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Massage Therapy – Learn to Ease Your Stress
Massage therapy is the treatment of stress, illness, and physical or emotional disorders with manipulation of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues. Specific targets for this type of treatment can include superficial muscles, tendons, joints, the outer layer of skin, ligaments, the lymphatic system, and even internal organs. Some of the more popular body parts that are commonly treated include the back, shoulders, hands, and feet.
Originating in China, this type of physical procedure has become a popular treatment modality and is now taught and practiced around the world. Although the benefits are often considerable and varied, many medical studies have yet to prove its effectiveness or cost-effectiveness. Some of the most common conditions that are referred for this type of treatment include chronic lower back pain, arthritis, fatigue, immune suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression and bursitis. Perhaps the most accepted use of massage therapy is the simple reduction of day-to-day stress and tension.
Branches of medicine that typically prescribe this type of procedure include physicians specializing in orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, sports injuries, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychology, acupuncture, or other holistic health subspecialties.
Equipment used in this type of treatment includes: a padded table or chair, hydrotherapy shower nozzles, a dry water bed, a variety of oils and/or heated body stones. There are dozens of different subtypes of massage therapy that focus on different areas of the body, different treatment modalities, or offer different therapeutic results. Some examples from around the world include Ayurvedic, Balinese, Esalen, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, and Trigger Point Therapy.
Effects of massage therapy may include pain relief, anxiety reduction, blood pressure control, heart rate reduction, improved alertness, lower stress hormone levels , boosting the immune system, relieving depression, and even improving spastic muscle disorders such as cerebral palsy. However, the treatment is often considered controversial in many medical circles. The results remain largely unproven because it is virtually impossible to test this type of treatment against another modality. Any form of touch can be considered beneficial and there is no “placebo” for massage therapy. Yet people who invest the time and money in this type of procedure are mostly happy with the results, and many commit to long-term therapy lasting months, years, or decades.
Although relatively safe when performed by an experienced and qualified technician, massage therapy is not without the risk of unwanted side effects. Most states and countries require practitioners to be trained, licensed, and accredited by specific boards with rigorous qualification requirements. Risks include a temporary increase in pain or swelling, bruising or hematoma formation, and allergic sensitivity to any of the materials used, including oils and lotions.
Patients who have deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorder, damaged blood vessels, advanced osteoporosis, recent fracture, cancer, fever, or infection are strongly discouraged from seeking this type of procedure. Pregnant patients who have fragile skin or heart problems or connective tissue disease should seek the advice of their doctor.
Consult a qualified and highly experienced massage therapist in your area today to discuss your specific medical condition and needs.
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