Massage therapy is a general term for many different individual types of bodywork. Basically, all types of massage can be described as hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues and/or joints of the body. Massage is known to stretch the muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as increase local circulation of blood. This makes massage one of the best temporary physical treatments for oxygen deprivation back pain.
Massage therapy can be traced back at least 5000 years as a back pain treatment and relaxation therapy. In fact, many anthropologists cite massage as potentially the very first medical therapy ever developed by early human ancestors.
Massage can be a soothing or stimulating treatment, depending on the style and the therapist. Generally, the benefits imparted to the recipient include stress reduction and overall relaxation. Massage therapy is one of the best ways to remove metabolic waste from the muscles (such as lactic acid buildup), making it an important aspect of athletic competition.
Many countries and states require a license for a practitioner to perform massage. These professionals are called LMTs or licensed massage therapists. Most of these professionals need to pass a standardized test in order to become licensed. Therapists span the range of styles and service offerings. It is crucial for patients to find a therapist who suits their needs, preferences and diagnosed condition, in order to enjoy the most rewards from treatment.
There are also products that attempt to mimic the skilled hands of a professional therapist. Massage chairs are one of the most popular products for personal use in the home or office. These seating products contain robotic massage mechanisms which may be primitive or high-tech, depending on price and quality. Many people find the investment in a massage chair to be a fantastic value, since it saves money over time compared to professional massage services and is available upon command 24/7.
Of course, there are also massage devices which are less expensive and may be just as effective. Handheld electronic massagers, massaging seat cushions and even massaging pillows are all available. These can be found online and in many retail stores.
Styles of Massage Therapy
There are far too many specialized styles of massage to list all of them here. These are some of the most commonly used for back pain:
Acupressure uses similar theory to acupuncture, only without the needles.
Active Release Techniques offer an alternative to traditional massage.
Aromatherapy uses natural herbs and oils to enhance the massage.
Deep Connective Tissue is an intense massage for deep tissue therapy.
Kinesiology teaches the body to move more efficiently.
Lomi Lomi is a Polynesian massage blending in spiritual healing.
Rolfing techniques are used to align the entire body.
Shiatsu is a 2000 year old Oriental massage technique.
Swedish is firm muscular massage for all-over muscle work.
Thai is an aggressive form of manipulation and massage.
Massage has very few health risks. However, always check that the conditions in a massage facility are sterile and clean. The last thing you need is to get some skin condition or infection when trying to treat chronic pain.
Financial risk is another story. It is advised to investigate several varieties of massage to find one which matches your needs ideally. Be wary of investing in a long-term commitment for a particular masseuse or style which remains unproven to you. Try each out a few times before a spending money for any package deal.
Learn more about massage for back pain and how to select a quality therapist.
Does Massage Therapy Work for Back Pain?
I believe that massage is excellent for general health. If you are suffering from back muscle pain, then massage is one of the very best treatments. Massage is not effective for correcting bone and disc problems that are common in back pain conditions.
Personally, I have experienced many different styles of massage and have enjoyed and benefited from each one. My recommendation would be to try one or more styles of massage. It might help your back pain and it will certainly help your overall physical and spiritual health. Even if you are free from back pain, a massage is a nice addition to your regular health maintenance program. Highly recommended.