Indianapolis Massage Therapy Blog
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Try Massage or Yoga Before Pills for Back Pain, Physicians Say

New guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommend trying exercise, yoga, or massage before medication for acute low-back pain. The guidelines were published online on February 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

NPR reports that researchers analyzed more than 150 studies looking at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to low-back pain.

ACP president Dr. Nitin Damle says “garden variety back pain”—not the kind of pain that radiates down your leg or causes numbness—usually goes away on its own. “The body will adjust, the inflammation will go down,” Damle says. It may take a few days or even a week, but eventually you'll be back to normal.

So why risk side effects of medication, he says, if you don't have to? Side effects can include gastritis, stomach upset and a rise in blood pressure.

Instead, the new guidelines suggest techniques to speed up the healing process, including heat wraps, massage, acupuncture and spinal manipulation which can “relax the muscles, joints, and tendons so people can be relieved of their low back pain sooner, rather than later.”

Primary care doctor Steven Atlas, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital, describes the guidelines as a needed change. “We are moving away from simple fixes like a pill to a more complex view that involves a lot of lifestyle changes,” he says.


FSA/HSA for Massage Therapy in Indianapolis Indiana

Can I Use My Health Savings Account for Massage?

Tax time will soon be underway and with healthcare costs on the rise you may be looking for ways to many utilize a health savings account (HSA), or flexible savings account (FSA), to defer funds tax-free from your salaries. These monies can be used during the year to pay for a large variety of medical expenses. Everything from deductibles and co-payments to transportation to essential healthcare providers.

As a Certified Massage Therapist I am authorized to accept all HSA/FSA cards. Be sure to check with your plan administrators for clarification of rules for your particular plan.

Is My Therapeutic Massage Eligible?

Yes, but to be considered a qualified medical expense, the IRS regulations state that medical care expenses MUST be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental ailment. In IRS Publication 502 (see link below), “Therapy” is included as defined for therapy received as medical treatment. Examples of illnesses that could qualify include carpal tunnel syndrome, stress, back pain, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and pain management.

The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you have been suffering from any of the above conditions, including stress, let him or her know that you are participating in a HSA and that you’d like to use some of your funds toward massage for treatment or prevention of your condition.

In order for you prescription to qualify for IRS regulations, your physician will need to provide the following:

1. Why do you need massage therapy? (Example: to relieve back pain, reduce stress/anxiety, prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)

2. How frequent do you need treatment? (Example: 2 sessions per month)

3. How long should you receive treatment? (Example: 6 months, a year)

After you’ve obtained your prescription, keep it with your tax documents should you ever be asked to verify the expenses. For my clients, it is not necessary that I receive a copy of your script.

Keep in mind, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, you can also pay for massages a spouse and even a dependents under the age of 27, if he or she has a qualifying medical condition. To see if you are able to deduct massage therapy from your HSA, contact your physician for more information and a prescription for treatment.

 IRS Regulations on HSAs and more:


In Season: Outsmart Holiday Stress | Massage Indianapolis

Outsmart Holiday Stress

Managing stress, especially during the chaotic holiday season, can be key to maintaining your overall health. The importance of taking time out to get a massage every month cannot be underestimated. During the in-between time, however, here are a few tips to help you manage stress.

Make a list. For many of us, the time preceding the holidays can feel over-whelming. Trying to figure out what to take care of first can leave you feeling paralyzed. Pull out a calendar and look just one week ahead. Make a list of what you need to accomplish; then, prioritize your list in order of importance. As the week goes by, cross items off your list as you complete them. Seeing your list shrink will help you feel empowered and more in control.  

Exercise. We all know that staying active is one key to overall wellness and weight control, but, according to the Mayo Clinic, exercise also has some very real stress-busting side effects. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of the body’s endorphins which improves your mood. Don’t make exercise just another chore; find an activity you enjoy—whether that’s meeting a friend for tennis or taking a ten-minute walk—and make it part of your daily routine. 

Meditate. In many cases, taking deep breaths will be your body’s natural reaction to stress. Take advantage of this instinct by repeatedly inhaling slowly through your nose, holding the breath for a minute, and exhaling through your mouth. During this time, you can also try to clear your head of any stressful thoughts. Focus your mind on a peaceful image or favorite memory while at the same time taking deep, cleansing breaths.

Massage. Don't forget to put yourself in the equation!  A massage can help relax and refresh you during the holiday season. 

Massage Therapy Indianapolis Indiana

Massage Indianapolis Indiana

Massage Therapist Indianapolis Indiana


Making the Most of Your Massage - How to Extend the Benefits

A massage works in wonderful ways, easing stress and pain, calming the nervous system, increasing circulation, loosening tight muscles, stimulating internal organs, and enhancing skin. The multiplicity of physiological responses sends a simple, clear message to the mind: Massage feels good. Of course, you want to hold on to that just-had-a-massage feeling -- total body relaxation, muscles relaxed and at ease, and fluid movement restored -- for as long as possible. 

But how long that bliss lasts depends on the state of your body. If you're suffering from chronic pain or recovering from injury, then it may take more sessions before optimal health is restored. 

If massage is part of your regular health regimen, then it's more likely the effects will endure. In other words, the effects of massage are cumulative, like any healthy habit. The more often you get a massage, the greater and longer-lasting the benefits. 

Massage Frequency
How often you receive massage depends on why you're seeking massage. In dealing with the general tension of the daily commute, computer work, and time demands, a monthly massage may be enough to sustain you. On the other hand, if you're seeking massage for chronic pain, you may need regular treatments every week or two. Or if you're addressing an acute injury or dealing with high levels of stress, you may need more frequent sessions. Your situation will dictate the optimum time between treatments, and I can work with you to determine the best course of action. 

In general, "regular" is preferable, but how regular depends on your situation. While daily massage would be delightful, practical considerations such as cost, time, and physical need likely determine the frequency of treatments. It is best to maintain a schedule, that way the body becomes conditioned and prepared for session at specific intervals.

Whether you get a massage weekly, monthly, or just every once in a while, the following habits can maximize and extend the benefits of treatment. 

One helpful habit is stretching between massages to maintain joint mobility and prevent muscles from tightening up again. This may mean doing yoga or other specific or full-body stretches.

Working out can also help maintain the benefits of massage, and this habit should be continually cultivated. However, if you're receiving massage therapy to help speed muscle strain recovery, you may need to ease up on the exercise for a while and give the body time to heal -- particularly if you're recovering from a strenuous body-pummeling training regimen. You don't want to over-work your body.  That is, if running is taking a toll, try something more gentle and meditative such as swimming, walking, or tai chi.

Body Awareness
After a massage, respect how your body feels. If your body seems to ask for rest, give in to that demand. This may mean backing off the to-do list, taking it easy, moving slower, and perhaps doing less for a while. And don't allow yourself to get fatigued because it will undermine the effects of massage. Get sufficient sleep to allow the body to absorb the effects and regain vitality. 

The benefits of massage are many, including: increasing circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body; stimulating lymph flow and boosting immunity; relaxing overused or tight muscles; increasing joint mobility and range of motion; reducing recovery time after strenuous workouts or surgery; and relieving back pain and migraines, just to name a few.

After receiving a massage, you may feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and refreshed. By opting for a few lifestyle choices, you can extend these benefits and get the most out of your massage.


Reach Massage Nirvana - massage therapy in Indianapolis

Communication is the key to a great massage.

The following is a checklist to help ensure you maximize your experience:

Arrive on time 
Being there 10-15 minutes before the session keeps you from feeling rushed. 

Relay all appropriate medical history
Allergies? Injuries? Medications? Surgeries? Speak up, for safety reasons. Your preexisting conditions could change the protocol for your session. 

Set clear goals
Have you explained the areas you want addressed? I'm not a mind reader!

Be open
My strategies may not involve a direct path to your sore elbow. Understand that the body works in mysterious ways, and my approach may take a more circuitous path to healing than you expect. 

Be quiet ...
It's your time; Relax and bathe yourself in the stress reduction and healing that massage therapy offers.

... But speak up when you don't like something 
Room too cold? Too hot? Pressure too deep? Too light? I want you to have the ultimate experience, so please speak up if something is not right. 

Book your next session
Rome wasn't built in a day, and your body may not be "fixed" in one session. The benefits of massage are cumulative and often requires a regular regimen to get things just right. Before you depart, be sure to schedule your next appointment. Let's discuss a treatment plan to help you reach nirvana