Massage Therapy

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is the term used to describe any of the hands-on treatments where a trained therapist manipulates the muscles and soft tissues of the body, in order to ease pain, relieve muscle tension and improve the overall health and well-being of an individual.

While massage therapy focuses on the body as a whole, the main systems of the body being targeted for relief are the musculoskeletal, circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems. Massage therapy is also a relaxing form of therapy that is beneficial for people who are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, or for those who simply want to take time out to relax.

Massage therapy is practiced in a number of settings including private massage practices, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, offices and sports venues.


The benefits of massage therapy

Massage therapy may help to:

  • relieve muscle or joint pain
  • relieve stiffness of the muscles and joints
  • improve the function of the circulatory system, and increase circulation
  • improve the function of the lymphatic system
  • boost the immune system
  • help treat sports related injuries or injuries from accidents
  • promote restful sleep
  • reduce tension, stress and anxiety
  • calm the nervous system
  • relax the mind
  • promote feelings of well-being

What are the different types of massage therapy?

Many different types of massage therapy can be utilized by a trained masseuse. A wide range of unique massage techniques may be selected to meet people’s differing needs and preferences.

The most common form of massage therapy is Swedish massage. This type of massage is usually the first type of massage therapy that massage therapists learn when they begin their training, although most go on to learn and specialize in different forms of massage therapy.

Swedish massage is both invigorating and relaxing, consisting of techniques that range from long, soothing and gliding strokes to more vigorous techniques such as kneading, friction and tapping.

Some other types of massage therapy include:

Aromatherapy massage: Aromatherapy massage is similar in style to Swedish massage, although, in this type of massage therapy, more emphasis is placed on the longer gliding strokes that relax the body and soothe the mind. Another major difference between aromatherapy massage and Swedish massage is that aromatic essential oils are used in aromatherapy massage; aromatherapy practitioners believe that these oils have a therapeutic effect on the mind and body.

Deep tissue massage: This type of massage therapy uses techniques that apply more pressure to the muscles of the body than those used in Swedish massage therapy. Deep pressure and friction are applied in this type of massage therapy, in order to realign muscles and connective tissue and break up any scar tissue that may have formed as a result of prior injury.

Myofascial release: In this type of massage therapy gentle pressure is applied to the muscles while the limbs of the body are positioned and maneuvered in order to stretch muscles and connective tissue (fascia). Myofascial release is believed to be beneficial for people that experience pain resulting from pre-existing injuries or long-term health conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Onsite massage: Onsite massage therapy, sometimes referred to as chair massage, takes place in businesses and offices and aims to help workers relax and prevent damage to the back, neck and shoulders caused by sitting or working at desks for long periods of time. This type of massage therapy takes place with the recipient fully clothed and sitting upright in a special, portable massage chair.

Sports massage: Sports massage is a type of massage therapy that is often used to treat professional athletes and other people who regularly take part in sport of any kind. Sports massage therapy can help to prevent muscle cramping and possible tissue damage during peak output. Because massage can help relax muscle tissue and enhance blood flow, it is believed that massage may also enhance athletic performance.