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Massage Therapy

Updated on February 12, 2015

Relaxing and Energizing Massage

Massage therapy dates back over 3000 years ago. It is a form of alternate healing.
Massage therapy dates back over 3000 years ago. It is a form of alternate healing.

Deep Tissue Massage

Massage therapy worked wonders for my mother. She went from one doctor to another for chronic neck and back pain, without much relief. Finally her physician recommended massage therapy. Her treatment was a few times a week. After the first week she was pain free. The insurance paid for a few weeks of treatment. My mother felt great for a while.

Like some chronic problems the pain came back. She set up her appointment to find the insurance would no longer pay for treatments. Insurance is all another story. Making appointments when she could no longer handle the pain and knowing she had to pay for it herself.

Massage therapy works on the direct targeted tissues being treated. Various application techniques involving rubbing, kneading, tapping, compression, friction, vibration, and pressure is applied to the muscular structure or soft tissues of afflicted area on the body. This is done manually with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. Or with mechanical aids of various massage equipment with applied manipulating pressure.

Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system.

Energy and proper circulation is often restored to the areas of chronic pain. A massage has other benefits which include relieving stress, tension, arthritis, fatigue, bursitis and depression. Some therapist claim that it reduces high blood pressure, beneficial on diabetics, helps immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation and more.

The type of massage therapy my mother went for is called the deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, deeply rooted stress, or recovery from injury.

Read below for other types of massage.

Massage Therapy Types

While there are many more types of massage therapy, here are five of the most popular types.

Deep Tissue Massage: Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Usually takes a few treatments before the body feels complete relief. This is the type of massage recommended for chronic pain.

Swedish Massage Therapy: Most common type of massage therapy in the United States and it also known as Swedish massage or simply massage therapy. Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil.

Hot Stone Massage: Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage. This involves heated, smooth stones which are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body.

Aromatherapy Massage: Along with massage therapy, scented plant oils called essential oils are applied to the body. These oils are relaxing, energizing, stress-reducing and balancing the body. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender.

Shiatsu: A form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Holding each point for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm, and there is usually no soreness afterwards.

Acupressure Points Inside Hand

Massage Therapy Versus Acupressure

Massage therapy in general involves treating targeted areas directly with pressured motion of hands or mechanical devices on the body. This treatment is applied where the pain is located.

Acupressure is pressure applied to various points on the body. The most common areas are the hands, legs and head. These pressure points are not necessary where the pain is located. Application of finger or hand pressure is applied to points on the body, which are sometimes called acupoints. These points lie along invisible lines of energy flow called meridians. There are four to five hundred named acupoints along the meridians, some of which are associated with specific internal organs or organ systems.

This Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) goes back further than acupuncture and works in the same manner, except with pressure and not the needle.

Read more about these TCM treatments on Acupuncture versus Acupressure.

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The copyright to this article is owned by Sandy Mertens (sandyspider). Content is original and may not be used without permission from Sandyspider. (S. Mertens)

© 2010 Sandy Mertens


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    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      A good massage is something we all can use, Thelma.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      3 years ago from Germany

      How I wish I can have a back massage now. Sitting hours in front of a laptop writing is making my back ache. My favorite is Ayurvedic massage. Enjoy your week Sandy.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I know it had helped my mother when she had it done. Sorry you had a bad experience with the deep tissue one.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      3 years ago from West By God

      I have had a couple of tyes of massage therapy. I had a deep tissue massage and would not recommend that to anyone. I had a stiff neck for a couple of weeks after that. I have also had the full body massage and I recommend that and the longest one. Now that one is really good!

    • restrelax profile image


      6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      Very useful hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • HERBERT ubaldo profile image

      HERBERT ubaldo 

      7 years ago

      This is absolutely useful to all people of all ages.

      Voted Up. Congrats..

    • profile image

      iontophoresis with dexamethasone 

      7 years ago

      There really are many benefits to a good massage. I think too many people are scared of them because they are unfamiliar with it. I think it would do our stressed out world community some good if more people were to relax with a massage.

    • triosol profile image


      8 years ago

      very useful information. Very well Presented. Voted up.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Pollyannalana, I could really use a good foot massage. Is your husband available?

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      8 years ago from US

      I have a bad blood pressure problem and can only take so much of anything in a day so at least 4 or 5 times a week mu husband lotions my feet and lower legs, with me on my stomach, 2 coats, massaging and I can tell you it not only lowers my BP but usually knocks me out, lol.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Sage, I am glad you are starting to feel better. It is too bad about the way insurance does not cover things like this.

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      8 years ago

      sandy - I am right there with your mother I have been in chronic pain for over 3 months. I went to physical therapy all summer and left without any real results. I went twice a week. I was put in traction, had ultrasound treatments and iontophoresis with dexamethasone treatments.

      I was afraid to go to my massage therapist because I was told that my condition had to do with a pinched nerve.

      When all else failed I started MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction and Went to my massage therapist.

      I am grateful for both. My massage therapist believes it is all in the trigger points and muscles. I have another appointment tomorrow and can't wait. I am not close to being 100% just yet but had some terrific results after just one massage. I wish the insurance would reconsider alternative therapies.

      Great job on this article.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very relaxing indeed, in fact we have spa centers with experts to give you the treatment.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      pmccray, you are one lucky gal.

    • pmccray profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      Oh my . . I'm relaxed just reading this piece. I'm blessed to have a husband that gives me a message at least three times a month. Afterward I feel refreshed and revived. Excellent hub, voted up, marked useful and shared.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Rebecca and prasetio30, thanks for your comments. We should take care of ourselves first. So I been told.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information. When I felt weak and my body was fatigue, I try to get message therapy. After that I felt fresh in mind and I have new power. I also tried acupressure before and the result is the same, but we have to hold the pain during therapy. I really enjoy this hub. Vote up as usual.


    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      well I am going to have to try this, back pain is not anice thing, especially with kids!

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      cfleming1, never too late.

    • cfleming1 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Wow Sandy, you gotta lotta stuff here!

      I've never had a true massage and didn't really feel I was missing out on anything until I read your Hub. Drat! :-)

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      CMHypno,I have yet to try hot stone massage. Sounds great.

    • CMHypno profile image


      8 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Sandyspider, you have made me want to go and book a massage! The best massage I ever had was a Hot Stone massage in the Whitsunday Islands. It was divine and I was totally chilled out for days afterwards!

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Ign andy, you can read about Homeopathy in my Hub above. Good luck with your homedics.

    • Ign Andy profile image

      Ign Andy 

      8 years ago from Green Home Office

      Sandy, I did this once a week for the last two months, but I'm afraid for the next two month I could not enjoy human massage. Those homedics seems like a good alternative.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks Wendy.

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 

      8 years ago from Maryland

      Great information here.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks for your comments everyone. BKCreative, tool bad medical care is too stingy with coverage. Speaking of scalp massage. I had a beautician who gave the best scalp massage. She must have worked 20 minutes on my scalp with no extra charge. It was great.

    • wwkeen profile image


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      very informative hubs you have there Sandy. I do go to massage on those old days but it had been 2 years since my last massages.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Great info and a favorite subject of mine - I sure need one at the moment!

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love it - and it does work - it does make you feel good. I am just sorry we don't have access to this as part of regular medical care.

      The items you listed here are beneficial as well. If you can't get to a masseuse (or have one at home) - these little devices are the next best thing. And I will go use mine now after sitting here for hours.

      Children are surprisingly good at scalp massages. Mine are grown now but they were soooo useful.

      Thanks for the reminder to get a massage.

    • bgamall profile image

      Gary Anderson 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      This is nice anecdotal evidence for the benefits of massage therapy. I hope this information is found useful by many.

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 

      8 years ago from New York City

      Another great post, Sandy. I enjoy them all. Professionally done and full of good information.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      This is very useful information. I believe very much in exercise, stretching, massage, and relaxation to try to deal with pain whenever possible.

    • Sandyspider profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Glad to helped with this information. I would really like to set some appointments up too if I could afford it.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Wish I could afford the deep massage. It used to work well when I was in physical therapy 22 years ago.

    • ACSutliff profile image


      8 years ago


      Thank you for answering my question! I really appreciate this hub! It's amazing how people pump so many chemicals into their bodies to manage pain when they haven't even tried something as simple as massage therapy first. I will definitely keep this in mind.

      This hub is very well written.


    • WhiteOak profile image

      Eva Thomas 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I will agree, there is a lot of good information here. Well done.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I could so use a massage now :) very useful and thorough presentation


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