Massage therapy dates back much further than you might thing, spanning centuries and various different religions. There are several different types of massage therapy all used as a source of healing for muscles and numerous other soft tissues found within the human body. Massage therapy is used quite often within the U.S. as well as various European countries in conventional medicine, as well as complementary or alternative medicine, used to treat many different conditions and ailments.
Different Types of Massage
When you are discussing massage therapy, there are several different types of practices and techniques covered in the classification. There are actually around 80 types of massage, in which the therapist will rub, press, and manipulate the muscles and soft tissues. The different types may differ in intensity, location, movement, and pressure as well, with various techniques using the hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, or even the feet. The overall intent of massage therapy is the relaxation of soft tissues, while increasing the delivery of blood as well as oxygen, warming and decreasing pain. The different types of massage include:
• Swedish massage: long strokes, friction on muscles and joints for aiding flexibility, and kneading.
• Deep tissue massage: various patterns of strokes and deep pressure on tight or knotted muscles as well as soft tissue layers under skin.
• Trigger point massage: also referred to as pressure point massage, focuses on deep pressure on various pressure points
• Shiatsu massage: applies varying and rhythmic pressure with fingers to body to improve flow of energy from qi.
History of Massage Therapy
You may find it quite interesting as well as surprising that massage therapy dates back as far as thousands of years, even found in ancient writings from numerous cultures including:
• Ancient Greece
• Ancient Rome
During the mid-1800’s, massage therapy began making waves in the United States as a measure of promoting health through various medical uses. During the ‘30s and ‘40s, U.S. citizens fell back from massage therapy a bit due to the many great scientific and technological advances appearing in medicine, but regained popularity during the ‘70s, widely accepted in sports medicine and rehabilitation measures.
How to Receive Massage Therapy
There are many different types of massage therapists that are certified and trained in order to perform their job. Chiropractors and other health care professionals also will perform massage therapy to patients in need of pain relief and muscle repair. There are licensure classes and other courses available to practice massage therapy, allowing you to take advantage of the most appropriate and adequate massage therapy possible for any condition.
Side Effects and Risks of Massage Therapy
There are few serious risks that are attributed to massage therapy, but there have been very few reports of any serious injuries. Those injuries that have been reported have been connected to inappropriate heed to caution or the massage being given by someone not trained or licensed to perform such a medical treatment. However, massage therapy should not be a course of any medical treatment if you have one or more of various conditions including:
• Deep vein thrombosis
• Use of blood-thinning drugs (e.g. warfarin)
• Bleeding disorder
• Damaged blood vessels
• Osteoporosis, fracture, or cancer
There are also other conditions that may require special consideration and precaution including:
• Heart problems
• Fragile skin or healing scar
• History of physical abuse
Using massage therapy as a mode of treatment is quite common these days for a number of issues from injuries to rehabilitation from trauma or even overuse. Massage therapy is also used to improve conditions that may be developing due to various causes including pregnancy, sports, or any other activity or condition that can strain muscles and soft tissues. Use of massage therapy should be performed by highly trained and experienced, as well as licensed massage therapists, which will prevent improper massage techniques and practice.