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Combining Martial Arts & Massage

The physiological and psychological healing aspects of massage therapy can be profound, and there needn’t be anything mystical about it.

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Historically speaking, massage is one of the earliest forms of physical therapy. It’s been used by a variety of different cultures for well over 3000 years.

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Nowadays, for athletes, the demand for massage is steadily increasing, and it is becoming more and more recognized as aiding recovery and enhancing performance.

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Massage is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the muscular & skeletal system. Received regularly this can help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse. A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.

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In the Western world, Swedish massage has been more popular. It entails a stroking and kneading of the muscles, and oil is applied to minimize friction. By enhancing circulation to stressed muscles Swedish massage speeds the process of restoring the body to its peak performance.

Research on the effects of massage therapy has been ongoing for more than 120 years. A surge in research over the past 20 years has resulted in more than 2,500 published studies.

At the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, 70 studies on touch — the majority on massage therapy — have been published or are under way. Recent and ongoing research at some of the nation’s hospitals, such as Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is expanding knowledge of the benefits of massage for a variety of injuries and ailments.

Among research findings:

  • Massage increases activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”, boosting the immune system.
  • Office workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less stressed than those who weren’t massaged.
  • Massage therapy decreased the effects of anxiety, tension, depression, pain, and itching in burn patients.
  • Abdominal surgery patients recovered more quickly after massage.

“Massage therapy is beneficial for almost all diseases. Eighty percent of disease is stress-related, and massage reduces stress.” — Sandra McLanahan, Medical Director of John Hopkins Medical Center.

Testimonial

Coming from a long traditional martial arts background I was nervous going to my first MMA class. I was expecting to be surrounded by sweaty guys looking to make it to the UFC by using me as a kicking bag to get there. I was afraid that people training MMA would be animals who were there just because they wanted to hurt people. But what I found at UMA was much different and superbly better than anything I could have imagined. I found a group of down-to-earth people that were looking to have fun, learn a new skill and stay healthy. As time went by I found myself leaving each class more and more excited to come to the next. I became friends with my peers and had a great time getting in shape and learning self-defense techniques that actually would work! Not some silly knife hand techniques that only work if you can stop time and position your opponent’s body in the perfect manner, but techniques that would work if you really were in a dangerous situation. I loved this about UMA. I also love that while I was being taught these effective self-defense techniques I was also being taught how to apply them in the sport scene (both stand up and Jiu-Jitsu/ ground game). I highly recommend Unbridled Martial Arts for those people who are looking to try MMA for the first time, particularly the people who have been disappointed by the traditional martial arts scene and are ready to experience something vastly better.

~ Boris Ilic, WWU graduate and current Grad student at Montana State University

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