Practitioners claim that massage can promote relaxation, relieve pain and tension, stimulate circulation, and decrease emotional stress. Research suggests that it increases levels of serotonin in the brain.
Flow State Massage is often done with lotion or oil, which helps the hands slide smoothly over the skin. Applying the right amount of pressure is essential. Effleurage uses smooth strokes that relax soft tissue, and petrissage involves squeezing or rolling the muscles with fingertips and thumbs.
Whether it’s to ease pain, promote relaxation, aid in recovery or help with disease prevention, massage is becoming an increasingly integral part of many people’s health care. Massage involves using hands, forearms or elbows to manipulate the skin, muscles and tendons in the body. It can range from light stroking to deep pressure. Studies show that a massage can lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce the production of stress hormones, slow breathing, relax the muscles and stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
The effects of a massage can be both immediate and long-lasting. One study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that patients with chronic neck pain experienced reduced pain and stiffness after receiving manual soft-tissue therapy, including massage. Moreover, the patients reported greater improvement in their functional performance than those who received only medication.
A key component of the massage “relaxation response” is lowered levels of the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine, as well as decreased activation of pain receptors in the spinal cord and muscles, Field says. Massage also increases oxytocin, a chemical that promotes social bonding and increases feelings of trustworthiness and generosity.
Regular massage can help prevent the onset of diseases related to stress, such as cardiovascular disease, digestive problems and insomnia. And it can help ward off the negative side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea, fatigue and depression, by reducing stress and anxiety.
Massage can also relieve myofascial pain syndrome, a condition that causes a build-up of pressure on the muscles that may lead to pain in places that don’t seem connected (the Mayo Clinic describes it as “pain in spots that feel like they’re not even part of your body”). A meta-analysis study published in the journal Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine suggests that myofascial pain syndrome decreases after massage therapy. Additionally, massage can improve sleep in people with heart disease by lowering their anxiety, a study published in the journal Sleep shows. Moreover, it can also boost the immune system by increasing the level of white blood cells that destroy bacteria and other pathogens.
Massage techniques are a set of movements used to manipulate the body’s soft tissues and include the use of pressure, friction, vibration, stretching, and effleurage. In addition to reducing tension, massage can boost the immune system, help the body get rid of waste and improve flexibility and posture.
A variety of massage therapies are available in the United States and abroad, including acupressure, shiatsu, reflexology, and deep tissue massage. Some people also benefit from oncology massage, a specific type of treatment designed to relieve the nausea and fatigue that are commonly associated with cancer treatments. Massage is also said to foster a sense of caring and trust among patients, which can improve their quality of life.
Massage therapy is widely used in some conventional health care settings, such as hospices and units for people with mental health problems or learning disabilities. However, it is not a substitute for medical treatment and should only be performed by licensed massage therapists.
When it comes to massage training, a comprehensive program is best for those who want to become licensed massage therapists. A program should cover the theoretical aspects of massage along with live practical sessions, which allow students to learn different massage techniques and how to apply them in a real-world setting. It is also important for students to take part in a volunteer massage clinic to gain experience and confidence.
Some of the most common massage strokes are effleurage, friction, and tapotement. Effleurage involves the use of long, gliding strokes, usually using a light touch, to warm up and relax the skin. Friction is another popular massage technique that involves applying quick, rhythmic motions to a specific area of the body to generate warmth and loosen knotted muscle tissue. Tapotement is a gentle tapping motion that can be done with the fists, the side of the hands, or cupped hands. It is generally done to stimulate muscle nerves and promote circulation.
Another popular massage technique is trigger point massage, which focuses on releasing “knots” in the muscles that can lead to pain and discomfort. This type of massage is often recommended by physicians and physical therapists. This type of massage should not be done over inflamed or damaged areas, and should always be performed with the approval of a medical professional.
It’s no secret that massage feels great and is the perfect antidote to a long day at work or a hectic schedule. If you want to get the most out of your massage, it’s important that you prepare in advance. This will not only allow you to enjoy your massage even more, but also will ensure that your body is ready to reap the benefits of your treatment.
A few tips to help you prepare for your massage include avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before the session, drinking plenty of water and wearing loose and comfortable clothing. It is also important to avoid eating a big meal just before your massage. Generally, it is best to eat something light so that you can fully relax during your massage.
Lastly, it is a good idea to arrive for your appointment at least 15 minutes early. This will give you time to settle in, get comfortable and relax before your massage starts. You can also take this opportunity to speak with your massage therapist about any questions or concerns you may have.
When you are getting your first massage, it is normal to feel a little self-conscious at first. This is especially true if it is your first time getting a professional massage. However, you should remind yourself that your massage therapist is not there to judge your appearance and will only be interested in ensuring that you are as comfortable as possible during the entire session.
Massage improves circulation and helps to flush out the toxins that build up in your muscles. Toxins can block the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and lead to pain, fatigue and even tissue damage. Drinking plenty of water after your massage will help to remove these toxins and speed up recovery.
It is also a good idea to shower before your massage. This is not only a courtesy to your massage therapist, but it will also make you feel more relaxed during your massage. It is not uncommon for your muscles to feel sore for a few days after a massage, especially if it was deep tissue work. This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and is perfectly normal.
Safety is a key component of massage therapy, whether one is working in a large spa or at home. It is important to practice basic safety measures, as well as follow reopening guidelines for your spa or office, regardless of your specific massage techniques and clientele.
The close physical contact between clients and massage therapists presents a number of biological hazards that need to be addressed. These include the potential for infections and exposure to bodily fluids. Additionally, the use of lotions and oils introduces chemical hazards into the workplace that must be considered. Finally, the emotional nature of massage may lead to psychological hazards that need to be mitigated.
Massage therapists are accustomed to communicating with new and repeat clients about their health history, asking about any current health conditions that may be relevant to the massage process. This information is critical in order to adapt technique and/or avoid contraindicated areas, as well as to ensure that the client is safe to receive the full benefits of a session.
Taking the time to carefully clean, disinfect and sanitize each room between clients is also critical to the health of both massage therapists and their clients. This includes all equipment and surfaces including tables, face cradles, chairs and doors, as well as the draping area. Additionally, both massage therapists and clients should use hand sanitizer before and after each session.
In addition to sanitizing your workspace, you can help protect yourself by using high-quality, professional grade lotions and oils. Cheaper products can irritate the skin, as well as leave behind residues that may cause allergic reactions in some people. Make sure to also use proper ventilation, ensuring that the air being brought in is clean and fresh, not stagnant or smelling of chemicals. Similarly, cleaning out dryer vents regularly and keeping them free of lint is essential to prevent fires. These are simple safety precautions that can save lives, as well as the livelihood of your business.