Massages used to be available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs.
Oh, how things have changed.
Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports.
And, there are many different types and varieties of massage therapies available.
In this segment of Healthy Talk, special guest Dr. Kathy Gruver shares a wealth of information about massage, including what types are available and what therapy might be a right fit for you.
For instance, if you're looking for more of a relaxing massage, something that will soothe you and even make you feel a little bit sleepy, then Swedish Massage is probably for you. Unfortunately, this type of massage doesn't have as many health benefits as its counterparts.
Deep Tissue Massage is great for athletes, dancers, and people with injuries or chronic pain. This type of massage gets to the deeper levels of muscle tissue and helps break up chemicals and toxins. And, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't have to hurt.
Trigger Point Massage is extremely helpful if you're suffering from pain or tightness. In this variety of massage therapy, the therapist hones in on a specific area where the muscle is tight or in spasm. Therapists can utilize their knowledge of pain patterns to identify the problem area, and eradicate the spasm. A really good therapist can do this quite effectively... for instance, you may be experiencing pain in your neck, but the actual spasm may be occurring under your armpit.
The great thing about massage therapy, is that it may be an effective alternative to other pain-reducing techniques - including pain medications or surgery. It can relax your muscles, boost circulation, reduce pain, ease the discomfort of sciatica, flush toxins and even help with wrist issues. It also activates the area of your brain that produces the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. This hormone not only gives you warm fuzzies about yourself, but also allows you to feel compassion for others.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you're a cancer patient, you must be cleared for massage by your doctor as the act of massage can impact your lymphatic system and potentially cause you harm.
So, how can you find a therapist or practitioner who is skilled and who you jive with?
Dr. Gruver suggests that referrals are often the way to go. You can also go onto the website for the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals and find a practitioner based on your zip code. Certification varies by state, city and county, so simply visiting your local mall or spa might not get you the results you're looking for; it's best to do a little legwork beforehand.
If you thought you knew massage, there is so much more to learn. Don't miss this eye-opening interview.