"Our bodies communicate to us clearly & specifically, if we are willing to listen." -Shakti Gawain
Therapeutic massage may date back more than 4,000 years, but it’s as relevant as ever. As one of the world’s first hands-on therapies, massage is still one of the most effective ways to ease tension, reduce stress, alleviate pain, and improve circulation.
What is massage therapy?
Therapeutic massage is a holistic technique, meaning it takes a whole-person approach to treatment. It involves the manipulation of soft tissues (including your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments) through rubbing, kneading, pressing. There are many styles of massage designed to meet a variety of needs, ranging from those that involve light, gentle strokes to those that use deep, kneading pressure.
How does massage work?
When a massage therapist manipulates soft tissues, it stimulates the transmission of electrical signals, both to the area that they're massaging and throughout the body. These signals, along with the healing properties of touch, help alleviate pain and tension, induce a sense of calm, stimulate circulation, heal muscle damage, and activate the lymphatic system to clear waste products. Massage also prompts the release of endorphins and reduces stress hormone levels.
What are common massage techniques?
In total, there are almost 100 different techniques of massage and bodywork, and each is designed to achieve a definite goal. Some of the most common types of massage are:
Deep tissue massage: This technique is often used to help heal traumatic muscle damage or release chronic patterns of muscular tension. It incorporates slow, forceful strokes to target deep muscle and connective tissue.
Swedish massage: This popular technique uses kneading, deep circular movements, long strokes, vibration, and tapping to affect the soft tissue structure of muscles. It enhances circulation, and relaxes and energizes simultaneously.
Sports massage: This type of massage is typically used to boost athletic performance by preparing muscles and joints for activity, or help athletes recover from the stress and strain of intense activity.
Prenatal massage: Performed by qualified massage therapists who understand the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and know how to address the needs that arise from those changes.
What are the benefits of massage?
Having just a single massage can leave you feeling relaxed and energized, both physically and mentally. Making therapeutic massage a regular part of your health and wellness routine can benefit you on a whole new level. Having massages on a regular basis can help:
Improve muscle tone, range of motion and joint function
Reduce chronic inflammation
Improve circulation and digestion
Boost immune system function
Reduce anxiety and improve sleep
Provide chronic pain relief
Reduce headaches or migraines
Therapeutic massage is an excellent complementary therapy to chiropractic care, as well. Used together, each technique enhances the other to achieve complete healing more efficiently.
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