What is Massage?
Therapeutic Massage is the practice of manipulating muscles and limbs to ease tension and reduce pain but can also be effective in treating the symptoms of disorders in the muscles and nervous system. The practice can be combined with other modalities such as Physical Therapy and Chiropractic or used alone. The history of Massage Therapy dates back to 3000 BCE in India, where it was considered a sacred system for natural healing. Massage practices have been passed down through generations since evolving into the widely popular and multi-faceted therapy it is today.
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In Western practices, we most often see the Swedish or Deep Tissue styles of massage. These approaches not only focus on relaxing palliative care but aim to align the long fibrous muscle cells to aid in healing.
Swedish massage uses five main techniques: effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration. Effleurage consists of long, gentle strokes along the muscles of the body; petrissage is a kneading of muscular tissue; tapotement is percussive tapping of the body; friction is deeper, more pointed gentle manipulation of muscle tissues; vibration uses pulses to loosen muscles.
While Swedish is ubiquitous in Western massage, it is far from alone. Many other modalities are used to improve the therapeutic benefits of massage, and not just focus on achieving relaxation. At Oasis, we know that all people’s bodies are different, and require distinct therapies to achieve their health goals. We have a variety of Licensed Massage Therapists who specialize in all different types of massage, such as trigger point, myofascial release, neuromuscular technique, hot stone, sports massage, prenatal, lymphatic, cranial sacral therapy, and more. These additional techniques and approaches to massage can be used alone or in conjunction with other massage styles to create an immersive and comprehensive experience that is unique to each client.
What Are the Benefits of Massage?
On a neurological level, massage therapy is great for managing stress, anxiety, and depression by releasing endorphins and neurohormones. These hormones are released by the nervous system and include dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, all proven to help reduce stress symptoms. Mechanically, massage improves flexibility, reduces muscle tension on joints and organs, and can lead to better circulation which is hugely beneficial for the heart and lymphatic system. The practice of massage increases blood flow to targeted muscles allowing them to more readily absorb nutrients needed to function optimally. The act of rubbing muscles heats up the collagen fibers in the muscle tissue which allows them to loosen and break down. The breaking down and realigning of muscle fibers reduces restrictions and gives way for more effective stretching.
As a therapy used to support general well-being, massages offers a variety of benefits that make other treatments more effective, and manage underlying causes of conditions, such as stress, limited blood flow, and inflammation.
What to Expect During Massage Treatment
Each of our massage therapists are equipped with the knowledge and tools to “meet you where you are,” and tailor an experience to your needs and expectations. They will always consult you about areas of concern or overall goals before starting treatment. Feedback before, during, and after treatment is encouraged and allows your massage therapist to understand your body and its needs. Your comfort level is your therapist’s number one priority. Skin-to-hand contact is essential for an effective massage, but you are welcome to undress to your level of comfort. You will be always draped with a top sheet and blanket for your warmth, modesty, and comfort.
Massage therapists use lotion and/or healthy oils on your skin to avoid pulling and friction that could damage the skin or cause strain on the muscle when applying strong pressure. Most massage treatments work your muscles in stages, first warming them up with gentler, less focused manipulation using the palm of the hand, whole hand, or even forearm. Targeted stretching allows manipulation without causing damage to the muscles, tendons, and other tissues. Transitioning into deeper treatment happens once the muscles are warmed up. This stage includes more pressure and a focus on smaller surface areas for manipulation. This more acute treatment can be uncomfortable or a little painful at first, but result in deep relaxation of muscles, pain reduction overtime, and physical releases of stress.
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We look forward to meeting you and supporting you on your journey towards better health and wellness at Oasis Wellness Partners in Scarborough, Maine. Call 207-833-5549 today to make an appointment.