Massage therapy is an alternative medicine that has been gaining in popularity at a rapid rate. The field of massage therapy has not only grown in size but also in the availability of therapists, massage studios and clinics that offer massage. There is no question that most people would love to get a massage. What people don’t realize about massage is that it not only feels good and relaxes the body, mind and spirit, but it actually is healing to the body, muscles and soft tissues.
Massage therapy dates back to the B.C. era to ancient civilizations such as Greek, Roman, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian and Mesopotamian. Now massage is all over the world. In China massage is considered part of their primary healthcare and is taught in medical schools. Massage therapy was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800’s. However its progression in the American medical scene has been slow and rocky. Throughout the early 1900’s massages influence decreased due to technological advancements in medicine, however massage regained its reputation in the early 60’s and 70’s as professional athletes began to use massage therapy within their health routine. One huge deterrent for massage therapy as an alternative medicine and as a profession was the unsavory characters that used massage therapy to advertise sexual services.
Buying and selling sex or sexual services is illegal in the U.S. and several other countries. Therefore using the cover of massage therapy, massage parlors offer sexual services after the purchase of a massage. For a while massage had become infamous for this type of service, which damaged its reputation. Overtime, true masseurs slowly but surely regained the reputation of massage therapy as a therapeutic healing treatment.
Now massage is a huge industry with thousands of schools, clinics, and therapeutic work settings as well as licensing and credentialing within each state. Even though massage parlors still exist, their presence remains largely in the seedy hoods and ghettos. Today when you mention massage therapy people don’t think of sexual favors but rather a relaxing and pleasing experience. Massage therapy has recovered its respect as a healing art through manipulation of the body and muscle tissue.
The average person would tell you that massage therapy involves rubbing the body with lotion or cream that is relaxing and feels good. This interpretation of massage, although correct in layman’s terms doesn’t explain what massage therapy is or how it affects the body. Massage therapists manipulate the soft tissues of the body to enhance function, promote relaxation, reduce muscle spasms, pain and inflammation, reduce nerve compression, decrease myofascial trigger points, increase range of motion and joint flexibility, reduce blood pressure, improve posture, calm the nervous system, and improve circulation.
Massage involves manual manipulation of the soft tissue through pressure, tension, motion, and vibration. Based upon specific patient problems will determine the areas that a massage therapist will work on. Techniques can be applied through the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet depending upon the type of massage. As well as determining the specific tissue to target whether it be a muscle, tendon, ligament, skin, joint, connective tissue, lymphatic vessels or organ. There are numerous types of massage techniques. Some of the common massage techniques include Ayurvedic, deep tissue, sports massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, reflexology, medical massage, Swedish massage, stone massage, Thai massage, and shiatsu. In addition to the techniques, there are several different strokes that massage therapist must use such as effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, mobilization, trigger point therapy, neuro-muscular, manual lymphatic drainage and manual traction.
Although massage is considered a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), it is becoming increasingly part of the medical world. Massage has a variety of settings including health clubs, health clinics, doctor offices, private offices, nursing homes, sports facilities and hospital settings. Massage therapy is used in conjunction with several other medical professions such as chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, personal training and sports trainers.
Whatever the reason you get a massage, it is a great therapeutic modality to relieve stress, tension, anxiety, headaches, neck pain, back pain and several other physical or mental problems. If you haven’t experienced a massage yet then its time you had one. Many people include massage in their health regimen because it not only has positive effects on the body but on the mind and spirit as well. As your friends for recommendations of a therapist near you!