Basics By Kate Leas
What is massage therapy?
Massage therapy is a manipulation of muscles,
ligaments, tendons, skin, fascia, and joints in the body. It is
a practice that has been around since the beginning of
peopledom. In fact, ancient techniques are still employed in
today’s modern world.
The benefits of massage
are extensive. Not only can it help alleviate pain and aid in
physical maladies and day-to-day functioning, but it impacts
mental and emotional wellbeing. Relaxation, awareness, anxiety,
and depression can all be aided and eased with massage therapy.
Massage boosts the immune system, relaxes and reduces
anxiety, alleviates pain, reduces blood pressure and heart rate,
stimulates lesser used muscles, increases endorphins, aids
physical rehabilitation, and improves circulation (blood and
There are many different techniques
and therapies in the field of massage. Some of these may be
familiar to you already, even if you do not know specifically
what they entail.
Swedish: Probably the most
well known technique, and for good reason; it’s quite popular.
Acupressure is like acupuncture without the needles.
Specific points are targeted and pressure applied to create a
Aroma Therapy is often
used in tandem with other techniques. It consists of using
fragrant oils for healing benefits. These oils can be applied to
the skin or simply allowed to perfume the air thus allowing
those nearby to receive benefits nasally.
Deep Tissue Massage: A technique that focuses on a muscle group
working with the fibers of the muscle tissue to rejuvenate each
level of muscle including deep tissue.
Tissue Massage works to invigorate and stimulate the muscle
issue on a deep level. It involves more intense manipulation and
can provide tremendous benefits on many levels. Not only does it
help release toxins from the body, it helps
Stone Massage: Warm stones are used on the body with gentle
pressure to provide a soothing, therapeutic sensation.
Infant Massage: Becoming more popular everyday, infant
massage has been proven to help infants gain weight and speed
development. It is taught to mothers as a way to bond with their
Other techniques include Chi Nei
Tsang, Reflexology, Shiatsu,Thai Massage, Amma Therapy,
Alexander Technique, Aston Patterning, Bioenergetics, Bowen
Technique, and Craniosacral Therapy.
therapists are required to pass standardized tests in order to
receive a license and become a registered massage therapist.
Training is often completed at a trade, vocational, or career
college and is usually completed in 2 years or less depending on
the school and the program.
Massage therapy is
considered a health field and massage therapy is often covered
under many health plans because of its proven healing and
Massage is private and
safe. Depending on the type of massage you receive, partial
body, full body, 30 minute or longer, you may have to undress
completely or not at all. The room should be warm and
comfortable and there may be light music playing. If the
environment makes you uneasy, do not hesitate to inform your
therapist; a massage should be a relaxing and pleasant
experience. This is true if you feel pain during any part of
your massage experience. Some techniques are more intensive and
may be a bit uncomfortable at times, but if you feel anything
that makes you uneasy, do not hesitate to speak up.
you are considering a career in massage therapy or if you are
just interested in finding out more information about what it is
and how it can benefit you cannot deny the value of a good
Kate Leas is a freelance writer from
Kansas City. Her current topics include education and the
Internet. For more information on massage therapy education