Massage therapy may have earned its popularity in the recent years, the origin of the therapeutic massage can be traced back to the ancient and medieval times. Although, massage is still regarded as an alternative and complementary medicine, more often than not it has been recommended by the medical practitioners to improve mental and physical health. For centuries, massage therapy has been used for various health benefits other than just relaxation and pain relief. Here are some of the benefits of the massage therapy which has attributed to the significant rise in its popularity.
Back pain relief: Several studies in the recent years have proven the benefit of massage therapy to cure or reduce back pain. In one of the studies, the massage therapy was found more effective than spinal modification or acupuncture for persistent low back pain. A massage therapy was found to reduce the need for painkillers by 36%.
Improvement in knee osteoarthritis condition: Massage therapy has significant benefits to improve knee osteoarthritis conditions. A clinical trial on the benefits of Swedish massage has shown the reduction in stiffness and pain, hence benefitting in the condition of knee Osteoarthritis.
Reduction in cancer symptoms or side-effects of cancer treatment: Cancer is a dreaded disease and the treatment of cancer is extremely painful and taxing. Massage therapy is often used to compliment the western medicine in case of cancer treatments. It not only helps reduce depression, pain or fatigue but also improves the functioning of the immune system. Massage therapy is also known to reduce cancer symptoms.
Decrease in anxiety level: In today’s nerve-wrecking urban living, anxiety has more or less become a part of our daily life. However, anxiety can lead to some serious health conditions. Massage is a proven way to reduce and control anxiety level by increasing levels of neurotransmitters.
Headache relief: Massage therapy is also known to reduce a headache by reducing the number of migraines and by improving sleep.
There are various types of therapeutic massage categorized as per the techniques. Here are some of the most popular techniques of massage therapy:
Metamorphic Technique: Drawing on the theory and approach of reflexology, metamorphic is a gentle and light form of head, hand and foot massage which can be learned by anyone through a brief training.
Myofascial release: A soft tissue therapy, myofascial release is an alternative medicine therapy which stretches fascia (thin, elastic type of tissue covering most of the human structure including muscle) to improve blood circulation and increases muscle immobility while reducing pain.
Sports massage or Manual therapy: Primarily used to treat musculoskeletal disability and pain, sports massage is also known as manual or manipulative therapy. This therapeutic massage technique includes manipulation, mobilization of joints along with kneading and manipulation of muscles.
Stone massage: In the therapeutic stone massage, water-heated or cold Basalt stones or lava rocks are placed at the key points to apply heat and pressure to the body. These stones are also coated in oil to help the body retain and penetrate the heat deep into the muscle relaxing and relieving them of pain through the massage strokes delivered by the therapist.
Tantric massage: Tantric massage technique has its origin in the neotantra movement which advocates the modern and western interpretation of traditional Buddhist and Hindu Tantra (religious practices to attain Moksh or Nirvana). Tantric massage includes kneading, feather-strokes, pull-ups, and foot caress to improve blood circulation, relieve tension, channelize energy around the body, finally leading to a desire.
Swedish massage: Swedish massage is the most popular and commonly used technique of therapeutic massage. Varying from light to vigorous, the Swedish massage has five major types of strokes which include gliding or sliding (effleurage), kneading (petrissage), tapping with the rhythm (tapotement), with the fibers (friction) and vibration or shaking. Swedish massage has a number of benefits such as pain reduction, loosening the stiff joints, and improved functioning of the knee in osteoarthritis condition. Swedish massage is also referred to as “classic massage” in many countries including Sweden.