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Guide To Massage By Wunderwell
Our friends at Wunderwell (www.wunderwell.com) have produced a series of incredible guides to wellness that might be helpful in these stressful times. Please see their latest post on the benefits of Massage:
One out of five Americans treat themselves to a massage from a professional every year. For everyone, massages are believed to promote deep body relaxation and improve mood. For more targeted wellness goals, massage therapy can improve sleep quality and depression, stave off headaches or migraines, help along the recovery process of injuries, and provide short-term pain relief.
Massage might be older than written human history. The technique first appeared in the medical writings of the ancient Chinese over 4,000 years ago. In the Western tradition, the Greek Hippocrates wrote about the need for a physician to acquaint themselves with the methods of “rubbing,” the Greek word for massage.
Modern massage therapy shares its roots with modern physical therapy, originating in the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute in Sweden in the 1800s. Scientific massage therapy and clinics arrived to the United States shortly after the 1850s. The field later bloomed in the 1960s after it became known for its ability to induce deep relaxation.
Massage therapy is the careful manipulation of soft tissue, typically done by hand. It can also be executed by the arms, knees, feet, or by an instrument. Massage sessions utilize different stroke techniques. Passing strokes can be long and gentle, or alternatively stokes can be “percussive” in nature. Some massage practices may use experience-enhancing products like oils and lotions. Most massages are done unclothed, but there are options that allow for clothes to be kept on such as chair massages.
Described as both “relaxing and energizing,” Swedish massage is the most common form of massage therapy in the West and is the method typically taught to students in massage therapy training programs.
Shiatsu is Japanese for “finger pressure.” Both rhythmic and dynamic, this therapy focuses on potential blockages at “acupressure points,” spots across the body thought to regulate the flow of vital energy.
Deep tissue massage is a less rhythmic session that pays careful attention to penetrating deeper layers under the skin (ie muscles and tendons) with a focus on a specific area of the body, often targeting “chronic tension” that might stem from muscle injury.
Hot stone treatments serve the function of deep heat transfer into the body. This treatment is typically used in conjunction with other massage techniques and strokes.
Chair massages are typically administered in under twenty-minutes, and can allow the receiver to be fully clothed.
Sport massage encompasses a variety of approaches that address the needs of athletes, including flexibility, recovery, and injury prevention.
Thai massage is a very involved session in which the therapist uses their own body to situate the client into therapeutic positions, additionally using rhythmic massage and compressions.
There are over 80 types of massage today and this form of therapy is therefore uniquely customizable. Whether you are seeking out massage therapy for its broad, therapeutic effects like relaxation, or for specific symptom relief, the circumstance of your visit might determine what kind of therapist you seek out and how the massage is executed.
A trained massage therapist will begin with questions about your physical condition, pertinent medical history and medications, pain spots, and lifestyle questions. This allows them to personalize your session. The therapist will exit the room to allow you to undress and situate yourself on the massage table underneath any provided sheets or towels. In the case of a chair massage, you will be leaned forward and a special extension of the chair will easily support your body weight from the front while you relax.
Clients have a great deal of control over their environment and can let the therapist know about any desired adjustments (music/ no music, less talking, less/ more pressure, etc). Massages typically last 30-90 minutes and clients are encouraged to rise from the table very slowly after the session is over.
Massage therapists can be found in doctor and chiropractic offices, spas, fitness centers, hotels, hospitals, wellness and rehabilitation centers, and private offices.
The American Massage Therapy Association’s locator service is a great database of professional therapists across the country.
Massage therapy is done with a variety of goals in mind. The NIH’s Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has made research to access the benefits of massage therapy a funding priority in recent years.
Massage therapy has been shown to decrease anxiety and stress, reverse depression, and improve sleep. There are studies that support it’s possible abilities to alter outcomes throughout the body including staving off headaches or migraines, improving circulation, helping the recovery process of muscle injuries, and providing short-term pain relief.