What is Massage Therapy

Massage4Life offer more information about massage therapy.

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Massage is the practice of soft tissue manipulation with physical (anatomical), functional (physiological), and in some cases psychological purposes and goals. The word comes from the French massage “friction of kneading”, or from Arabic massa meaning “to touch, feel or handle” or from Latin massa meaning “mass, dough”. ] An older etymology may even have been the Hebrew me-sakj “to anoint with oil”. In distinction the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was frictio.

Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.

In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully or partly unclothed. Parts of the body may be covered with towels or sheets.

Sports Massage

Sports massage concentrates on the specific areas injured or overused during sporting activities. It helps to prevent injuries and release tension that has built up in the soft tissues, like muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage refers to the pressure applied during the massage. Most of the tension that builds up over time starts deep down in the soft tissues, like muscles, tendons and ligaments. To release that tension more pressure needs to be applied to target the problem areas.

Remedial Massage

Remedial Massage literally means assisting/providing remedy. If soft tissue is causing aches and pains a remedial massage can help give pain release by targeting the specific area.

Pregnancy Massage

During pregnancy women can often have aches and pains due to all the changes occurring to the body. Tension in the back, neck, shoulders and hip area, swollen ankles and hands and sciatica are fairly common. A massage during pregnancy can help stress relief and aid relaxation.

Benefits of Massage

Massage has many benefits:

  • Physiological changes offer a drug free, non invasive approach to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal itself. This occurs by increased blood and lymph circulation which promotes tissue repair, reduces inflammation and helps fight infection.
  • Physiological changes occur as the body releases endorphins (the natural feel good hormones). Massage can reduce pain by blocking signals sent to the brain (‘the gate control theory of pain reduction’). It can also encourage relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.


Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck and shoulder pain is extremely common especially due to the fact that we spend most of our time sedentary in front of the computer. This causes the soft tissues especially muscles to tighten up due to overuse.
Overuse soft-tissue injuries will benefit from a massage treatment by preventing fibrosis (the formation of scar tissue) and it also provides stretching and helps to loosen contracted, shortened muscles with restricted range of motion. Massage can stimulate weak and flaccid muscles and this muscle balancing can improve posture and encourage more efficient movement. Massage will also help prevent further injuries, like tension headaches and repetitive strain injury.

Help sports injuries with massage

Massage helps to prevent and support the healing of injuries. Many overuse soft tissue injuries will benefit from a massage by preventing fibrosis (the formation of scar tissue) and by influencing the secretion of specific fluids (for example nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphate) necessary for tissue repair. The increased circulation of blood and lymph promotes tissue regeneration, reduces inflammation and helps fight infection.