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Massage or massage therapy is a system of structured palpations or movements of the soft tissues of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement; effleurage either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms ; petrissage lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin ; or tapotement striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand. These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
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Massages have been used as a healing and relaxation technique for thousands of years. By manipulating the tissues and muscles of a recipient using a combination of pressure, rubbing, stroking, and even heat, various health benefits have been observed. According to the American Massage Associationrecent research shows the benefits of massaging for a variety of issues:.
Based on data collected between July to Julyhere are the primary reasons people in the US get a massage:. There are over 80 known massage types out there, each with its own unique characteristics. Being aware of what different types of massages can do for you is an first important step in maximizing the benefits you derive from it. So without further ado…. Michael Leahy.
20 most common types of massages and their benefits explained
The idea of Active Release Therapy originated for elite athletes to return to peak performance as quickly as possible, without the long-windedness of a full massage. ART treats minor soft tissue disorders within the:. Active Release Technique, though originally developed for athletes, can be beneficial for anyone.
It directly aims to release built-up scar tissue within the deep muscle, which occurs when the muscles are overused for an extended period of time. Muscle overuse happens from long bouts of exercise, as well as normal daily activities like walking, grocery shopping, a more active job such as a teacher or construction worker, etc.
ART Specialists are trained in over specific stretching techniques. These techniques cover all major muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings; upper back; shoulders; and chest. Each individual is unique, therefore there are no basic steps for a completion of an Active Release Therapy session. However, the overall protocol remains the same:. ART sessions can last anywhere from minutes and should never occur more than once a week, unless specifically addressed by the specialist. The Swedish Massage is the most widely known and used style of massage therapy.
However, it was a Dutchman named Johann Georg Mezger that developed the French terms for the basic strokes of the massage style. These five stroke methods are used to relieve anywhere from mild to intense muscle pain, and the severity of each stroke reflects the amount of tightness held within the muscle. More specifically, Swedish massage has been shown to help alleviate:.
Swedish massages can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, unless a special case, and can be performed on any individual. However, if the person has past aches, pains, or injuries, it is best to let your masseuse know before continuing with any massage therapy. Myofascial release is the most rudimentary type of massage therapy — so much so, in fact, that the individual does not need outside assistance to complete it!
Myofascial release describes the breaking down of tight fascia, which is the fibrous layer of connective tissue above the muscle and under the skin. Fascia is what allows our body to move and hold different bodily positions, and when we feel surface-level muscle tightness, it is generally the fascia that is bunched and not the muscle underneath. There are also two different styles of myofascial release techniques: active and passive.
Active release therapy is when the client is tensing the affected areas, and is normally used with any of the above instruments. Passive release jtherapy is when the muscle is completely relaxed, and is normally used during soft tissue mobilization and trigger point massage. Any individual can choose to either have a massage therapist inact myofascial release techniques upon tight muscles, or you can choose to do it yourself.
It is more beneficial, however, to receive trigger point massage therapy to relieve fascia strain. Generally, this is the process:. Generally, myofascial release sessions can last up to a half hour, and can be utilized by anyone with tight muscles. In fact, myofascial release — while somewhat painful if using a direct method with a massage therapist — should be sought out first when dealing with tight muscles, as it serves many more direct benefits than a classic massage. A medical massage is normally met with heaps of controversy, as it typically adopts many different styles of already present massage therapies.
These include: deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, osteopathic techniques, and cranial-sacral techniques.
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However, a medical massage is still heavily utilized for decongestive therapy, which helps with breast cancer; pain alleviation; and palliative care, or dealing with the issue by focusing on surrounding pain and not the issue itself. Overall, medical therapy can be used to treat a wide assortment of physical and mental ailments, such as:. Most anyone can benefit from medical massage therapies, though the degree of how much it helps varies from case to case.
There is still some scrutiny about how much medical massage aids in mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, though classic massage has been shown to alleviate some mood swings and increase relaxation.
Revisiting reflexology: concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training
Acupressure, or acupuncture, is a form of trigger point massage therapy that utilizes needles. It was originally developed as a facet of ancient Chinese medicine, and is used most commonly for pain relief. However, many consider acupuncture a and because its methods are not based in scientific fact.
Acupuncture is also not considered to have long term benefits. However, many still utilize this practice for pain relief in the low back, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain, among other muscle stiffness and t pains. Acupuncture can be performed in most clinical settings and massage parlors, though a skilled practitioner and clean needles are a must. Generally anyone desired an aversion to needles, and some who do, can participate in acupuncture therapy. Acupuncture is much more direct than other forms of massage therapy, and is brilliant for delving into the deep fascial layers.
Typically, an acupuncture session is carried out by the practitioner pinpointing the affected areas and gently sliding the needle in to increase, and then alleviate, the pressure. There are also four different diagnostic methods:. The needle is generally inserted very quickly to minimize pain, and can be spun, flicked, or moved up and down to manipulate the fascial tissue. Sessions vary in length, depending on the of needles inserted and to how many areas, and how much the back can withstand pain.
Cupping therapy is another massage technique that is ridiculed because its basis is not backed by more scientific fact. Cupping therapies can actually be dated back to BC, and since then has been used as an official method for short-term pain relief and for increased movement and blood flow. Though cupping is seen as a pseudoscience and is claimed to have no health benefits, others swear by it for short-term health benefits.
Studies are still inconclusive about the good or bad traits of this massage practice. Craniosacral therapy is a gentle and non-invasive form of massage therapy that was developed in During a session, the client lays fully clothed upon the massage table while the therapist makes light contact with trigger point areas all along the massage, though normally focusing on the foot, torso, knees, and feet.
This contact includes a combination of practices adopted from osteotherapy, bone-setting, and chiropractic work.
A session is meant to relax the patient into a state of sacral harmony. Nerve endings along the spinal cord are meant to work more harmoniously at the end of a session. In fact, some patients are so relaxed at the end of a craniosacral therapy session that they fall asleep or enter a dreamlike state. Craniosacral therapy sessions also involve a lot of in-depth talking with your practitioner so that they can find the true source of your pain or discomfort.
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Sessions can last anywhere from one to two hours, and can be performed on any aged patient. Trigger point therapy, which is often mistaken for pressure point therapy, deactivates trigger points anywhere along the body that may cause mild or severe pain. Painful trigger points can result in muscle strain, pain, or even headaches. Trigger point therapy was first mapped by Janet G. Travell, who worked with President Kennedy, and David Simmons.
However, it was not until that trigger points were mapped with MRI scans. Generally, trigger point follows very similar protocols as other massage practices. A tender and painful spot is found, and pressure is applied to relieve this pain. However, unlike classic massage, trigger point delves deep into the fascial layer to release tension at the neuromuscular junction NMJwhich differentiates it from other massage therapies.
Trigger point sessions can last anywhere from ten minutes up to an hour, though it is normally intense and somewhat painful, so some caution for longer sessions apply. It can also be utilized by any aged patient, and is generally reserved for intense, painful muscle strain. The Thai massage has been utilized since BEand for good reason.
A classic Thai massage is an ancient practice that combines Indian Ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and some assisted yoga poses to alleviate painful muscles tensions. A participant is clothed during the session in loose-fitting clothes. While muscle relaxation is the goal, the practitioner utilizes pulling, stretching, compression, and rocking with the patient instead of hands-on body work through kneading and pressure.
As each practitioner and participant have their own styles, each session is different. However, some basic guidelines still apply:. All of these criteria must be met, though each therapist has their own personal style. During a session, which varies from practitioner to practitioner, the body is broken up into ten varies zones: five on the left and five on the right. It is also thought to release some hormones, such as dopamine or endorphins, to help alleviate pain. However, this evidence is not entirely backed by research. Therefore, reflexology can be utilized for short term and mild pain relief, but should not be sought out for severe medical problems.
Even still, any aged person with mild pain can utilize reflexology, and sessions can last up to an hour for more extreme cases. Biodynamic is another form of pseudoscience therapy. It was developed by Gerda Boyesen in Norway in the s.
However, it did not become a rock-solid, teachable therapy until approximatelywhen Boyesen established the Gerda Boyesen Training School. Unlike most massage therapies, biodynamic focuses on re-regulating the digestive system. Boyesen believed that the digestive tract included two main functions: primarily, to digest physical foodstuffs, and secondarily to digest emotionally stressful situations. Only once the body is void of stress can the emotional system finally digest, Boyesen had argued.
Therefore, massage therapists wear a stethoscope during sessions to keep a better gauge on the GI Tract itself. Sessions can last anywhere up to an hour, and any and all ages can participate. Generally, massage therapists will manipulate skin, bone, muscle, fascia, and auras through a series of touching techniques.
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Reflexology is basically a study of how one part of the human body relates to another part of the body.
Choose your desired level of pressure, whether you need a strong massage to relieve built up tension, or a gentle and tranquil experience.