Massage is a “hands-on” therapy in which muscles and other soft tissues of the body are manipulated to improve health and well-being. Varieties of massage range from gentle stroking and kneading of muscles and other soft tissues to deeper manual techniques. Massage has been practiced as a healing therapy for centuries in nearly every culture around the world. It helps relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and evoke feelings of calmness. Although muscle therapy affects the body as a whole, it particularly influences the activity of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.
Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
Some conditions massage may also be helpful for include the following health ailments and more:
•Insomnia related to stress
•Low back and hip pain
•Myofascial pain syndrome
•Neck and shoulder pain
•Paresthesias and nerve pain
•Soft tissue strains or injuries
•Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves a comfortable and caring environment with the therapist. The licensed therapists on staff regularly communicate with the doctors on staff at the wellness center should there be more advanced health conditions to be discussed.
There are many different types of techniques, including these common types:
Swedish Massage is the most common and best known type of massage. It involves long, fluid strokes of muscles and tissues with pressure that varies from light to medium to firm. This type of massage is considered to be one of the most relaxing styles. Your massage therapists will adjust the pressure according to your sensitivity and preference.
Deep Tissue Massage is a deeper more intense massage. This technique uses slow, deep guided strokes and firm pressure designed to relieve severe tension and reach below the superficial muscles. Deep Tissue Massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain and soreness in both large and small muscle groups.
Sports massage aims to stretch tight muscles, stimulate inactive muscles and improve soft tissue condition. Sports Massage can enable you to move your body more freely with more flexibility and in time can improve your posture. As the name suggests it is popular with sports people, as it enhances performance, assists recovery and prevents injury. These are benefits we can all enjoy.
Trigger points are tight and painful spots that occur in a muscle. Most people refer to trigger points as knots. They are called trigger points because they “trigger” a painful response that often refers pain to different parts of your body. Trigger Point Massage uses concentrations of finger pressure on each trigger point to prevent cycles of muscle pain and spasms.
When a practitioner massages soft tissue, electrical signals are transmitted both to the local area and throughout the body. These signals help heal damaged muscle, stimulate circulation, clear waste products via the lymphatic system, boost the activity of the immune system, reduce pain and tension, and induce a calming effect. They may also enhance a general sense of well-being by stimulating the release of endorphins (natural pain-killers and mood elevators) and reducing levels of certain stress hormones.