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What is massage therapy?

Massage simply means “to handle, touch, to work with the hands, to knead dough”. Origins of massage date back 5,000 years to China and Egypt. Archeological evidence has been found in ruins in such places as Thailand, Greece, Korea, Japan, India and Rome. Gradually massage has developed into many different forms which have now become mainstream in today’s culture.

Many different massage modalities range from Swedish Massage to Traditional Thai Massage. The premise behind each technique is the same. To move muscles and soft tissues from a state of hypertonicity (constant increase in muscle pressure or tone) to a state of “relaxation”. Overall goals are to fix soft tissues when they become overused and congested. These tissues can lead to pain in the body.

Massage Therapy is performed with either fingers, hands, elbows, or even feet. Even some use tools such as in the case of Cupping Massage. In some instances this can be done on a table (Craniosacral), a chair (Chair massage) or the floor (Thai Massage).

An estimated 4.27 million Canadians aged 12 or older suffered an injury severe enough to limit their usual activities in 2009–2010 (Appendix 1). This represents 15% of the population in this age range, up from 13% in 2001 – Statistics Canada http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2011001/article/11506-eng.htm

Why choose massage therapy?

Certainly the most common benefit of receiving a massage is overall relaxation you can experience. A high percentage of people feel rejuvenated and recharged after a massage. Stress plays a key role in our overall rapid decline into a chronic state of pain and muscle fatigue.

Firstly, our bodies are able to decrease the stress we feel through a chain of events that takes place in our pituitary gland which releases chemicals aimed at decreasing this stress. As an example, touch plays an integral part in releasing these chemicals which is why massage is a major player in stress relief and has been through the ages since its inception 5,000 years ago.

Along with stress relief massage therapy is also an excellent source of targeting tissues which may be causing pain in the pain. Being able to physically touch and work the tissues in your body, the therapist can feel what may be causing tissue adhesions. These adhesions form along muscle fibers which you feel as pain or muscle tension (depending on the severity).

In the same way every person may feel different levels of pain and the majority of people can go years ignoring their symptoms. Massage therapy works on the principle that through many different techniques the therapist can break down these adhesions and create a decrease in muscle tension and pain.

To summarize this can range from relieving headaches to back pain and massage has also been proven to help with sleep and improve circulation. In fact, many patients undergoing chemo and radiation therapy suffer from sleep disorders and massage has been proven to help them relax and overcome their restlessness.

What is the best form of massage?

So how do you choose? Over the decades new forms of massage have become common in modern day clinics all over the world. All are dependant on two things, your personal comfort level and the impact of your injury.

  • Are you comfortable getting undressed and lying on a table while you get oiled up and have the smells of the room overwhelm your every sense? Then aromatherapy might be for you!
  • Are you unable to tie your shoes because you have recently experienced another back spasm? Orthopaedic massage may be for you!
  • Are you bleeding from your head because you have just been involved in a car crash and are losing consciousness? No amount of massage will help you, but the hospital may have you name on it!

At the end of day you have to decide what it is that you are trying to attain from your massage treatments. In my experience helping clients through therapeutic massage therapy has alleviated many chronic and acute muscles pains.

I am always accepting new patients to my practice and welcome anyone who wishes to get in touch with me.