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I know that people with hypertension (high blood pressre) can benefit from massage, but I not exactly sure. I know someone who has HBP and wouold like to help them. What can I do as a Massage Therapist to help them, and waht information can I tell them. I know the basic of diet and exercise, but what exactly does massage do to help them?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Quincy you might try doing a search for effects of massage on the cardiovascular system. There have been lots of studies done and the results are inspiring, to say the least. Also, too many to post here. Very common issue for a lot of folks and massage is extremely beneficial
Thank you william,

maybe I should have been a little more clearer...I was looking for some of the ways that fellow MT's help clients with HBP. Maybe a technique they use or advice they give.
massage that focuses on relaxation and circulation. As far as advice, I think we can encourage someone to be very proactive in dealing with hypertension but we need to stay within our area of expertise

Quincy Brown said:
Thank you william,

maybe I should have been a little more clearer...I was looking for some of the ways that fellow MT's help clients with HBP. Maybe a technique they use or advice they give.
Encourage water drinking - like a gallon a day, and quality multivitamins - both of which are within our scope of practice as everyone benefits from both of these things. I like usana essentials multi vitamins. (I'll be happy to tell you about them if you ask) Eating garlic and cayenne pepper also can help with cardiovascular issues. Remember that when you say these things to be certain that you don't act like you are prescribing as that goes beyond our scope of practice, you can just tell them you asked a nutritionist or herbalist(both of which I am) As for massage, you want to be careful doing massage until they have their numbers under control - more light relaxing energy kinds of things - deep tissue can be dangerous in certain circumstances. help them with breathing and relaxation. Encourage stress relief - meditation, exercise (not too strenuous), Guided imagery, progressive relaxation...etc.
Here's a few studies and VERY BRIEF summaries. I would encourage you to read the entire article for the best perspective.

Massage decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in adults with hypertension.

Hernandez-Reif M et al: High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy, J Bodywork Mov Ther 4:31-38, 2000.

Massage reduced systolic blood pressure, pain, and psychologic distress associated with the preparation time in a catheterization lab.

McNamara ME et al: The effects of back massage before diagnostic cardiac catheterization, Altern Ther Health Med 9:50-57, 2003.

Myofascial trigger point therapy produced significant decreases in heart rate and blood pressure.

Delaney JP, Leong KS, Watkins A, Brodie D. The short-term effect of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects. J Adv Nurs 37:364-371, 2002.
About treatment protcol...

When working with some who has hypertension, be sure to ascertain if and how the condition is controlled. Clients whose hypertension is not under control by diet, regular exercise, or medications should not receive massage due to the likelihood of unmonitored severe complications. Medical clearance is needed.

Examples of complications from untreated HBP include damage to arterial walls (leading to or accelerating atherosclerosis), vascular walls dilating or tearing (forming aneurysms), and damage organs (from sustained ischemia). Targeted organs are often the kidneys, retinas, and brain. The heart may enlarge (cardiomegaly) to maintain normal circulation; congestive heart failure is a frequent consequence.

If the condition is under control, massage can proceed. If your client is taking antihypertensive meds, he or she may experience dizziness as a common side effect. Just be sure to instruct him or her to move slowly and carefully and be ready to assist.

Hope this helps.
Quincy I agree with Emma's suggestions completely with one additional herb that helps hypertension and thats Hawthorn Berry.
Hi Quincy.

How MT reduces blood pressure is not well understood yet, but that it has this effect is reasonably well supported by several studies. In addition to the ones Susan listed, I humbly add one of my own, in which we summarized the results of massage therapy on several different outcomes, including blood pressure. Some of the studies mentioned by Susan are included in our summary (but not the most recent ones, as our study was published in 2004).

A note on the advice to drink water - depending on how much water one drinks already, it might be a good idea to encourage drinking more, but there is probably little to be gained from drinking much more, and people should not drink amounts that exceed their thirst or that make them uncomfortable. (Even the "8x8" guideline - that one should drink eight 8oz glasses of water per day - is only a half gallon, and this guideline has been challenged in recent times by medical experts.)
Don, that's one I had forgotten - Thanks

Don Johnson said:
Quincy I agree with Emma's suggestions completely with one additional herb that helps hypertension and thats Hawthorn Berry.

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