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A Touch of Massage is Good Medicine

Massage is the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues – muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. A professional massage therapist will predominantly use their hands to palpate the tissues, determine the source of pain and then assist to remediate musculoskeletal dysfunctions. [1] The act of massage works to cleanse waste from soft tissues, whilst also softening fibrous tissue and loosening joints.

Biochemical changes occur throughout the body during massage, promoting deep relaxation and relief from pain. [2] Massage therapy is commonly used for relaxation and pain relief and is well known to be of great benefit for those with arthritis, fibromyalgia and inflammation. [3] But, did you know massage is also very effective for many aspects of mental health and for chronic disease sufferers?

The calming and relaxing effects of massage are well documented, but perhaps less understood is the potential of massage to reduce agitation behavior in adults living with expressions of brain injury, such as dementia. [4] Regular massage can lower cortisol levels by up to 53% according to researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine, whilst also increasing serotonin and dopamine release, relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety. [5] Reduction of stress related symptoms have been found in high stress individuals, such as nurses, military veterans and people with chronic illness after regular massages. [5,8] Significant reduction in shoulder tension, neck pain, insomnia, fatigue, muscle and joint pain were revealed, less headaches, lowered blood pressure, ultimately lowering chances of heart conditions and risk factors for stroke and kidney failure in susceptible individuals. [5]

Welcome Relief for Aging Population
According to the Journal of Age and Ageing, massage can greatly reduce chronic pain in joints, “whilst also improving stability and posture”. The study suggests that physiological changes can occur from regular massage, which “can improve balance and postural control, minimizing the risk of falls in older adults”.

Jo Sefton, the director of the Neuromechanics Research Laboratory at Auburn University, reports the benefits of massage for mature adults, having observed improved grip strength and range of motion, in addition to a reduction in pain. [6,7]

Did you know Massage is the oldest known form of physical medicine, dating back to 400B.C.?

Pain Medicine

A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found regular massage decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms in migraine sufferers. [9] Whilst a series of studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggested that massage therapy provides superior results for back pain than other common therapies, including chiropractic. [10]

Massage can boost your immunity and improve your overall health. [9]

Is it right for me?
At Samadhi Soul, we specialise in headache, migraine and muscular pain relief and prevention. Whether your pain is a recent issue, or a long standing, acute or chronic one, we can help. We use specialised techniques for pain and optimising freedom of movement. Massage can be easily integrated in many health plans and is suitable for all ages.



1. Robson T. An Introduction to Complementary Medicine. Australia: Allen and Unwin; 2003.

2. Fritz S. Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. 5th ed. Missouri: Elsevier; 2013.

3. Castro-Sánchez A, Matarán-Peñarrocha G, Granero-Molina J, Aguilera- Manrique G, Quesada-Rubio J, Moreno-Lorenzo C. Benefits of massage- myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:561753. doi: 10.1155/2011/561753

4. Snyder M, Egan E, Burns K. Interventions for decreasing agitation behaviors in persons with dementia. J Gerontol Nurs. 1995 Jul;21(7):34-40.

5. Strine T, Hootman J, Chapman D, Okoro C, Balluz L. Health-related quality of life, health risk behaviors, and disability among adults with pain-related activity difficulty. American Journal of Public Health. 2005;95(11):2042–2048.

6. Abdulla A, Bone M, Adams N. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on management of pain in older people. Age Ageing. 2013;42(2):151-153.

7. Sefton J, Yarar C, Berry J, et al. Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance, neurological and cardiovascular measures in older persons. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. 2012;5(3):28-40.

8. Collinge W, Kahn J, Soltysik R. Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Military Medicine. 2012 Dec;177(12):1477-1485.

9. Diego M, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Shaw K, Friedman L, Ironson G.
HIV Adolescents Show Improved Immune Function Following Massage Therapy. Internat Journal of Neuroscience. 2001;35-45.

10. Cherkin D, Sherman L, Deyo R, Shekelle P. A Review of the Evidence for the Effectiveness, Safety, and Cost of Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, and Spinal Manipulation for Back Pain. Ann Intern Med [Internet]. 2003;138(11):898-906. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-11-200306030-00011


5 Tips for Reducing Inflammation & Pain

Breathing techniques for lowering stress levels and regulating stress hormones responsible for inflammation such as cortisol. Wim Hof offers a great free online course, or you can find more techniques on YouTube. [1]

Moving muscles moves lymphatic fluid. When your lymphatic system becomes stagnant or congested (typically from the overconsumption of junk foods, lack of movement, or excessive tension), we have found inflammation to most often occur around these areas of congestion, or previous injury sites.

Have regular hot baths followed by a walk to keep things moving again. If it gets really jammed up, get a lymphatic targetted massage treatment. At Samadhi Soul, relieving lymphatic congestion and keeping fluid moving is our specialty.

High Intensity Training
Short interval exercise followed by long rest/repair periods can greatly reduce stress to tissues and the occurrence of hormonal disruption, while promoting a healthy growth and repair cycle. [2]

Omega 3s
Eat foods that lower your inflammatory markers and speed repairs. No doubt you’ve heard that wild caught fish is loaded with omega-3s for reducing inflammation.

Did you know however that red meat, especially pasture raised and grass fed is also anti-inflammatory? Pasture raised beef contains a perfect omega ratio and in combination with L-carnitine not only reduces inflammation while helping to rebuild and repair, it also stimulates your lymphatic system. [3-7]
We’ll be covering more on the health benefits and myths surrounding red meat in future posts.

Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Reduce or avoid foods that create inflammation in the first place.

These tend to be junk food culprits – Sugar [4,5], vegetables oils & margarine, [5,6], and also farmed fish, which includes all salmon grown in Australia [8].

Just because it has a ‘heart healthy’ tick, if its partially hydrogenated, it can still be loaded with omega-6s and transfats, which are both pro-inflammatory, and can cause pain. Most nut or seed oils have been heavily processed and when heated fall apart, creating free-radicals and inflammatory compounds. The more processed the oil or the more processed the food product containing the oil, the higher the percentage of transfats and pro-inflammatory compounds. [9-11]

Some people with sensitive digestion also find a protein called casein inflammatory, found in most dairy foods. Plant milks can be inflammatory too however, as most of them contain vegetable oils. So be sure to check your food labels.

Getting informed about where to find pro-inflammatory ingredients and how to avoid them is a great step in the reduction of inflammatory pain.

Deep Nutrition by Dr Catherine Shanahan is a great read, as is Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. If you’d also like to understand how farmed fish such as salmon and trout can create health problems, check out a documentary on Youtube called Filet-oh!-fish. [5,6,8]


1. Hof W. Wim Hof breathing tutorial by Wim Hof [Video on the Internet]. Uploaded Sept 28 2018. Available from:

2. McGuff D, Little J. Body by Science: A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Body building and Complete Fitness is 12 Minutes a Week. USA: McGraw-Hill Education; 2009.

3. Duckett S , Neel J, Fontenot P, Clapham W. Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content. Journal of Animal Science [Internet]. 2009 87:2961- 2970. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-1850

4. Price W. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. USA: Keats; 2003.

5. Shanahan C. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. USA: Big Box Books; 2008.

6. Teicholz N. The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. USA: Simon & Schuster; 2015.

7. Daley C, Abbott A, Doyle P, Nader G, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010;9:10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

8. Fillet-Oh-Fish [Video on the Internet]. Uploaded Mar 12 2014. Available from:

9. Thomas L, Jones P, Winter J, Smith H. Hydrogenated oils and fats: the presence of chemically-modified fatty acids in human adipose tissue. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 1981 May 1;34(5):877-86. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.34-5-877

10. Mozaffarian D, Pischon T, Hankinson S, Rifai N, Joshipura K, Willett W et al. Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [Internet]. 2004 Apr 1;79(4):606-12. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.79-4-606

11. Hafner K. Fred A. Kummerow, an Early Opponent of Trans Fats, Dies at 102. Published June 1, 2017 [cited 2020 Feb 19]. Available from: