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The benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.
Getting a massage can do you a world of good and getting massage frequently can do even more. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you'll be and how youthful you'll remain with each passing year. The benefits of massage therapy may be endless. Budgeting time and money for massage at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Swedish Massage Therapy
This is the most common type of massage therapy in the United States. Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you've never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.
Hot Stone Massage
Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body. The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.
Also called prenatal massage, pregnancy massage is becoming increasingly popular with expectant mothers. Massage therapists who perform pregnancy massage know the proper way to position and support the woman's body during the massage, and how to modify techniques. Pregnancy massage is used to reduce stress, decrease swelling, relieve aches and pains, and reduce anxiety and depression. The massage is customized to a woman's individual needs.
Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. But you don't have to be a professional athlete to have one; people who are active and work out often also use it. The focus isn't on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance. Combinations of techniques are used. The strokes are generally faster than Swedish massage. Facilitated stretching is a common technique. It helps to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
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