Massage therapy is used to help manage a health condition or enhance wellness. It involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body. Massage has been practiced in most cultures, both Eastern and Western, throughout human history, and was one of the earliest tools that people used to try to relieve pain. Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It is increasingly offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Massage benefits can include:
Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
Improving circulation, energy and alertness
Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
Improving immune function
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.The term “massage therapy” includes many techniques. The most common form of massage therapy in Western countries is called Swedish or classical massage; it is the core of most massage training programs. Other styles include sports massage, clinical massage to accomplish specific goals such as releasing muscle spasms, and massage traditions derived from Eastern cultures, such as Shiatsu and Tuina.
Massage therapy has been studied for several types of pain, including low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, and headaches. Here’s what the science says:
Neck and Shoulder Pain
Osteoarthritis of the Knee