What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a treatment in which the soft tissues of the body are kneaded, rubbed, tapped, and stroked. It is used to relieve pain, tension, and stiffness; promote relaxation; and help control certain health conditions, including heart disease and high blood pressure. It is often paired with other treatments such as physical therapy and occupational therapy. It may also be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and improving sleep. Massage can increase endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that reduce feelings of depression and improve mood. It can also stimulate the nervous system, leading to increased energy and improved range of motion. It is a common practice in many health care settings, including hospices and units for patients with mental illness or physical disabilities. It is also used in maternity hospitals and by midwives to help prepare the mother for childbirth. Massage is also a part of some holistic medicine practices, such as Ayurvedic medicine.

There are several different styles of massage therapy, ranging from light stroking to deep tissue work. Some therapists use their hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, and fists, while others use specialized tools such as the ball of the thumb or a spoon. The type of massage chosen by a person depends on his or her symptoms and goals. For example, someone who is recovering from a muscle injury would likely receive a more intense massage than someone who just wants to relax.

Some types of massage are done using oil to lubricate the skin. The type of oil used is important, as it should be organic, cold pressed, and free of additives. Adding essential oils can provide additional therapeutic benefits, such as a calming effect. The therapist should warm the oil in his or her hands before applying it to the skin.

Effleurage is a form of massage that uses gliding strokes across the skin to loosen the muscles. It is usually done at the beginning of a session to warm up the muscle and at the end of a massage to soothe the muscles. It can be divided into three classes, based on the amount of pressure applied: feather stroking, superficial effleurage, and deeper effleurage.

Tapotement is a rhythmic tapping or drumming of the soft tissue. It can be done for a short period of time, to increase the energy level, or it can be used for longer periods to produce fatigue in a group of muscles. This is sometimes used before sports events to help the athlete perform better. It can also be used to break up scar tissue and soften adhesions.

Other forms of massage involve putting pressure on specific areas of the body, such as trigger points or myofascial release. In these cases, the therapist releases stiffness in the fascia, which contains each muscle in the body. Generally, the massage is done with light to medium pressure and lasts 60 or 90 minutes. During the session, it is important for the therapist to communicate with the client about how much pressure is comfortable and to alert him or her to any problems with the draping or the technique.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage
1 W 34th St. # 204,
New York, NY 10001, United States
(212) 884-1010