What is massage?
Massage is the general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The techniques used may range from light stroking to deep pressure. More and more, massage is considered a part of complementary and alternative medicine. It is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. There are many types of massage, including:
- Swedish massage – This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize the whole body.
- Deep tissue massage – This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
- Sports massage – This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
- Trigger point massage – This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in the muscles after injuries or overuse.
What can massage help with?
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.