Massage Therapy is no longer just for those who seek an relaxation and escape to luxury spas and upscale health clubs. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports. If you’ve never tried massage, learn about all of its possible health benefits and what to expect during a massage therapy session.
- Corrective Medical Massage. This is a a combination of several modalities combined together is a session to better address any particular ailments. Pressure can vary from light to deep pressures working into the deepest part of the muscles to release knots, scar tissue or adhesions.
- 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.
Benefits of Massage
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Circulation of blood
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Movement of lymphatic fluids
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Reduction of stress
- Release of tension
- Release of toxins
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
Risks of Massage
- Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication
- Burns or healing wounds
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Severe osteoporosis
- Severe thrombocytopenia
Discuss the pros and cons of massage with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or you have cancer or unexplained pain.
Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn’t ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage.