Massage therapy is the manipulation of body tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments using manual techniques to allow enhancements on the patient’s bodily health, fitness, and well-being.
People get massage therapy for relaxation or for a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain
- Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis
- Stress relief and stress-related conditions
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Circulatory and respiratory problems
- Post-injury and post-surgical rehabilitation.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy improves circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. It relieves muscle tension and pain, increases flexibility and mobility, and helps clear lactic acid and other waste, which reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.
Massage therapy relieves stress. It is thought to help the body’s stress response by lowering levels of hormones such as cortisol. Massage therapy may enhance the body’s immune function.
Massage can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.
Consultation and Assessment prior to Massage Therapy
Firstly, the physiotherapist will take a full case history and this will be followed by a physical assessment to identify the nature and causative factors of the problem. Physical assessment skills are important, as is a good foundation in anatomy and physiology, in order to identify the source of the problem.
The source of pain may be in another part of the body other than the area it is felt. An individual’s posture or the way he or she uses his or her body to walk, run, or carry out any type of physical activity (even sitting at a computer) can be a contributing factor to a musculoskeletal problem such as back and neck pain. Once the physiotherapist has identified and understood the nature of the client’s presenting problem, he or she will determine the most effective way of treating the problem.
Different Techniques of Massage
There are numerous types of massage. Various techniques utilise different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. The physiotherapist knows what appropriate methods should be applied to specific conditions.