Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues in the body by a massage therapist, or healthcare provider. Massage therapy has been used for thousands of years for healing and relaxation. Now backed by science, massage therapy is used for a variety of purposes—from treating chronic injuries to simple relaxation.
Massage therapy technique is manual and hands-on. The massage therapist might also use his or her arms or elbows depending on the treatment. The massage can positively benefit more than just the muscular system of the body. It can affect the nervous, lymphatic, and circulatory systems as well.
The therapist must have extensive knowledge of the body’s systems and be sensitive to the client’s preferences. He or she will know which methods will meet the client’s needs. There are several types of massages. Some examples are: swedish, deep tissue, sports, and neuromuscular. A swedish massage uses gliding techniques and promotes general relaxation by easing muscle tension. Deep tissue massage uses greater pressure than a swedish massage, and aims to break up chronic muscular tension. A sports massage will address issues athletes are faced with from participating in a sport—combining swedish and deep tissue. Neuromuscular massage therapy specifically releases muscular tension using trigger points.