WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE?

Therapeutic massage is defined as the manipulation of the soft tissues to bring about generalized improvements in health. 

BACKGROUND

Massage has been around for thousands of years and has played an important role in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. European massage was promoted by Per Henrik Ling in the early nineteenth century for its ability to promote healing by improving the circulation of the blood and lymph, and in the past twenty to thirty years many complementary therapies have been developed to further improve the physical benefits of massage treatments.

HOW CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM MASSAGE?

Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

Massage benefits can include:

  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation

  • Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension

  • Improving circulation, energy and alertness

  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure

  • Improving immune function

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety

  • Digestive disorders

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Headaches

  • Insomnia related to stress

  • Low back pain

  • Myofascial pain syndrome

  • Nerve pain

  • Soft tissue strains or injuries

  • Sports injuries

  • Temporomandibular joint pain

  • Upper back and neck pain

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)

January 12, 2021

​Accessed June 13, 2022

>https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743<

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WHAT HAPPENS DURING A MASSAGE?

Massage treatment follows a case history, which is usually relatively short compared with other complementary therapies.  During a standard massage, practitioners will also gather palpatory information, which helps tailor treatment to individual needs. For example, a practitioner will devote extra time to massaging an area of increased muscle tension.

Patients are unclothed and draped with a top sheet and blanket on a massage table that incorporates soft but firm padding and a face rest in order to allow for correct spinal alignment during treatment. The treatment room is kept warm and quiet with soft music for relaxation.