What is Massage Therapy?
Myotherapy (myo=muscle), or massage therapy, is believed to be one of the oldest forms of medical care, dating back to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Its vital role in healthcare was universal. In 2700 B.C., a Chinese book of internal medicine recommended “the massage of skin and flesh”. More than two thousand years later, Hippocrates, who is the father of modern medicine, wrote that “the physician must be acquainted with many things and assuredly with rubbing”, which is an ancient Greek word for massage.
Today, the term massage therapy, or massotherapy, is used to describe the manipulation of soft tissue, muscle skin, and/or tendons, by fingertips, hands, fists, elbows and even feet. Bodywork is a general term for manual techniques that involve touch and movement and are used to promote health and healing.
Almost a quarter of all American adults have received at least one massage in the past twelve months. This number continues to grow as more people discover the benefits of massage for relaxation, rehabilitation and rejuvenation.
What are the benefits of Massage Therapy?
Many people think of massage as a luxury, but it is much more than simple relaxation. Therapeutic benefits of massage continue to be studied but research has shown it to be effective for:
✓Decreasing pain ✓Improved range of motion
✓Decreasing carpal tunnel syndrome ✓Reducing anxiety and stress
✓Reducing muscle soreness ✓Relieving back pain
✓Boosting immune system ✓Relieving migraine pain
✓Easing labor pain and stress ✓Lessening depression
✓Promoting tissue regeneration ✓Treating cancer-related fatigue
✓Promoting better sleep ✓Easing withdrawal symptoms
What should I look for when selecting a massotherapist?
When selecting a Massage Therapist, you want to make sure that (s)he is skilled, knowledgeable and ethical. The easiest way to ensure this is to ask whether they are nationally certified. If so, there should be a certificate from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) in their office or a decal.
To be licensed in Arizona, a Massage Therapist must:
✓Be Nationally certified through NCBTMB ✓Complete 700+ hours of massage education
✓Demonstrate mastery of core skills and knowledge ✓Take part in continuing education
✓Uphold the state organization’s Standards of Practice and Code of ethics
What can I expect when receiving a massage?
Although no two massages are alike, there are some things that are universal. Sessions generally take place in a quiet, comfortable room. It may be dimly lit with soothing music playing.
The practitioner will begin by asking questions, such as the reason you are seeking therapy, any injuries or medical conditions you may have, and any other information that may help them better serve you.
The Massage Therapist will then excuse her/himself so you can disrobe to your comfort level. You will then lie on the table under the provided cover and relax, either face down or face up.
You will remain draped at all times with the exception to the area currently being worked on. A typical full body session includes back, legs, arms, feet, hands, head, neck and shoulders. Oil, cream, or lotion are typically used.
When the massage is complete, the practitioner will leave the room so you can get dressed. Sit up slowly and drink plenty of water the rest of the day and into several days after the massage.