Massage is perhaps one of the oldest healing traditions. Many ancient peoples – including the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians – were convinced of the therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments.
Massage therapy (including myotherapy) is the practice of kneading or manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft-tissue in order to improve their wellbeing or health. It is a form of manual therapy that includes holding, moving, and applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
The term ‘massage therapy’ is used to describe a wide variety of techniques that vary in the manner in which touch, pressure and the intensity of the treatment is applied.
Massage for treatment of some disorders
Research indicates that massage and myotherapy are effective in managing:
- subacute/chronic low back pain
- delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- soft tissue injuries
- high blood pressure
Benefits of massage
One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins – the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing.
Levels of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine, are also reduced. Studies indicate that high levels of stress hormones impair the immune system.
Some of the physical benefits of massage and myotherapy include:
- reduced muscle tension
- improved circulation
- stimulation of the lymphatic system
- reduction of stress hormones
- increased joint mobility and flexibility
- improved skin tone
- improved recovery of soft tissue injuries
- heightened mental alertness
- reduced anxiety and depression.