by Charlotte Wood
(last updated August 31, 2018)
I'm sure you've had several casual kinds of massages: you're sitting on the couch and a friend comes over and just starts giving you a back massage. Those are always pretty great and almost always welcome! Who doesn't like a surprise back massage to loosen those muscles and relieve some stress? If off-the-hand back massages feel so great, how much better would a professional massage feel? If you haven't had any professional massage therapy done, you should definitely look into it—it can may you feel like a new person!
Massage therapy is an age-old practice that aims at loosening the muscles and tissues of the body. Considered more of an alternative medicine, massage therapy can be approached in many different ways and has multiple advantages and disadvantages. Massage therapy can be very effective in increasing blood circulation and allows better oxygen flow. There are a few different types of massage therapies you might want to further research, depending on your massage needs: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, trigger-point massage, and shiatsu massage, all of which perform different tasks and produce different results.
Professional massages are administered by massage therapists, who are trained in the techniques and practices of massage therapy. Before you go to any massage therapist however, make sure that their credentials are secure and that they know what they're doing. The best way to do this is to ask around friends and family and get recommendations: word-of-mouth can be most effective when determining what massage therapist to pursue.
People pursue massage therapy as a way to relax, often as a complement to other medicine. Massage therapy is an alternative medicine and should never be used in place of actual medicinal care. If you have extenuating physical or medical conditions, consult your physician before going to see a massage therapist—you don't want to harm any part of your body. You should not use massage therapy if you have deep vein thrombosis, a bleeding disorder, damaged blood vessels, or a fever. Side effects of massage therapy may include bruising, swelling, and temporary discomfort.
Massage therapy can be a great way to relax and can be a useful alternative (again, not replacement for traditional medicine) medicine. Know the benefits, know the risks, do your homework, and you can use massage therapy to create a whole new you!
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