Archive for August, 2011

Massage Therapy Shown To Be the Best Choice of Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Massage therapists often gush about the therapeutic properties of massage therapy, saying it can lower levels of anxiety and stress, improve wellness, and even reduce pain. And for the most part, they’re right.

Indeed, many academic studies have demonstrated the therapeutic properties of massage, but these studies are usually small in their number of participants, and often massage is indicated as a complementary treatment, for example, as a non-invasive pain reliever for cancer patients. A study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine is therefore a breakthrough for massage therapists as it concludes that massage isn’t just a good complementary therapy, rather, it is the best choice for treating lower back pain.

The study, titled A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain, is so newsworthy because it concludes that general massage therapy is more effective than standard medical treatment when dealing with back pain. This means that a weekly massage can do more to ease chronic back pain than painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs (think Advil) and physical therapy.

According to The USA Today (1), the study monitored 410 women with chronic lower back pain. The women were randomly assigned to three groups, with one group receiving standard medical care as outlined above, one receiving an hour-long, weekly structural massage therapy session, and the final group receiving a standard, hour-long Swedish massage.

The results showed that women who received either form of massage were two times as likely to have spent less time in bed due to pain, used less pain medication, and generally were more active than the women who did not receive massage therapy. Stunningly, more than one-third of the women who received massage reported their back pain as much improved or completely gone, while only four percent of women who received standard medical care could say the same thing.

What does this mean for massage therapy and its practitioners? First and foremost, it is thorough proof that massage can do what therapists have been saying it can do all along: Provide effective pain management and improve people’s quality of life. Second, this claim can be made by all massage therapists – from the highest trained to the recently graduated – as almost all therapists are well versed in Swedish massage. Finally, this should motivate therapists to continue to promote massage as an effective, non-invasive therapy to people in areas where lower back pain is common, providing therapists with another reason to market, for example, chair massage therapy to office employees.

Secret Asian Sore Feet Remedies That Really Work!

Sore, aching feet plagues nearly everyone at one time or another. In this article I will introduce you to three “secret” Asian sore feet remedies that are highly effective in treating discomforting sore feet, and I will map out a strategy using these three remedies that is assured to leave you free of foot pain once and for all!


Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. This technique involves the use of small, slender needles that are gently inserted into specific areas along the body’s meridians, or energy channels, in order to correct energetic imbalances.

Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving certain types of foot pain. Many acupuncture practitioners utilize acupuncture techniques to treat pain associated with the ankles, heels, and balls of the feet.

Bear in mind, however, that while successful in many cases, whether acupuncture is ultimately effective in treating foot pain depends on the nature of the pain. Acupuncture therapy can also be pricey, sometimes requires multiple treatment sessions, and in many cases is not covered by insurance. For these reasons, I suggest using acupuncture as a last resort while exploring one of the following Asian foot pain relief techniques describes below.


Reflexology is the practice of stimulating specific “pressure points” of the feet which, according to the practice of Oriental medicine, are thought to correspond to the various organs of the body.

According to reflexology, when certain areas of the body are out of balance, this causes flare up, or pain, in the bottom of the feet. Additionally, because the bottoms of the feet are the collection area for the pressure points of the body’s organs, the bottoms of the feet are, themselves, highly sensitive, so even if you aren’t convinced about the validity of reflexology, anyone who has experienced a reflexology massage can attest to the fact that afterwards, your feet, if not your entire body, will feel renewed and refreshed and released of pain!

Particularly for those who are active on their feet and experience chronic foot pain, an occasional professional reflexology massage, if available nearby, is highly recommended!

The only real drawback to a reflexology massage is the ongoing cost. At a cost of about $25 per massage or more, most sore feet sufferers likely cannot afford to get a reflexology massage more than once a month or so.

Japanese Foot Massage Tools

The Japanese, who enjoy the world’s highest life expectancy, are not coincidentally highly aware of and attentive to the importance of daily foot care.

Although acupuncture and reflexology originated in China, the Japanese were early adopters of these practices, and probably more than any other culture, diligently apply these principles specifically to foot care.

One likely reason for the Japanese attention to foot care is entirely practical: the Japanese are notorious walkers! Required to walk during the medieval period due to a prohibition on horseback travel, today, the Japanese continue to walk much more than most cultures due to the impractical nature of cars in Japan’s large cities, where most of its population is concentrated.

As a result, the Japanese have invented a plethora of creative foot massage tools to combat sore foot pain. While Japan is well known for its highly advanced technical innovation, I believe that the most effective Japanese foot massage tool is also the country’s oldest and most primitive.

Japanese Bamboo Foot Massager

The Japanese bamboo foot massager is just that, a piece of bamboo, naturally shaped to stimulate the arches of the feet, that is simply placed on the floor and stepped on for a soothing, gentle yet effective massage that provides instant foot pain relief.

This bamboo foot massager is said to have been invented when a wandering samurai chopped a piece of bamboo in half with his sword and stepped on the arched surface to soothe his aching feet.

From this lone samurai, the popularity of this foot massage tool exploded. Although little known outside of Japan, today in Japan you can find one of these in just about every Japanese household.

This Japanese foot massager is my favorite Asian remedy for sore feet because it is inexpensive, lightweight, easily portable, highly durable, easy to use, and most importantly, because it provides a great foot massage that provides daily relief from sore, aching feet just by using for a couple minutes per day.

Putting it All Together

Therefore, in utilizing my “secret” Asian sore feet remedies, I would suggest the strategy that I myself employ to keep your feet pain free: use a Japanese foot massage tool for daily maintenance; get a professional reflexology massage every month or two or as needed for a more intense and concentrated foot therapy session; and finally, consider acupuncture treatment as a last resort if you continue to experience chronic foot pain.

Follow the above strategy and I’m confident that you’ll soon be free at last of unpleasant sore foot pain!