April 17, 2024

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Massage Therapy – Learn to Ease Your Stress

Massage therapy is the treatment of stress, disease and physical or emotional disorders with manipulation of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues. Specific targets of this type of treatment may include superficial muscles, tendons, joints, outer layer of skin, ligaments, lymphatic system, and even internal organs. Some of the most popular body parts that are commonly treated include the back, shoulders, hands, and feet.

With origins in China, this type of physical procedure has become a popular treatment modality and is now taught and performed around the world. While the benefits are often far-reaching and varied, many medical studies have yet to prove its efficacy or cost-effectiveness. Some of the most common conditions that are referred for this type of treatment include chronic lower back pain, arthritis, fatigue, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and bursitis. Perhaps the most accepted use of massage therapy is the simple reduction of day-to-day stress and tension.

Branches of medicine that typically prescribe this type of procedure include physicians that specialize in orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, sports injuries, chiropractics, osteopathy, psychology, acupuncture or other holistic health subspecialties.

Equipment used in this type of treatment include: a padded table or chair, hydrotherapy shower nozzles, dry-water bed, a variety of oils, and/or warmed body rocks. There are dozens of different subtypes of massage therapy that emphasize different areas of the body, different treatment modalities, or offer different therapeutic results. Some examples from around the world include Ayurvedic, Balinese, Esalen, deep tissue, myofascial release, reflexology, Shiatsu, Swedish, Thai, traditional Chinese, and trigger point therapeutics.

Effects of massage therapy may include pain relief, anxiety reduction, blood pressure control, heart rate reduction, improved alertness, decreased stress hormone levels, immune system stimulation, depression alleviation, and even improvement of spastic muscular disorders such as cerebral palsy. However, the treatment is often considered controversial in many medical circles. Results largely remain unproven because it is virtually impossible to test this type of treatment against another modality. Any form of touch may be considered beneficial and there is no “placebo” for massage therapy. Still, individuals who invest time and money in this type of procedure are most often pleased with the results and many engage in long-term therapy over months, years or decades.

While relatively safe when performed by an experienced and skilled technician, massage therapy is not without its risk of adverse side effects. Most states and countries require practitioners to be educated, licensed and accredited by specific boards with rigorous qualification requirements. Risks include temporarily increased pain or swelling, bruising or hematoma formation, and allergic sensitivity to any of the materials used, including oils and lotions.

Patients that have deep vein thrombosis, a bleeding disorder, damaged blood vessels, advanced osteoporosis, a recent fracture, cancer, a fever, or infection are strongly discouraged from seeking out this type of procedure. Patients that are pregnant have fragile skin or heart problems, or disease of connective tissue should seek the advice of their physician.

Consult a qualified and highly-experienced massage therapist in your area today to discuss your health status and specific needs.