What is massage?
Rubbing areas that hurt is a
natural human response. Other mammals have similar reactions when feeling pain or
discomfort. Therapeutic massage is based on this idea. With massage, muscles and other
soft body tissues are rubbed and manipulated. This helps reduce pain and aid in the
Massage is found to be helpful both
physically and emotionally. The rubbing action soothes sore muscles and releases tension
in the body. This calms and eases stress.
Massage therapy can help with
Anxiety and stress
High blood pressure
Carpal tunnel symptoms
Sports or overuse
Side effects of cancer and
Massaging muscles and soft tissue
stimulates the nerves. It also increases blood flow and eases stress in the muscles.
Over the centuries, many massage methods have developed including:
Swedish massage. This method
includes the use of long, smooth strokes. The strokes knead and compress the
muscles with deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping.
Shiatsu. This Japanese form
of massage is a form of acupressure. It puts pressure on certain key points of the
Thai massage. This method
also uses yoga and some traditional Chinese medicine methods.
Massages are typically done in a
quiet room with soothing background music. There is also often aromatherapy from candles
or incense. You often lie down on a massage table or sit in a massage chair. Massage
uses a group of manual methods. These are made up of both fixed and moveable
Massage therapy is regulated by
law. There are specific guidelines in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) has set up
standards of practice. It also gives a board certification exam.
In 2013, the NCBTMB established
board certification. This is the highest attainable credential for massage therapists
The NCBTMB board certification
requires that a massage therapist meets these requirements:
Pass the board certification
Complete 750 hours of
Complete 250 hours of
professional hands-on experience
Pass a full national
Have a current CPR
Agree to uphold NCBTMB
Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
Agree to oppose human
Research has shown that massage therapy has few risks if used
appropriately and provided by a trained massage professional. Tell all of your
healthcare providers (conventional or complementary) about the health methods,
supplements, and medicines you use. This will give them a full picture of your health
and help ensure safe, effective, coordinated care.