Therapeutic benefits of massage
Massage is a manual therapy that manipulates the soft tissues and decreases muscle tension, pain, stress, and depression.
However, when posing the question, “What is massage?” it is common to hear the following replies: “Massage is such a luxury.” “Ah, massage, it is so relaxing.” “Massage is something I treat myself to on special occasions.” While all of these statements capture the idea of massage as a way to relax and to treat ourselves, none come close to touching on the essence of massage and its therapeutic benefits to body, mind, and spirit.
Massage makes you feel and perform better. Massage has the following benefits:
- Increases circulation;
- enhances the immune system;
- promotes nervous system functioning;
- reduces blood pressure;
- relieves pain and muscle tension;
- improves mood, intellectual reasoning, and job performance;
- positive effect on conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, and migraine headaches.
Depending on the techniques used, massage can:
- Stimulate the nervous system to help reduce muscle atrophy;
- increase muscle tone;
- stimulate the functions of the skin or an organ deep inside the body;
- sedate the nervous system to help ease muscle tension, spasticity, stress-related symptoms, and headaches;
- boost the functioning of the immune system and maintains health when done regularly;
- stimulate sluggish circulation or slow down the circulation of someone who has just run a marathon when using friction massage techniques;
- allow a better range of motion and support the connective tissue and muscles in becoming strong and healthy when doing simple joint movements and joint stretching.
Its many healing benefits are important in our high-tech world because of our basic human need to be nurtured through touch. Touching and being touched is instinctual. For example, an injured animal will tend its wounds by licking or rubbing, a mother will comfort her crying child by stroking its head and patting its back, and a person with a toothache will rub and press the painful area to relieve congestion and pain
Therapeutic Touch – Therapeutic touch was developed by nurses Dolores Krieger and Dora Kunz in the early 1970s after studying the ancient practice of laying on of hands. It is based on the idea that human beings are energy in the form of a field. In health, the field flows freely, while it becomes out of balance when the disease is present.3
Nicola offers healing, curative, remedial, medicinal, restorative massage bodywork in Santa Barbara, Ca. and Goleta, Ca.
Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and as a recreational activity.
The word comes from the French massage “friction of kneading”, or from Arabic massage meaning “to touch, feel or handle” or from Latin massage meaning “mass, dough”, Greek verb μάσσω (massō) “to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough”. In distinction, the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was friction.
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully or partially clothed or unclothed. From Wikipedia
What is massage?
Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing, and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage, but may also use their forearms, elbows, and even feet. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure.
There are many different types of massage, including these common types:
- Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping to help relax and energize you.
- Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
- Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sports activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
- Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Benefits of massage
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.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Paresthesias and nerve pain
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment, and creating deep connections with their massage therapist.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.