Massage therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions including chronic back pain, neck pain, arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia, and cancer. Massage treatments work best in combination with other treatments, and the clinical evidence is better for short term (<6 months) vs. long term (>6 months) therapy.
There are at least 80 different types of massage therapy. Consult with your doctor on which style might be right for your condition.
Swedish massage is gentle, promotes relaxation, relieves muscle tension, improves blood flow, and increases joint range of motion. Therapists often use long, gliding strokes, kneading, and tapping on the top muscle layer in the direction of blood flow to the heart.
Shiatsu is a Japanese technique that applies finger pressure in varied rhythm to acupressure points throughout the body to improve the flow of vital energy called Chi.
Deep tissue massage is active, intense and used to treat long-lasting muscle tension. The therapist uses their hands and elbows to reach deeper layers of muscles.
Trigger point massage applies firm pressure to release knots, tight or tense muscles and can be uncomfortable for some patients.
Reflexology stimulates areas of the feet that are believed to correspond and communicate to different parts of the body.
Most people can benefit from massage. If any part of a massage is uncomfortable or painful, please tell your therapist immediately since most problems result from too much pressure. Massage therapy might not be appropriate if you have bleeding disorders or take blood thinning medication, burns or healing wounds, deep vein thrombosis, fractures, severe osteoporosis or severe thrombocytopenia. As with any treatment, ask your doctor if massage therapy is appropriate for your condition especially if you are pregnant or have cancer.
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