Meditation and Stretching Relieves Porst-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates vary from country to country. According to the World Health Organization, which began collecting statistics on the disorder in the 1990s, the incidence can be as low as 0.3% of the population in China or as high as 6.1% in New Zealand. In US more than 7 million adults nationwide (around 2% of the population) are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a typical year and in UK rates are broadly similar.

PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event, can cause flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms. Sufferers have high levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and unusually low levels of cortisol – two hormones used to regulate the body’s response to stress. Although levels of the stress hormone cortisol typically rise in response to pressure, PTSD patients have abnormally low levels of cortisol and benefit greatly when these levels increase.

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can now be relieved with a combination of meditation and stretching which also normalize stress hormone levels according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In the said study, twenty-eight nurses from the University of New Mexico Hospital, including 22 experiencing PTSD symptoms, were divided into two groups. One group took 60-minute mind-body sessions where participants performed stretching, balancing and deep breathing exercises while focusing on awareness of their body’s movements, sensations and surroundings – a form of meditation called mindfulness. The control group did not participate in the twice-weekly class. The predominantly female participants underwent blood tests to measure their stress hormone levels and their symptoms judged against a check-list used to diagnose PTSD.

The results showed that among those who were enrolled in the mind-body course, cortisol levels in the blood rose 67% and PTSD check-list scores decreased by 41 %, indicating the individuals were displaying fewer PTSD symptoms. In comparison, the control group had a nearly 4% decline in check-list scores and a 17% increase in blood cortisol levels during the same period.  The study’s lead author, Sang H. Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health said that mind-body exercise offers a low-cost approach that could be used as a complement to traditional psychotherapy or drug treatments.

As we all know, massage relaxes the muscles of the body and increases the cortisol level throughout the session. Our Centers offer you an authentic Thai massage that could surely relieve your stress with each experience. Visit our centers one of these days and experience a relaxing massage the Thai Odyssey way!

Reduce Menopausal Symptoms with Aromatherapy Massage

Menopause is a significant event in most women’s lives because it marks the end of a woman’s natural reproductive life. Many women experience some physical and emotional symptoms during menopause, caused by hormonal imbalance. Often the first symptom of impending menopause is a change in bleeding patterns. Periods may become lighter or heavier, longer or shorter, the time between periods may increase and there may be occasional missed periods. These changes may occur gradually in some women, yet are more abrupt in others. There are also physical and psychological signs and symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes, sweats (often at night), tiredness, headaches, joint and bone pain, palpitations, unusual skin sensations, anxiety, irritability and mood swings, difficulty concentrating, loss of confidence, forgetfulness and difficulty sleeping. In some women they are very mild while in others they are more severe. They may last for only a few months, or may continue for several years. The average length of time for menopausal symptoms to be experienced is three to five years. Many women find menopausal relief in taking pills, but many prescribed medications do come with several side effects.

Just recently, an April 2012 study featured in the journal Menopause confirmed that aromatherapy massage significantly reduced symptoms of menopause. In this study, 90 menopausal women were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group received a 30-minute aromatherapy massage with aroma oil twice weekly for four weeks, the second group received a 30-minute massage with plain massage oil twice weekly for four weeks and the third group received no treatment at all. Researchers used the Menopause Rating Scale, which evaluates quality of life associated with 11 different common menopause symptoms. At the end of the study, both the massage and massage with aromatherapy groups experienced symptom relief and according to the researchers aromatherapy massage may be more effective.

Aromatherapy is a technique in which essential oils from plants are used with the intention of preventing or treating illness, reducing stress or enhancing well-being. Although many gift shops sell scented candles, pomanders and potpourri as aromatherapy, genuine aromatherapy treatments use higher-strength, concentrated essential oils drawn from various herbs. Pay a visit to our Centers and you can be assured of an authentic aromatherapy massage that can ease away the symptoms of menopause. We are always here for you.

Fighting Addiction with Massage

Millions of people have suffered from their own or someone else’s addiction. It may be addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, food and a lot more. Addiction takes a huge emotional toll on everyone, has profound financial and legal consequences, and dashes the hopes and dreams of families everywhere. Addiction has several potential causes, including physical pain and emotional distress. Fighting addiction is not a quick process, but by taking a holistic approach to healing that involves several treatment options can be the right tool to fight the temptation to return to addiction after eliminating it.

Massage therapy is one of the recommended treatments to treat addiction. Massage can be helpful in the withdrawal, detoxification, and abstinence stages of quitting an addiction. It helps the addict to relax, diminish feelings of depression and anxiety, and reduces withdrawal-associated pain and cravings for the substance or behavior.

In addition to that, massage gets people back in touch with their own bodies. It helps them understand why certain things might be going on with their bodies that they don’t have a grasp on. It provides feelings of pleasure as the muscles relax, the mind releases negative emotions and healing hands provide comfort to painful areas of the body. The feeling of pleasure from massage is able to help individuals avoid psychological cravings. Reaching a serene state of mind comes from the relaxation and the lack of negative emotions. When the muscles are encouraged to relax, the mind is able to release the negative emotions that prevent serenity in life. It is a key element in reaching a mental state that is able to continue fighting addiction. This is evident in a 2005 article in The International Journal of Neuroscience that noted that massage therapy reduced cortisol levels and also increased serotonin and dopamine levels. These were the findings from several different scientific studies. (A reduction in cortisol levels leads to an individual feeling calmer and less anxious, while an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels create feelings of pleasure and peace)

Addiction can alter the mind and make serenity a challenge. Let our Centers help you reduce your stress and obtain freedom from psychological cravings with our authentic, traditional Thai massage.

Massage as an Alternative Therapy for Cancer

Cancer is one of the major health problems in Malaysia. A total of 18,219 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2007 and registered at the National Cancer Registry published in 2011. It comprises of 8,123 (44.6%) males and 10,096 (55.4%) females, making cancer the fourth leading cause of death among medically certified deaths. Cancer of the breast is the most common killer among malignancies as reported in 2007 by the National Cancer Registry. Second of which is colon cancer followed by lung cancer by numbers.

Diets and lifestyles among Malaysians are the common causes of cancer. In actual fact, the number of new cancer cases can be reduced, and many cancer deaths can be prevented.  A person’s cancer risk can be decreased by receiving regular medical care, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers helps detect these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage.

Research study shows that alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and reiki can offer patients much-needed relief to counter attack symptoms and adverse effect of treatment. Refer to the image below for more information.