Therapeutic Massage: A Soothing Way To Destress

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:18
Posted in category Anti Depressants

Massage can help to relax you, and also has health benefits. Learn here what therapeutic massage is, and how it can help you feel better.

“Massage is the reason I’m able to remain independent,” says Bette Friend, who lives with the daily pain of fibromyalgia and chronic pain. “My quality of life is better because I get regular massages,” says the Fargo, North Dakota resident.

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) estimates that each year, Americans visit massage therapists about 75 million times and spend between $2 and $4 billion on massage.

The estimated 160,000 U.S. massage therapists treat sports injuries, insomnia, stress, back pain, repetitive stress injuries, muscle pain, headaches, chronic pain, and help their clients ease tension and anxiety.

Healing Hands Massage is a healing art that uses touch to manipulate the body’s soft tissue. You’ve probably heard about the different kinds of massage: Swedish, Shiatsu, Acupressure, and Deep Tissue massage. You’re probably familiar with Swedish massage, which uses long strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of muscle.

Massage increases the blood and lymph flow, soothes the central nervous system, and increases oxygen in the blood. It also increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers that are stimulated during exercise.

Who Gets Massages? But massage has emotional benefits, too. Most people who get regular massages feel a sense of well-being and relaxation following a massage. And touch is healing for people of all ages, especially those who are “touch deprived,” as a result of divorce or widowhood.

Pregnant women can also benefit from the healing touch of massage. One study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami showed that pregnancy massage decreased anxiety and stress during pregnancy and lowered the amount of obstetric and postnatal complications.

Ron Venk, a licensed massage therapist in New York City, believes the recent surge of interest in massage is related to our increased awareness of the importance of exercise and relaxation in our busy lives. “My clients come in for massage for much-needed relaxation of mind and body. After a session, they’re better able to recover from pain related to tension, work stress, or injury.”

According to Steve Olson, president of the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy gives us a good indication of what is going on in our bodies, and helps us discover what is causing our pain or discomfort. “Your body may be telling you that you need to be more careful when you sit at the computer for long periods of time, or that you need to buy a new mattress or practice better posture.”

While massage can benefit most everyone, before you get a massage, let your therapist know if you have any of the following: tuberculosis, arthritis, skin infections, circulatory ailments, recent surgery, diabetes, phlebitis, or cancer. Be sure to tell her if you’re pregnant.

What Happens During Massage? A massage lasts about an hour. The therapist will ask about your medical history and any physical conditions or concerns. You will then be asked to remove as much clothing as you are comfortable with, cover yourself with a sheet or towel, and rest on a padded massage table. During the massage, the therapist will uncover only the part of your body that she is working on at the moment, and she will work on one part of you at a time–your head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, legs, and feet.

The therapist will use oil, so be sure to let her know if you are allergic. Some therapists play music or light candles. Always discuss your preferences with your therapist–whether you’d like to talk during the session or get worked on in silence. Also, let your therapist know if anything she does causes pain, if you are cold, or uncomfortable.

How to Find a Qualified Massage Therapist The AMTA has established standards that have been incorporated into many existing state licensing laws. At least thirty states, plus the District of Columbia have legislation regarding the licensing of massage therapists. Make sure your massage therapist is licensed and that she’s been trained at a school whose curriculum meets the standards set by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. Ask whether she is certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

Finding a compatible massage therapist is like shopping for any other health practitioner. Shop around until you find a therapist you can communicate with. Ask your friends, relatives, and your doctor for a recommendation. With massage becoming more popular, chances are someone you know is getting regular massages. Then, just lay down, relax, and feel your tension melt away.

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