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Benefits of massage.

(AMTA educational information used with permission)

Sure, massage feels good, but are there any other benefits? Therapeutic massage can provide a number of benefits such as relieving pain and stress, boosting the immune system, improving posture and enhancing athletic performance.

Massage therapy is a health practice has been used in various cultures such as Greek and Chinese since ancient times. Modern scientific research shows that massage relaxes muscles and improves range of motion, and temporarily reduces heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Massage also complements traditional health care by soothing a number of conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, TMJ disorders, stress, hyperactivity, backaches, and headaches. Many hospitals are using massage therapy for stress relief and pain management. Massage assists in injury relief by fostering faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments, reducing pain and swelling, and reducing formation of excessive scar tissue. Massage therapists helped the athletes at the summer Olympics warm up and recover from their events.

In addition to the physical benefits, massage therapy can provide mental benefits such as improving concentration and promoting a relaxed state of mental alertness. Emotional benefits include reducing anxiety and depression and promoting a sense of well-being.

Because of the benefits, massage therapy is growing in popularity as an alternative health care practice. In a recent survey commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association [R], more than one in five adults surveyed (21 percent) received a massage within the past 12 months. With the rise in popularity of massage, there has been an explosion of types of massage or "bodywork." The most popular types include:

* Swedish massage: The most common type of massage, to relax and energize you.

* Deep tissue massage: For muscle damage from an injury, such as whiplash or back strain.

* Sports massage: To help prevent athletic injury, keep the body flexible and heal the body should injury occur.

* Chair massage: Massage of the upper body, while fully clothed and seated in a special portable chair.

Each type of massage requires specialized training. Finding a qualified massage therapist is important, especially important in Montana because the State does not regulate massage therapy as a profession. Ask your massage therapist about his or her credentials.

If you seek massage therapy, ask the therapist what massage type will give you the results you want. During an appointment, the therapist will want background information about your physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels and any painful areas. Give the therapist complete and accurate health information and let the therapist know your needs.

The American Massage Therapy Association[R] (AMTA) at 1-888-THE-AMTA or offers some helpful answers to common questions about massage. You do not need to remove all of your clothes to receive a massage. It's your choice. Remove clothing to your level of comfort. Many clients bring swimsuits or shorts to the massage appointment. You should have privacy when changing or removing any clothing. Sheets or other draping provide cover for private areas during the massage session. If you wear clothing during the massage, make sure the massage therapist can move the parts of your body you expect to be massaged through your clothes. Chair massage is given without removing any clothes. During the massage session, tell your therapist if you have any discomfort, whether it is from the massage or from any distractions related to the environment, including amount of pressure, speed of movement, room temperature, music volume or lighting. Except for exchanging necessary information about the massage session, some clients don't like to talk during the massage. Sometimes being silent can be a way of concentrating or letting go of thoughts. Other clients prefer to chat during the massage--it depends on the client and what makes them comfortable.

While massage is a nice way to pamper yourself or someone else, it is not just a spa luxury. With the high rate of inflation for traditional health care, preventative health measures such as routine massage can be a sound investment in your health.

Tina Wambeke, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, NCBTMB Education Chair of the Montana Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (ATMA)
COPYRIGHT 2005 Montana Nurses Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Continuing Education
Author:Wambeke, Tina
Publication:The Pulse
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Previous Article:Montana massage therapists plan events to raise awareness about the benefits of massage in health care.
Next Article:Geriatric Health Screening Certificate Program.

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