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Massage ...get in touch with its health benefits
Massages are no longer available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports. Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massages, but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. Massages may range from light stroking to deep pressure techniques.
There are many different types of massage, including these common types:
• Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energise you.
• Deep-tissue massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
• Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but is geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
• Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on trigger points, or sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Benefits of a massage
Massages are generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage helpful for stress relief; managing anxiety and depression; pain; stiffness; blood pressure control; infant growth; sports-related injuries; boosting immunity; cancer treatment.
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massages because they often involve caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment ,and creating deep connections with their massage therapist. Despite its benefits, a massage isn't meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you're trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
Risks of a massage
Massage is generally safe as long as it’s done by a trained massage therapist, but isn’t appropriate for everyone. Discuss massages with your doctor first in cases of unexplained pain or other symptoms, burns or open wounds, cancer, blood clots, fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis; pregnancy. Some forms of massages can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day, but generally, a massage shouldn't be painful or uncomfortable. In rare circumstances, massage can cause internal bleeding, nerve damage and temporary paralysis.
What you can expect during a massage
You don’t need any special preparation for a massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, your massage therapist should ask you about any symptoms, your medical history, and what you're hoping to get out of massage. Your massage therapist should explain the kind of massage and techniques he or she will use.
In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loose-fitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you’re comfortable. You generally lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. You can also have a massage while sitting in a chair, fully clothed. Your massage therapist should perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas, and to determine how much pressure to apply. Your massage therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.
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