DEFINITION: Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and as a recreational activity.
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor, while in amateur settings a general purpose surface like a bed or floor is more common. The massage subject may be fully or partially clothed or unclothed.
Studies have found that massage is an effective treatment for stress, pain and muscle tension. Research indicates that massage therapy can be helpful for:
- Digestive Disorders
- Insomnia Related to Stress
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Paresthesias and Nerve Pain
- Soft Tissue Strains or Injuries
- Sports Injuries
- Temporomandibular Joint Pain
Apart from the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating deep connections with their massage therapist.