Massage is the practice of applying pressure or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints. A form of therapy, massage can be applied to parts of the body or successively to the whole body, to heal injury, relieve psychological stress, manage pain, improve circulation and relieve tension. Where massage is used for its physical and psychological benefits, it may be termed “therapeutic massage therapy” or manipulative therapy. Massage therapists may work with other healthcare professionals as part of a team that facilitates an environment that promotes health and overall wellness.
Massage therapy is one of the oldest methods of healing, as the practice of therapeutic massage can be traced back nearly 4,000 years. Statistics from both Health Canada 1 and the American Massage Therapy Association 2 show that millions of North Americans use it today.
Massage therapy refers to a comprehensive health management strategy focusing on the application of various techniques to positively affect the soft tissues and joints of the body. Massage techniques most commonly include pressure and compression, kneading, frictioning, and mobilizing to improve the health and condition of the muscles, tendons, skin, fascia or connective tissue of the body.
Today massage is thought of as a holistic therapy that complements medical treatment. The "Physician's Guide to Therapeutic Massage" shows that massage can decrease pain, improve range of motion, improve mood, aid in the circulation of blood and lymph flow, reduce muscle and joint soreness, and improve sleep.
1 Health Canada (2003)Health Policy Research Bulletin. Retrieved May 10, 2005, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/iacb-dgiac/arad-draa/english/rmdd/bulletin/mainstream.html#page6 2 American Massage Therapy Association. (2001). Massage Therapy Consumer Fact Sheet