Massage as a type of therapy dates back thousands of years to the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, and Indians. The process involves manipulating and squeezing muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue.
A massage therapist would apply pressure using a variety of techniques to relieve tension, improve circulation and promote relaxation.
Below you’ll find an overview of everything you need to know before having a massage including the health benefits, what to expect and how to choose the right therapist.
The Health Benefits of Massage
Massage has a plethora of health benefits for almost everyone. If you’re feeling stiff and stressed out, a massage will relieve the tension in your muscles allowing you to walk away feeling relaxed and refreshed.
People who engage in sports, both amateurs and professionals, can improve their recovery with a sports massage. Other people will experience an improvement in their symptoms in both chronic and acute conditions.
Regular massages can also improve your body’s immune and lymphatic system. This means your natural defenses can more strongly combat infections. You’ll also experience reduced anxiety, depression and a heightened mental awareness over the long-term.
Types of Massage
There are several types of massage that are used in different circumstances. Below are three of the most common techniques you might encounter.
Deep massages are often used to help the healing process of injured or damaged muscles and ligaments. You can expect stronger strokes along the muscle to reach the deeper layers of tissue.
Swedish massage is a technique that uses a series of circular movements, vibrations and tapping on the muscles. This is a more gentle massage and helps relaxation and will energize you. If you want to experience a revitalizing massage, have a Swedish massage.
Sports massages shares similarities in its techniques to the Swedish massage, but is geared towards people suffering from sports injuries. Regular sports massages reduce the risk of injuries and speed up recovery times from overuse.
How to Choose a Massage Therapist
Anyone can self-proclaim themselves as a massage therapist and offer their services. For this reason, it’s down to you to determine which one is both qualified and suitable for your situation.
You can find a therapist by asking for recommendations and referrals from trusted sources. This might be from your doctor or another health professional. Otherwise, ask a trusted friend.
If not, a quick Google search will reveal hundreds of massage therapists depending on where you are in the world. But look carefully at their licensing and registration.
Before you book a session, ask your potential therapist about their licensing, certifications and where they were registered. Ask them to tell you about their experience and training.
It’s also a good idea to explain your problem or situation and ask for their advice on what you need, how many sessions it will take and the cost.
What to Expect Before a Massage
If you’re about to go for your first massage, it can be a scary experience. You’re not sure what to expect, and you’ve seen on TV how vulnerable people look during the therapy.
Fortunately, you don’t need to have any special preparation before the massage. Nor do you need to worry about what will happen.
The whole procedure is designed to make sure you have the complete relaxation package. And any concerns or feelings of vulnerability will be instantly dispelled as soon as you sit down with your massage therapist.
First, you’ll have a brief consultation with the therapist. They’ll ask you questions about what symptoms you’re experiencing and what you hope to get out of the session. If you’re having a massage to alleviate medical symptoms, you may need to discuss your medical history. A professional will then explain exactly what they’re going to do and the techniques they will use.
What to Expect During a Massage
It’s a misconception that you need to take off your clothes for a massage. You can undress or wear loose-fitting clothing, which feels the most comfortable for you. Then you’ll lie on the massage table and the therapist will start their evaluation. This is to locate the areas of pain, stress, and tension.
Some massage therapists will use a type of natural oil or lotion to help reduce friction on your skin. But this is down to you and the therapist, and if you don’t want this, you’re under no obligation to use it.
Sessions typically last between ten and 90 minutes depending on the type and the package. Sometimes you will feel pain or discomfort when the therapist applies pressure on a sensitive spot. If this happens, tell them – they can’t read your mind!
Image by Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay
What You Need to Know Before Your First Massage
Massage as a form of treatment has been around for thousands of years and promotes all kinds of benefits from reducing stress and improving circulation to treating symptoms. Get your recommendations from trusted people to choose the therapist. And ask lots of questions about their background, training, and experience before booking an appointment. And most important of all, remember to relax!
About The Author:
Sally Brown is an experienced massage therapist who wants to promote the health benefits of massage to people all around the world. She specializes in Swedish massages.