MASSAGE has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate; increase cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body’s natural "killer cells"); enhance weight gain in pre-term infants; increase lymph flow and reduce edema; relieve and reduce certain types of back pain; and reduce anxiety and relieve stress. Massage can improve circulation, joint flexibility and range of motion, and has been shown to help those with chronic back pain, migraines, knee osteoarthritis and cancer.
SWEDISH MASSAGE uses a system of long strokes, kneading, and friction percussive and vibration techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints. It is used primarily for full-body sessions and promotes general relaxation, improves blood circulation and range of motion, and relieves muscle tension. Swedish is the most common type of massage.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE targets chronic tension in muscles that lie far below the surface of your body. You have five layers of muscle in your back, for instance, and while Swedish massage may help the first couple of layers, it won't do much directly for the muscle underneath. Deep muscle techniques usually involve slow strokes, direct pressure or friction movements that go across the grain of the muscles. Massage therapists will use their fingers, thumbs or occasionally even elbows to apply the needed pressure.
NEUROMUSCULAR MASSAGE (aka Trigger Point Therapy) is a form of deep tissue massage that is applied to individual muscles. It is used to increase blood flow, reduce pain and release pressure on nerves caused by injuries to muscles and other soft tissue. Neuromuscular massage helps release trigger points, which are painful, irritated areas in muscles that can also "refer" pain to other parts of the body. Relieving a tense trigger point in your back, for example, could help ease pain in your shoulder or reduce headaches.
MYOFASCIAL THERAPY is a gentle blend of stretching and massage. Myofascial Therapy uses hands-on manipulation of the entire body to promote healing and relieve pain. Just as its name suggests--myofascial comes from the Latin "myo" for muscle and "fascia" for band--therapists use the technique to ease pressure in the fibrous bands of connective tissue, or fascia, that encase muscles throughout the body. Sheaths of this dense and elastic connective tissue weave about blood vessels, bones, and nerves as well, forming an intricate, 3-D web that supports your organs and joints from head to toe and acts as the body's shock absorber.
... visit the American Massage Therapy Association's Massage Information Center for a comprehensive list of links to scientific and medical research into the benefits of massage.
The information provided on this website should not be construed as offering medical or legal advice.
Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.