August 12, 2019 3 min read 2 Comments

Massage Therapy

A massage can be one of the most relaxing things done to your body. Maybe you’ve been given a massage before by a friend or partner, and found it to be a fantastic experience, and are curious about what makes a massage so rejuvenating. Perhaps you have other questions, too, ranging from rudimentary to advanced.

What is a massage? Are massages good for you? Here are some answers to common questions about massages, and some intriguing information about the health benefits of a massage!

The definition of massage therapy

Different from a casual massage, the Mayo Clinic defines massage therapy as targeted manipulation of your body’s soft tissue with different amounts of pressure by a medical professional. Massage therapy’s key distinction from a regular massage is its educated practice; a massage therapist knows exactly which parts of the body to massage, and in the right way, to achieve a variety of effects.

Types of massage therapy

There are many different variations of massage therapy, each with their own indications and benefits. Healthline details 12 types of massage therapy, but some of the most common forms are Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports massages. A little information about these varying massage types can give you a better idea of what to expect when getting a massage!

  • A Swedish massage consists of long, gentle kneading in the direction of the heart, and is a great way to loosen up knots in muscle. It’s a perfect introductory massage for those new to massage therapy.
  • A deep-tissue massage is similar to a Swedish massage, but involves more focused manipulation and uses much more pressure. This is the best massage for those managing chronic pain or soreness.
  • A sports massage utilizes alternating light and heavy pressure on areas prone to injury during physical activity. A sports massage can both soothe pain from an injury, and help prevent them before engaging in any strenuous activities.

Finding the right masseuse

If you’re interested in massage therapy for any reason, you may have started to look for a massage therapist. You may also find that this can be a daunting task; there are a lot of massage therapists practicing out there, so it can be hard to tell which one is right for you. To make this easier, the Pain Science blog outlines some tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to see several therapists before choosing one long-term.
  • Be vocal about your needs! This helps a therapist choose the right kind of massage for you.
  • Look for a therapist with credentials, especially massage therapy certification, as well as those who have well-rounded medical knowledge.

Preparing for a massage

If you’ve found a great massage therapist and are ready for your first appointment, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do prior to your massage to improve your experience or boost your results. LiveStrong has some advice: Drink a lot of water, since hydration helps to prevent feelings of nausea that can occur after a massage since it’s a physically intensive treatment.

They also advise taking a warm shower beforehand to loosen up your muscles and keep you relaxed, making your tissue easier to manipulate. And before going to your appointment, put on comfortable clothes that don’t hinder your therapist’s access to your skin.


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