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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.


What happens to your body during a massage?

During a massage, your body undergoes a variety of physiological changes that can help to reduce stress and tension. As the massage therapist applies pressure to the muscles, they are stretched, lengthened and relaxed. This helps to increase circulation throughout the body, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the cells. The increased blood flow also helps to reduce inflammation and pain in the area being massaged. As well as physical benefits, massage can also have psychological effects, as feeling relaxed during a massage releases endorphins which can improve mood and reduce anxiety. Additionally, it can stimulate the release of serotonin which helps with sleep quality and mental wellbeing. Massage is an effective way of helping your body relax and feel better both physically and mentally.


What are the 7 categories in massage?

Massage is a therapeutic practice that can be used for a variety of reasons, such as relaxation, to reduce stress, and to improve circulation. There are seven main categories of massage: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, trigger point therapy, reflexology, shiatsu and acupressure. Swedish massage is the most popular type of massage. It involves using long strokes and gentle pressure to relax the muscles in the body. Deep tissue massage focuses on deeper layers of muscle tissues and tendons to relieve tension and soreness. Sports massage is specifically designed for athletes to help them reduce muscular tension, improve flexibility and enhance performance. Trigger point therapy works with individual points in the body that have become ‘triggered’ or tight due to injury or overuse. Reflexology uses specific pressure points on the feet that correspond with other parts of the body, while Shiatsu and Acupressure use techniques like finger pressure to work with energy pathways in the body called meridians. All these techniques can be combined together in a session to help achieve desired therapeutic effects.


How often should you get a massage?

How often you should get a massage depends on your individual needs. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the frequency of massage treatments, and you should take into consideration factors such as lifestyle, health conditions, stress levels, and physical activity before deciding how frequent your massages should be. Generally speaking, most people benefit from a weekly or bi-weekly massage for optimal relaxation and tension relief. Additionally, if you suffer from chronic pain or have any particular medical issues, it is recommended that you receive massage therapy more frequently to help alleviate those symptoms. Furthermore, those who lead highly active lifestyles may need more frequent massages in order to prevent injuries and help with muscle recovery. Ultimately, each person’s needs are different so it’s important to talk with a professional therapist about how often is best for you.


What happens to your body during a massage?

During a massage, your body undergoes a variety of changes. Initially, your muscles begin to relax and loosen up, allowing the massage therapist to work deeper into the tissues. This helps to improve circulation and reduce tension in the body. As the massage progresses, endorphins are released which can help to reduce stress and create a feeling of relaxation. Additionally, toxins that have built up in your body are released through improved blood flow during the massage. This can help to flush them out of your body and promote overall well-being. Lastly, your range of motion typically increases as the tissue is worked on and your posture improves due to increased flexibility and less tension in your muscles. All together, it is easy to see how a massage can benefit both mind and body.