Massage is the therapeutic practice of manipulating the body’s muscles and other soft tissues to ease tension and reduce pain. Depending on the problem experienced, little or more pressure is applied. This technique is commonly applied using hands, elbows, fingers, forearms, feet, or a device. It has been practiced in most cultures, both Western and Eastern, throughout human history as a tool for relieving pain. Traditionally, people who are professionally trained to give massages were referred to as a masseur(male) and masseuse(female) while in the modern era they are commonly known as a massage therapist.
Types of massage techniques
- Swedish or classical massage
This is the core of most training programs and is common in western countries. Tapping, kneading, vibration, deep circular movements, and long strokes are used by the therapist. Clinical studies show that this technique can reduce chronic pain, joint stiffness, fatigue, and improve function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
This is a combination of Swedish and deep tissue techniques to help release chronic muscle tension. It helps improve recovery time, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance performance. Techniques that stimulate the flow of blood and lymph to and from muscles are used.
This is a good option for those suffering from medical pains. It is used to help treat physical (stiff joints) and mental (anxiety, depression) pains.
This is a form of touch therapy where physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points with the aim of clearing blockages in specific areas of the body. Medical studies have shown that this helps manage nausea and vomiting, lower back pains, stomach ache, and tension headache.
The practitioner uses their feet to deliver treatment. It is ideal for large muscles such as thighs.
- Trigger point massage
This technique focuses on releasing tension on areas of the muscles that produce pain when squeezed.
Massage has been proven to have impressive health benefits and has been offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Some of the benefits include:
- Better blood circulation
- Anxiety and depression relief
- Eases muscle pain
- Relieves headaches
- Temporarily reduced blood pressure and heart rate
- Amped immunity
- Improved sleep quality
Some people enjoy a massage as it brings about feelings of relaxation, care, comfort, and connection. This therapy should be considered part of a long- term wellness routine and should be administered as frequently as possible for best results.
The risk of massage therapy being harmful appears to be less. However, certain serious side effects such as blood clots, nerve injury, or a bone fracture have been reported. These cases involved vigorous types of massage such as deep tissue massage. Massage is not appropriate for:
- Patients with increased risk of injury such as the elderly people
- Pregnant women
- People with fractures
- Burns or healing wounds
- People with conditions such as bleeding disorders or those under anticoagulant medication
Most people tend to think that a massage is just a form of relaxation and leisure. On the contrary, we have seen that it has a wide range of health benefits. To minimize associated risk, a registered therapist should administer it. Therefore, massage services should be welcomed and utilized as it is a perfect healing and enjoyable process for our bodies.