What is Massage Therapy?
Massage is a manual therapy that manipulates the soft tissues and decreases muscle tension, pain, stress and depression.
Therapeutic massage involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress; and, to promote health and wellness. AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) defines Massage as, “a manual soft tissue manipulation that includes holding, causing movement, and/or applying pressure to the body.”
There are many different types of therapeutic massage, including these common types:
- Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, 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.
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
Massage makes you feel and perform better. Massage has the following benefits:
- Increases circulation;
- enhances the immune system;
- promotes nervous system functioning;
- reduces blood pressure;
- relieves pain and muscle tension;
- improves mood, intellectual reasoning and job performance;
- positive effect on conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes and migraine headaches.
Depending on the techniques used, massage can:
- Stimulate the nervous system to help reduce muscle atrophy;
- increase muscle tone;
- stimulate the functions of the skin or an organ deep inside the body;
- sedate the nervous system to help ease muscle tension, spasticity, stress-related symptoms and headaches;
- boost the functioning of the immune system and maintains health when done regularly;
- stimulate sluggish circulation or slow down the circulation of someone who has just run a marathon when using friction massage techniques;
- allow better range of motion and support the connective tissue and muscles in becoming strong and healthy when doing simple joint movements and joint stretching.
Definition of Massage and Massage Therapy. (n.d.). Massage Therapy. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.holistic-online.com/massage/mas_def.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, January 30). Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743
Therapeutic benefits of massage: Netwellness. (2013, June 27). Retrieved from http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2013/06/therapeutic_benefits_of_massag.html