Therapeutic massage – benefits and risks

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Overview

A massage can definitely help everyone to relax. With a massage, you can explore multiple health benefits.

However, therapeutic massage involves certain risks. Massage is not only available in luxury resorts and spas; at this time, massage therapy can be offered in many clinics, hospitals and even business centers.


Contents

1. Overview
2. What is massage?
3. Benefits of massage
4. Risks of massage
5. What to expect during a massage?
6. Massage therapist


What is massage?

Massage is a general term for the action of pressing, rubbing and manipulating person’s skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists use their hands and fingers for massage, but may also use forearms, elbows and even feet.

Massage techniques range from easy techniques to those involving deep pressure.

There are many different types of massage, including:

- Swedish massage – this is a mild form of massage involving prolonged contact with skin, kneading, roller friction, deep movements, vibrations for relaxation and energizing.

- Deep massage of the tissue – it is a mild form of massage that uses strong pressure aiming at deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, usually to cure muscle injuries caused by various accidents.

- Sports massage – this is similar to Swedish massage but is geared towards people involved in sports activities to prevent or treat some specific injuries.

- Massage therapy for trigger points – massage focuses on trigger points, or sensitive areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in muscles after injuries or physical overload.


Benefits of massage

Massage offers non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal. Here are the benefits of regular massage:

- Increase circulation, while the body supplies more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs

- Stimulates the lymph flow, the body’s natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in patients with breast cancer, massage has been shown to help fight cancer cells multiply

- Increasing blood circulation in the circulatory system and the lymphatic system

- Relax injured and overused muscles

- Reduces spasms and cramping

- Increase joints flexibility

- Shorten recovery time, helps prepare for intense workouts and eliminates subsequent pains of the athletes

- Releases endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) – massage is used for chronic diseases and recovering from injury, but also following surgery to control and relieve pain

- Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred

- Improves flexibility and decreases discomfort for patients suffering from minor back pain

- Relieves pain and migraine and is less likely to need drugs

- Involve exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles

- Shortens pregnant women labor, alleviates depression, anxiety and hastens recovery.

Beyond the benefits obtained for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it involves comfort and a sense of care and pleasure.

Despite its benefits, massage should not replace regular medical care. When a person is going to do massage therapy he / she should talk with the doctor before and follow all recommendations.


Risks of massage

Massage is generally safe as long as it is performed by a trained specialist in massage therapy. It will tell the doctor if the patient has:
- Pain or other unexplained symptoms
- Burns or open wounds
- Cancer
- Blood clots
- Fractures
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Severe osteoporosis
- Pregnancy.

Some forms of massage can cause mild muscle soreness the next day, but massage should not be painful or uncomfortable. If you find painful or unpleasant any of the massage techniques, immediately tell this to your therapist.

The most serious problems resulting from the application of excessive pressure during the massage. In rare cases, massage can cause:
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Temporary paralysis
- Allergic reactions to massage oils or lotions.


What to expect during a massage?

You do not need any special preparation for massage. Before therapeutic massage session, the specialist should ask you if you experience certain symptoms, medical history and details about the results you expect from your massage. The therapist should explain this type of massage and techniques he uses.

In a regular massage sessions, the patient will undress so as to make him feel comfortable and wear loose clothing. It will sit on a special table and will be covered with a paper towel. The therapist should make an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and determine how much pressure can apply.

A massage session can last between 15-90 minutes, depending on the type of massage and time that the patient has available. No matter what type of massage will the patient choose, the important thing is that after the massage to be relaxed and calm.


Massage therapist

Massage can be performed by health professionals who have many specialties, such as physiotherapy or massage therapy specialist. Ask your doctor or other trusted person for a recommendation. Do not be afraid to ask some questions to the specialists:
- Are you licensed, certified or registered?
- What is your training and experience?
- How many therapeutic massage sessions you think would be appropriate for me?
- What is the cost and whether it is covered by health insurance?

Consider and use massage as any other instrument of health care. Massage is not just a way to feel good and spoiled but a way that overall health can be improved.

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