Massage therapy helps anyone's needs by targeting key areas that cause tension, chronic pain, or stress-related conditions. It also loosens scar tissue, promotes flexibility, and enhances sleep.
Massage therapy is a technique used to manually manipulate soft body tissues (muscles, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments) to relieve suffering and to help improve a person’s health and well-being.
Although the therapy has roots in early Chinese, Japanese, and Indian forms of medicine, the most widely-known use of massage therapy began in Europe during the Renaissance period and later on in the US in the 1970s. The growing popularity of massage therapy in the US was due largely in part to its ability to help heal sports-related injuries.
Although sought after for a variety of reasons, massage therapy can dramatically relieve pain and help rehabilitate injuries, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Therapists, therefore, categorize massage therapy into two distinct modalities: relaxation and rehabilitative.
Swedish Massage:as the most common type of massage, this modality involves soft, long, and kneading strokes, as well as rhythmic taps on the topmost layer of the muscles. Swedish massages help to relieve muscle tension caused by injuries, in addition to relaxing and re-energizing the body.
Trigger Point:trigger points are tight areas within muscle tissues that cause pain. Trigger point massage therapy alleviates the pain by isolating pressure on the affected area. This massage requires participation from the recipient to identify areas of discomfort as the therapist works along trigger areas.
Deep Tissue:similar to the Swedish massage, deep tissue massage works to relieve chronic muscle tension. When massaging the body, therapists focus on the deepest layers of muscle tissues, tendons, and fascia.
Shiatsu:known for its amazing ability to relieve both tension and pain, the Shiatsu massage is a technique that uses the thumbs, fingers, elbows, and knees to reopen energy pathways.
Watsu:this form of therapy is performed in warm water, combining a variety of massages, joint mobilisations, shiatsu, and muscle stretching. The recipients of this massage are continuously supported by the therapist, providing a deep, relaxing, and nurturing support to heal the body.
Studies continue to support the rehabilitative effects massage therapy has on the body, as well as on a person’s mental and emotional state. Some of the biggest benefits of massage therapy are its ability to:
Manage anxiety and stress: By working to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, massage therapy can help your body quickly produce endorphins, “the body’s feel good chemical,” lowering your level of stress and anxiety.
Ease Depression: In addition to managing your stress and anxiety, massage therapy can help combat the symptoms of depression by encouraging your body to produce more endorphins, and raise your serotonin and dopamine levels.
Improve Circulation: The techniques and pressure applied during a massage therapy session can help regulate and push blood through areas where circulation is poor.
Lower Blood Pressure: Continued therapeutic treatments can decrease diastolic and systolic blood pressure, leading to a much healthier blood pressure.
Reduce Backaches: Techniques such as trigger point massage can alleviate pain in a centralized location, helping to reduce ailments such as backaches. Massage therapy can also improve your posture, relieving pain you might experience in your upper and lower back.
Relieve Headaches: Massage therapy can minimize headaches caused by stress, as well as discomfort that forms due to tension in neck and shoulders by relieving pressure and encouraging the production of endorphins.
Reduce Arthritis Pain: Therapy techniques such as joint mobility, relaxing tense muscles, and stimulating blood flow can improve arthritis pain.
Ease Sore Muscles: By massaging and releasing tension caught in muscles, massage therapy can increase flexibility and relieve sore muscles.
Reduce Spasms and Cramps: The main cause of cramps and spasms is due to joint tightness and limited motion. Massage therapy helps improve flexibility by solving the problem from its core.
Create a Meditative State: Massage therapy can reduce the amount of cortisol levels found in the body to produce a deeper and more relaxed mental state.
Increase Range of Motion: Similar to reducing spasms and cramps, massage therapy can extend a person’s range of motion through continued stretches and flexing of the muscles.
During your massage therapy session, you and your therapist will discuss your overall health and wellness goal. You will lie on a massage table beneath a sheet or towel in a quiet and calm atmosphere. Depending on your needs and problem areas, the therapist will massage your full body or focus just on problem areas
After your session, you may experience a variety of side-effects, but be sure to drink plenty of water to help replenish your muscles.
Choosing the massage therapist that is right for you doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little research, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier life. Choose the therapist who can help you achieve the goals you are wanting from the session, and learn the various modalities that they offer. A swedish massage uses different techniques as compared to a Watsu massage. Know the difference and make the choice dependent upon your preference and desired outcome.
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