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Massage for Pain Relief, Stress Reduction, Anxiety and Depression
Massage is a very effective technique for relieving pain. How does it work? There are number of ways massage may help in relieving pain:
Massage confuses the body’s pain signals.
Rubbing may interfere with pain signals’ pathways to your brain, a process called the “gate control theory,” according to experts. Pain impulses run toward the spinal cord and then up the cord and into the brain. It’s only when they reach the brain that these impulses, are perceived as pain. When you rub, it sends other impulses along the same nerves. When all these impulses try to reach the brain through nerves, the nerves get clogged like a highway during morning rush hour. The result? Most of them won’t reach the brain. And if the pain signals does not reach the brain, you won’t feel pain. Thus, massage works by ‘closing the gate’ that pain impulses have to pass through.
Massage also calls up the body’s natural painkillers.
It stimulates the release of endorphins, the morphine-like substances that the body manufactures, into the brain and nervous system.
Massage provides deep relaxation.
It relieves muscle tension, spasm, and stiffness. All of these contribute to pain. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen, because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it what the muscle needs-oxygen and other forms of nourishment. The muscle then relaxes, and pain decreases.
Massage relieves mental stress, physical stress, anxiety… even depression.
Massage is providing the benefit by the therapeutic value of touching that helps a person in pain. Research shows that even touch lasting for less than 1 second has the ability to make people feel better. Obviously, an hour-long touch provided by massage has to make you feel good!
Common Styles of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is defined by Merriam Webster as: manipulation of tissues (as by rubbing, kneading, or tapping) with the hand or an instrument for therapeutic purposes. (source)
In the West, basic training for massage therapists is in Swedish massage, which combines a variety of techniques such as effleurage (gliding strokes), petrissage (kneading), friction, and tapotement (light percussion). Other massage modalities, typically learned through continuing education instructors, may encompass some, most, or all of the basic techniques, or draw on other skill sets.
Read below about all the different styles of massage therapy and how they work with the body:
Ashiatsu is a bodywork form that applies therapeutic pressure (through clothing) to promote health and well being. Although “Ashiatsu” literally means foot (ashi) pressure (atsu) in Japanese, ashiatsu techniques also make use of knees, elbows, palms, and fingers where necessary and appropriate.
Performed with the client fully clothed in a chair designed for complete relaxation.
Developed by Dr. John Upledger. It is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases restrictions in soft tissue and tension deep in the body to relieve pain and improve health.
Using glass cups to create a vacuum in order to increase warmth and circulation. Cupping can be very effective for relieving pain in Fibromyalgia sufferers.
Deep Tissue Massage
A category of massage therapy set apart from other modalities and used to treat specific skeletal and muscular disorders and complaints. It may employ both a dedicated set of techniques that are intended to achieve a measure of relief and/or a slow, deep penetration of the deeper layers using standard massage strokes.
The traditional massage of Hawaii, it combines massage with sacred Shamanic principles and energy awareness.
Lymph Drainage Therapy
A gentle, hands-on approach to assist proper flow of lymphatic fluid and reduce localized swelling.
Structural integration technique discovered by Dr. Ida Rolf, which reorganizes connective tissues in the body.
Massage combined with assisted stretching geared toward the athlete’s sport (or sports) of choice, focuses on the muscle groups that are most associated and stressed after working out. Each session is targeted to meet the unique needs of the client based upon his or her physical activity. The client often remains clothed.
A system of massage and assisted stretching developed in Thailand, and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia. It is often performed on the floor with the client dressed in comfortable clothes that allow for movement.
Trigger Point Therapy
Discovered and mapped by Dr. Janet Travell, TPT involves deactivating trigger points in muscles that refer pain to other areas of the body.
A hands-on body treatment that uses Chinese Taoist and martial arts principles in an effort to bring the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into balance. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press, and rub the areas between each of the joints, known as the eight gates, to attempt to open the body’s defensive (wei) chi and get the energy moving in the meridians and the muscles.
Massage Therapy Huntington
Robert Lutz, L.Ac., LMT, Diplomate Of Oriental Medicine