A massage is a service in which someone goes to an individual who’s skilled in knowing how to press the muscles of the body to alleviate aches and pains. These individuals are known as massage therapists and are trained in how to use touch to bring relaxation.
Getting a massage used to be seen as a sign of pampering and was done at expensive spas. But today, massages offer a lot of benefits and are often offered at a variety of locations – including a doctor’s office.
There are different types of massages. Among the ones that you can get are a general massage, a deep massage, a Swedish massage and a therapeutic massage.
What Is a Therapeutic Massage?
This type of massage is one where the service focuses on reasons that may not necessarily have anything to do with simple relaxation. Therapeutic massages are usually done with a goal of rehabilitation for the patient in mind.
Under the heading of therapeutic massage, you’ll find that there are different purposes for the massage that are supposed to target different muscles or joints. You can have a sports massage under this heading.
You can also have a neuromuscular massage, a trigger point massage, or a myofascial massage. Sometimes, neuromuscular massages and trigger point massages are referred to as one and the same.
In a therapeutic massage that’s for neuromuscular purposes, a variety of pressure is placed on the area that’s causing the pain for the patient. This variety of pressure is held for a few seconds and can be performed using the fingers in an open hand massage or with the hands closed to use the knuckles.
In using trigger point specifically, certain areas of the body are targeted for the therapeutic massage using pathways. You have these pathway locations on both the front and the back of your body.
An example of one on the front is the external oblique and for the back, it could be the lower trapezius. If someone is using therapeutic massage for myofascial benefit, it means that they’re usually seeking massage help for chronic pain that’s caused by the trigger points.
Trigger points can cause pain to travel throughout the body, which is one reason that therapeutic massage for trigger points can eliminate pain. For people who experience short term or long term pain, one of the things that a therapeutic massage does is reduces or eliminates pain – making it easier to go about your day.
Numerous studies have shown that a therapeutic massage can be used to manage pain and as a result of this information, it’s often recommended by doctors as part of a healing process or as part of a therapy treatment.
What Are the Benefits of a Therapeutic Massage?
There are plenty of benefits, both physical and emotional, to getting this type of massage. When you get a massage, it can reduce inflammation throughout the body because it boosts the immune system.
It also gets rid of pain. Like a regular massage, a therapeutic massage can alleviate muscle pain that’s caused by stress – especially stress that’s caused because of having to deal with a long term situation.
It can also be used to address specific injuries that can be the result of exercising or from playing sports. When you have an injury to a muscle, the natural tendency is for people to want to baby the muscle.
They don’t want to use it, so they try to protect that muscle, thinking that if they just give it a few days off, they’ll be good as new. But what therapeutic massage can do – besides stopping the muscle pain – is ease the tightness in the muscle.
When a muscle is injured, it will tighten up – and this tightness contributes to the pain that you feel. Depending on how long you go without using that muscle, it can affect the muscle tone.
People who’ve experienced a trauma to the muscle can benefit from therapeutic massage because it helps give back the muscle tone. It also makes the muscle more flexible, which helps prevent further damage.
The massage can help improve the range of motion that you have – even if you’ve experienced a muscle or joint injury in that area. When you get a therapeutic massage, it can even help you get rid of nausea that can be a side effect of some medications or a result of disease.
This type of massage can help your immune system work better, too. One of the biggest complaints among patients that doctors often hear concerns back pain. There can be any number of reasons for back pain, but one of the number one causes is muscle strain.
For people who are prone to back pain, a therapeutic massage can help people be better able to deal with – or in some cases even eliminate – the pain. People who undergo this type of massage often report that their energy levels increase after a series of sessions.
There are emotional benefits to getting a therapeutic massage. In studies, it’s been shown that having a therapeutic massage can help people deal with emotions like anger, anxiety disorders and depression.
The reason that the massage helps with emotions is because it affects the chemical processes in the brain. The massage causes the cortisol levels go to down, which is linked to high blood pressure and higher levels of stress.
People who deal with emotional upheaval, whether it’s long or short term, often end up with physical illness because the stress triggered by the rising cortisol can weaken the body’s response to illness.
When you get a massage, the brain releases a boost of mood leveling neurotransmitters. There are even some beauty benefits to getting a massage. When your body is massaged, whichever area is being worked on will experience a boost in blood flow. This helps improve skin tone!
Who Should Get a Therapeutic Massage?
Having a therapeutic massage is a good idea for anyone from the young to the elderly, but there are some people that it can be especially helpful for. Having a series of these massages can be a great idea for anyone who’s beginning a new exercise program and they want their muscles to stay flexible.
When your muscles are flexible, you have a greater range of motion and are less likely to experience any possible injuries. For that reason, athletes can benefit from a therapeutic massage.
Not just to help them deal with any injuries to the muscle they experienced from playing, but to help them prevent any damage to the muscle before they play. Getting the massage helps them limber up and be able to play relaxed.
Some people are surprised to learn that pregnant women can benefit from having a therapeutic massage. With the use of a table that’s specifically designed to accommodate pregnant women, the massage can give you relief from a number of symptoms often associated with pregnancy.
The massage can help you get rid of stress and headaches. It can also help with muscle aches and joint stiffness that being pregnant can cause. Pregnant women often experience lower back pain and tiredness.
The massage can help relieve the back pain and restore energy by boosting the serotonin levels. One thing that many people have in common are headaches. You can have headaches that are caused by stress, which lead to tension headaches.
Or, you can suffer with migraines. The massage helps end the pain that you’re experiencing because it relieves the tension by pressing the trigger points. For people who are struggling with high blood pressure, there are a lot of symptoms that go along with that – such as chest pain, dizziness, and not feeling well.
The massage can help relieve these side effects. There are hundreds of thousands of people who struggle to live their day to day lives with illnesses that drain their energy and cause them pain throughout their body.
Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are one example – and so is fibromyalgia. For people with fibromyalgia, just getting through a normal day can make them feel as if they’ve run a marathon.
A therapeutic massage can relieve the painful muscle and joint aches that people with this condition have to deal with. The massage can also help alleviate the stress of having to live with a chronic health condition.
For a variety of reasons, some people struggle with insomnia. This condition can lead to all sorts of muscle aches, headaches and even depression. Massage can help relax the body, relieve tension, ease the muscle aches and alleviate the depression – enabling the person struggling with insomnia to get a good night’s sleep.
People who have disabilities that can cause painful muscle cramping or twisting can benefit from this type of massage and so can anyone having to deal with a minor or even a major injury.
Therapeutic massage is especially helpful for women who experience trouble during their monthly cycle. If you’re someone who regularly battles PMS or bloating, the massage can help relieve the systems and make you feel better.
How to Find the Right Massage Therapist
Whether you’re someone who’s new to getting a therapeutic massage or someone who has relocated and needs to find a new one, there are some steps that you need to take in choosing your specialist.
Having the right massage therapist is important because you want someone who’s professional that you can trust. Don’t use the services of a massage therapist who isn’t licensed.
This helps protect you to make sure that the person conducting the massage is trained on how to massage without causing damage to your body. You’ll want to make sure that the massage therapist keeps good records of your visit.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, because record keeping will ensure that you get the best possible massage every time that you come. Your therapist will be able to have a record or a timeline regarding your treatments and that way he or she can tell if something is working or not.
Areas of the body that don’t respond to massage therapy can signify a greater problem – and by keeping records, your massage therapist will be able to spot this.
Second, you want to make sure that records are kept for insurance purposes. There are many insurance companies that will pay for massage therapy, but usually only if the therapist is licensed by the state.
You want a therapist who knows the different massage styles and is willing to take the time to explain what you need from the session and how it’s going to benefit you.
The relationship is a partnership of sorts – and you need to be completely comfortable with the massage therapist. There are some common questions that your therapist should ask you.
She should ask you if you’re coming in for a general therapeutic session or you’re seeking treatment due to an injury. You should also be asked if you’re under any kind of stress that could be contributing to the way that your body is feeling at the moment.
She should ask if you’ve recently experienced any kind of emotional trauma – such as a move, the loss of a loved one, a divorce or a difficult medical diagnosis.
This is because your emotions are connected with your physical health. She should also ask you what it is that you want to concentrate on in your first session – such as are you looking for an all over therapeutic massage, or do you want her to focus on a specific area?
You should also be asked how often you’d like to come in for a visit. You should be ready to ask some questions of the therapist. You’ll need to know up front what the cost is per session.
You’ll also want to discover if the practice takes your insurance or if you have to pay out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed. Find out how long the therapist has been in business.
It’s usually best to have someone who has been doing it for awhile. Ask if the therapist has ever worked specifically with your condition if you’re seeking therapeutic massage for a health issue.
It isn’t difficult to find a massage therapist. You can search using a search engine online or you can check out the local spas in your area. Many of these offer sessions with licensed massage therapists.
You can also ask someone that you work with or friends and family to recommend someone who can help you. Another good place to check is to ask your family doctor if he or she is aware of a qualified massage therapist.
Checking with local chiropractors is also a good way to find one. If you have a session with a therapist and you don’t feel comfortable or the professionalism is in question, then don’t hesitate to seek another one.