Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissue in the body. Patients seek massage therapy for a wide variety reasons, including pain management, depression, anxiety, and rehabilitation from injury, as well as for non-clinical relaxation. There are many varieties of massage therapy that one may receive. Depending on the area being treated and the patient’s preferences, the patient may either lie or sit. Massage therapists may work in offices, spas, or even travel to the patients’ homes. The duration of the massage may vary based on the patient’s needs, but an hour is a common length.
Massage has been widely used for thousands of years, but it is just recently becoming commonly used as complementary treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions. Medical scientists are only just beginning to really study why massage therapy works so well for such a wide breadth of conditions, however it is clear that massage relaxes muscle tissue and improves circulation. While most people can benefit from this therapeutic method, there are some people for whom massage can be inappropriate. These people include those suffering from any of the following conditions:
- Bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications
- Burns or open sores
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Recent or still-healing fractures
- Severe osteoporosis
There is not much that one has to do to prepare for an appointment with a massage therapist. The therapist will likely ask for a complete medical history, and then discuss the methods he or she intends to use to help achieve the desired results. A patient who is new to massage may experience some mild soreness during the manipulation of the soft tissue, but overall massage should not be a painful or unpleasant experience. If you find anything your massage therapist is doing to be painful, speak up. Communicate with your regular doctor about the massage treatments you’re receiving. While massage can have tremendous benefits, it is important to remember that this is a complementary therapy and is not to replace traditional medical treatment.