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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

I have studied martial arts for several years, under many different instructors in a number of styles. The common threads I’ve found in quality training have always been a focus on progression in a supportive and open atmosphere, not an obsession with egos, domination or ranks. Meaningless goals like belt levels tend to force students to stay fixed on a destination, while missing the journey. Competitiveness usually only alienates people from the true purpose of martial arts – to learn valuable skills and techniques that can protect self and others, while achieving new levels of physical fitness and cultivating higher mental discipline. Rob’s teaching embodies the best philosophies and concepts in a training program that can be beneficial for everyone. UMA‘s curriculum is truly rewarding for those who put their full effort into it. We train hard, sometimes go at it with as much realism as possible (without resulting in serious injury) and keep it all tempered with positive martial philosophy and the freedom to adapt the technique to work for us, instead of following some prescribed regimen in verbatim. UMA is the highest example of a martial arts school where quality training and learning override business and status and I am very lucky to be a student here.

~ Dave Hutchinson

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