Massage for Heart Disease in Santa Barbara, Ca.

Heart Disease
Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) 1, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women — and someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

Drawing information from a study titled Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics — 2017 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association2, the fact sheet cites that “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the [U.S], including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.”

Risk factors of heart disease include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and limited exercise. Sleep disturbances may also increase cardiovascular risk factors per the American Heart Association3.

While the above statistics are for the U.S., the research reviewed for this article reveals that heart disease is prevalent worldwide.

The good news is that a number of studies indicate that massage may be beneficial, both for some of the risk factors of heart disease as well as a treatment for those who have undergone some cardiac procedures.

When we look at massage therapy and the heart, there are a variety of studies to review, including ones involving cardiac patients and those related to how massage helps with stress relief.

While this review of the literature is fairly short, the hope is that it will stimulate interest in others to further investigate the risks, symptoms, treatments and benefits of massage for heart disease.

Given the prevalence of the disease, there is a very good chance that individuals with heart disease have been on a majority of massage tables.

In looking at the risk factors of heart disease, we have to ask several questions: What does the research report about massage and high blood pressure (HBP)?; as one of the leading causes of heart disease, if massage is proven to help lower blood pressure, would it be beneficial to promote that to the public?; and what constitutes a diagnosis of HBP?

According to the CDC, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80, prehypertension is 120-139/80-89, and HBP is 140/90 or higher4.

In a 2013 issue of the International Journal of Preventive Medicine5, a study on the durability effect of massage on HBP was published. This was a single-blind study with the intervention group receiving Swedish massage three times a week and each session lasting 10-15 minutes for a total of 10 sessions over a three-and-a-half-week period of time. The areas massaged were the face, neck, shoulders, and upper chest. The client’s blood pressure was taken before and after each massage session.

The individuals in the control group reclined in bed and also had their blood pressures measured in the same manner as the massage group. All participants also had their blood pressures taken 72 hours after the study period ended.

Results showed a significant lowering of blood pressure for the massage therapy group and little or no change in the control group. While this is a six-year-old study and some of the references listed in it are over 20 years old, all indicate that massage may have a positive impact on reducing blood pressure.

Heart Disease

What’s the best thing to do for congestive heart failure?
You may need to take two or more medications to treat heart failure. Your doctor may prescribe other heart medications as well — such as nitrates for chest pain, a statin to lower cholesterol, or blood-thinning medications to help prevent blood clots — along with heart failure medications.
Do compression socks help congestive heart failure?
Compression stockings are used in the treatment of congestive heart failure; however, these stockings are not the same compression strength as the stockings used in the treatment of lymphedema. Exercise, as tolerated by the patient, is recommended to improve heart function, venous circulation, and lymphatic drainage.
Which exercise is best for blood circulation?
Jogging. Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, supports the health of the circulatory system and improves circulation.
How can I improve circulation in my legs and feet?
Six Tips for Improving Blood Circulation in Legs
  1. Walking. Walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that can help you create a more active and healthy lifestyle and may promote weight loss. …
  2. Stretching. …
  3. Position Your Body. …
  4. Wear Compression Stockings.
  5. Stop Smoking. …
  6. Manage Your Stress Levels.
Who should not use compression socks?
Before self-prescribing compression socks, Dr. Ichinose says they are not recommended for some patients. “If you have a peripheral vascular disease affecting your lower extremities, you should not wear compression socks,” he says. “The pressure provided by compression socks may make the ischemic disease worse.
How can I improve the circulation in my feet?
In addition, trying one or more of the following may help improve circulation:
  1. Maintaining a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight helps promote good circulation. …
  2. Jogging. …
  3. Practicing yoga. …
  4. Eating oily fish. …
  5. Drinking tea. …
  6. Keeping iron levels balanced.
Which exercise is best for chest pain?
Hold BALL 08 between the BLOCK on the wall and your chest. Work all of your chest muscles by moving up and down, and side to side. Raise and lower your arms to mobilize the tissue under the ball. Tip: you can also do this exercise for chest pain while sitting down, using a BLACKROLL® BLOCK.
What 3 foods cardiologists say to avoid?
Here are eight of the items on their lists:
  • Bacon, sausage, and other processed meats. Hayes, who has a family history of coronary disease, is a vegetarian. …
  • Potato chips and other processed, packaged snacks. …
  • Dessert. …
  • Too much protein. …
  • Fast food. …
  • Energy drinks. …
  • Added salt. …
  • Coconut oil.
What is the best drink to drink for high blood pressure?
Drinking beet juice can reduce blood pressure in the short and long term. In 2015, researchers reported that drinking red beet juice led to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension who drank 250 milliliters, about 1 cup, of the juice every day for 4 weeks.
Can drinking lots of water lower blood pressure?
The answer is water, which is why when it comes to blood pressure health, no other beverage beats it. If you’re looking to up the benefits, studies have shown that adding minerals such as magnesium and calcium to water can further aid in lowering blood pressure.

How does massage help heart disease?

Recent studies also who that consistent massage therapy can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. High blood pressure and rate are major factors in heart attack risk. Patients who combine traditional medical treatments with massage techniques experience an increase in energy, physical relaxation, and
mental focus.

Massage & Heart Rate Variability

Another study measured heart rate variability (HRV) of those receiving massage with or without aromatic oil or sham massage. In this study, the authors cited a number of references that “have shown that massage can reduce stress, improve immunological and inflammatory parameters and has a positive influence on blood pressure and HRV”6.

This study found that massage without the aromatic oil caused the most relevant effect in the long term of the autonomic nervous system.

Massage & Sleep

More recent studies have looked at the effect of massage therapy on sleep disturbances. In June of 2013, a case report on narcolepsy was published that indicated an overall improvement in the client’s ability to get to sleep and the quality of sleep7.

As this was a study with only one subject, further studies would be beneficial. Some studies cited in the references are over 10 years old and indicate a positive impact on sleep disturbances for those who received massage.

Massage & PTSD

For individuals with PTSD and sleep issues, a series of case reports published in 2019 found that massage did not significantly improve the quality of sleep for the three individuals in the study. This differed from results in other studies8.

Anecdotally, many massage therapists will report that they often have clients who fall asleep during the massage, so it’s not hard to imagine that it may benefit those with sleep disturbances, but perhaps not all. Is this an area of study that might be of interest to you?

Massage & Treatment Recovery

For people with heart disease who have undergone one or more treatment interventions, massage may be beneficial in their recovery.

One of the newest studies is currently taking place thanks to a grant from the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF). James Hunter Groninger, director of the Section of Palliative Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, is conducting a pilot study using massage to improve self-efficacy for those patients who have a left ventricular device implanted9.

Previous research has studied the effect of massage for post-op cardiac patients, mostly evaluating its impact on anxiety, stress, and pain. In 2016, the journal Clinical Trials and Regulatory Science in Cardiology published a meta-analysis review of studies evaluating the effect of massage therapy on post-cardiac surgery patients related to anxiety and pain10.

The researchers discovered the following results: “[Ten] randomized clinical trials were included in the systematic review, providing data on 888 individuals. Massage therapy was associated with decreased pain (−1.52 [95% CI,−2.2,−0.84; I2 91%], p < 0.0001) and with lower anxiety in the postoperative period when compared to the control group (−1.48 [95% CI, −1.93, −1.04; I2 0%], p < 0.0001)”. They reached the conclusion that massage may be beneficial to reduce pain and anxiety for this population.

Earlier studies show varied results, including a 2015 systematic review of research studies that were published between 2000 and 201511. The researchers concluded, based on their review of seven studies, that “[T]here is a need for higher methodological qualities of research studies to create a strong evidence base for massage therapy. Additional research studies that validate massage therapy as effective in improving postoperative outcomes and recovery in cardiac surgery ….”

Massage in the Hospital

Further, a randomized clinical study published in 2012 measured pain levels, relaxation, muscular tension, and satisfaction in a total of 152 patients who had elective cardiac surgery, either coronary artery bypass (CABG) or valve surgery12. The researchers also evaluated the feasibility of providing massage in the hospital setting for these post-operative patients.

The intervention group received a 20-minute massage on post-op days three or four, and five or six. Patients determined the areas of the body be massaged. The control group received an equivalent rest period devoid of visitors or any interventions of health care providers.

The researchers concluded that “[T]he results from the present randomized study have shown that massage therapy can be safely and effectively delivered on a busy cardiothoracic surgical ward, with no increase in adverse events, significant reductions in pain, anxiety, and muscular tension, and enhancement of patients’ sense of relaxation.”

Massage & Stress Relief

One can imagine that being diagnosed with heart disease can be stressful. Undergoing a heart procedure to treat the heart disease can add to that stress. There are numerous research studies that have evaluated the benefit of massage for stress reduction.

A search of “massage and stress research” returns studies done throughout the past 30-plus years, many of them measuring cortisol levels, physiological indicators of stress, or perceived stress with positive results.

I was fortunate enough to be able to complete one of those for my master’s thesis thanks to a grant from the Massage Therapy Foundation13 and the studies done before mine. So many more have been completed since that time and have strengthened the link between massage and stress reduction.

 Is body massage good for heart patients?
For most people, a massage is a safe and effective way to relax, but if you have certain heart or circulatory conditions, it may damage your health. You should always check with your specialist doctor or nurse beforehand that the type of massage you want is safe for you. Massage can play an important role in heart health, especially for individuals managing cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, and high stress, according to studies conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association.
Can massage do more harm than good?
But when it’s not done right, a massage can actually do more harm than good. Medical Reporter Lori Lyle explains. Done right, a massage can help everything from stress and migraines to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s and Sickle Cell Anemia.
Is massage good for congestive heart failure?
Based on the findings of the present study, massage therapy was effective in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and O2 saturation in patients with CHF. Therefore we suggest that massage therapy be used as a complementary method to stabilize their vital signs.
How does massage affect the cardiovascular system?
Massage can impact the circulatory system by increasing blood flow. increasing oxygen. increasing nutrients.
Why is massage often contraindicated for those with cardiovascular conditions?
Massage is contraindicated because it may dislodge the clot which could send it through the circulation where it could lodge in the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism-a life-threatening condition.
Does massage help clogged arteries?
It is known to cause pain in various parts of the body and comes about as a result of narrowed arteries which reduce the flow of blood to the limbs. Massage provides an opportunity to help ease the pain and discomfort of PAD.
Is massage good for chest pain?
Solution: Massage therapy can greatly reduce pain in cases of intercostal neuralgia that are mechanical in origin. It can also increase circulation function, and decrease muscle spasticity. Massage can also increase thoracic rib mobility which helps to reduce neural irritation.
When should you not get a massage?
Here are the conditions that fall into this category;
  • Fever. Anytime you have a fever, whether, from a cold, the flu, or some other infection, you should not get a massage. …
  • Contagious Diseases. …
  • Blood Clots. …
  • Pregnancy. …
  • Kidney Conditions or Liver Conditions. …
  • Cancer. …
  • Inflammation. …
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension.
Can you have a massage if you have high blood pressure?
But some things are deal-breakers. Patients with high blood pressure who are not on medication should rethink this hands-on therapy method. “Because getting a massage will increase your blood flow,” Young explained, “that increase in a patient with already high blood pressure could cause problems.”
Does massage increase heart rate?
Yes. The body responds by tensing muscles, shortening the breath, and increasing the heart rate.
How long is too long for a massage?
If relaxation is your goal, then a 60-minute or 90-minute massage is generally appropriate. 
Is it good to massage every day?
Massage is a way to relieve neck pain in the short term, and getting frequent massages may be most beneficial. One study found that getting a 60-minute massage two or three times a week showed more benefit for those with neck pain than getting a 60-minute massage once a week or a few 30-minute massages weekly.
Can massages be harmful?
Massage therapy is quite safe, but nothing’s perfect. Strong, deep tissue massage causes the most trouble, of course. It may aggravate problems, instead of helping. Some chronic pain patients may be disastrously traumatized by intense massage (what I call a “sensory injury”).
Is it safe to massage the spine?
Massage is generally accepted as a safe and widely used modality for various conditions, such as pain, lymphedema, and facial palsy. However, several complications, some with devastating results, have been reported.
Is it OK to massage a blood clot?
If you are currently being treated for DVT, do not massage your legs. Massage could cause the clot to break loose. If you are scheduled for surgery, ask your surgeon what you can do to help prevent blood clots after surgery.
Is it good to massage varicose veins?
“Massage may help reduce swelling or discomfort, but will not make varicose veins go away,” says Dr. Boyle. However, there are proven ways to treat them, especially when they’re causing symptoms, such as Swollen legs, ankles, and feet.
Can massage cause a stroke?
Deep muscle massages have been known to loosen arterial plaque. In other cases, massages have torn the wall of the carotid arteries, called dissection of an artery, leading to blood clots that, if dislodged, could travel to the brain, causing a blockage and stroke. The carotid arteries are a pair of blood vessels located on both sides of your neck that deliver blood to your brain and head. Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty deposits (plaques) clog the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head (carotid arteries).
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Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta


*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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