Massage Therapy Specialist Monmouth County NJ
Massage Therapy Q & A
by Tom Gustafson, DC
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage is certainly relaxing, but it is also an ancient therapeutic technique used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Combined with other traditional practices like aromatherapy, this form of bodywork can promote muscle health, relieve spasm and tension. Massage therapy is targeted to specific health problems, not just relaxation, and is designed to improve overall health.
What are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?
Relieving muscle tension is one of the readily apparent benefits of massage therapy. However, by relaxing muscles, massage also promotes flexibility and can increase a patient’s range of motion. Relaxed muscles make it easier to maintain good posture. Well-known as a stress reliever, massage has also been found to lower blood pressure, improve circulation and even strengthen the immune system. Targeted massage can relieve chronic pain problems or headaches.
Is All Massage the Same?
The basic principles of massage include certain techniques like stroking, rubbing, and pressing muscles, but massage therapy actually includes over 200 different techniques. Some therapists use a limited number of techniques, while others use the full range. More than a dozen different styles of massage have also developed over the years. For example, Swedish massage is a very vigorous style and the goal is to improve circulation. However, deep tissue massage targets the fascia (tight covering over the muscles) and its purpose is to actually realign the muscles.
How Does Massage Therapy Work?
Massage therapy is known to stimulate the lymphatic system, promoting drainage of excess fluids and toxins from the body. It also stimulates receptor cells in the skin. These receptor cells release chemicals that travel to the brain and cause the release of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals that can cause the condition called runner’s high. Many massage techniques directly affect muscle tissue, promoting blood flow to nourish the muscle and helping muscle fibers relax.