Massage therapy is a way to increase circulation to tense, strained muscles and other soft tissue. Behind this treatment is the belief that improved circulation and relaxation lead to better health and well-being.
Massage therapy can be used to increase blood flow, relax muscles, relieve stress, and revitalize the body. The method of massage that’s used depends on the goal. It may include vigorous kneading and rubbing. Or it may be a more subtle, gentle touch, such as light tapping.
Massage therapy may be done using a wide range of techniques. The type you have depends on the massage therapist’s training as well as your preference. Here are some common types of massage therapy:
Swedish massage: Long strokes and kneading motions to relax muscles
Sports massage: Various techniques to enhance athletic performance and aid recovery after exertion
Oriental massage: Pressure applied to targeted points to enhance the body’s own healing energy
Massage therapy can relieve many aches and pains. Your discomfort may have come from simply going about daily tasks or after doing physical activity. No matter what the cause, massage therapy may give you a boost in circulation as well as pain relief. This may help you feel both relaxed and revitalized. Other benefits may include improved joint motion and reduced stress.
Before you decide whether to get massage therapy, talk with a massage therapist. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:
What is your training? How long have you been practicing?
What massage techniques do you use?
Have you treated problems like mine?
What can I expect on a typical visit?
How long will treatment take and how much will it cost?
Do I need to prepare in any way?
Will I need to undress?
Research massage therapy in your local library, on the Internet, or contact:
American Massage Therapy Association www.amtamassage.org
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork www.ncbtmb.org
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