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Massage conference Sept 2016 - Lunar Park

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by Penny Wade

It  was the 50th anniversary of our Association of Massage Therapists. The two highlights were talks by Dr Sasha Stanton on the neuroscience of pain and Dr Sarah Fogarty on the benefits of massage used in clients with eating disorders.

Dr Sasha Stanton

'What is in between your ears is more important than the pain'.

How is it that two clients can have scans where there is bone on bone in the knees, or disc/facet joint pathology in their spine and one has no pain and the other loads of pain?  

Her research suggests that expectancy,anxiety,stress and fear play a major role in the level of pain we feel.

We expect drugs to relieve pain. In one experiment recruits were told they were to be pricked but given no opiate - however they were given an opiate. Their perceived levels of pain went up! There was a negative expectancy. 

In chronic osteoarthritis central sensitisation is not working properly. And the volume of pain perceived is much higher than it really is. 

Doing 3X 1 hour physio sessions a week, knee pain was reduced in 85% of participants, whilst there was complete elimination of pain in 33% of people.

So what are the implications of these findings? 

  • Pain is not indicative of tissue damage
  • How your brain codes your body is important to explaining your level of pain
  • Acknowledge the scans but do not focus on them.
  • A need to increase movement, however small, so that the range of motion is increased in the joint and also support to decrease anxiety around the pain.

Dr Sarah Fogarty

Eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. These clients' self worth depends entirely on how they perceive their body image. 

Massage can:

  • decrease depression,anxiety and stress
  • decrease levels of body dissatisfaction and the drive for perfectionism
  • help digestion, decrease fight/flight mechanisms, calm the body
  • decrease high cortisol levels and catecholamine hormone - high levels cause low seratonin, increased heart rate and B.P.,stress and anxiety.M

A fabulous quote' If only your eyes saw souls and not bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be'.


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