Therapeutic Massage Therapy
Therapeutic massage involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasm, and stress; and, to promote health and wellness. Massage therapy improves functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems and may improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness.
Research shows massage reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Therapeutic massage enhances medical treatment and helps people feel less anxious and stressed, relaxed while at the same time more alert.
Although massage therapy does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.
Therapeutic massage can help with a wide range of medical conditions, including:
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid)
- Asthma and bronchitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic and temporary pain
- Circulatory problems
- Digestive disorders, including spastic colon, constipation and diarrhea
- Headache, especially when due to muscle tension
- Myofascial pain (a condition of the tissue connecting the muscles)
- Reduced range of motion
- Sports injuries, including pulled or strained muscles and sprained ligaments
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD)
How is therapeutic massage performed?
Sessions take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Clients will be requested to disrobe to their level of comfort as most massage techniques are performed unclothed. Only the areas massaged will be exposed while the client remains discreetly draped and warm beneath a sheet or towel.
Client and practitioner will discuss the desired outcome of the session, together determining which portions of the body will require massage. Oils, cremes or lotions may be used to hydrate the skin and avoid excessive friction to the skin.
The session may include a number of various techniques including: rubbing, rocking, kneading, posture and movement exercises, pressure to specific points and more.
Sessions last between 60 – 120 minutes and it’s a good idea to allow a bit of time in the day before and after the session to relax.
When is therapeutic massage appropriate?
Therapeutic massage is ideal as an aid in the effort to cope effectively with stresses encountered in daily life as well as to address specific considerations. The process is designed to work in tandem with primary healthcare.
When is therapeutic massage not appropriate?
Although a health history is completed prior to every first session to determine if there is any reason massage might be contraindicated, always contact a licensed healthcare professional if there is any question whether massage may be appropriate. In instances such as bone fractures, the region around the fracture would be avoided, yet a generalized massage may be beneficial.
What are the benefits of receiving Therapeutic Massage Therapy?
Research shows massage reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphin levels, the body’s natural painkillers. Therapeutic massage enhances medical treatment and helps people feel less anxious and stressed, relaxed while at the same time more alert.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) the benefits of therapeutic massage are:
- Helps relieve stress,reduce anxiety and aids relaxation
- Promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness
- Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
- Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments
- Reduces pain and swelling
- Reduces formation of excessive scar tissue
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
- Enhances athletic performance
- Promotes deeper and easier breathing
- Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids
- Reduces blood pressure
- Helps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eyestrain
- Enhances the health and nourishment of skin
- Improves posture
- Strengthens the immune system
- Increases awareness of mind-body connection
Common contraindications to receiving massage:
- Acute infectious diseases
- Blood clotting (embolism or thrombus)
- Inability to feel pressure
Common contraindications which require medical clearance:
- Active cancer
- Hypertension and heart concerns
- Surgery within the past six months
Therapeutic Massage sessions may include:
Intentional massage provides a gentle, more passive approach to injury recovery, allowing the benefits of massage during times of physical trauma where conventional massage might be contraindicated.
Myofascial Release is a whole body hands-on approach to evaluate and treat the muscle and connective soft tissues of the body. Restrictions in these tissues can lead to postural misalignments and abnormal tensions that cause a lack of mobility and pain. Using specific positioning and/or intelligently placed gentle pressures, a release of these abnormal tensions, as well as restrictions may be experienced. This leads to improved postural alignment and increased mobility with little or no pain.
Myofascial release is not only helpful for chronic pain sufferers, but also for athletes. This technique will enhance their performance by allowing more freedom and fluidity of movement.
Deep Tissue, releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it also focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue.
Swedish Massage uses a system of long strokes, kneading, friction, percussive and vibration techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints. It is used primarily for full-body sessions and promotes general relaxation, improves blood circulation and range of motion, and relieves muscle tension.
Trigger Point Therapy (a.k.a. Neuromuscular Therapy or Myotherapy) applies concentrated finger pressure to “trigger points” (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain.