What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy, also known as Swedish massage, is the most common form of massage therapy in North America. Massage therapists use long, smooth strokes, kneading and other movements focused on superficial layers of muscle using massage oils or lotions.
How Does Massage Therapy Work?
Massage therapy improves circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. It relieves muscle tension and pain, increases flexibility and mobility, and helps clear lactic acid and other waste, which reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.
Why Do People Get Massage Therapy?
People get massage therapy for relaxation or for a variety of health conditions:
Neck/low back pain
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Tennis & golfer's elbow
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Whiplash/other car accident injuries
Scars and scar tissue
Stress relief and stress-related conditions
Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation Massage therapy relieves stress.
It is thought to help the body's stress response by lowering levels of hormones such as cortisol. Massage therapy also appears to enhance immune function.
What a Typical Massage Therapy Session is Like?
A typical massage therapy session is between 45 and 90 minutes. Your massage will begin with a brief consultation and review of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. You will be asked to undress (many people keep their underwear on) while the massage therapist is out of the room, and lie face down under a sheet on a padded massage table. The massage therapist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready. The massage therapist re-enters the room and will then adjust the face rest and pillows to ensure that you are comfortable and properly positioned. Tell the massage therapist if you are too warm or cold. The massage therapist uses a light oil or lotion on the skin and begins the massage. A full body massage usually begins on the back and then moves down to the legs. You will then be asked to turn over so you are face up. The massage continues on your arms, legs, neck, and abdomen. You are underneath the sheet at all times, and in North America, only the part of the body being treated at any one time is uncovered. After the massage, the massage therapist leaves the room so you can get changed. Take your time getting up. If you sit or stand too quickly you may feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Will Massage Therapy Hurt?
Massage therapy shouldn't hurt. Occasionally there is mild aching when the massage therapist applies pressure over "knots" and other areas of muscle tension. If the pressure is too strong for you, let the massage therapist know.
How Will I Feel After a Massage?
Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. Occasionally, people experience mild temporary aching for a day.
Massage therapy is not recommended for certain people:
People with infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
Immediately after surgery
Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged.
If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage
Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.
Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.
Additional Massage Tips
Clients should refrain from eating a heavy meal before the massage.
If it's your first time at the clinic or spa, arrive at least 10 minutes early to complete the necessary forms. Otherwise, clients are asked arrive 5 minutes early so they can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.
Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China that can be traced back at least 2,500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture may, it has been theorized, correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.
The practice of acupuncture to treat identifiable pathophysiological (disease) conditions in American medicine was rare until the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972. Since that time, there has been an explosion of interest in the United States and Europe in the application of the technique of acupuncture to Western medicine.
Acupuncture is a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical locations on or in the skin by a variety of techniques. There are a variety of approaches to diagnosis and treatment in American acupuncture that incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation.
Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. There have been many studies of its potential usefulness. However, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebo and sham acupuncture groups.
However, promising results have emerged, for example, efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in post-operative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke, rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma where acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.
How safe is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has a proven track record of being incredibly safe and effective for many different illnesses. The 1997 National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on Acupuncture stated, “The data in support of acupuncture is as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies. One of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.”
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
This is one of the most common fears of first time acupuncture recipients. Acupuncture utilizes hair-thin small needles, patients may sense either a slightly heavy, dull or tingling around the needle for a very short period of time.
How many acupuncture treatments will it take?
The expected amount of time is different from person to person. Each individual is evaluated and a treatment plan will be recommended depending on their presenting symptoms and the history and severity of their conditions. Some people may only need a very small number of treatments because the extent of their dysfunction is minimal and they have only had the problem for a very short period of time. On the other hand, someone who has had an extensive condition for a number of years may require more treatments to dramatically improve their state of well being.