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Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing - Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years, and today you will be able to choose from over 80 different styles and forms of treatment. Each form of massage implements a variety of different movements, techniques and pressures which includes rubbing, pressing and manipulating muscles with the fingers and hands. The 2007 American Massage Therapy Association reported that almost one quarter of American adults attended massage therapy sessions in 2006, perhaps for many different reasons. More people are beginning to realize the great health benefits of a massage, and many of them are using massage to heal injuries, medical conditions and promote overall health.
Styles of Massage Therapy
This is the most common form of massage therapy and it involves long, soft strokes along with rhythmic, light tapping strokes on the top layer of muscles. When combined with joint movement, this treatment will relieve muscle tension, energize the patient and even reduce pain after an injury. Swedish massage therapy implements four main massage techniques, which are effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage will give attention to specific, painful areas of your body. The therapist will use slow, deliberate movements while applying pressure on muscle layers, tendons and other deep tissues. This form of massage will relieve chronic pains and tensions while alleviating muscle injuries and back pains.
This form of massage implements a variety of different techniques, and the therapist will use their body to move the patient into a number of therapeutic positions. It is great for compressing muscles, improving joint mobilization and applying acupressure.
This popular form of massage uses inner energies to bring patients to higher levels of consciousness. A professional tantric massage therapist uses sensual and light touches to awaken dormant energies throughout the body. A tantric massage will help improve your sense of well being while decreasing symptoms of depression and promoting happiness. This is perhaps the most relaxing form of treatment.
Hot Stone Massage
During this relaxing massage, a therapist will place warm stones on different bodily areas, such as pressure points. The stones are used with a variety of massage techniques, and they can be soothing and relaxing while directing heat deep into the body.
A pregnancy massage will help women who are experiencing significant bodily changes as a result of pregnancy. It decreases stress levels, swelling in limbs and alleviates muscle pain. The therapist uses therapeutic pillows to make the patient comfortable, and then implements a variety of techniques to provide relief during a time when certain medications may be limited.
Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pains. In fact, a 2003 study discovered that a massage works significantly better than acupuncture or spinal exercises for chronic back pain, and massage reduces the need for prescription drugs by 36%.
Massage therapy relaxes the entire body and provides relief from migraines while improving sleep. Studies have proven that massage can reduce the tension of headaches.
Practitioners have studied the effectiveness of massage on osteoarthritis, and patients experienced a great improvement in control, stiffness and pain after receiving Swedish massage therapy twice a week.
While cancer is not curable, massage therapy can help promote relaxation and even reduce side effects from cancer treatment. It can also help reduce depression, pain, swelling and nausea while improving the immune system.
Over 12 twelve studies have shown that massage relieves anxiety and depression symptoms. It can help lower cortisol levels by 50% while increasing the levels of neurotransmitters that diminish depression. A study conducted in 1996 by Shulman, K.R. & Jones, G.E. reported that massage is beneficial to people suffering from depression.
A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago also reported that massage therapy improves blood flow and circulation, and massage is a great choice for people who do not exercise regularly.