New Research: Massage Therapy Lowers Blood Pressure in Pre-Hypertensive Women

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Approximately one in every three Americans, or 31.3 percent, has high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and high blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, congestive heart failure, heart disease and kidney disease.

In new research, massage therapy resulted in significantly lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure in comparison with a control group, according to an abstract published on

The investigators set out to evaluate the effect of Swedish massage to the face, neck, shoulders and chest on blood pressure of the women with prehypertension, according to the abstract.

This was a single-blind clinical trial study, the abstract noted, and added:

“Fifty pre-hypertensive women selected by simple random sampling [were] divided into control and test groups. The test group (25 patients) received Swedish massage 10-15 min., three times a week for 10

sessions and the control group (25 patients) also were relaxed …[and received] no massage. Their [blood pressure] was measured before and after each session.”

The investigators noted, “Findings of the study indicated that massage therapy was a safe, effective, applicable and cost-effective intervention in controlling [blood pressure] of the prehypertension women and it can be used in the health care centers and even at home.”

“The effect of massage therapy on blood pressure of women with pre-hypertension” was published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research (2011 Winter;16(1):61-70.) It was conducted by investigators with the Department of Internal Surgery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, in Isfahan, Iran.

Related articles:

Seated Massage Reduces Blood Pressure and Stress Levels in African-American Women

High Blood Pressure Reduced by Massage Therapy


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Research Shows Massage Therapy Relaxes the Autonomic Nervous System

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Any massage client will attest to the relaxing power of massage therapy. And new research indicates massage therapy combined with heat relaxes the autonomic nervous system.

One hundred thirty-nine subjects volunteered and completed this study, according to an abstract published on Heat and massage were daily applied for 40 minutes, five days a week for two weeks.

Among the results was a significant decrease in levels of both serum cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone, and plasma norepinephrine, which causes vasoconstriction and increased heart rate.

“The results of this study

suggest that heat and massage applications provide relaxation to the autonomic nervous system without serious adverse events,” the investigators noted in the abstract.

“The effects of heat and massage application on autonomic nervous system” was conducted by investigators at Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine in Korea and was published in Yonsei Medical Journal. (2011 Nov 1;52(6):982-9.)

Related articles:

Seated Massage Reduces Blood Pressure and Stress Levels in African-American Women

High Blood Pressure Reduced by Massage Therapy

New Report Shows High Stress Levels in Americans Young and Old

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Massage Therapist: Flexibility Leads to New Career

Carolyn Calvacca, owner of White Lotus Massage and Yoga, said her flexible approach to life lead her to a new career. 

Calvacca opened White Lotus Massage and Yoga in Atrium Plaza on Route 111 in Hauppauge offering a range of nine therapeutic massage treatments and daily yoga classes in October. It’s her first time opening a business during an economic recession, a prospect that others might find daunting.

“I wasn’t afraid. Life experience tells you when it’s the right time to do something like this,” she said.

Calvacca said she was first introduced to massage as a therapeutic healing treatment in the 1980s, after a serious car accident during college left her with severe back pain.

“I tried all the treatments out there to get relief, and the one that benefited me the most was massage,” she said.

Massage therapty helped her to resume an active lifestyle that was heavily involved in martial arts. Calvacca studied Tai Chi, Aikido along with Hatha yoga and strength training for years on a regular basis.

When it came time for both of her children to head off to college, Calvacca said she was inspired to pursue her interest in massage therapy.

“When my kids went back to college, mom went back to college. We were paying three tuitions for a while,” she said.

Calvacca became a non-traditional student, returning to college to earn licensed certification as a massage therapist. While there, she learned a range of different techniques including pregnancy, deep tissue, Thai and even Ashiatsu massage. 

“Many people avoid diversifying with too many certifications, getting certified is hard enough with the number of hours,” she said.

Knowing the challenge ahead of starting her own business. Calvacca said she pushed herself to learn as many different techniques as possible with a firm belief that having unique specialties would help her carve a niche in the business world. 

After college, the massage therapist got her start the same way many college students do by working underneath or in the business of someone they know. Calvacca began offering massage treatments out of her chiropractor’s office, working in a small converted closet.

“It was small,” she said with a laugh, “but I enjoyed the experience of working with medical clients.”

After a year, Calvacca said she began thinking about opening her own business to combine massage therapy with yoga classes. She started eyeing a vacant storefront on Maple Avenue in Smithtown, before finding out space was available on Route 111 in Hauppauge.

With help of her husband, who has 17 years experience owning a Dunkin Donuts franchise, Calvacca figured out the finances to open White Lotus Massage in Hauppauge.

“I guess everyone has an American Dream of opening up a business. It was probably more [my husband’s] dream that mine,” she admitted. “I have just always enjoyed making people feel healthier. It feels like an accumulation of my life lead me here.” 

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