Massage therapy is a form of integrative medicine that is becoming increasingly popular in medical centers. It is a practice that involves the use of various techniques, such as clicking, clapping, hitting, vibrating, kneading, rubbing, tapping, percussion, and effleuration. These techniques are used to promote relaxation, treat painful muscle conditions, reduce anxiety, and provide other benefits. Massage therapy is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, such as chiropractic adjustments.
A licensed massage therapist must complete 500 hours of coursework to become certified. This includes studying the massage itself as well as customer satisfaction and the assurance that they will return. Over the past 20 to 30 years, complementary therapists have adapted Swedish massage to place greater emphasis on the psychological and spiritual aspects of treatment. The primary uses of massage are to promote relaxation, treat painful muscle conditions, and reduce anxiety (often described in terms of “stress relief”).
There is no evidence to suggest that massaging cancer patients increases metastasis, although firm, direct pressure on active tumor sites should be avoided. Massage after myocardial infarction is controversial, although studies have shown that gentle massage is only a moderate physiological stimulus that does not cause excessive strain on the heart. Some evidence supports the more traditional effects of massage, such as improved circulation and decreased muscle tension. However, there is no reliable data linking these changes to clinically valuable benefits, such as relieving musculoskeletal pain, increasing mobility or improving performance sporty.
Massage professionals and their patients also say that massage improves self-image in people with physical disabilities and terminal illnesses. Massage can be adapted to the limitations of conventional healthcare settings by limiting work to the head, hands, feet, or back or even by rubbing the neck and shoulders through clothing with the patient seated in a chair. Make sure your massage therapist is certified in medical massage therapy and has real clinical experience.