdown, assimilation, absorption, and/or elimination, oftentimes creating more volatile combinations that hold the potential for damaging healthy cells and ultimately creating disease situations.

Supporting detoxification pathways becomes an important routine endeavor by each person not only as prevention, but for assisting the body when overtaxation of these pathways has begun. You will know when this occurs when you feel undue fatigue, digestive discomfort, aches and pains, headaches, and the like.

An effective way to assist your body with detoxification is to receive massage therapy on a regular basis. Specialty massage protocols such as Swedish massage for general relaxation (repair processes begin with good relaxation), deep tissue massage for moving stagnant and trapped interstitial fluids out of muscles and joints, hot stone massage for dilating vessel systems to improve fluid flow and elimination, and lymphatic drainage massage for overall clearing of waste fluids through lymph vessels as well as for specific retention regions are positive choices that assist our detox pathways and our immune system. Another great way to help your body detox is to sweat: far infrared saunas are one of the best ways to sweat, but also cardio workouts that break a sweat or steam or moist saunas assist in the endeavor.

What is most important is that each of us understands the importance of taking care of ourselves every day because of the onslaught of pollution we cannot control. Choosing a method of detoxification regularly makes a big difference in improving your chances of having a healthy body and extending your lifespan. Adjusting dietary habits to eliminate as much as possible unnecessary harmful ingredients and processed foods improves all endeavors.

Take care of yourself. You are important. And you are the only one who gets to choose how you do what is best for you.

Krystle Shapiro is a Washington State licensed medical massage therapist. She owns Touchstone Massage Therapies located in the Stepping Stones Wellness Center at 803 W. Pine Street, Sandpoint. Krystle specializes in oncology massage therapy with emphasis on lymphedema treatment. She is currently undertaking a Master of Science of Holistic Nutrition program and can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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