Massage therapy is one of the oldest natural healing techniques. Massage techniques have been used for thousands of years to relax the muscles, ease aches and pains, rejuvenate the body and restore the body's innate healing ability. From the ancient times, the Chinese, Indians, Greeks and Romans all developed a range of massage techniques.
The word massage has a literal meaning of "friction of kneading." Massage therapy is the practice of manipulating the body with structured, unstructured and moving pressure. The pressure and target points may be muscles, soft tissues, tendon, joints or the skin which will be manipulated through pressing and rubbing to provide the receiver physical and psychological benefits. There are numerous types of massage therapy with various ways that pressure is applied, different degrees of pressure and different beneficial effects. Relaxation and pain relief are achieved through manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles with coordinated movements.
Massage therapy has been used over the millennia to help restore health to the body as well as providing benefits for quality of life and stress relief. Therapeutic and various types of massage can help promote rehabilitation, provide pain relief and recover from injuries or stresses (physical or mental) and improve physical flexibility and mobility. There are more than 250 variations or styles of massage therapy techniques that are used to benefit a range of conditions and provide ultimate healing for the mind and the body.
A sampling of various massage therapy techniques includes Swedish massage, shiatsu, reflexology, acupressure, barefoot tissue massage, bowen therapy, stone massage, Thai & traditional Chinese massage and postural integration. Each of these developed into an alternative therapy to treat different illnesses and all forms of massage aiming to promote better health and restore the body's natural healing abilities.
A massage session is usually one on one, beginning with relatively gentle pressure to calm the nervous system. Gradually the therapist will increase the pressure to address specific areas. Depending on the massage technique being used you may or may not be asked to undress. During the massage a clean sheet will cover you and the therapist only uncovers the area being worked on. Many therapists play soft music to help the client relax. It is important to ask questions and let the therapist know if there is any discomfort, like being cold or too warm or you feel pain so that they can adapt the massage as necessary. It is important for most types of massage that you are completely comfortable and relaxed. Your treatment may either take place on the floor or a massage table depending on the therapist and the type of massage therapy you are trying.