what is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is the manual handling of soft tissues. This is generally done by rubbing, pressing, and applying friction all over the body. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, connective tissues, joints, and ligaments. Different styles in techniques can range from long, smooth strokes to short and hard ones.

The massage therapy practice dates back thousands of years. The ancient cultures of Egypt and China believed in its therapeutic benefits. History credits Egyptians to be the first to practice reflexology. They, in turn, influenced Greek and Roman customs of their time.

Today, all across the world, the number of practitioners of massage therapy has grown at a steady pace. This is due to the increasing demand for it by a growing public. It has gained a well-received reputation of providing wellness and revitalization to the human body.

THE POWER OF TOUCH

During the first few days in an infant’s life, the loving touch of a parent or caregiver creates a sense of security. He continues to seek this welcoming touch throughout his life. It is because he realizes this helps build relationships and allows emotional sharing.

Touch provides the language of compassion. It is a language that is profoundly essential to humankind. It is no wonder why no matter the degree to which science has proven its effectiveness, people continue to seek out this form of therapy.

types of massages

Over the centuries, several types of massage techniques have evolved. 

ORIENTAL MASSAGES

Oriental massages refer to massages that intend to balance and harmonise the flow of ‘Qi’, or life force, by stimulating energy lines. These massages use the same pressure points used in acupuncture.

THERAPEUTIC MASSAGES

Therapeutic massages encompass those that aim to relieve pain, reduce stress, and focus on a specific problem area.

RELAXATION MASSAGES

Relaxation massages are forms of massage that involve gentle and flowing strokes. They aim to promote relaxation and relieve muscle tension.  They also improve blood circulation and increase range of movement.

what massage therapy can do for you

For some, a massage is a short-term intervention that helps speed up recovery from injuries. While for others, it is a long-term relief from stressed and hurried activities.

So many studies have shown massage therapy to be an effective treatment for reducing stress levels as well as pain and muscle tension. Stimulating the soft tissues of the body will release toxins. This, in turn, will loosen muscles, which will allow the body to achieve its full capacity of movement.

1. WELLNESS AND REVITALIZATION

Most research on the benefits of massage focus on how it can contribute to healing. But, some studies conclude that bodywork can also impact healthy people. It promotes wellness and relaxation. Decreased stress levels improve immune system function.

Studies found that Swedish massage is consistent in proving it improves sleep. The same research also found that Thai massage led to a sense of energy and revitalization.

2. RELIEVES PAIN

Muscular aches and pains are the most common reasons that drive people to seek massage therapy. Here are some of the known remedies it provides.

3. PROVIDES SUPPORTIVE CARE

Massage therapy can contribute to the supportive care of patients with terminal illnesses.

4. IMPROVES QUALITY OF LIFE

Patients experiencing debilitating challenges can still seek out an improved quality of life.

5. FOR PREMATURE INFANTS AND INFANTS WITH ILLNESSES

Massage therapy is a non-invasive and low-risk alternative medicine. Safety is especially vital when dealing with infants. Researchers found that massage can help infants with asthma and cystic fibrosis. 

Children with cancer also claim that massage therapy helps with pain and anxiety.  It also improves the quality of sleep of infants with congestive heart failure. 

Much evidence points to massage therapy as an effective solution. This is why many pediatricians include it in treatment guidelines for managing pain in pediatric patients.

Premature infants may be able to improve weight gain when given massage treatments. In contrast, there is no evidence to suggest the same benefits to full-term infants.

6. REDUCES RELIANCE ON DRUGS WITH OPIOIDS

Opioids are substances that produce a morphine-like effect. They provide medical benefits by relieving pain, like anesthesia. There are some illegal forms as well, like heroin. Some common side effects of using opioids are nausea and vomiting. Respiratory depression and physical dependence or addiction are also common side effects.

Massage therapy is demonstrating robust evidence in relieving many kinds of pain. It is for this reason that it is generating a lot of interest in the context of decreasing the need for the use of opioid drugs.

Massage therapy also provides a low-risk option compared to these substances. In response to this, policy-making organizations have published strategies that use it as a part of managing pain. This aims to move patients away from Opioid drug dependency.

body and mind wellness is within your reach

This article is only an overview of what massage therapy can do. There are much more comprehensive reports that delve into a more in-depth exploration of its capabilities.

It comes as no surprise why the number of massage practitioners in Australia has steadily increased. From 2005 to 2015, massage therapists all across Australia have numbered from 10,600 to 11,800 with an all-time peak of 16,900 in 2014. Statista estimates that by 2020, massage therapists will reach 15,100.

The reason those numbers have kept going up is that the demand from the consuming public has increased as well. The benefits gained from it are innumerable and encompass so many afflictions. 

More than that, massage therapy can contribute to a well-balanced mind and body in a significant way.

Ready to experience your very first massage? Let us take the privilege of helping you achieve your full potential!

The claims made in this post are not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Below is a list of the key references used in this publication: