Massage therapy has helped millions of people with tension and stress. The American Massage Therapy Association found that in 2015, massage therapy was nearly a $12.1 billion industry. In a general sense, massage therapy involves “pressing, rubbing, and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments”, according to Mayo Clinic. There are several diverse types of massage therapy, including:
- Swedish massage therapy – gentle form of therapy using long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements and more
- Aromatherapy massage – essential oils are added to massage oil for a relaxing experience
- Hot stone massage – warm, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body
- Deep tissue massage – muscle knots are targeted, and deeper layers are massaged
- Shiatsu massage – localized pressure using fingers, hands, and elbows
- Thai massage – therapist moves your body to various positions like yoga for flexibility and range of motion
- Pregnancy message – also known as prenatal massage, used to promote relaxation but is customized to the client’s needs
- Sports massage – used to prevent and treat injuries, improve flexibility, and to enhance performance
Physical stress occurs as the body’s reaction to mental stress. When something stressful arises, your brain reacts to the stress by raising your heart rate and blood pressure, and tensing your muscles. Massage therapy helps ease these tensions by helping you take your mind away from everyday worries, which ultimately allows your mind and body to relax.
From a scientific standpoint, several benefits of massage therapy have been shown. According to Live Science, researchers from Ohio State University found that within days of participants receiving massage therapy, muscles massaged after exercise recovered about 60% of their strength back compared to muscles that didn’t receive massage therapy. Furthermore, muscles that were massaged had fewer damaged fibers and almost no sign of white blood cells, compared to those that didn’t receive therapy.
Massage therapy could be an excellent complement to your recovery treatment. If you haven’t already, speak with your treatment center to see if massage therapy is an option.
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