You may think of massage only as a way to relax, pamper yourself, and relieve stress. Indeed, massage can have all these effects, but when performed by massage therapists at Total Health Systems, it can also produce medical benefits in many different systems of the body.
Different Types of Massage
There are many different types of massage, and they each have slightly different benefits. Some apply deep pressure, while others use only a light touch. Some focus specifically on one particular symptoms area, while others involve the entire body. Some involve friction reduction between your skin and the massage therapist’s hands with lotions or oils, while other types do not.
The type of massage therapy you receive depends partly on what type of issue you want to resolve and your level of comfort with the process. Common types of massage therapy include the following:
- Craniosacral therapy: This type concentrates on the brain and spinal cord. The therapist applies subtle pressure to your head and the base of your spine while you lie clothed on the treatment table.
- Thai Massage: Wear comfortable clothes for this modality, because instead of lying down on the table, you will perform a series of assisted yoga poses with the help of your therapist, who will also perform compressions along energy lines, or “sen.” Depending on your preference, the compressions can be light or deep.
- Sports Massage: This technique lengthens contracted muscles and fascia through gentle stretching and kneading. As suggested by the name, it is formulated particularly to assist people who participate in athletics.
- Deep Tissue: This common massage type involves deep kneading, light tapping, joint movement, and long, flowing strokes to extend beyond the surface tissues of the body for the benefit of the structures underneath.
You and your local massage therapist can decide on the right type of therapy for you on the basis of your medical history and symptoms. Be sure to tell your therapist if you experience any pain during your session. Massage therapy may produce some mild discomfort or soreness during and after the session, but it should not be painful.
Stress Relief Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is known as a stress relief modality. Excess stress can contribute to many physical ailments. The stress relief that you can gain from massage therapy can help to alleviate the following symptoms:
- Persistent fatigue/insomnia
- Digestive disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
In addition to physical symptoms, massage therapy has the potential to relieve anxiety and other psychological stress-related issues.
Many of these symptoms are related to unhealthy levels of the hormone cortisol. When you are under a great deal of stress, your body produces this hormone in excess. Massage therapy is effective at reducing the levels of cortisol in your body. As the cortisol levels decrease, their adverse physical and psychological effects diminish as well.
Massage Therapy Benefits by System
In addition to the relaxation response, massage therapy also produces mechanical responses in several body systems:
- Cardiovascular System
Both the physical manipulation and the body chemicals released in response to massage can help to improve the circulation of blood and lymph throughout your body. Increased blood supply helps to promote healing, relieve swelling, and remove waste products. Massage can also help reduce blood pressure, in part because of the decreased cortisol.
- Musculoskeletal System
Massage therapy serves to relax tense muscles, which can reduce spasms and pain. Massage therapy can also place your musculoskeletal system in better alignment, potentially relieving your pain by improving your posture.
- Immune System
Inaddition to relieving stress, massage therapy can boost the production of the body’s natural cells that seek out and destroy disease-causing pathogens.
Explore the Possibilities
While massage therapy is contraindicated for some patients, most people can take advantage of these and many other benefits. To discuss whether you may be a good candidate for massage therapy, contact Total Health Systems through our convenient online form.