Massage therapy is one of the most practiced of the manipulative and body based practices. It is also one of the few CAM treatments that is also used as a conventional medical treatment. Massage therapy has been around since ancient times. You can find references to it in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek texts. Today massage therapy is used for a host of health-related issues:
• Pain relief
• Stress relief
• Rehabilitate sports injuries
• Increase relaxations
• Maintain health and general wellness
Types of Massage
There are 80 types of massage therapy, and in each one, some form of manipulation of the body is done using hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, and even feet. Some of the more popular forms of massage therapy include the following:
• Swedish massage is the most common of the CAM massage therapy techniques. The massage therapist will use friction of the muscles, kneading, long strokes and manipulation of the joints in treating a patient.
• Trigger point massage applies concentrated pressure on knots that form in the muscles, cause pain, and can cause problems in other areas of the body if left untreated.
• Deep tissue massage involves uses various strokes and pressure applied with the fingers to focus on tightened muscles while also focusing on layers of muscles that are deep under the skin.
• Shiatsu massage is Japanese in origin and sometimes associated with TCM. Practitioners use their fingers to apply pressure to parts of the body that are blocking the energy flow of the body also known as Qi.
There are very few risks associated with massage therapy when practiced by a licensed professional. Some risks and side effects associate with massage therapy include the following:
• Temporary pain or discomfort
• An allergic reaction to massage oils
When Not to Use Massage Therapy
There are several instances when massage therapy isn’t recommended or requires consulting your healthcare provider before you proceed. These include pre-existing conditions and various health related issues like the following:
• Deep vein thrombosis
• A fever
• Weakened bones
• Bleeding disorders
• Damaged blood vessels
• Heart problems
• Fragile skin
Costs of massage therapy vary greatly. The price depends largely on the experience of your massage therapists and the location where the massage will be administered. A massage therapist trained in several types of massage who works in a spa will likely charge more than one who is only trained in Swedish massage and works from home. It’s best to compare prices and experiences of various massage therapists in your area to determine the best solution for you.
Like chiropractic and (to a lesser extent) acupuncture, massage therapy is often covered by insurance when it involves treatment for certain health problems. Contact your insurer before seeking treatment and see if massage therapy is one of procedures they cover.