Massage therapy is a system of various techniques that involve manipulation of the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. This is performed by massage therapists who use their hands, fingers, forearms and elbows to rub, press and manipulate the soft tissue. People tend to associate massage with simple pampering. Although it can be pleasant and relaxing, massage is a powerful tool for health and well-being. It can address a specific condition or injury in addition to providing stress relief. There is significant scientific research on massage therapy that verifies its beneficial effects, both physical and emotional, on pain and other symptoms associated with various conditions.
Types of Massage
Massage therapy encompasses different techniques and these techniques are earmarked for a variety of situations. They can include:
Swedish massage. This gentle form of massage is the fan favorite. With deep circular movements and kneading, Swedish massage is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long strokes in the direction of the heart to facilitate circulation. This relaxation method also serves to increase oxygen in the blood as well as improve circulation and flexibility.
Deep tissue massage. This massage technique is similar to Swedish, but uses slower, more forceful strokes. The focus is on the deeper layers of muscles, connective tissue, tendons and fascia (the thin sheath of fibrous tissue surrounding muscles, bones and joints). It is used to address and improve muscle damage from injuries.
Sports massage. Geared toward athletes and people involved in sports, this type of massage helps to prevent or treat injuries. It works not only on the state of the muscles and connective tissue, but muscle balance, flexibility and range of movement.
Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on relieving “trigger points,” which are small patches of heavily-contracted muscle fibers that cause aching and stiffness. These trigger points are activated by injury or overuse, creating a sharp pain or a dull ache.
Conditions That Benefit From Massage Therapy
Studies suggest that massage may be useful for the following conditions:
- Digestive disorders
- Mental health
- Muscle tension
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Stress-related conditions
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), which is pain or dysfunction in the jaw
- Massage therapy is a great treatment option when indicated.
At The Center for Pain Management, we usually use massage therapy in combination with our other non-invasive techniques. These range from medications and injections to bracing and exercises. Check out the extensive treatment options offered by our practice.