Anyone who has ever experienced a good therapeutic massage can tell you unequivocally, that the benefits are tremendous. They don’t need scientific proof of its effectiveness to convince them! However, since we appear to be a nation of people demanding laboratory-proven everything to convince us, fortunately, in the massage industry, there is ample proof! On the Massage Therapy Foundation website alone (www.massagetherapyfoundation.org)
there is enough research data to keep you swimming for innumerable hours, satisfying even the most skeptical minds.
For those who are just interested in how it works, what it is good for and other information, read on.
Massage is a form of treatment that uses the hands to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to relieve muscle tension and stiffness, reduce stress, promote calmness and stimulate healing. Although massage has a wonderful affect on the body and mind as a whole, it has a particularly beneficial effect on the musculo-skeletal tissues, on blood and lymph circulation and on the nervous system.
There are more than 100 different massage and body work techniques ranging from gentle stroking, to deeper kneading of the muscles and soft tissues, to very deep and intense techniques. Massage has been around for healing purposes, dating back to Chinese medical literature for 4,000 years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are many different variations from “Tui Na”, a more manipulative type massage to techniques as we know it today, similar to a Swedish massage.
Massage has been used as an integral part of the healing process for centuries. While the following list of benefits is impressive, it is by no means exhaustive. There are both physical and mental benefits of massage. They are as follows:
- Assists in reducing tight muscles, muscle tension and stiffness
- Promotes relaxation and helps to relieve stress
- Improves healing of trauma, particularly strained or sprained muscles/ligaments, reduces pain and swelling, reduces muscle spasms, and helps reduce the formation of scar tissue and adhesions
- Can enhance athletic performance as well as treat injuries sustained during sports activities
- Improves range of motion of joints, improving flexibility
- Relieves tension headaches
- Enhances circulation of blood and lymph fluids
- Improves posture
- Reduces rehabilitation time after an injury or after surgery
- Treats many musculo-skeletal problems
- Promotes deeper breathing
- Alleviates common discomforts of pregnancy
- Assists in the reduction of blood pressure
- Improves the health and nourishment of the skin
- Supports healthier immune system response
- Helps patient feel calmer and more centered
- Improves mental alertness, yet in a relaxed way
- Calms mental stress
- Supports the body’s ability to monitor stress and respond appropriately
- Enhances focused thinking and creativity
- Fosters a sense of well being
- Satisfies the need for a caring and nurturing touch
- Helps with feeling peace of mind
With all of the mental and physical benefits massage offers, it is no wonder that it is one of the most sought after treatments today. More than 125,000 massage therapists are licensed in the U.S. today, with more than 80 million massages administered.
Massage therapists are generally recognized as competent health care providers. They have a responsibility to support the therapeutic goals of the client, as does the client have responsibilities as well.
It is the responsibility of the person receiving the massage to communicate with the massage therapist the type of massage and intensity preferred. This is usually done at the beginning, but also, as all massage therapists have different techniques and different degrees of strength, it is essential to communicate all the way through if more or less pressure is preferred.
As with most health-promoting programs, a succession of treatments provides the greatest and longest results, however, if just one relaxing treatment is on your agenda, you will be very happy with your massage. We count on you to be as happy as the many others who receive this wonderful treatment modality!