The practice of massage therapy is based on physical manipulation of muscle, tendons, and connective tissues to relieve discomfort and promote relaxation. Methods of massage therapy (also referred to as modalities) are numerous. The type performed on an individual depends on a combination of request and physical need.
Therapeutic Massage focuses on specific areas of the body where pain or injury has occurred, applying a moderate to deep pressure. Relaxation massage typically spans the body and the pressure used is dictated by the recipient. This can have bearing on how many sessions are needed to work out tightness or knots in the muscle. Hot stone takes relaxation massage a step further by incorporating the use of heated stones in strategic placement in conjunction with being massaged by larger hot stones. The heat works its way into the muscle and promotes relaxation.
Why Massage Therapy?
There are numerous reasons for seeking massage therapy. For some, it’s a nice way to relax at the spa or on vacation. For a growing number of people, massage therapy is being relied upon for relief of moderate to severe physical ailments as well as certain emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. It has been found that most people who receive massage therapy require it for pain relief.
The most common initiators that prompt an individual toward this method of healing are strong recommendations from a doctor, or receiving massage as a gift. Since this practice is still largely viewed as more of an extravagance than a need, gifts are especially appreciated by the recipients and the massage therapist alike. However, with the growing understanding of legitimate health benefits and healing factors associated with this treatment, more insurance companies are willing to cover the cost of massage so long as there is evidence of medical need. Often, multiple treatments are required to see lasting results on a particular condition, the number of which depends upon the nature of the ailment.
Massage Therapy and Emotional Stress
In instances of emotional stress, the tension on the body created by frequent or constant emotional upset is just as real as that caused by physical injury or other medical conditions. Often the emotional stress can be tied to deep psychological trauma. For this reason, many massage therapists take great care to create an environment that offers emotional security and mindfulness of a client’s mental well-being. Massage therapy is not just about physical well-being. It encompasses the mind-body connection.