WHAT IS MASSAGE THERAPY?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being. Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities.
Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY?
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression, temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety. Theories behind what massage might do include activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep.
HOW POPULAR IS MASSAGE THERAPY?
In 1997 there were an estimated 114 million visits to massage therapists in the US. Massage therapy is the most used type of complementary and alternative medicine in hospitals in the United States.
People state that they use massage because they believe that it relieves pain from musculoskeletal injuries and other causes of pain, reduces stress and enhances relaxation, rehabilitates sports injuries, decreases feelings of anxiety and depression, and increases general well being.
WHY SHOULD I GET MASSAGES?
Getting a massage can do you a world of good, and getting massages frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. Remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH MASSAGE THERAPY?
Massage therapy can be beneficial as part of a treatment plan for a number conditions. Massage can:
*Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
*Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
*Ease medication dependence.
*Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
*Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
*Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
*Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
*Increase joint flexibility.
*Lessen depression and anxiety.
*Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
*Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
*Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
*Reduce spasms and cramping.
*Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
*Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
*Relieve migraine pain.