- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Therapeutic Massage Benefits
Over the years the medical massage field has grown by leaps and bounds. For much of its existence it was considered just a massage that helped people to relax and eliminate stress. The Chinese have records dating back to the year 3000 BC referring to therapeutic massages. There are also biblical references to olive oil and myrrh massages. (Esther: 2:9-12) Even Hippocrates, known as The Father of Medicine, encouraged its use.
In fact, throughout history, there have been recorded descriptions of massages helping to heal the sick and injured. But it didn’t really come into its own until the 1800s. Eventually, the practice became known as massage therapy or clinical/medical massage and now occupies a position of respect within the medical community.
Massage therapists work with soft-tissue muscles of the body relieving backache, muscle pain, headaches and migraines. It is also used to treat depression and stress. The therapy is usually not performed in a spa setting, though many do offer some services. Normally, the therapy is done in a clinic and involves treating the deeper muscles of the body.
The therapist must have an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology and many states license them. To do deep tissue medical massage they are usually required to have an even higher degree of education. Massage therapy has become so popular many businesses are now offering on-site massage programs to their employees as part of their wellness programs.
According to researchers stress is responsible for about 75% of all disease including skin diseases, headaches, migraines, digestive disorders, high blood pressure and heart-related diseases. Also included in the ever growing list of stress maladies are backache, muscle pain, poor eyesight and depression.
Some other things therapeutic massage treatments are being used for are:
· Spinal curvatures such as scoliosis and lordosis
· Pain from injury or stress
· Respiratory conditions from tension
· Cardiovascular conditions
· Temporomandibular joint syndrome
· Correcting body posture
· Musculoskeletal disorders
· Eliminating body toxins and reducing swelling
Massage therapy includes much more than knowing the proper techniques. Therapists must know a client's full medical history to fully assess a client's problems before deciding the correct type of massage techniques and treatment. There are several massage therapy specialties referred to as modalities. They include acupressure, reflexology, Swedish massage and neuromuscular massage. Heat and cold packs are often applied along with hydrotherapy to relax muscles and make them more responsive.
The purpose of massage therapy is to relax traumatized muscles affected by repetitive action, accident or extreme stress and return them to their natural state. This is done by improving the motion range of joints and muscles involved through improved circulation. With circulation restored, accumulated lactic acids responsible for muscle pain can be flushed out. This is usually followed by slow stretch exercises designed to bring them back to flexibility.