Want More Energy, Better Mood and Fewer Aches and Pains? Try Massage

The research results are in and yes, massage does improve quality of life in many ways. The latest research, conducted at the Mayo Clinic, Emory University and elsewhere, showcases how regular massage therapy sessions can create a physical atmosphere ripe for healing, restoration and recovery. If you have been curious about the health benefits of massage, the different types of massage and more, this helpful guide can provide you with useful insights.

Massage Explained

Wikipedia defines massage as “The rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, esp. to relieve tension or pain.” There are many different massage disciplines that can achieve this goal. Some approaches focus more on deep tissue work while others may target certain muscle groups or trigger points. The goal of massage therapy in Chandler AZ or elsewhere is to leave the client feeling at ease.


The Science Behind Massage Therapy

While massage therapy is an ancient therapeutic practice, scientific interest in massage is much more recent. In 2012, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported the results of a preliminary study of how massage interacts with the human immune system. Swedish massage in particular produced improvements in endocrine function and immune response after a single session. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that, starting in 2007, the American Pain Association and American College of Physicians now recommend massage to ease lower back pain. As well, the Mayo Clinic lists massage health benefits including but not limited to these.

  • Relief from anxiety and depression
  • Cessation of asthma symptoms
  • Increased energy
  • Relief from joint/muscle/nerve pain
  • Cessation of headaches (including migraines)
  • Relief from insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Faster healing from injuries and surgery
  • Relief from back pain
  • Relief from digestive disorders
  • Relief from TMJ (temporomandibular joint pain)

4 Popular Types of Massage

While there are many approaches to massage therapy, these four are the most well-known.

  • Swedish massage is a gentle, thorough approach to massage. You can expect to feel gentle pressure, tapping, stroking, kneading, circular kneading and even vibration during a session. Often Swedish massage is recommended to ease tension and stress, provide relaxation and improve energy levels.
  • Reflexology massage is a combination of reflexology, a therapeutic discipline in its own right, and massage therapy. Practitioners use the reflexology “map” of the body to find and access certain points which can then radiate a release of tension, pain or discomfort to surrounding areas. Reflexology massage is often recommended to ease headaches, digestion issues, allergies and sinus blockage and circulatory problems.
  • Deep tissue massage is designed to release knots in muscles and tissues that may be located deep below the skin’s surface (as well as those closer to the surface). Because of this, you will feel a stronger, more emphatic pressure. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for muscle injuries.
  • Trigger point massage targets specific muscle fiber groups that may have become too tight and tense. Trigger point massage is very popular in sports massage to treat overuse injuries and other sports-related injuries.

Experiencing Massage for Yourself

These tips can help you prepare for your first massage session.

  • Consult your physician. If you are contemplating massage for relief from injuries or a medical condition, it is always wise to consult your physician first.
  • Choose your massage therapy type. Once you feel certain that massage is the right approach for your needs, the next step is to decide which type of massage is the best fit (your physician may be able to offer recommendations).
  • Ask if your insurance covers massage. Because the health benefits of massage are now supported by scientific research, it’s worth it to check and see if your insurance covers massage sessions.
  • Locate a certified practitioner. Once you have this information, you can find a practitioner in your local area and make an appointment. Ask if your massage therapist is nationally certified to ensure the best treatment. This should be easy to find by looking on the website or asking the appointment desk if the therapist has a certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).