Massage has been used since ancient times for its therapeutic and healing properties and is still widely used in modern as well as traditional societies. It can help to promote health, wellbeing, relaxation and also improve healing.
We look at what is massage therapy, the different types of the therapy, their uses and their applications.
What is massage therapy?
The skin, superficial and deep muscles, the connective tissue, tissue, ligaments, digestive organs as well lymphatic system is targeted in this therapy.
Systematic touching, stroking, tapping, kneading and pressuring movements of the hands or other parts of the masseur’s body; sometimes other implements are used in massage.
Various types of unction (oil, lotion) may be used for massage therapy. One of the reasons why massage therapy is very popular is the fact that it has few if any side effects so long as a trained professional proffers the massage.
What are the different kinds of massage?
To understand what massage therapy is, we need to know about the different types of massage. Though Swedish massage, which uses long strokes, vibration, kneading, tapping and deep massage, is among the most popular techniques in the West, there are many others as well.
In addition there are other types of massage such as acupressure massage and barefoot deep pressure massage.
Then there are specific massages such as lymphatic drainage massage, myofascial release massage to heal specific problems. Postural integration, Qigong massage, reflexology massage, self-massage, stone massage, shiatsu massage and Thai massage are some of the other popular types of massage therapy.
What is massage therapy useful for?
Though many mainstream practitioners tend to dismiss massage as having no measurable health benefit, there is evidence to show that massage therapy can be useful in many different ways.
In fact massage as a means of rehabilitation after an accident or an illness or as an aid to recover from sports injuries is well known. It can help improve range of motion, flexibility and may also improve healing.
Massage can help ease headaches and chronic pain as well. It strengthens the immune system, which in turn improves health and healing.
Its efficacy as a relaxation aid is also well established. It promotes relaxation and helps reduce stress and also improves sleep. It calms the nervous system and promotes a sense of wellbeing.