Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being. There are many types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities). People seek massage therapy for a variety of reasons; for example, to reduce stress and anxiety, to relax muscles, to rehabilitate injuries, to reduce pain and to promote overall health and wellness.
Massage therapy dates back thousands of years ago. Ancient writings from China, Japan, India and Egypt reference massage. In general, massage therapists work on muscles and soft tissue to help you feel better. Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. With their touch, therapists relieve pain, help heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients. Massage therapists tend to combine with chiropractors to help patients get the best care by treating muscles and soft tissue.
There are several types of massage. In Swedish massage the therapist uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping. Sports massage combines techniques of Swedish massage and deep tissue massage to release chronic muscle tension. It is adapted to the needs to the athlete. Myofascial trigger point therapy focuses on trigger points. Trigger points are areas on your body that are painful when pressed but associated with pain elsewhere in the body. Massage therapy is sometimes done using essential oils as a form of aromatherapy.
While there are several types of massage, there are two fundamental categories. The first is known as rehabilitative massage. Rehabilitative massage utilizes deep tissue work, medical, therapeutic or clinical massage. This type of massage is practiced in many settings like chiropractic offices, clinics and hospitals. The second is known as relaxation massage or Swedish massage. This type is oftentimes practiced in settings like spas, wellness centers and resorts. The type of massage given usually depends on your needs and physical condition.
Massage therapy has been growing in popularity among chiropractors. Many chiropractors have their “in-house” massage therapist to work alongside. The benefits of working together on musculoskeletal issues not only quickens the treatment time but also has longer-lasting effects. While chiropractors focus more on musculoskeletal issues, massage therapists can assist with soft tissue and muscle issues.
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