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What is a Massage and What are the Effects?

Updated on February 7, 2012

So what exactly is a massage?

Well to get technical and look up the medical definition of a massage, it is the working of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being. Generally speaking, massaging involves working and pressing on the body with pressure on certain places and with certain movements with the desired effect being relaxation. A good massage can help you relax, as well as remove pain. Massages usually target a large number of muscle groups and joints, and massage therapists try to reduce pain, tension, kinks, knots, and worry. They use specialized techniques, state of the art equipment, and years of knowledge to help heal people. Massages very in type, what kind of equipment and tools are used, how long, what techniques are used, what parts are focused on, and more, and even can include couples massages, but in generality, a massage is one person or a person using a machine, or a person performing techniques on themselves, that relieves stress and pain, discomfort, tension, and worry. Typically, most people believe that a massage is done lying down and the massage is performed by rubbing on the back, and this is one of the most common forms. Massages can be performed clothed, partially clothed, or fully naked. It really depends on the person, and the type of massage. When fully naked massages are performed though, the use of towels to cover the body is generally practiced.

The Beneficial Effects of Massage's

Medical research in massages has revealed that there are benefits to getting a massage, such as pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression, it helped reduce blood pressure (temporarily), as well as heart rate, and state of anxiety. Some people believe but yet to have proven that it also helps block nociception or the gate control theory (this activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and that helps stimulate the release of endorphin's and serotonin), helps prevent fibrosis and scar tissue, and that it can help even improve sleep. Due to the nature of massages though, it is hindered from reaching gold standards of scientific research, as placebo-controlled and double blind clinical trials are not possible. Developing any kinds of standards couldn't be possible as even light massages could have possible effects on an individual. Some of the benefits of getting a massage only one time can include pain relief, reduced anxiety, and lower blood pressure and heart rate. Getting multiple sessions of massage therapy can do all of that, as well as helping to reduce depression, trait anxiety (persons general susceptibility to anxiety, or that a person will have less anxiety), and although not scientifically supported, may help improve the quality of life of those with diseases. Some of the benefits of getting couples massages is closer intimacy as well as relaxation together, and getting to spend quality time with your spouse or loved one.

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