Massage means the treatment and practice of manipulating or handling and shaping the soft body tissues of the body for physical, medical and in some cases, emotional purposes. During a massage, a therapist uses pressure and/or vibration to target certain parts of the body. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, forearm, fists and feet. It can be performed by such health professionals as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and massage therapists. Massage therapy can be beneficial not only in reducing physical pain, but also for improving mood and fighting stress. The following things generally happen when one has a massage:
– The person who is to receive the massage first answers a few questions about the reason for the massage, and about the person’s physical condition. That’s because although massage is usually safe, there can be a risk of injury with some conditions;
– Then, the clothing is removed and replaced with a robe or towel. However, with a chair massage, the clothing is usually not removed;
– One then lies down comfortably, often with background music playing;
– Oils and/or lotions are put on the body; and
– One experiences relaxation. There should be no significant pain from a message. If pain is being felt, one should let the massage therapist know.
Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:
- Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.
- Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
- Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
- Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
The typical massage lasts about an hour, but some may last up to 90 minutes. The person receiving the massage usually has to pay for it, and the price varies widely depending on a variety of massage types.
Benefits of massage therapy include:
- Promoting relaxation and relieving stress
- Decreasing muscle tension and spasm
- Contributing to physical and emotional healing and well-being
- Increasing blood and lymph circulation
- Increasing flexibility and joint function
- Easing headaches, insomnia, back and neck pain
- Improving arthritis
- Receiving human touch.
- Digestive disorders.
- Insomnia related to stress.
- Myofascial pain syndrome.
- Soft tissue strains or injuries.
- Sports injuries.
Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
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