Do you suffer from ‘life syndrome?’

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Director of Massage, The Well

Do you feel alone sometimes? Do you feel anxious from time to time? Does it feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Do you sometimes have trouble sleeping, breathing or relaxing?

If these symptoms sound familiar you may be suffering from what I call ‘life syndrome.’ At any given time, Life Syndrome can be affecting 100 percent of the population. It happens to everyone and it can last for up to 24 hours a day. But now there is hope for those people who suffer from life.

All kidding aside, it seems like the Western medical profession is finally starting to catch up to what many people know instinctively, as numerous studies start to prove beyond a doubt the effects that common stress has on health and wellbeing. Everyday symptoms like headaches, including migraine, backaches, muscle spasms – not to mention depression and anxiety – all these can be signals from our body/mind that we need to at least slow down and smell the roses.

Thankfully, there is no cure for life! But stress-induced symptoms can certainly be reduced with massage therapy. Massage is nothing new – this seemingly well-kept secret was probably first discovered in prehistory by someone bumping his head on the cave ceiling and rubbing it to feel better. Eventually he improved on this initial treatment by asking someone else to rub it for him, and massage was born. As well any mother can tell you that massage has a soothing effect on stressed out babies.

China, India, Thailand - each over thousands of years has developed complex and meaningful systems for keeping people healthy, with massage a key component. The father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, wrote in 460 BC that a physician must be experienced in massage.

During the Middle Ages, the tradition of massage therapy was carried on in the West by the church, as women in sisterly orders offered healing touch for the sick and dying. By the1800s as medicine became more formalized in this country and nursing schools sprang up, massage therapy was an integral part of nurses’ training. Up until 50 or 60 years ago nurses routinely gave nightly backrubs to patients to help induce relaxation and ease sleep.

Did you know that up until the 1990s the only place you could learn massage in Russia was in medical school? Doctors in Russia commonly prescribe a course of massage therapy treat a number of aliments including asthma, gastritis, Crohn’s disease and hypertension. When was the last time your doctor touched you for more than 20-30 seconds?

Don’t wait for the AMA to catch up! If you think you may be suffering from ‘life syndrome,’ try a short course of massage therapy - by looking at massage not as a pampering treatment but as a health maintenance routine we can live happier healthier lives.

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