We’ve all had those days that make us live and breathe in stress, and they aren’t very pleasant. They can make us want to stay in bed all day, or have us pulling our hair out. The thing about stress is that after time, built up, it can actually cause us physical pain. This pain from stress can range on many levels. It could be as small as a simple headache or tense muscles. But it can also be as large as knots in your back or neck that can be really painful. There are many ways to relieve stress, from home remedies to going to a professional. While we can’t get into all of the different ways to relieve stress, one of the best way that is known to benefit your health is massage therapy.
What is Massage Therapy and What Does a Massage Therapist Do?
Massage therapy is the treatment in which a trained and certified medical professional manipulates the soft tissues of your body — muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and skin — using varying degrees of pressure and movement. Massage therapy is one of the oldest healthcare practices known. References to massage have been found in ancient Chinese medical texts that were written more than 4,000 years ago. Massage is known to be around in Western healthcare practices since the time of Hippocrates, the “father of medicine.”
A massage therapist is someone who is trained and certified in the medical art of massage therapy. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to massage the muscles and soft tissue of the body to treat any injuries and to promote the person’s wellbeing or wellness. The massage session taking place can be as short as fifteen minutes or could even last for more than an hour. Different massage techniques affect the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, and many other systems of the body. The basic philosophy of massage therapy embraces the concept of vis Medicatrix naturae, which means “aiding the ability of the body to heal itself.”
Who Can Benefit From Massage Therapy and What Are the Benefits?
While in some treatments and medical reliefs for stress are for certain people, most anyone can be a patient of massage therapy. In most places, you aren’t required to have a doctor note to receive treatment. If you feel massage therapy is something you could benefit from, definitely look into different massage therapists and massage therapy centers.
Massage therapy can help a lot of people and has a lot of clinical benefits such as improving pulmonary function in young asthma patients, reducing psycho-emotional distress in individuals who suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease, helping with weight gain, improving motor development in premature infants, and enhancing immune system functioning.
Therapeutic massage could be recommended for children and adults to deliver benefits to improve their wellness, such as:
- Reducing muscle tension and stiffness
- Increasing joint and limb flexibility and range of motion
- Relieving possible muscle spasms
- Increasing ease and efficiency of movement
- Relieving points of tension and overall stress; inducing relaxation
- Promoting deeper and easier breathing
- Improving blood circulation and movement of lymph
- Relieving tension-related headaches and eyestrain
- Promoting faster healing of soft tissue injuries, such as pulled muscles and sprained ligaments
- Reducing pain and swelling related to injuries
- Reducing the formation of scar tissue following soft tissue injuries
- Improving posture by changing tension patterns that affect posture
- Reducing emotional or physical stress and reducing anxiety
- Promoting feelings of well-being
- Increasing awareness of the mind-body connection and improving mental awareness and alertness
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. While some studies need more information to confirm its benefits, the truth is that massage therapy benefits each of its patients differently, and many of the benefits are going to depend on a specific person or patient.
What Are the Different Types of Massages?
Getting a massage is actually quite common, but for the people new to massage therapy, you may not know that there are many different types of massages to choose from. Whether you’re new to massage therapy, or a long time patient, here’s a list of the few different types of massage therapy.
- The Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who are new to massage, have a lot of tension, and are sensitive to touch. It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.
- The hot stone massage is usually best for people who have muscle pain and tension or those who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is quite similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones.
- The deep tissue massage uses a lot more pressure than the Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.
- The sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It can also be a good option if you’re prone to injuries and it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You can also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.
- Lastly, the chair massage is best for people who want a quick massage that focuses on your neck, shoulders, and back. This type of massage can also be a way to introduce you to massage if you’ve never had one before. Chair massage also helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Massage Therapy can be great for a lot of people and offers many benefits. Whether you’re looking for a good stress reliever or even just a relaxed afternoon, massage therapy is the way to go. If you’re having trouble deciding on the best place to go with, do some research in your area and don’t forget to get recommendations and ask around. One of the best places to go in the Idaho Falls area is Untapped Health, Fitness, and Recovery center. In addition to the types of massages listed above, they offer prenatal massages, Thai massages, couples massages, trigger point massages, cranial sacral massages, and many more. They have massage monthly packages available on hand for your convenience and wellbeing. The massage therapists there can work with your needs to make sure you get the most out of your visit and all of the relaxation you need.