The Healing Power of Touch
For Taming Stress: Massage Therapy continued...
For 27-year-old Gena Gilas of Denver, massage put an end to migraines. Her
job as a trainer for an insurance company requires hours at a computer or on
her feet, sometimes dealing with upset customers. She would get daily headaches
so piercing, “they made it hard to see,” Gilas says. Prescription medicines
didn’t help. Then one day her company brought in a massage therapist who
offered chair massages. The therapist “worked on relaxing the tense muscles in
my neck and shoulders, which relieved the pressure that caused the headaches,”
Gilas says. Her headache stopped that night, and she didn’t get another one for
many days. Now she gets a chair massage at work every two weeks and a full body
massage every month or so as a preventive measure.
To find a massage therapist, log on to the Websites of the American
Massage Therapy Association (amtamassage.org) or the Associated Bodywork &
Massage Professionals (massagetherapy.com). “More and more doctors are
prescribing therapeutic massage as part of their medical treatment, as research
shows it has positive health benefits,” says Marilyn Kier, a Northfield, IL,
specialist in orthopedic massage. The cost is anywhere from $60 to $150 or more
per session, and fortunately “some insurance companies are starting to cover it
if it’s prescribed by a doctor for a medical reason,” adds Kier. If it’s not
and you can’t afford the hefty price tag, massage-therapy schools may offer
discounted prices. Find one at naturalhealers.com.
For Treating Your Illness or Injury: Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
What it is: An osteopathic physician (also known as a doctor of
osteopathic medicine, or D.O.) relies on her hands to diagnose, treat, and
prevent illness and injury. The D.O. moves muscles and joints with stretching,
gentle pressure, and resistance (where the doctor applies pressure to a joint
or tissue, then asks the patient to press that part of the body against his
hand). Unlike other forms of bodywork, such as chiropractic therapy, which
focuses on the relationship between the musculoskeletal and nervous systems,
osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) treats the whole body by stimulating
nerve centers to improve health and blood circulation.