From July 2013 to July 2014, roughly 15 percent of the American adult population had at least one massage.
Forty-four percent of adult Americans who received massages during that time frame did so for a specific medical reason — such as pain management or rehabilitation — and 92 percent said that the massage helped to alleviate pain.
Massages are popular with average Americans and the medical community for a reason —they’re extremely beneficial, and they provide positive results. Here’s some info about the benefits of massages.
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Different Types of Massages
There are many different types, and here are a few examples:
1) Swedish Massage: One of the most common types of massages — it’s what most people receive when they go in for a massage. It features the following movements: sweeping, lengthy movements or strokes, kneading of muscles, rolling of muscles and deep pressure by pressing a muscle or joint with knuckles or a finger. This is the best type of massage for beginners, or for someone who’s looking to relax.
2) Hot Stone Massage: A hot stone massage features many of the same movements as a traditional Swedish massage, but the therapist incorporates hot stones into the massage. The stones are placed on the body, and the therapist uses them to gently (but firmly) work out tensions in the muscles. The heat from the stones helps to relax the muscles and ligaments.
3) Deep Tissue Massage: This type of massage is perfect for anyone who suffers from muscle damage or specific muscle- or joint-related injuries. The therapist applies slow, powerful and sometimes forceful movements (like strokes or applied pressure) to work out tension in muscle tissue.
4) Trigger Point Massage: This type of massage is similar to the deep tissue massage. However, while the deep tissue massage deals with a person’s entire body, trigger point only focuses on a specific muscle group — possibly an injured one. This one’s ideal for anyone who’s suffering from a particular muscle injury, or often feels a lot of pressure or pain in a certain part of their body.
5) Shiatsu: A traditional massage technique from Japan. It uses slow, gradual stretches and finger massages to work out certain muscles and pressure points.
6) Sports Massage: If you’re an athlete, then this massage is ideal for you. It combines Swedish, Shiatsu and other massage techniques to help athletes target specific muscles that are related to their sport of choice. Sports massage can help to boost performance, alleviate soreness after working out, and also rehabilitate certain injured muscles.
Benefits of a Massage
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The American Massage Therapy Association notes that massages are extremely effective with treating or assisting with the following:
- Lower back pain
- Blood pressure
- Easing pain caused by cancer treatment
- Reducing headache pain, or reducing the total number of occurrences
- Boosting the immune system
- Alleviating symptoms caused by carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nerve pain
- Muscle pain or soreness
- Increase range of motion
- Improving sleep quality
- Disorders related to the digestive systemNote: For anyone who’s looking to get in shape, massages can be extremely beneficial. When a person starts to workout vigorously — especially after prolong periods of inactivity — their muscles will be placed under a lot of stress. Massages can relive muscle tension and pain, and make it easier for a person to get back in the gym repeatedly. Massages can also reduce swelling, soreness and fatigue, and they can reduce symptoms felt when muscles begin to break down and build back up.
Benefits of Massages for Athletes
- Massages help to dilate blood vessels, which means that they can help to boost an athlete’s overall circulation. This will help athletic performance, and will also improve muscle repair after a workout.
- Enhanced blood flow also relieves muscle tension, soreness and helps to promote faster recovery.
- Massages can also increase the body’s capacity for pain relief, and can assist with the building of new muscles.
- Massages are shown to relieve stress and tension — this can be extremely beneficial for athletes before a competition, psychologically.
- Lastly, if an athlete suffers from breathing pattern disorders, massages may help to reduce symptoms.
Note: Massages should never be used to replace medical care. While massages may help lessen the effects caused by many of the conditions listed, proper medical treatment should always be sought out first.