Massage therapy has been an active part of healthcare systems and relaxation techniques for thousands of years. Some of the first references to massage date back to ancient Egypt times. Ancient Chinese scriptures have also been found to reference massage as a beneficial technique to be used in the treatment of many ailments. Massage therapy and techniques have evolved considerably over the past years, and today, these techniques have become an integral part of complementary and alternative medicine. Specific massages are even used in the conventional treatment for injuries and other ailments.
Massage therapy has become such an essential part of modern-day health care that a student can choose to attend a massage therapy school in the modern world to give them the skills to deliver effective massage techniques to patients. No matter the age or overall health status, every person stands to benefit significantly from utilizing a licensed massage therapist.
Massage Therapy Benefits
There are many massage benefits that individuals can take advantage of to help speed up recovery following an injury, to assist with relaxation and to provide an effective alternative or complementary approach to the alleviation of specific symptoms. One study advises that the use of massage therapy can significantly alleviate pain in the general population and also aid in reducing the limitations that may be placed upon a person due to painful symptoms, such as lower back pain. A study published in the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy explains that the use of massage therapy dramatically enhances recovery after an athlete has been injured and can also aid in improving athletic performance on the field. Massage therapy also holds potential as a complementary treatment option for patients with Fibromyalgia and aids as a relaxation technique for individuals with high-stress levels and tense muscles.
Massage Therapy Techniques
A large number of massage therapy techniques have been introduced to the complementary and alternative medicine industry in the modern world. Many of these techniques have specific purposes that are used for rehabilitation, relaxation or pain management exclusively, while others instead provide a generalized approach to deliver multiple benefits with during a single session.
Swedish massage is a general term that is used to describe the most popular type of massage therapy treatments that are used today. Even though originally developed in Sweden, Swedish massage techniques are used throughout the entire world now. The idea of a Swedish massage is to relax the body and to stimulate the flow of blood toward the heart. Swedish massage therapy is also known to boost oxygen and flush toxins from muscles, to ease tension and to assist with improving flexibility.
When performed by a trained professional, a prenatal massage can greatly alleviate the pain that is associated with pregnancy, as well as help to ease any discomfort that a woman may be experiencing. Prenatal massage therapy is also known to help reduce the symptoms of depression in pregnant women and is performed in such a way to ensure the unborn baby inside the woman is not harmed in any way during the procedure.
Stress is a global health epidemic that causes tense muscles, anxiety and many other problematic symptoms. Several massage techniques have been introduced to assist with relaxing the entire body, reducing the tension that has built up in muscles and, in turn, producing a calmer state of mind the patient undergoing the relaxation massage.
The lymphatic system in the human body plays a vital role in the delivery of immune cells and to remove waste from the body, but can become congested, which may lead to a host of problems. The use of lymphatic massage techniques helps to stimulate the flow of the lymphatic system; ensuring the lymphatic system can work effectively.
Cupping massage, often also referred to as myofascial decompression, is an ancient massage technique that involves the use of specially designed cups. These cups are placed on the skin to create a type of suction effect. This healing techniques is known to assist with relaxation, to boost blood flow and is often used as a form of deep-tissue massage. Cupping massage is also an effective method for alleviating pain and inflammation.
Muscle therapy utilizes massage techniques that focus explicitly on problematic muscles throughout the body. These techniques can be utilized to help alleviate muscle soreness after a strenuous workout and to promote better muscle recovery, which allows an athlete to get back to their sports or other physical activities faster.
Myofascial release therapy is a popular massage technique that is often used when prolonged pain in certain areas of the body, such as the hip, the shoulder, and the back, is experienced. The technique is also useful especially following an injury that causes a loss of function and flexibility. The goal of myofascial release therapy is to reduce muscle taut fascia to increase muscle movement.
Reflexology therapy is a massage technique that focuses on the hands, ears, of feet. This, however, is not just a foot massage, as the trigger points that are focused on during reflexology therapy can target many different areas in the body, including the heart, the shoulders, the neck, lungs, eyes, ears, stomach, and more.
A form of Aveda treatment, the Chakra balancing session focuses on more than just the body. The use of these techniques helps to release energy blockages within the “chakra” of a person to restore their natural balance of energy and to help promote better healing from within.
Thai massage therapy is quite popular and focuses on promoting healing within the body, as well as complete relaxation of the body. These massage techniques usually combine acupressure, assisted yoga techniques and certain principles from Indian Ayurvedic practices to provide more effective results.
Taut Band Therapy
Taut Band therapy is a trigger point type of massage that focuses on applying pressure to certain points of the body to bring about relaxation, improvements in pain symptoms and to assist with improving the rate of recovery during rehabilitation to an injured patient.
Cranial Sacral Therapy
Cranial Sacral therapy is a unique type of self-healing that is considered one of the most gentle and subtle of them all. This technique involves light touch and holds of the skull that assist in opening the craniosacral fluid of the entire body. The idea is to stimulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is a type of fluid that provides cushioning for both the spinal cord and the brain.
Hot stone massages are especially popular due to the relaxation they can impose on a person. This massage therapy utilizes smooth, rounded stones that are heated and then placed on the skin. Hot stone therapy provides a number of useful benefits, including both a reduction in tension and muscle aches, as well as a relief of stress.
Sports massage techniques focus primarily on areas of the patient’s body that is most active during the sport they participate in. This type of therapy can provide improvements in flexibility and overall performance, as well as assist with improving muscle recovery after the athlete’s performance.
Opting for these techniques to be implemented by a professional massage therapist holds the most potential for individuals. While video training is available to assist with providing individuals with basic instructions on how to perform specific techniques, therapists trained in the field of massage therapy have more experience, and the right skill set to assure benefits can be provided to the patient without the risk of further injury. It is essential for patients to ensure the therapist of choice is licensed and has been trained professionally. Unlicensed massage therapists may not hold the right skills or techniques to initiate massage therapy on patients in a safe manner.
Whether a person has suffered a sports injury or complaining about chronic pain, the use of a licensed massage therapist provides many benefits for the recovery and improvement in various ailments. Different massage techniques can be utilized for multiple purposes- ultimately, choosing the right massage therapist is what determines if these techniques will provide the expected results for the patient.