Massage therapy is widely used to help manage a health condition or enhance wellness. In such types of therapy, there is manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. It is believed that massage has been practiced in most cultures, both Eastern and Western, throughout human history. It was one of the earliest tools that people used to try to relieve different types of pain. Although the scientific evidence on massage therapy is limited. However, it is generally considered to be an excellent way to soothe your body and calm your nerves.
History Of Massage Therapy
The history of Massage Therapy dates back to thousands of years. Some references to massage therapy appear in writings from ancient China, Japan, India, Arabic nations, Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. It is said to have been widely used in Europe during the Renaissance.
It was in the 1850s when two American physicians introduced massage therapy in the United States, where it became popular and was promoted for various health purposes. Due to the scientific and technological advances in medical treatment during the 1930s and 1940s, this therapy became popular. Later in the 1970s, massage was revived especially among athletes.
Types Of Massage Therapy
There are different types of massage that focus on different parts of the body and are meant for different purposes.
Let’s Check Out The Different Types Of Massages:-
It is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who are new to massage, and have a lot of tension. It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage. In this type of massage, the massage therapist will use a combination of kneading, deep circular motions, vibration and tapping, etc. Usually a Swedish massage session will last for 60–90 minutes. You may choose a Swedish massage for relaxation or managing minor pain.
Hot Stone Massage
This type of massage is best for people who have muscle pain or simply want to relax. This therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage. The only difference is that the massage therapist uses heated stones instead of using their own hands. It helps relax muscle tension, improves blood flow, and minimizes pain.
During this massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone while massaging the different parts of your body and sometimes cold stones are also used. Usually the procedure of the massage takes about 90 minutes long.
This type of massage is best for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. It can help to boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, minimize the symptoms of depression and relieve muscle tension and pain. In Aromatherapy massage, the therapist may combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. The therapist will usually decide which type of essential oils to use, and all these essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin. You will be given a full-body massage while inhaling essential oils through a diffuser. It will be absorbed through your skin. An aromatherapy massage takes about 60-90 minutes.
Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It is most effective if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. Your therapist will use slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension. The process of massage will last for 60-90 minutes.
Reflexology works best for people looking to restore their natural energy levels. To perform Reflexology, a therapist uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points. A reflexology massage usually lasts for 30–60 minutes. It mainly focuses on pressure points in your feet, hands, and ears.
This massage is best for people who want to feel relaxed and relieve stress, pain, and tension. It’s a Japanese type of massage that helps promote emotional relaxation. It works for the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas that need extra attention. Your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body. The duration for this massage is 60 to 90 minutes.
Thai massage is one of the best for people who want a more active form of massage. It helps to reduce and relieve pain and stress. It works the entire body using a sequence of movements similar to yogic stretching. Your massage therapist may use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to your body, and you would be stretched and twisted into various positions. This massage is performed for 60 to 90 minutes.
Effectiveness Of Massage Therapy On Body
Although scientific research on massage therapy is limited, there is evidence to prove that massage may benefit some patients. There are certain studies which show that a single session of massage therapy can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. On the other hand, multiple sessions have shown to reduce depression and pain.
Health Benefits Of Massage Therapy
There are numerous crucial benefits of massage therapy on health. Some of the major benefits are relief in the cases of chronic pain, lowering of mental issues such as depression and fatigue. You can also relieve issues of arthritis pain by using massage therapy. Check out more on these benefits below.
1. Chronic Pain
People suffering from chronic pain consider massage therapy to improve their quality of life. A good massage can increase a person’s serotonin level. This causes the body to reduce pain naturally. People who receive massages experience less pain associated with injuries and chronic health conditions. Thus, massages have been found to be highly effective to relax muscles and stiff joints.
2. Reduces Depression, Anxiety & Fatigue
Massage therapy plays a vital role to help lower stress, remove depression and improve fatigue. Studies have found that the presence of depression is often triggered by active and chronic pain and that depression alone leads to muscle tension and pain which can be very painful to live with on a daily basis.
3. Arthritis Pain
A massage performed by applying light pressure to your joints could help ease your arthritis pain. Massage can also enhance blood flow to your joints and help boost your circulation throughout your body. This could eventually help increase your mobility and flexibility.
4. Improves Posture
Working on the computer all day or performing any other manual labor can cause tension in the neck and back and result in poor posture. Massages can assist the body to reinforce healthy and natural movements. Your muscles can relax and loosen with a massage. Thus, allow your body to position itself in a natural pain-free posture.
5. Improves Bone Blood Supply
Bones also have a blood supply and receive the same benefits from massage as your muscles. Blood flow brings calcium and other minerals to your bones. This helps to support their strength and function. Thus, your skeletal system receives a lot of boosts from massage.
6. A Healthy Heart
A massage performed on your full body is good for your heart as well. Massage increases your venous return, which increases blood flow and delivery of oxygen to all your organs. The overall cardiovascular system circulation throughout your body improves.
7. Digestive Wellbeing
Stress can affect the digestive system. A full-body massage can have a very healthy effect on how your body processes the amount of food and nutrients consumed. The presence of a parasympathetic nervous system regulates your digestion, thus producing needed chemicals and stimulates peristalsis, which moves food through your intestines. When food moves through the digestive system, your stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines start working together for maximum nutrient absorption. This would support your overall well-being too.
8. Improves Breathing
A massage therapist will ask you to take a deep breath at the beginning of the massage. Correct and appropriate breathing is one of the fastest roads to stress reduction. And, your first breath on the massage table may become a sigh of relief. Other than the diaphragm, there are muscles in your ribs, chest, and neck that can also assist breathing.
Side Effects And Risks
There are no proven risks of massage. However, if you have a medical history of diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes, you should make your massage therapist aware of a particular problem. If you are pregnant, you should seek out a therapist with pregnancy experience. Similarly, people with osteoporosis should find a therapist with experience in it.
Massage therapy should only be treated as an alternative to medicines for treatment of certain conditions. However, for appropriate medical care in case of injuries or severe pain, you must consult your doctor.
1. What Medical Conditions Can Be Improved With Therapeutic Massage?
Therapeutic massage can provide dramatic results for many conditions including Neck Pain, Low back pain, Disc pain, Sciatica, Hip, leg, knee, ankle, and foot pain. Also, mid back pain, rib pain, shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand pain, work and other traumatic accidents, and more.
2. Is Massage Therapy Safe In Pregnancy?
Massage therapy is safe in all stages of pregnancy. Although the techniques and positioning are required to be modified. This suggests that according to your stage and condition of pregnancy, your therapist will choose the suitable massage for you.
3. Can Massage Help Old Injuries?
People suffering for years from old injuries have found that neuromuscular massage helps eliminate their chronic pain. The severe pain that might have been caused by an accident responds well to the gentle kneading and stretching of massage.
4. Can Massage Help Sports Performance?
Restoring full motion and relieving tightness through a good massage helps athletes stay flexible and balanced for optimal sports performance. Also, injuries can be prevented when muscles remain flexible and motion is balanced with the help of massage.