The human body is a complex system of cells, tissues, and organs, and mankind is busy providing solutions to ease all its ills. One of these solutions is a non-invasive method called massage therapy that originated as early as 2700 BC and is becoming more popular in many parts of the globe, like Canada.
The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) describes massage therapy as “the manipulation of soft tissues of the body, which include the muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints.” Initially categorized as an alternative medical option, it has now become a clinically-oriented healthcare option in Canada.
Because of the enormous benefits it brings, massage therapy is gaining popularity in spas, gyms, and work places all over the country. It has now become a staple in promoting overall health and wellness among Canadians.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
- In hospitals and other health care facilities, professionals recommend massage therapy to treat pain, increase circulation, and assist in healing injured muscles.
- It reduces blood pressure, which helps people relax, especially when under great stress. It also helps patients suffering from severe pain relax and improve their mood.
- On a psychological standpoint, research suggests that it reduces anxiety and depression. A study from the University of Miami found massage therapy to have positive effects on people experiencing mental health issues, including chronic stress, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
- Massage therapy, other researches claim, can also effectively alleviate cancer-related pain, boost the immune system, relieve headaches, and ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- For athletes, massage therapy can be used as part of their preventive care program and treatment plan, which also includes sports training, injury prevention, and stress management.
How It Works
Massages, as a stimulus to the body, induce a relaxed response, in which the heart and breathing rates, blood pressure, and stress hormones slow down. Massages also help increase serotonin levels, the hormone that affects emotions and thoughts.
Because of the soft tissue manipulation and the increased production of serotonin, massages also help improve blood circulation, enhancing the delivery of oxygen to muscle cells. With the improvement of cellular health, tissues function better especially on removing waste products and reducing soft tissue swelling.
Massage therapy is most popular among professionals and athletes suffering from occupational stress and overuse of muscles. While there are a lot of masseuses who offer the same services, massage therapists are more capable of treating clients with chronic pain.
To help patients successfully, massage therapists have to ask for their clients’ medical history and perform an initial evaluation to diagnose what they need and locate painful or tense areas for the massage. Therapists use oil or lotion during massages to reduce friction on the skin. Massage sessions may be brief or may last longer than an hour, depending on what the client needs.