What is Massage Therapy?
Massage is a widely accepted therapy used to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues to relieve pain or muscle tension. This is done by applying differing pressures, movements, and techniques to the muscles or tissue to relieve pain and stiffness as well as muscle difficulties of tightness, spasms, inflammation and fluid retention.
There are a myriad of different massage styles that are used today. However, all these styles use a form of pressure on the muscles or tissues. A massage therapist will use hands and fingers to press, rub or stroke the muscles—and sometimes even forearms, elbows, or feet to produce the desired results for pain relief and muscle relaxation.
How does massage therapy work?
When muscles and tissues are stimulated, blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells and muscles and then carries away harmful products that have built up in the muscles such as lactic acid, caused from tension, strain, injury or spasms.
What are the benefits of massage therapy?
Benefits include improved blood circulation, muscle flexibility, increased range of motion, and increased tissue elasticity in the muscle and skin (such as to overcome the effects of scar tissue).
Many seek massage therapy for reduction of tension and pain management such as the following:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Herniated and Slipped Spinal Discs
- Lack of range of motion from injury or surgery
- Muscle spasms
- High blood pressure
What typically happens during a massage therapy session?
The therapist will use either his/her hands or specially dedicated tools to steadily knead, rub, stroke, press and manipulate muscles to stimulate circulation.
During a massage therapy treatment session, the massage therapist may begin by warming up the muscles with a massage contained to the muscles around the affected area, such as the lower back or neck. Massaging the muscles first will increase blood circulation and relax the muscles and other soft tissues of tendons and ligaments. This is followed by the more extensive exercise of working the affected muscles by applying different pressures, movements and techniques to alleviate the pain and promote healing.
Are there different kinds of massages?
There are over 80 different kinds of massages with differing techniques and movements. Some of the most common are:
- Deep tissue massage
- Full-body massage
- Swedish massage
- Myofascial release
- Trigger Point and Myotherapy
- Lymphatic massage
- Thai massage
- Reflexology (zone therapy)
A note to consider
Be sure to always counsel with your doctor before seeking massage therapy for back pain or neck pain.
To see how the benefits of massage therapy can help you, contact American Fork Chiropractic and Accident Rehabilitation. Call our office in American Fork Utah at 801-210-0669 and speak with Dr. Anderson, our resident American Fork chiropractor.