cover them. While hospitals are increasingly offering massage therapy, more people reported getting their last massage at a spa, according to a 2007 survey.
A recent Consumer Reports survey found respondents listed deep-tissue massage as effective as prescription medication for relief of back pain. Nearly a quarter of adult Americans have used massage to treat pain, according to the American Massage Therapy Association.
And researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that Swedish massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. That could mean a boost for the immune system, according to the American Massage Therapy Association.
Massage also is useful for alleviating depression, muscle fatigue, and the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis, according to Barbara Paulsen, a licensed massage therapist at Verde Salon in Collingswood. The salon began offering massage therapy to clients in September, in response to customer demand.
Health & Wellness
For the past 40 years, Al Scuderi has faithfully kept a health regimen he picked up to relieve
Twice a month, the Washington Township businessman visits a professional massage therapist for what he calls a "basic Swedish massage." Diagnosed with circulation problems 15 years ago, Scuderi credits massage for his ability to stay active at age 70.
"I think that did a lot of wonders for me," said Scuderi, a former Marine who also plays tennis. "It helps everything."
Massage is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicine therapies, according to a recent survey by the American Hospital Association and Samueli Institute.
More hospitals are offering massage mostly for pain relief, stress management and cancer patients. It's more popular as a therapy for chronic conditions that are harder for traditional medicine to treat.
The survey found about 70 percent of patients at hospitals that offered it paid for alternative therapies like massage out of their own pocket, since most insurance companies don't
Massage Therapist and Reiki Master, Barbara Paulsen, working with Client, Al Scuderi, of Washington Twp. For Story on the benefits of massage Therapy. / Al Schell/Courier-Post