Massage Therapy and Its Benefits for You

Massage therapy has roots that date back thousands of years from ancient China, Japan, Egypt, India, Greece, Rome and other nations. Introduced in America in the 1850s, it has become popular now, and has been believed to provide a variety of health benefits.

Although massage therapy has its conventional uses, it is considered a part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Massage therapy has different techniques that can be used, although the general idea is that therapists manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. In Swedish massage, long strokes along with vibration, tapping and deep circular movements are used. Sports massage, similar to Swedish massage is adapted to the needs to athletes. Other massages like deep tissue massage and trigger point massage focus on the myofascial trigger points or muscle knots.

With the growing popularity of massage therapy, and increase is seen in the number of people using massage therapy for various health-related purposes such as to relieve pain, reduction of stress, aid in relief from anxiety and depression, increase relaxation and also aid in general wellness.

Many studies have supported the general conclusion on the effectiveness of massage therapy. Massage therapy has been proven effective to reduce “state anxiety”, blood pressure and heart rate is a single session. Multiple sessions have shown to reduce “trait anxiety”, depression and pain.

Clinical trials have found evidence of massage therapy being useful in relieving chronic lower back pain. Multisite studies of hospice patients with advance cancer have found massage therapy to be effective in relieving pain and improvement of mood.

There are numerous theories about the effect of massage therapy on the body such as the “gate control theory” which believes that massage therapy gives a stimulation that aids in blocking pain signals to the brain. Other theory suggests that massage therapy aids in the release of serotonin or endorphins that benefit the body.

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