Massage is not just about relaxation and working out the kinks in the body – though clinicians do not fully understand the mechanics of massage, the therapeutic impacts of massage are obvious and many.
Massage can be used for pain reduction, for rehabilitation after a sports injury, it can help control depression and anxiety and reduce stress, reduce chronic neck and lower back pain, and it can increase an overall feeling of wellbeing.
A survey showed that as many as 18 million American adults received some sort of massage therapy in the year 2006 so clearly massage therapy is a popular choice for people.
However the following points should be kept in mind about massage therapy –
- Discuss with your regular doctor the idea of initiating massage therapy, and take into account any precautions suggested or concerns that he or she may have.
- Consider the financial implications of the massage therapy – the duration of the therapy and if your insurance covers it.
- When initiating massage therapy, inform the therapist about any health conditions that you have, medications that you are on, and share all other relevant health related information. In particular if you are on any blood thinning medication, or have a low blood platelet count or a bleeding disorder, tell the therapist about all of this beforehand.
- Massage is not recommended to be performed on any area of the body with open wounds or scabs, or injury such as a fracture or at the site of a surgical incision. Also if a person has any bone related conditions such as osteoporosis, massage may be inappropriate.
- Massage is shown to improve well being and lower stress in cancer patients; however massage therapy, particularly deep tissue massage, should be cleared with one’s oncologist.
- Many pregnancy women may benefit from massage; however the kind of massage that is appropriate during pregnancy may differ from regular methods, so it is best to work with a massage therapist who is experienced in dealing with pregnant women.
- Consider the kind of certification that the massage therapist has. Some physiotherapists may also be trained in massage. Or the therapist could be certified or licensed as an Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP), Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), or have passed an exam or received a certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
- It is also prudent to inquire after the amount of experience that a therapist has; particularly in respect of others who have had medical conditions similar to any you may have.