What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissue of the body. A trained therapist manually applies movement and pressure to key points in the body where stress has lodged or pain exists.
How it works
Therapeutic massage works by kneading and stroking damaged muscles. This stimulation to the soft tissue relaxes the muscles and increases blood and lymph circulation while breaking up the scar tissue between muscle fibers.
As muscles begin to relax, swelling starts to go down and that helps joints and muscles to work together better. Especially in areas of recent injury and trauma, fluids will form in pockets that are released through massage, making movements easier and less painful. Massage works to increase mobilization and metabolism and enhances joint and muscle function – all assisting in the healing process.
Massage can be administered through a variety of techniques – either by hands or sometimes by mechanical massage equipment. A lubricating oil is sometimes used toe reduce friction to the skin while the muscle and soft tissue is being worked. The experience should leave you feeling relaxed and provide increased muscle movement.
Different types of massage
- Swedish Massage: smooth, gliding strokes and kneading of superficial layers of muscles.
- Deep-tissue Massage: a focuses on deeper layers of muscles to relieve tension and painful knots; also de-activates tender trigger points.
- Foot Massage (Reflexology): small muscle movements to manipulate nervous system and acupuncture meridians on feet.
More than ever, people seeking relief from stress and pain are turning to massage. Among the significant findings in several studies about the benefits of massage are those showing that massage therapy can lead to diminished pain in a disease such as Fibro-myalgia, increased pulmonary function in autoimmune diseases such as asthma, and enhanced immune function overall.
It is believed that these effects are the result of decreased stress hormones. Since most diseases are stress-related, massage therapy is a healthy complement to traditional and natural medical care.