What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including, muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage Therapy is a clinically-oriented healthcare option that helps alleviate the discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions.
Physical and Mental Benefits
- Relaxes the whole body
- Loosens tight muscles
- Relieves tired and aching muscles
- Increases flexibility and range of motion
- Diminishes chronic pain
- Calms the nervous system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers heart rate
- Enhances skin tone
- Assists in recovery from injuries and illness
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces tension headaches
- Reduces mental stress
- Improves concentration
- Promotes restful sleep
- Aids in mental relaxation
Massage Therapy Styles
The most common type of massage is Swedish massage therapy. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing. And it may even help after an injury.
Neuromuscular Therapy Massage
Neuromuscular therapy is a form of soft tissue manipulation that aims to treat underlying causes of chronic pain involving the muscular and nervous systems. This medically-oriented form of massage addresses trigger points (tender muscles points), circulation, nerve compression, postural issues, and biomechanical problems that can be caused by repetitive movement injuries.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is best for giving attention to certain painful, stiff “trouble spots” in your body. The massage therapist uses slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin. Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as back sprain.
Developed to help with muscle systems used for a particular sport, sports massage uses a variety of approaches to help athletes in training — before, during, or after sports events. You might use it to promote flexibility and help prevent injuries. Or, it may help muscle strains, aiding healing after a sports injury.
In Japanese, shiatsu means “finger pressure.” For shiatsu massage, the therapist uses varied, rhythmic pressure on certain precise points of the body. These points are called acupressure points, and they are believed to be important for the flow of the body’s vital energy, called chi. Proponents say shiatsu massage can help relieve blockages at these acupressure points.
During pregnancy, the body goes through major changes. Prenatal massage can help with these changes by reducing stress, decreasing arm and leg swelling, and relieving muscle and joint pain. Massage may be particularly helpful during a time when medication and other medical options may be more limited. Using specially designed massage pillows, the massage therapist will help get you into a comfortable position for this type of massage.