Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissue, mainly muscles but also ligaments, tendons, and fascia etc. The most utilized form of massage therapy is Swedish massage, the classical, western style most people have either heard of, are familiar with or have received. Swedish massage works with all soft tissue in the body plus the joints through the muscle work itself and stretching. “Swedish massage is also known as Therapeutic massage”
Massage therapy increases the function of muscles and joints. Muscles that are tense and tight cause blood flow to be compromised. Why? The tension acts like a dam in muscle tissue. A dam holds back water. Tension, especially chronic tension, prevents blood from flowing fully and efficiently. This means oxygen and nutrient delivery, both carried by the blood throughout the body, is also diminished.
Massage therapy improves circulation, hence, the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients by reducing or eliminating muscular tension. How does massage therapy specifically impact the muscular system? The face carries a lot of tension, though many people aren’t aware of it until their face is massaged. Massage therapy can help with TMJ, a common issue with the jaw.
Massage of the abdomen (optional) can help move waste and toxins along. Prolonged time spent standing or sitting, especially all day long, compromises circulation in the legs, as does a lot of physically running around. The legs may feel tired, heavy and achy. The enhanced circulation helps relieve these feelings. Athletes benefit because of the shortened recovery time whether massage therapy is received pre- or post event.
Oh, the feet! One of the most neglected and abused areas of the body, yet they do so much for us. Think of the last time your feet hurt and you probably couldn’t wait to get home to kick your shoes off and rub your feet. Foot massage or foot reflexology will ease tired, achy feet and joints with increased circulation and flexibility.
The neck, back and shoulders are targeted areas because of the stress placed on them through work, and job related functions, poor posture and poor body mechanics. The results are stiff, aching muscles. Massage brings welcome relief.
To quote Dr. Willima Nagler, head of Rehabilitation Medicine at Cornell Medical Center, “Massage is better than a good tranquilizer and serves as helpful adjunct to other therapies.”
Receiving massage during the holidays can help cope with the stresses of the season as well as life stresses. Bring a smile to your face or to the face of someone you care about by gifting a massage therapy session.