What Is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy encompasses many different techniques. The specific kind of massage you receive will usually depend on what your physical condition is and what your needs are.
– Massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years. Massage is referred to in the ancient writings of Egypt, India, Japan and China.
– Massage therapists, in general, work on your muscles as well as other soft tissue in order to improve how you feel.
– In Swedish massage, tapping, vibration, deep circular movements, kneading and long strokes are used by the therapist.
– Sports massage is a combination of techniques from deep tissue massage and Swedish massage to help with releasing chronic muscle tension. This form of massage has been adapted to meet the needs that athletes have.
– The focus of Myofascial trigger point therapy is trigger points- these are areas of the body that are painful when they are pressed on and related to pain in other parts of the body.
– Sometimes massage therapy is done as a type of aromatherapy where essential oils are used.
What Science Has To Say About How Effective Massage Is
Much of the scientific research that has been conducted on massage therapy is conflicting or preliminary. However, a lot of the evidence does point in the direction of it having beneficial effects when it comes to pain and other kinds of symptoms associated with various conditions. It is suggested by much of the evidence that these are short term effects and that in order to keep deriving the benefits that people need to continue getting massages.
Researchers have studied how massage affects many different conditions. Some of the ones that have been studied most extensively include:
– Mental Health
– Infant care
What Science Has To Say About Side Effects And Safety Of Massage Therapy
When a trained practitioner performs massage therapy, there appear to be few risks to it. However, there are some precautions that massage therapists should take for certain health conditions.
– Pregnant women in some cases should avoid having massage therapy. If you are pregnant, speak to your doctor or other health care practitioner before you get a massage.
– People who have conditions like low blood platelet counts or bleeding disorders, as well as individuals taking anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) like warfarin, should avoid deep tissue and forceful massage.
– Massage should not be performed on wounds or other areas of the skin that are potentially weak.
– Intense or deep pressure shouldn’t be used in areas where a patient has had cancer or a tumor, unless the patient’s physician approves it.
Recent studies that have been sponsored by the NCCIH are investigating the effects that massage has on various conditions.
Studies in progress that are supported by the NCCIH are investigating:
– The length and frequency of massages needed for effectively addressing neck pain.
– How progressive muscle relaxation and massage therapy compare when it comes to reducing chronic lower back pain for patients who have been referred by primary care practices.
– How massage therapy effects cancer-related fatigue.
– Whether or not generalized anxiety disorder is help by massage.
– Comparing the effects of a Swedish massage 8-week course to the usual care on function and pain in adults who have osteoarthritis of the knee.
Certification, Licensing and Training
In the United States, massage therapists are regulated by 44 states and also the District of Columbia. Massage may also be regulated by counties, cities and other forms of local governments. Requirements and training standards for massage therapists can vary a lot, depending on the locality and state.
A majority of states regulating massage therapists require a minimum of 500 training hours from an accredited school or training program. Practitioners who successfully pass a nation and exam and fulfill all of the other requirements are certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
– Massage therapy should not be used as a replacement for conventional care or delaying seeing your health care provider regarding a medical issue.
– If you currently have a medical condition and aren’t sure whether massage therapy is appropriate, talk to your health care provider about your concerns. The professional might also be able to recommend a massage therapist to you.
– Whenever you are considering a massage therapist, be sure to ask about their credentials, experience and training. Also ask bout insurance coverage, cost and how many treatments may be needed.
– For additional tips on locating a massage therapist or other type complementary health practitioner, see the page on How To Find A Complementary Health Practitioner located on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) website.
– Make sure to inform all of your health care practitioners about complementary healthy approaches that you are using. Provide them with a complete picture of everything you are doing in terms of managing your health. That will help to ensure safe and coordinated care. See the NCCIH campaign called Time To Talk for tips on how to discuss complementary health approaches with health care providers.