Massage Therapy, Spa & Places Near Me
Massage therapy has been used by millions around the world. There are many types of massage therapy for a variety of health-related purposes. Massage therapy is often considered part of complementary and alternative medicine for relaxation, pain, inflammation or recovery from injury or workouts. Dating back thousands of years, references to massage has appeared in writings from ancient China, Japan, India, Arabic nations, Egypt, Greece (Hippocrates defined medicine as “the art of rubbing”), and Rome.
What is massage therapy?
The term “massage therapy” encompasses many different techniques where therapists would press, rub, and manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body by using their hands and fingers, forearms, elbows, or feet. A typical massage therapy session often involve the manual manipulation of muscles, connective tissues, tendons and ligaments to enhance a person’s health and well being. Many people also prefer a massage to relax, reduce stress, and relieve muscle soreness.
Massage therapists work in a variety of settings, including private offices, hospitals, nursing homes, studios, and sport and fitness facilities. Some also travel to patients’ homes or workplaces. They usually try to provide a calm, soothing environment and can apply quite a wide range of techniques. Every therapist uses a different touch, but most therapists use their hands and fingers during the massage. The type of massage you get depends on your goal. While some massage therapists can offer many types of massages, some states may require certification to perform specific types of massages because the massage has a specific purpose.
Therapists usually ask new patients about symptoms, medical history, and desired results. They may also perform an evaluation through touch, to locate painful or tense areas and determine how much pressure to apply. Typically, the patient lies on a table, either in loose-fitting clothing or undressed (covered with a sheet, except for the area being massaged). The therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on the skin. Sometimes, people receive massage therapy while sitting in a chair. A massage session may be fairly brief, but may also last an hour or even longer.
List of Common Types of Massages
Swedish Massage: As one of the best-known type of bodywork performed today, the primary objective of a Swedish massage is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. By using their hands, fingers, forearms or elbows to knead, stroke, vibrate and tap the area, the therapist aims to stimulate the blood in the area.
Trigger Point: Also known as muscle “knots” are sensitive spots in soft tissue. This type of massage pinpoints areas that tend to radiate pain beyond the pain site. The therapist applies pressure to the area where the pain is strong, from a few seconds to a few minutes. In this type of massage for trigger point therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of the discomfort.
Deep Tissue Massage: Somewhat similar to Swedish massage, deep tissue massage uses deeper pressure to help release chronic muscle tension. The therapist focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints) by massaging the area with deep pressure to melt knots and tension from stress and discomfort.
Shiatsu: In shiatsu therapy, pressure with thumbs, hands, elbows, knees or feet is applied to pressure points on the body. This form of massage also focuses on rotating and stretching limbs, joints, and pressure points, or meridians. This massage originated in Japan where the therapist uses his or her thumbs, fingers and palms on the main acupressure points.
Watsu: Watsu is a gentle form of body therapy performed in warm water, (around 35°C.) It combines elements of massage, joint mobilization, shiatsu, muscle stretching and dance. The receiver is continuously supported while being floated, cradled, rocked and stretched. This massage is administered in a pool and is a variation of a shiatsu massage and uses acupressure and meridian stretching techniques.
Foot massage: A foot massage is a simple, cheap and effective method to relax your body and mind. It is based on the tenets of foot reflexology and involves applying pressure on key points in the foot to get benefits. Practiced in many cultures for centuries to promote health and well-being, foot massage today is considered a complementary and alternative medicine used by millions to relieve pain, reduce stress and anxiety, rehabilitate injuries and boost general health.
Benefits of massage therapy
As you age your muscles often weaken, especially if you lead a sedentary life. Repeated massage helps strengthen muscles in many cases. The pampering effect of a soothing massage can offers many benefits and alleviate physical and emotional issues, including the following:
- Manage anxiety and stress
- Ease depression
- Improve circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce backache pains
- Lessen headaches
- Reduce arthritis pain
- Ease sore muscles
- Reduce spasms and cramps
- Create a meditative state
- Increase range of motion
What to Expect during a Massage?
Most massages require that you undress and lie under a sheet with blankets. When the therapist massages an area of your body, that area is exposed while the rest of your body remains under the covers. A massage therapist would create a warm and safe atmosphere for you to enjoy your massage and letting you know in advance what areas they will massage and in what order. Many therapists also plays soothing music or nature sounds to help you relax and uses a variety of oils during the massage. These massage oils could also be infused with soothing aromas such as lavender, rosemary and other herbs and plants.
Are you in stress or body aches? Schedule a massage session today and start enjoying the benefits of a great body massage. Before you schedule your next massage, check out our list of best massage professionals here to get the most bang for your buck, and not bruised up and down your back. Some therapists have a gentler touch than others but you could always let the massage therapist know in advance or along the session if you prefer a lighter touch. Life is more than just work, enjoy life by pampering yourself with a massage therapy session today. Call or visit the spa before your first session if it will make you feel more comfortable.
How to Choose a Massage Therapist?
Decide if you prefer a man or woman. Family and friends who regularly receive massages may help you identify a masseuse and you can read reviews on our list of massage therapy provider as well to see what members have to share about the massage therapists you find listed. Make sure the therapist you choose does provide the required type of massage you want or call or visit the spa or private practice you intend to use before you have your massage. Some massage therapists work for doctors, some have a room at a beauty spa and many therapists make house calls. Pick a therapist who fits your lifestyle and is considerate of your current health condition. Before you begin any massage, do consider sharing information about your health history, any pain and other health concerns you may have. The therapist should also ask questions about your mental and emotional state, as stress can lead to pain.
A typical massage session can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes and costs also vary based on the duration of the massage and type you receive. The price of a 30 to 45 minutes massage can range from $30 to $50 and exceed more than $200 an hour at some luxury spas. Find a therapist who’s prices fit your budget and start relaxing and let the massage professional do their magic on you!
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