“The physician must be acquainted with many things, and assuredly with rubbing.”
This is a quote from a man named Hippocrates who lived in the 4 century B.C. in Greece and didn’t have to ask what is massage therapy. Hippocrates is known as the father of medicine and considered massage a cornerstone of medical treatment. Today medicine has advance by leaps and bounds and although massage therapy has no where near the foundation of research as modern medicine, new research validating, supporting and shedding new light on massage therapy becomes available literally every day.
Massage therapy is found in texts that go back 4000 years, but for practical purposes I need to concern myself with what massage therapy is today. In a very rudimentary way, massage is rubbing, kneading, pressing, stretching and basically manipulating the body’s soft tissue (fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments, lymph and nervous systems)
From my perspective, massage therapy is stretching, warming and manipulating the body’s soft tissue until a sense of uniformity is felt in the body structurally, and sometimes its a process of manipulating soft tissue in an attempt to achieve a desired state of relaxation. Part of the beauty of massage therapy for me is the answer to the question, ‘what is massage therapy’ is different with every client I see.
Massage therapy comes is a variety of styles and approaches:
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Myofascial Release
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Sports Massage
- Thai Massage
- and countless other styles
The basic tools of massage as one would expect is the hands and fingers. In addition to my hands, I also use my forearms and elbows while some even use their feet. A massage therapist needs to stay vigilant of their working posture and body mechanics, and using more than ones hands allows many of us to practice for years to come.
One of my favorite things about the times we live in is that many of the benefits of massage are no longer just an opinion. The question what is massage therapy is being asked by many legitimate researchers. The body of research supporting and shedding new light on massage is growing with each day that passes. This not only gives us scientific validation but it plays a big part in making many new people who would never have considered massage therapy in the past, give it a try.
Some of these physical and mental benefits are:
- Induces whole body relaxation
- Improves range of motion
- lowers blood pressure
- decreases heart rate
- reduces scar tissue
- improves mental stress levels
- induces a more productive sleep
- assists in recovery from injury
- alleviates many headache symptoms and reduces recurrence
- reduces chronic pain
- relax muscles and improve functionality
Some massage therapy precautions include:
- A pregnant woman should consult her doctor before getting a massage.
- You should not get a massage if you have had a recent injury or surgery.
- Your massage therapist should be informed to avoid any areas of your body with brittle bones,blood clots, fractures, infections or wounds.
- If you have cancer you should consult your oncologist before receiving a massage.
So what is massage therapy?
After all of this all I can really say is that massage therapy is a subjective experience, and one of the best experiences of my life. The only way anyone will ever really find out what is massage therapy, is to experience a massage for yourself.
Conveniently I have a very handy schedule online link right here.
If you have any questions regarding whether massage therapy is right for you, please leave us an email in the form below.
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