What Is Massage Therapy?

Body therapy is a fast-growing trend

Massage therapy is fast-growing profession, for one thing. Two decades ago, massage therapy was virtually unknown. But in the interim, public interest has grown. Many insurance companies have started to recognize the benefits of skilled practitioners. Consumer interest coupled with insurance company funding has led to more practicing therapists and more accreditation programs.

Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues and joints of the body. The soft tissues include muscle, skin, tendons and associated fascia, ligaments and joint capsules.

Massage has many diverse physiological effects, which are primarily due to the therapist's hands moving over the body. The different movements can physically stretch muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, encourage the circulation through the tissue, inhibit muscular spasms and be either sedating or stimulating to the nervous system.

The psychological benefits of massage shouldn't be ignored, either. Stress-related illnesses are bad for people and bad for the economy. Our emotional state impacts on our physical health, so an improvement in the former, through massage, can impact the latter.

For novices to massage therapy there is little to fear. The overwhelming majority of massage techniques, in addition to aspiring to have a therapeutic effect, feel good. Discuss your comfort level with your therapist. A good practitioner will adjust the session to maximize your comfort.

As with all forms of private healthcare, "buyer beware" is a good maxim. Before booking a session, ask about the qualifications of the masseuse, and don't be awed by long words or lofty-sounding credentials. And don't be embarrassed - it's your money and your health. If she or he claims to have massage therapy certification from a reputable school, look the college up on the Internet and see if it looks legitimate. Massage therapy is an umbrella term that encompasses a lot of dedicated professionals, but also more than a few swindlers.

It's worth taking the time to find a qualified practitioner. The therapeutic use of recognized massage techniques by a registered massage therapist affects all the systems of the body - in particular, the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic (immune) and nervous systems.

No wonder so many people find massage therapy so helpful in so many ways!

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