Massage therapy is the term used for various techniques of massage done based on the needs and physical condition of the patient. The general idea of massage therapy is to work on soft tissue and muscle to help the patient feel better.
Various types of massage use various techniques. Swedish massage uses kneading, deep circular movements, vibrations, long strokes and tapping. Sports massage adapted for athletes combines Swedish and deep tissue massage to release chronic muscle tension. Myofascial trigger point therapy focuses on trigger points (areas which are painful when pressed and cause pain somewhere else in the body). Sometimes essential oils are also used in massage therapy as a form of aromatherapy.
The various types of massages can be used to improve your health in many ways.
Massage therapy has been found to be effective in reducing chronic low-back pain, help with chronic neck pain, help ease pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee and provide pain relief for women in labor.
Research has also shown to reduce pain, promote relaxation and improve the mood for cancer patients at least in the short term.
Massage therapy also helps in improving the mental health for patients. According to a meta-analysis of clinical trials massage therapy was found to help reduce depression. Brief twice weekly massage and yoga sessions were shown to decrease depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain in pregnant women with depression. Different studies and clinical trials have also proven that massage helps older people relax, and in general reduces symptoms for generalized anxiety disorder.
Although inconclusive, studies are still being done on the benefit of massage therapy for behavior of children with autism or autism spectrum disorder, immune function in women with breast cancer, quality of life and glucose levels in people with diabetes, lung function in children with asthma and anxiety and pain in patients following heart surgery.
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