Being a massage therapist is most definitely an exciting career, as you gain immense satisfaction from the health benefits you bring to clients. For people who have ever been in physical or emotional pain, the impact of the masseur’s work is, without question, impressive. Here we explore these health benefits and open up the positive effects on more people who could enjoy the results.
What is massage?
A massage is an ancient form of healing therapy, perhaps one of the oldest. It has been practised through millennia by people, from the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians. All these cultures have been convinced of the power of massage to treat ailments of the body and mind.
Massage is the manipulation of muscle and connecting tissue. The therapist with manual work with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, holding, moving and applying pressure. There are many therapeutic techniques to be learned and used, with varying levels of intensity.
What are the different types of massage?
Different types of massage will be used to achieve various health benefits. Myotherapy, for instance, is the assessment and treatment of soft tissue pain and injury. This therapy aims to maintain the health and return function to structures in the human body.
Remedial massage is a form of rehabilitation massage for biomechanical dysfunctions or injuries and involves mobilisation techniques. Therapeutic massage is also known as Swedish massage and is popular for relaxation and the improvement of blood circulation.
Aromatherapy marries the benefits of massage with those of essential oils proven to have therapeutic benefit; for instance, sandalwood is reputed to reduce nervousness.
Reflexology is a massage of reflex points on the feet that aid other parts of the body. It is a way of stimulating the body’s natural healing properties.
Shiatsu massage is an oriental massage technique that improves energy flows around the body. This massage uses many of the same theories as those used by acupuncture.
Finally, there is sports massage, which uses deep massage techniques to improve the recovery of overworked muscles and enhance performance.
The conditions massage is known to help
There is a lot of research to support massage as part of a treatment plan for a range of conditions. We are likely most aware of the relief of subacute and chronic low back pain. Working to relieve the spasm and stiffness of muscle can do a lot to reduce the discomfort, though it should always be carried out by somewhere capable of working without causing more problems. The same is true of most soft tissue injuries, which can be effectively treated with manipulation.
Massage is perfect for dealing with DOMS. If you have ever taken part in significant exercise, you will be well aware of the consequences of delayed onset muscle soreness. For professional sportspeople, massages are a crucial part of the recovery process, allowing them to perform again in the next match, race, or game.
What is less well known is that massage can also be a successful treatment for mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, and insomnia. The therapy can create feelings of relaxation that can give moments of respite from challenging emotional turmoil.
The benefits offered by massage
The physical impacts include reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, stimulation of the lymphatic system, reduction of stress hormones, increased joint mobility and flexibility, improved skin, recovery of soft tissue, and more.
However, the most immediate impact of massage is the feeling of calm and deep relaxation. Massage prompts the release of endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters that produce feelings of wellbeing. This can help reduce mental health concerns and have the physical effect of lowering blood pressure.
Is a massage always good for me?
While there are lots of positives to massage, there are some instances when you should avoid massage or seek the advice of a professional. For example, during pregnancy, a massage by a general practitioner might not be appropriate. There are prenatal massages available, but these need to be done by a trained medical professional.
You should also avoid massages where there are skin rashes, cuts, or infections, as the oils used as part of the massage could further irritate the skin. Equally, if you have suffered a fracture or break to a bone, you shouldn’t receive a massage.
People with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer can benefit from massages, but it should be done again under medical supervision. The massage stimulates blood flow, and this might be counter to proper healing practices in such circumstances.
Massage is an excellent way to improve health. With the proper manipulation of our body structures, we can feel our physical and mental health benefits.