Massage Therapy is a clinically proven effective treatment for stress and pain relief. Therapeutic massage is increasingly being recommended by doctors and other health care professionals as research continues to document that it is a powerful and cost effective way to bring healing and relief to myriads of populations of people.
Massage is rubbing, stroking or kneading of the soft issues of the body to reduce tension and pain. Therapists apply pressure with their hands, but they can also skillfully use their forearms, elbows or feet. There are over 80 different types of massage. Some are gentle, others are more intense.
The most common, Swedish massage, is all about relaxation of sore, tired muscles. The therapist uses long, gliding strokes, rhythmic kneading and staccato tapping techniques on the top layer of muscles in the direction of blood flow to the heart. Range of motion stretches are also employed to move joints and improve flexibility.
Deep tissue massage is more rigorous. It is often used by a therapist especially skilled in deep tissue therapeutic techniques to treat chronic muscle tension. Therapists apply deeper, slower, more intense strokes to reach and release knotted, ischemic muscles using fingers, knuckles and elbows.
Spas often combine Swedish massage with heated stones or aromatherapy from essential oils to make the massage experience even more sumptuous. Stone massage uses specially treated, smooth rocks which are heated and used in the session to ease soreness and soothe tired, knotted muscles. A few drops of essential oil in massage lotion can increase feelings of well being and relaxation, or bring about a sense of rejuvenation and invigoration.
According to The Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA), the oldest professional massage therapy association in the country, massage can improve a person’s health in the following ways: increases blood circulation; reduces heart rate and blood pressure; reduces stress and tension; relieves chronic and temporary pain; increases serotonin levels and acts against depression; relieves minor muscle strains and pain and increases athletic performance.
If you’re in the market for a therapist, hire one who is knowledgeable and professional. An MA# after his/her name (for example, Tom Bonanti MA40288) assures you that the therapist is schooled, licensed, and up to date on all of the modern massage techniques. Our own Hotspots Magazine is a great place to begin your search for the best therapists in South Florida!
Tom Bonanti is a personal trainer and licensed massage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.