What You Need to Know About Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is an alternative treatment used to relieve pain. Simple
enough, right? It makes sense that massage could relax and relieve
muscular aches and pains. Did you know though that there are more than
80 types of massage therapy?
all 80 types, massage therapists manipulate the muscles and soft
tissues. It's the technique that varies. If you are interested in
exploring massage therapy as a possible treatment, discuss your plans
with your doctor.
Massage therapists mostly use their hands and fingers, but some use
their forearms, elbows, or even their feet to manipulate the patient's
muscles and soft tissues. The amount of pressure used and direction of
movement is variable.
The goal of massage therapy is to relax muscles and soft tissues,
increase blood and oxygen being delivered to the massaged area, warm the
affected area, and relieve pain.
Some of the well-known and popular types of massage include:
- Swedish massage - Therapist focuses on using long strokes,
kneading, and friction on the muscles. Joints are moved to promote
- Deep tissue massage - Therapist uses deep finger pressure focusing on muscles that are tight or knotted.
- Trigger point massage - Therapist focuses pressure on myofascial
trigger points and uses other strokes as well. Trigger points represent
a source of radiating pain.
- Shiatsu massage - Therapist applies rhythmic pressure with their fingers to body parts linked to vital energy, called chi.
A massage therapy session usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes, with some
being more or less. Chronic pain patients are usually advised to
complete a series of sessions.
Depending on the location of the muscles being massaged, you may sit in a
chair for a chair massage or you may be asked to lie on a padded table.
Typically, oil or powder are used to allow the therapists' hands to
glide over your skin.
Certain precautions must be taken before getting massage therapy. Though
there are few serious risks, there are certain individuals who should
not get massage therapy. Unsuitable candidates for massage therapy
include patients with:
- deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
- bleeding disorder or taking a blood-thinner
- damaged blood vessels
- recent fracture
- Open wounds, tumors, damaged nerves, or infection and inflammation in the area to be massaged could also be problematic.
If you are pregnant, have cancer, have fragile skin, heart problems,
dermatomyositis or a history of physical abuse, discuss massage therapy
with your doctor before signing up.