Many cultures around the world use forms of massage for wellness and pain management. What was once considered a luxury, is now a regular part of health maintenance for many.
What is massage?
Most forms of manual therapy incorporate massage in one way or another. These include Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Manual Osteopaths and of course, Massage Therapists. There are also many alternative medicine modalities that use massage such as Thai Massage or Reflexology.
Massage is a general term that describes the application of pressure and manipulation to the soft tissues of the body. There are many types and pressures that have different affects on the body, but the goal of them all is improved health and wellbeing.
In North America, the most popular techniques are:
Swedish massage – This is what people typically think of with it’s slower rhythmic motions, kneading and vibration movements. Great for soothing tight muscles and providing a deeply relaxing effect overall.
Deep tissue massage – Slower, deeper strokes that targets deep layers of muscles and tissue that is used to restore the normal tone and function of a muscle.
Sports Massage – Many Swedish techniques are used and the goal is to work with issues related to sports and active lifestyles.
Trigger Point Massage – Focusses on releasing specific tender points in the body to relieve pain and tension and restore proper function.
Lymphatic drainage massage – Assists in moving the flow of lymph through the body, which is helpful for cases of swelling and water retention.
Thai Massage – The fastest growing massage modality in the west. This stretching and compression style massage is performed fully clothed and is like a good session of yoga without you having to do the work. Just zone out for this deeply restoring and relaxing experience.
Massage is for more than just relaxation and muscle tension. Studies have shown promising results in the area of anxiety, headaches, fibromyalgia, stress related complaints like digestive disorders, injuries and pain syndromes.
The hands on aspect also provides the benefits of touch, which is an instinctual way of soothing pain and tension.
Your therapist can help you determine the best techniques to use for your specific concerns.