If you are stressed and fatigued, you may believe that the only thing you can do is buy some over-the-counter tablets to relieve pain and get through the day.
But did you know massage therapy can help with relaxation and pain management? It's a popular technique due to its amazing benefits of enhancing wellness.
Massage has been practiced throughout human history, both in western and eastern cultures. It is a tool that people used during ancient times to relieve pain.
Despite hearing about massage therapy, you may still have some questions like, what are the advantages of massage? How often should I go? And so on.
We have compiled everything you need to know about massage therapy. Read on to get answers to all your questions and other important details.
History of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy was first practiced in India, China, and Egypt. During those times, only doctors performed it. In reality, massage therapy has been performed worldwide at every point in time.
After Egyptians invented reflexology, many other cultures followed suit. Per Henri Ling developed the modern Swedish massage system in the early 19th century. This system is still used up to date around the world in spas.
The demand for masseuses and masseurs climaxed in early 1900s. Physiotherapists began using Swedish massage alongside regular medicine. Upon licensing of physical therapy in the 1950s, massage therapy became recognized.
Today, many people have experienced how massage therapy helps with pain management. They use it to maintain healthy bodies.
What Does Massage Therapy Do?
Massage offers mental and health benefits. Not only that, but it also makes you feel good. Here are four proven benefits:
Help Reduce Stress
Physical tension causes mental tension. Quality massage reduces stress hormone levels by releasing feel-good hormones.
Lower stress levels improve your physical well-being naturally. Going for a massage when you feel overwhelmed by the daily stressors. You will leave feeling calmer.
Reduces Pain and Muscle Tension
Massage therapy is effective for pain management. Even though it may not solve your pain problems 100%, it helps reduce it. It relaxes the muscles and joints, giving you some relief.
Massage helps to relax your body and mind by releasing endorphins. It also increases serotonin levels in your body.
These hormones help to rebalance your mind and bring your body back to normal. A good massage will help calm your nerves, in turn relaxing your mind and body.
A good massage lowers cortisol levels which help to boost your immune system. Cortisol is a stress hormone that suppresses immune function. Massage prevents the accumulation of pathogens by flashing them out of the body.
Which Style of Massage Therapy Is Right for You?
Each style of massage has its benefits. You may have to try a few to find which works best for you. Or your massage therapist may incorporate different styles into your routine. Here are the most common types of massage therapy.
Deep Tissue Massage
It focuses on specific areas of the body. Deep tissue massage is commonly used for chronic problems. The massage can be intense but should not be painful. It helps to correct muscular and postural imbalances.
It is a feel-good massage found in spa settings. Relaxing long strokes help to soothe the nervous system to reduce stress.
It's a great starting point if you're new to massage therapy. Your therapist will tailor the massage to specific areas of the body with issues.
This type of massage is specifically meant for athletes. It helps to prevent injury, improve performance, and reduce recovery time. It is beneficial in all stages of training.
Chair massage uses a specialized chair with a face cradle and a pad to support the chest and head. It helps to relieve joint discomfort caused by tissue binding and muscle tension. Chair massage focuses on the upper part of the body to increase physical flexibility.
Thai massage uses stretching techniques and gentle pressure to relax the body. The benefits are improved athletic performance, lower stress levels, and increased energy.
The gentle stretches promote the circulation of blood. This increases oxygen to the body's tissues.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Health conditions can cause a buildup of lymph fluid on specific body areas like the legs or arms. Lymphatic drainage massage is beneficial to those with fibromyalgia, lymphedema, and other conditions. It is a form of massage that helps to get rid of toxins and waste from bodily tissues.
Shiatsu massage is an ancient healing method used by the Japanese. It helps relieve lower back pain, fatigue, headaches, and more.
Practitioners may use their knees, elbows, or thumbs during the massage. During the first 24 to 48 hours, you may feel slightly sore, but it should not persist after that.
The kneading and stretching techniques help improve motion in the joints. The benefits include improved relaxation, bowel function, and sleep quality.
Pregnancy massage, just as the name suggests, is performed during pregnancy. It helps to relieve the pains and aches of pregnancy.
Prenatal massage enhances your overall well-being and improves your mood. But it is not ideal for every pregnancy or every person. Follow this pregnancy guide to know everything about pregnancy.
Hot Stone Massage
A hot stone massage is used to ease tense muscles and relax damaged soft tissues. The stones are placed on certain parts of the body. They are made of basalt as it retains heat to soothe the skin and calm engorged blood vessels.
It is a form of therapy that uses gentle pressure on your feet, hands, or ears. It helps to ease stress and enhance body performance.
People with medical conditions feel less discomfort and pain with reflexology. It boosts feel-good emotions. It becomes easy for people to manage their health conditions.
Massage Therapy vs Physiotherapy
Many people with pain aren't sure if they need massage therapy or physiotherapy. Both help with pain management, but they are a lot of differences between the two.
Massage therapy offers immediate relaxation of muscle spasms and pain. Physiotherapy focuses more on rehabilitating joint and muscle function.
Massage therapy is a hands-on treatment technique used to manipulate soft body tissues. They include connective tissues, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Massage therapists are usually self-employed. They work in chiropractic clinics, massage therapy clinics, health spas, etc.
Physiotherapy services are found in child development centers and retirement residences. Often such services are provided to persons who require ongoing treatment.
They may be persons who need joint mobilization or programs for fractures. The decision between massage therapy and physiotherapy will depend on your condition.
Who Can Massage Therapy Benefit
Massage benefits different people in various ways. It all depends on your condition and the type of massage used. It benefits:
People Wanting to Relax
Massage has emotional and physiological responses. The physiological response is the effect the therapy has on the musculoskeletal system.
Emotional response refers to the sense of calmness and relaxing feeling massage offers. Therapeutic massage relaxes the muscles and reduces stress.
People With Back Pain
Massage helps with chronic back pain. Therapists manipulate the soft tissues by applying pressure to relieve back pain.
Massage also helps to relieve muscle tension and improve posture. This reduces the need for pain medications.
People Who Suffer From Headaches
Massage therapy relieves tension, headaches and migraines. It promotes circulation increasing blood flow through the body.
Therapists focus on trigger points to reduce pain in the head and neck. Massage loosens tight muscles to improve muscle balance and relieve tension headaches.
People With Osteoarthritis
Chronic osteoarthritis causes a lot of pain. Massage will ease the pain by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joints. This allows better mobility as pressure is applied on trigger points.
People with Depression
It is important to note that massage does not cure depression. But it helps relieve physical symptoms associated with depression.
Massage alleviates muscle aches, joint pain, and sluggishness. It also helps with sleeping problems and fatigue.
People with Cancer
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can cause severe side effects. Massage therapy can help alleviate the symptoms.
Dealing with cancer can have devastating effects on the body and mind. Massage will relax the muscles and soothe pain and discomfort.
What Can Massage Therapy Help With?
Massage therapy is effective in dealing with symptoms of different conditions. It helps with:
Massage reduces pain by interrupting pain signals sent to the brain. Therapeutic massage eases pain by increasing blood flow to sore muscles and joints.
Massage therapy improves the emotional health of a person by reducing stress hormones. It increases serotonin production, thereby reducing pain and depression. Stress relief also means emotional relief from anxiety and anger.
Relaxation and Muscle Flexibility
Reduced flexibility is a result of muscle inflammation and tightness. It causes an increase in pain and restriction of movement.
Massage improves performance as the muscles tend to relax. It increases the range of movement, increasing muscle flexibility.
Lower Blood Pressure
Massage calms the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs due to stress factors.
Gentle, relaxing sessions help your mind and body to relax. Adding a therapeutic massage to your treatment can significantly lower your blood pressure. You need also to eat healthy foods to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Massage helps to loosen tight muscles and ease muscle tension. There are specific techniques used during massage to increase the mobility of joints. Posture stress decreases by reducing muscle tightness.
Strengthening the Body's Immune System
Research shows that therapeutic massage boosts the immune system. Massage reduces cortisol production. Instead, it increases white blood cells activity to help fight diseases.
What to Expect in a Massage Therapy Treatment
There are different stages offered during a massage therapy session. They include:
During the first session, your therapist will want to know the symptoms you have. They will ask questions to gather information about your medical history.
The therapist will also do tests to confirm your symptoms or condition. They will then let you know what to expect from their massage sessions.
Personalized Treatment Plan
As stated earlier, there are different styles of massage therapy. What may work for someone else may not work for you. Your therapist will come up with a personalized treatment plan for you.
They may even have to combine multiple massage options for you to experience relief. Treatment plants help the therapist to know whether the massage style is working for you. If not, they will know where to make some adjustments.
Consent Before Treatment
Consent before the massage therapist begins treatment is vital. It creates trust between you and the therapist. Communication about the options and risks will help you make choices that are best for you.
The therapist also faces a lesser risk of any legal action. Make sure you are both in agreement before commencing treatment.
Risks of Massage Therapy
As much as therapeutic massage has many benefits, it is not recommended for everyone. They include:
People with a Bleeding Disorder
Going too deeply into the tissues during massage could worsen bleeding. The amount of pressure applied could cause the condition to be severe.
People with Burns or Healing Wounds
Massage can only be started when the wounds or burns don't need bandages or dressing. Burns and wounds that have not healed should not be massaged as they could end up worse.
Those with Infections
Anytime you have an infection like a cold or flu, you should not go for a massage. Massage increases circulation, which may make the condition more severe.
People with Broken Bones
It is not advisable to move muscles under broken bones. Applying pressure can cause pain and the fracture to increase.
If You Have Deep Vein Thrombosis
Massage can dislodge a clot sending it through the circulation. The clot can lodge in the lungs causing pulmonary embolism.
Those with Severe Osteoporosis
Massage can endanger the lives of those with severe osteoporosis. The bone density is low, and you risk breaking a bone. Deep tissue work and sudden forceful movements need to be avoided.
People with Very Low Platelet Count
Platelets help the blood to clot. People with very low platelet count may bruise or bleed easily. Massage should not be performed on such individuals to avoid blood clots.
How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost in Canada?
Massage therapists in different Canadian provinces set their own rates, so prices will vary. To give you a rough idea, we've compiled the average price per hour based on the prices of Canadian professionals from different regions:
- British Columbia - $63.01 per hour
- Nova Scotia - $32.86 per hour
- Ontario - $37.55 per hour
- Quebec - $33.29 per hour
- PEI - $30.55 per hour
- Alberta - $46.56 per hour
- Saskatchewan - $24.88 per hour
- Manitoba - $28.19 per hour
- New Brunswick - $14.22 per hour
Do Provisional Healthcare Plans cover Massage Therapy?
Professional health care plans do not cover most registered massage therapy. The only exception is when massage therapy is vital for the recovery of the patient.
But the majority of private insurance companies offer partial or full coverage. It depends on the healthcare plans.
Choose the Best Massage Therapy Coverage for Your Needs
Compare rates from different massage therapy coverage providers. Choose one who offers the best rates to save money on insurance. Make sure you choose a service provider who can meet your needs well.
Here at Insurdinary, we have plans that offer coverage on massage therapy. Apply online and get the best rates. It's free, simple, and fast.
Contact us today to get a quote.