Did you know that massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of healing practices in the world? All civilizations in the world have a tradition of massage in one form or another. The surprising benefits of massage are wide and varied.
What is Massage Therapy?
Today, massage is seen more as a form of relaxation, a method of pampering the body. Some people forget or are unaware of the healing tradition behind this technique.
Massage is the practice of manipulation, handling, and kneading of the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Most of the time, the manipulation is done manually, but there are some traditions that allow the use of tools and other implements.
Massage therapy is an umbrella term that is used to refer to all types of manual stimulation of a person’s body as a form of treatment. Research has shown that massage can be used for treating the following disorders:
- Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Lower back pain
- High blood pressure
In a study that was reported by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in 2000, it was shown that hypertension and the symptoms that go with it can be eased with the use of massage therapy. The subjects of the study were provided with 30-minute massage sessions over a period of five weeks. All of the subjects suffered from hypertension and they reported low blood pressure and other positive effects after the study.
Surprising Benefits of Massage
One of the main benefits that can be derived from massage is the calm and relaxation that it can bring, countering feelings of stress. This is the main reason why a lot of people opt to get a massage. This effect is caused by the flood of endorphins which is stimulated by massage. Endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that bring about the feelings of wellbeing. Massage can also help in reducing stress hormones in the body.
Aside from relaxation, there are other surprising benefits of massage. These include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Stimulation of the lymphatic system
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved joint mobility
- Better skin tone
With more studies being done on the matter, massage therapy is also increasingly being used with other forms of treatment. Though it has been proven to be highly beneficial, massage is not meant to be used to replace actual medical treatment.
Risks of Massage
Like other forms of treatment, there are some risks that are associated with massage therapy. Most people should be able to enjoy a massage session every now and then.
However, if you are suffering from any of the following conditions, it is best to consult a doctor first. Massage may not be recommended for those with the following health concerns:
- Bleeding disorder
- You are taking blood-thinning medicines
- Have fractures
- Suffering from severe osteoporosis
- Has thrombocytopenia
There are some types of massage that can leave a feeling of soreness immediately or a day after getting the treatment. Generally, a massage treatment should not leave you feeling sore or in pain.
What to Expect in a Massage Session
You do not have to do anything to prepare for a massage. Before the session begins, the therapist should ask you if you have any medical conditions or if you are taking medications. The therapist should also explain to you what is going to happen and the kind of massage treatment that they are going to use on you.
Typically, you will have to undress when you get a massage. If you are uncomfortable with getting undressed, you can tell your therapist if you may wear loose clothing. Your therapist should assess how much pressure is ideal for you. Some people prefer heavy pressure during the massage but too much pressure can lead to sore muscles.
Normally, oil or lotion will be applied to your skin during the massage to reduce the friction. You need to tell your therapist if you have allergies before they apply anything on your skin. The length of the massage session will depend on the type of massage technique being used. A session can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half.
For those who feel more comfortable doing it at home, you can also opt to give your partner a massage, which also has its own range of benefits.
Massage therapy has a rich and long tradition in different countries all over the world. There is a good reason why people use it as a form of treatment. Not only is it relaxing, but it is effective in relieving other symptoms caused by stress and other conditions
Massages are considered relatively safe. And when working with your massage therapist, you can easily request to adjust the pressure and avoid points in the body that are sore. Try different massages – from Swedish massage to the traditional Hilot, which were developed to address key health issues.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.