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Massage therapy is an age-old traditional therapy used to heal and cure a number of ailments. The therapy uses a number of techniques for relief one from illnesses and physical conditions. Massage therapy has been used in different cultures around the globe to deal with health-related purposes. There has been much of speculation on the origination of the massage therapy, but the word massage has originated from Arabic word ‘mash’ that also means, ‘to press softly.’
The massage therapy has shown a number of benefits in dealing with physical ailments like body pain, stress, infant care, headaches, fibromyalgia and many others. Massage therapy has originated in the latter half of the 18th century as Swedish massage. Much of the credit goes to Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839).
Benefits of Massage Therapy:
- Relieve back pains, thereby improve mobility.
- Reduce the medicinal dependence
- Help pump oxygen and nutrients to vital organs and relevant tissues to improve circulation.
- Help in post-surgery swelling and adhesions
- Treatment of spasms and cramps.
- Loosens up muscles
- Soften stiff muscles and relax overused muscles.
- Reduce Migraine pain and headaches
- Reduce Maternity pain
- Improve joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Improve the skin
- Release endorphins
- Enable tissue regeneration, aid healing scarred tissue and stretch marks.
- Helps in improving and building up immunity.
How is it followed?
Massage therapy is followed in different styles.
- Lomi Lomi massage
- Swedish massage
- Sports Massage
- Remedial massage
- Reiki massage
- Prenatal and Postnatal massage
- Neuromuscular therapy
- Manual lymphatic drainage
- Hot stone massage
- Infant massage
- Indian Head Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Bowen Therapy
- Deep Lymphatic Therapy
How is it done?
Each massage session ranges between 60-90 minutes; the session takes place in a quiet and closed room.
- The patient has to lie down undressed on the table; the therapist covers the parts of the body that are not to be worked on.
- The therapy is commenced by applying oils, talc or any other substance all over the body.
- The massage therapy goes through a series of four stages of healing- relief, repair, strength and maintenance.
- For providing relief from aggravating pain, the therapist also uses hot and cold compress packs to stimulate the blood flow, reducing tension on muscles and sensory nerves.
- Repeated massages can also help in treating weak joints and tissues.
- The massage therapist may recommend monthly or bi-monthly maintenance to cure the ailments depending on the urgency and the requirement.
Are there any studies showing the research efficacy?
There are a number of researches, which show the efficacy of the massage therapy.
- The Researchers at the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami, Florida, have shown efficacious results in terms of reducing anxiety and depression, increase levels of natural killer cells that boost the immune system, ease PMS symptoms, relieve back and muscle pain, lower high blood pressure and re-invigorate office workers.
- The tests conducted at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, administered positive results showing that the therapy could reduce stress and anxiety as well as improve the quality of life in cancer patients.
How can you get started with it?
People suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety should undertake the therapy.
- The Massage therapy improves the circulation and digestion.
- The therapy has shown significant result in treating migraine, as well as insomnia.
- Start the treatment with the guidance of an experienced massage therapist. Discuss the treatment points and pain areas with the therapist to get the necessary treatment.
Any precautions, contraindications, interactions?
When going ahead for the massage therapy, there are a few precautions that should take care of.
- Massage therapy should not be taken during the first three months of pregnancy.
- The therapy should not be done on fractured bones, bruises and skin infection.
- Always consult a doctor before taking a massage therapy for ailments like cancer, personality disorders, phlebitis, acute back pain, psychotic illness or any undiagnosed pain, thrombosis, varicose veins, lumps or bumps.
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