The Massage

Massage is no longer only available in luxury spas and high-end treatment centers. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports. It can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. Here are the possible health benefits and what to expect during a massage session.

What is massage?

Massage is a general term for squeezing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage can range from light, caressing contact to deep pressure. There are many types of massage, including these common types:

Swedish massage. It is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibrations to help you relax and energize.

Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more powerful strokes to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, usually to help recover muscle damage from injury.

Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but is geared towards people involved in sports activities to help prevent or treat injury.

Massage of reflex points. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injury or overuse.

There are many other types of massages, each with its own specificities: shiatsu, Californian massage, Thai, Balinese, etc. They each have beneficial virtues for health when they are well done. It’s not so much the name of the massage as the quality and experience of the masseur that always makes the difference. Ask around for recommendations before pushing the door of one of them at random.

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Benefits of massage

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and integrative medicine. Studies on the benefits of massage show that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.

Although more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found that massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • back pain
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • joint pain

Beyond the benefits for specific situations or illnesses, some people simply love massage because it produces feelings of care, comfort, and disconnection.

Risks of massage

Most people can benefit from a massage. However, massage may not be appropriate if you have:

  • Bleeding disorders or taking anticoagulant medications
  • Burns or healing wounds
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • fractures
  • Severe osteoporosis

The massage should not normally be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage feels painful, talk about it right away.

What you can expect during a massage

You don’t need any special preparation for a massage. Before a massage therapy session begins, your massage therapist should ask you questions about symptoms, your medical history, and what you hope to achieve from the massage. Your massage therapist should explain the type of massage and the techniques he or she will be using.

In a typical massage therapy session, you partially undress or wear loose clothing. You usually lie down on a table. You can also have a massage while seated in a chair, fully clothed. Depending on your preference, your massage therapist may use oil to reduce friction on your skin. A massage session can last from 10 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage.

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Whichever type of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage.


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