When we think of “massage,” we often think of luxury spas or a private masseuse. Over the years, massage therapy has become more widely available and convenient, with locations in airports, shopping malls, hotels, and businesses. Massage therapists use specific movement on the body’s soft tissue areas to help relieve tension, enhance well-being, and loosen muscles. Massage dates back to the beginning of mankind but was not used as a form of therapy until around the 1950s. Massage transcends cultures and languages to comfort, heal, and support.
Types of Massage
As massage has evolved through the years, so too have the types of massage available. The most common, Swedish massage, uses long, smooth strokes, lotion or oil, and circular motions on muscle layers. Deep massage involves forceful strokes in order to work deeper muscle layers and tissue. This can be helpful after an injury that has caused muscle damage. Sports massage helps to loosen muscle and is great for anyone who has an active lifestyle or is involved in some type of athletic activity. Aromatherapy has been a part of the healing realm for thousands of years, using extracted oils to aid in relaxation and improved circulation.
Benefits of Massage
So why get a massage? For starters, massage therapy can reduce anxiety, lower your heart rate, and reduce depression. It can be effective in treating muscle tension, soft tissue injuries, and headaches. Although not a replacement for medical care, massage can be a source of relief for certain diseases or conditions. Each massage therapy session differs, depending on preference. Some therapists may use oil or lotion, some work while you lie on a table, while for other sessions, you may sit in a chair. Many locations offer couples massage. For the best relationship with your massage therapy, honesty is key. Be upfront about any allergies you have or if you experience pain during your massage session.
Finding a Massage Therapist
When it comes time for you to find a massage therapist, it is important to do your research. First, the therapist you choose should be state certified or licensed. Ask any potential therapist how much training and experience he or she has had, and if they have references. Malpractice insurance is helpful, as is knowing upfront what the session(s) will cost you. Be sure your insurance will cover the therapy if needed. It may take a few tries before you find the therapist you are most comfortable with, so feel free to ask questions.
Massage is For Everyone
Massage is not just for the rich or the privileged; long branded as only for the elite, massage therapy is beneficial not just for your physical health, but your emotional and mental well-being as well. If you believe you would benefit from massage therapy, speak to your physician, ask family, friends, or co-workers for references, or check out local state-certified therapists in your area. Discover the goodness of massage therapy and experience for yourself a relaxed mind and body.