It is now estimated that the massage therapy industry in the United States alone generates 12 billion annually! According to the American Massage Therapy College, an average of 39.1 million adult Americans massaged at least once last year. Today’s blog I’ve focused some ‘proven’ benefits of message therapy. I’ve also pointed out top massage techniques worldwide.
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What is massage therapy?
Massage therapy is defined as “manual manipulation of muscle structure and soft body tissues of the human body (including brain, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments)”. Proven Massage techniques have been used by people around the world for thousands of years as a means of treating both mental and physical illnesses naturally.
Massage therapy is an effective way to soothe damaged muscles and improve blood flow. It is also a powerful, natural stress reliever for many people. Today, a wide range of massage techniques are used by physicians to help people cope with common health conditions such as fibromyalgia, anxiety and rheumatism. Massage techniques such as Swedish massage, spot massage and reflexology are now being offered in places like spas, yoga studies, hotels and chiropractic offices.
Historically massage therapy has been employed to improve recovery time, restore energy, manage stress, and reduce body pain. The first record of massages dates back to ancient China 3,000 years ago and today massages are considered a long-lasting form of “healing art”.
Many of the cultures of ancient Greek, Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, French, Swedish, Thai, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese have their own treatments and techniques related to body massage. It has been passed down from generation to generation.
In the West, massage has been a popular way of treating the body naturally since the 1930s. Massage therapy is now proven treatment to treat different types of muscle imbalance in USA.
Important information about massage therapy:
1. The popularity of massage therapy is growing rapidly; about 20 percent more massages are performed each year than the previous year.
2. Estimates show that there are 300,000 to 350,000 trained massage therapists or massage therapy students in the United States.
3. According to The Association of Body Work and Massage Professionals, there are currently more than 250 types of massages being offered worldwide. Body massages offer different benefits depending on what the patient’s goals are, but most have the same underlying principle.
4. The most popular places to massage include client home / office, spa / salon, an overall healthcare setting, health club / athletic facility, or massage therapy franchise.
5. Studies show that in 2020, 21 percent of adult Americans who received a massage for treatment or health reasons such as pain management, wound / stiffness / spasms, injury rehabilitation, or overall well-being.
6. In 2020, more than 51 million American adults discussed massage therapy with their physician, and about 99 percent of their physicians or healthcare providers referred them to a therapist / recommended massage therapist.
7. Some studies have found that 91 percent of people agree that professional massage can be effective in reducing pain.
8. Massage is very common for reducing stress and fatigue; In 2019, 33 percent of massage clients massaged to relax / reduce stress.
Top 8 ‘proven’ massage techniques
The most common types of physical massage offered today by trained (and sometimes untrained) massage therapists include:
Swedish massage: This is the most popular form of massage worldwide. It works by stimulating performance. It involves five basic walking strokes (which can be performed softly or firmly).
Deep Tissue Massage: These massages use deep-tissue / deep-muscle movements to affect the muscles and sub-layers of the fascia. These are commonly used in the treatment of chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation and to reduce inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
Sports Massage: Sports massage is often performed on athletes to warm up the body, improve blood flow to the muscles / tissues, and help prevent or treat injuries. They perform part of pre-event, post-event and preventive injury treatment plans.
Prenatal massage: Pregnancy massage is effective and safe or available to both mother and fetus. It can help reduce the difficulty of pregnancy as well as emotional well-being such as back and leg pain.
Thai Massage: Thai massage has been practiced in Thailand for over 2,500 years and is often included in sacred ceremonies. These are performed on a mat on the floor instead of a table, and knot and determine the position that stimulates the tissues and organs according to a certain energy line.
Soft Tissue Massage: This procedure was developed in Europe to treat athletes and runners. It works by keeping the muscles in a certain position and manipulating them gently so that they are in a very specific direction.
Acupressure: Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press the key points on the surface of the skin. It stimulates energy channels to help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension.
Shiatsu: Shiatsu is an ancient Japanese massage equivalent to acupressure that focuses on blocking the flow of life energy and restoring body channel balance.
Massage therapy benefits
1. Treatment of lower back pain
According to the Cochrane Review on Massage Therapy, massage can be beneficial for patients with chronic back pain, characterized by 13 clinical trials, acute and chronic low-back pain, especially when combined with other holistic exercises and education. There is some evidence that acupuncture massage (acupressure) may be more effective than classic / Swedish massage in reducing back pain.
2. Reduces arthritis, fibromyalgia, bursitis and joint pain
About 35 percent of all people who receive a massage help reduce pain associated with stiffness, bruises, injuries and chronic health conditions. Massage has been found to effectively relax muscles and tighten joints, the following symptoms associated with fibromyalgia – a chronic syndrome characterized by general pain, stiffness of joints, severe fatigue, sleep changes, headaches and muscle cells.
3. May help lower blood pressure
According to a report published in 2013 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, patients receiving massage therapy in the average display had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than the control group. Evaluation of the effects of massage therapy on blood pressure shows that “massage is a safe, effective, applicable and cost-effective intervention in BC and pre-hypertension control.”
4. Reduces frustration, anxiety and fatigue
Massage therapy has been shown to help with depression and feelings and with it less feelings including fatigue. Studies have shown that the presence of depression is often triggered by active and chronic pain, and that depression itself later leads to intense muscle tension and pain.
Multidimensional massage procedures can help reverse the cycle and achieve significant improvements in patients with chronic muscle tension, pain, low energy or sleep problems, and depression.
Caution about massage therapy
If you currently have a health condition that may cause you to take massage or if you are pregnant, you may be at risk of further injury, but it is best to talk to your doctor first. It is always recommended that you work with a licensed / accredited massage therapist, which means different things depending on where you are. There are many physicians today with specialist or advanced training in anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions and contraindications related to specific health conditions (such as arthritis or pregnancy) or seek referrals if this applies to you.