What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints - using varying degrees of pressure and movement. A massage therapist often uses their hands, fingers, forearms and elbows to perform the massage. During the session, the client lies on a table, either in loose-fitting clothing or undressed (covered with a sheet, except for the area being massaged). The therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on the skin.
Massage therapy is used to treat the discomfort associated with every day occupational stresses, muscular overuse and many chronic pain conditions. Specifically, massage therapy can rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, improve digestive condition, address anxiety and depression. It also provides short-term benefits for low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, and headaches. It may also help people cope with illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Common types of massages are Swedish Massage (the therapist uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping); Sports Massage; Prenatal massage; Deep Tissue Massage; Indian Head Massage; and Clinical Massage.
Massage therapy is usually enjoyable and poses very few health risks if it is used appropriately and provided by a certified massage therapist. However, it is still necessary to consult a doctor before receiving a massage as it may be unsafe for certain medical conditions.