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Therapeutic Massage: A Healing Touch for Body and Spirit

Therapeutic Massage: A Healing Touch for Body and Spirit

Got stressed after an all-day work? Do you feel like you are carrying the burdens of the world on your shoulders? If so, then why don’t you consider a relaxing and enjoyable touching experience in the hands of professional massage therapists? A therapeutic massage after all is widely practiced and is highly available these days.

But what is a therapeutic massage?

A therapeutic massage is in the first place a healing technique of stroking or kneading the soft bodily tissues. It mainly involves a combination of gentleness and strength as far as touch is concerned, and this is what basically offers a massage experience that is unparalleled in alleviating pain and stiffness.

There are a number of benefits that a therapeutic massage can offer. Generally speaking, the practice provides relief to all kinds of people, from all walks of life. But the question is, a therapeutic massage provides relief for what? Well, I have grouped the therapeutic massage benefits into two: treating the body and healing the spirit.

Massage for the Body

A therapeutic massage treats the body in many ways. On the most basic, the technique addresses a variety of health conditions; perhaps the most prevalent of all is the stress-related tension. I have based this idea actually on the experts’ findings that the stress-related tension accounts for 80% to 90% of the disease.

Another notable idea about the benefits of therapeutic massage is that it works on eliminating the cancer-related fatigue, including sleep disorders, low back pain, diabetes, injury on the spinal cord, immunity suppression, autism, high blood pressure, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, postoperative surgery, as well as age-related disorders, to mention but a few.

Here is a short list of the other physiological effects of therapeutic massage:

* Softens and relaxes the injured and overused muscles.
* Increases circulation, thus allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
* Reduces cramping and spasm
* Increases flexibility of the joints
* Stimulates the lymph system against toxic invaders
* Releases endorphins, which is the natural painkiller of the body
* Improves range of motion
* Decreases discomforts for patients with low back pain
* Provides relief for migraines

Although that said, it is important to note though that there are certain conditions where a therapeutic massage is not recommended. Examples of these conditions are:

* Some skin conditions
* Certain forms of cancer
* Infectious diseases
* Phlebitis
* Some cardiac problems

So before you opt for a therapeutic massage, it’s best to talk to your practitioner first regarding your specific health conditions. Try to determine first if therapeutic massage is really best for you or not.

Massage for the Spirit

Therapeutic massage is also deemed beneficial for the spirit. Numerous researches and findings can support this claim. Perhaps one of those is the reports revealing that a number of adults who have undergone therapeutic massage have cathartic experiences on the massage table. From this reaction, many experts have concluded that the gentle and strong touch of the therapist poses a great effect to the emotions of the person being touched. The massage may remind him or her that he or she is not alone in this fast-paced world.

Now, to know further the physical and emotional benefits of a therapeutic massage, there is one particular move that you can do – start considering a good massage in the loving hands of a trained professional massage therapist.

Sports Massage

Sports Massage

I guess may of you have heard about sports massage and its techniques and benefits. But, although everything about sports massage has already been said, there is nothing much nicer than continue learning new things about the massage and reviewing what you have learned from it. It is for this fact that this article is written.

Sports massage, as you may know, is a form of massage that is applied for sports purposes, hence the name. It is the technique of kneading and manipulating the soft tissues in the body to help athletes improve their performance, prevent and treat sports injuries. It is highly considered in the field of sports knowing that as the participation in sports becoming more popular at all genders and ages and as performances continue to improve annually, more is expected and demanded from the athletes. It is with this situation that athletes start looking for some effective ways to boost their performances, and sports massage is one of the best solutions they’ve ever discovered.

What Happens During a Sports Massage Session?

Sports massage is typically used in three courses: before, during and after the athletic events. Before the event or the application of the massage, it is typical that the sports massage therapist will take a sort of medical history to determine your past and present health condition. Included in the study is the relevant information about your particular sport, your past and present health condition, and the injuries that you may have suffered. This special check up is considered for the notion that every sports massage treatment will be unique to every individual and the sport. So as individuals and sports differ, with different athletic goals and state of fitness, the response to the treatment will also be different.

There are other sorts of examinations that will be undertaken throughout the sports massage session. More of these tests are aimed at boosting your strength and flexibility, so it’s no wonder that also considered during the session is a pain-free range of movements. Well, all of the manipulations involved in the massage are “hands on”. The sports massage therapist will then employ a combination of exercises and massages for one particular purpose, that is, to strengthen and release the soft tissues in the body for them to function properly. But, the question is, is sports massage a treatment that involves only “hands on” manipulation? My answer to that is “No” as there are some instances that machinery and infrared are considered for added benefits.

Sports massage also involves the use of different techniques of massage, such as neuromuscular therapy, acupressure, soft tissue releases, and trigger point therapy. These techniques are usually combined, but when it comes to treating sports injuries, the type of massage that is commonly considered is the so-called remedial massage. With this technique, athletes are expected to feel energized, balanced, and ready for new action in the end.

What Makes Sports Massage So Special?

Sports massage offers a number of benefits to the athletes. As mentioned earlier, it helps to make the athlete feel good, but more to that, the massage has the power to reduce the blood pressure and the heart rate. Numerous studies also revealed that sports massage helps to improve the lymphatic and blood flow, enhances flexibility, and provides relief for pain and muscle tension. All of the techniques involved during the massage session are even deemed ideal for promoting greater athletic performance and endurance, for reducing recovery time, and of course, for lessening the chances of sports injury. All of these are possible with sports massage.

Things you should know before carving a career in Massage therapy

Things you should know before carving a career in Massage therapy

Massage therapy clinics have become the haven where people stay during weekends to get that much-needed relaxation. And with much publicity from celebrities in Hollywood, it has become part of the American lifestyle.

With the onslaught of massage therapy clinics in the country, more and more people are considering a career in it. After all, the pay not be as high but people will be raking in a lot in tips for good service. In fact, people who work in these clinics make their living out of these tips. This is especially true if you are working in high end massage therapy clinics in New York and in the Beverly Hills area.

But if you think that becoming a massage therapist is as easy as filling up an application form, it’s not. In fact, before you start kneading and massaging, you need to be first trained and certified. Because of the popularity of massage therapy clinics in the country, therapists have been regulated by the government. Unlike before when anyone can just work as a massage therapists, now the industry is more discriminating.

So if you are thinking of getting yourself a career in massage therapy, know first that it is not easy but not impossible too. Here are some of the things that you should consider when you are determined to carve a name for yourself in this fast-growing industry.

No federal regulation for the industry

Having just boomed in recent years, massage therapy is still not regulated by federal laws. Only state laws are being used in this industry right now. This means that when you go from one state to another, different laws will apply. In fact, in Canada, only three states have so far regulated the practice— Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland. The other provinces have yet to formulate their own regulations about the practice.

This can get confusing especially when you are looking for a career in massage therapy outside your mother state. For instance in Canada, massage therapists in the three provinces where it is regulated will carry a professional title that will distinguish them from other pseudo practitioners. Some will even have their own specialties similar to medical doctors.

These specialties are taken from the kinds of massages that they have expertise in: Acupressure, Hot Stone Massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu, Aromatherapy and a lot more. Some will of course have more than one specialty but each should come with a certification. They should also first have a license before they can be allowed to practice in that particular area. This is attained when they have submitted all the necessary requirements asked of them and have met the standards of the state or the province’s regulatory board.

These regulating standards often include a specific number of years in total training in any field or specialty. These training courses are not the usual massage lessons that you foresee. Often, these lessons include subjects similar to what medical doctors take: anatomy, pathology, physiology and physical therapy. Because of these regulations, people who already have a license can actually assess and treat health conditions and injuries just like a doctor.

So before you apply, make sure that you know first the state regulations. To know about them, you can go to massage therapy associations and organizations in the state. Their websites will surely have the current regulations prevailing in the area.

The benefits of massage therapy

The benefits of massage therapy

It may only have exploded in recent years but the practice of massage therapy dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. And that is about 4000 years ago. In a clear reference to massaging, Hippocrates wrote in one of his medical notes that physicians must know the practice of ‘rubbing.’

Now, massage therapy cannot just be called as ‘rubbing.’ With most of the young Hollywood getting a massage or two every week, it has become the toast of the social set. Its popularity can be seen with the way a lot of massage therapy clinics have opened shops in the last few years with many more planning to in the next couple of months. Currently there are about 100,000 massage therapists in the country and the numbers are increasing two-fold.

Massage therapy in the scientific terms is the process of putting pressure on muscular structure and soft tissues in the body for relaxation. Pressure in this instance can mean a lot of things, from holding and pressing to kneading and rocking. Massages are primarily done with the hands although some massage therapists also use other parts of their bodies like the forearms, elbows and the feet.

Its popularity is actually not surprising especially with this stressful world. Many people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation and regeneration. And unlike other de-stressors, massage therapy is scientifically based and its advantages are all research proven. Besides its physical benefits, it also known to improve the overall wellbeing of the mind and the spirit.

Below are some of the benefits that massage therapy gives us.

1. Relaxation

This is the number one reason why people coming back to the clinics. After a week of stress in the office or at home, people especially women, just want to relax. Massages are great for the skin as it stimulates the release of toxins and hormones. In fact, some studies have even shown massages as being able to lower the possibility of wrinkles production.

2. Relieves pain

Another benefit of massage therapy is the fact that it can loosen those tight muscles especially if you frequently have cramps on your legs. Going to the clinics can also relieve you of your tired and aching muscles. This is especially useful with people who are into sports or those who live the active lifestyle.

3. Makes you a better athlete

People who are into sports can also benefit much from massage therapy. If you feel that your muscles have become tight and rickety, massages can improve on your flexibility and also increase your range of motion. If you get massages all the time, you will notice that you can now do movements that were painful to do before. Massages also improve the body’s resistance. It lowers the blood pressure, heart rate and even helps in recoveries from injuries and sprains. It also strengthens the immune system.

4. Improve mental faculties

Massages are also great ways to improve your mental performance. It can actually reduce mental stress, allowing you to work better and think clearer. It is also known to relieve headaches. Massage therapy also allows you to concentrate better on the task at hand. After a massage, you will basically have a clean slate in your mind that is equivalent to the restful therapy that sleep gives.

Aromatherapy Is a Unique Form of Massage Therapy

Aromatherapy Is a Unique Form of Massage Therapy

Aromatherapy is a unique form of massage therapy because of the oils that are used during a session. The therapist may use one from more than 90 oils to provide psychological and physical benefits to the body.

Most of the oils used for aromatherapy come from natural ingredients. Examples of these include herbs, milk powders, hydrosols, sea salts, sugars, clays and mud. It is frowned upon when some use synthetic ingredients.

It is widely practiced in the US and in Europe and integrated into holistic treatments. Aside from oils, aromatherapy can be using candles and bath salts which allow you to enjoy it in the comforts of your home.

Aromatherapy is used to treat various health conditions. These include allergies, bruises, burns, diarrhea, bronchitis, colds, ear ache, energy, flu, headaches, insomnia, menopause, nervousness, scars, sprains, stress, shingles and wounds.

For home treatment, you can buy these oils off the shelf and then use it whenever you feel like it. These are easy to spot as they are all packaged in small bottles with the name of the oil and the ingredients that are used. If you are not familiar with the oil, you can open it and smell it to see if it is worth buying.

With the oil in your possession, you only have to add 2 to 3 drops like eucalyptus, tea tree or rosemary in hot water. You then hold your head over the bowl and then inhale the fumes. For other problems, you can apply oils to baths and compresses.

Aromatherapy per se is not designed to treat any major illness. It can only relieve minor problems so before you try aromatherapy, it is best to first consult with a doctor.

If you decide to go for a massage, talk with the practitioner about your medical history and current physical condition. Knowing how you feel is the only way for him or her to determine what oil should be used for the session.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should never undergo aromatherapy as the scents from the oils could be harmful to the infant.

For those who want to know more about aromatherapy, they can read it in books or in the Internet. There are also classes that can people of all levels can join so they can learn how to mix the oils together.

The benefits of aromatherapy as mentioned earlier are psychological and physical because the scent simulates the brain to trigger a reaction and at the same time supply therapeutic relief. A good example is eucalyptus oil which is known to ease congestion.

When the oil is applied to the skin, it is absorbed by the bloodstream and aids in certain health, beauty and hygiene conditions.

If you want to learn more about aromatherapy, you can take up classes. Here you will learn how to mix the oils together and create your own concoctions. Most programs will cost a little over $500 and with it, the materials to be used during the sessions.

Aromatherapy is a unique form of massage therapy because you don’t need physical contact all the time to get relief. You can inhale it or bathe in it. It is truly, a holistic form of healthcare that is worth checking out.

A Choice between Swedish and Ayurvedic Massage Methods

A Choice between Swedish and Ayurvedic Massage Methods

Various influences in massage therapy have cropped up leading to the creation of several methods that differ in techniques but offer the same health benefits. The Swedish and Ayurvedic massage both have different origins and use contrasting styles but contribute a lot to achieve a healthy and relaxed body. With all the kinds of massage therapy programs available today, it has become really difficult for people to choose.

The Swedish Massage, which is also known as the classic or traditional massage is the most common massage therapy method and is usually preferred by the majority of people. It is characterized by long and flowing strokes which relax muscles, improve joint flexibility and aid in better circulation.

The first stroke is known as effleurage, involves long, gliding strokes from the neck down to the base of the spine or from the shoulder down to the fingertips. It is also done on the limbs with all strokes directed toward the heart to aid blood and lymphatic flow. The therapist uses his whole hand or a thumb pad. This technique is done for familiarization of the person’s body

Next is petrissage that consists of the gentle lifting of muscles up and away from the bones, then rolling and squeezing them, with a gentle pressure. It generally involves rolling, squeezing, or pressing the muscles to enhance deeper circulation. It increases circulation through eliminating toxins from muscle and nerve tissue.

Friction, the third technique and the most forceful one is characterized by deep circular movements using fingertips applied near bony areas and joints and it relaxes the muscle fiber which enhances flexibility in muscles and joints.

After friction, another technique called tapotement is done. Tapotement is a series of quick forceful movements made by striking or tapping the muscles with the hand. It can be applied with a closed fist, fingertips and the edge of the hand. It releases tension and relieves muscle cramps.

Lastly, the therapist uses vibration or shaking that entails the pressing of hands on the back or limbs and shaking in a rapid motion for a few moments. It improves circulation and muscle contraction and is beneficial to people with low-back pain.

On the other hand, Ayurvedic massage originated from India and its aim is to create harmony and balance within the individual and it aids in the removal of toxins and rejuvenation of the body. It was not practiced publicly until Indian practitioners decided to roam around and give muscle, joint and back massages

Ayurvedic massage is based on a special system that includes the knowledge of Ayurvedic and Greek systems of medicine which is focused on Ayurvedic doshas and marmas or pressure points. Muslim massage techniques were also adapted in this system.

Ayurvedic massage techniques uses specific oils that suit your dosha and depends on your being. One is the Abhyanga-Garshana which comprises of skin brushing followed by an oil massage, Udwarthanam which is a slimming massage that uses herbal powders and the Ayurvedic foot massage which is a deep massage where the therapist uses his feet.

Now with enough knowledge on both Swedish and Ayurvedic massage, a person has of course the privilege to choose among the two which best suits his/her style of relaxation. But with both massages having unique techniques, the choosing part can be a little tricky though.