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What is Massage Therapy?

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by | 8 views

Massage Therapy and its Many Benefits

If you think massage is only a make nice, feel good, only-to-pamper-yourself treatment, you may need to change that thought!

Massage has many benefits for anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being. It can help overcome the obstacles of infertility, combat certain symptoms and pains of pregnancy, ease thebirthing process, and improve the health and emotional state of the mother and child. Some of the general benefits that massage can bring to its recipients include improved circulation, detoxification and drainage of the lymph system and tissues, hormone balancing, improved sleep and digestion, decreased pain, and an improved sense of well-being and relaxation. Each of these benefits can improve the chances of becoming pregnant, having a healthier pregnancy and baby, and speed recovery after birth. More and more research has shown that touch and massage therapy bring physical, emotional, and spiritual health to those who utilize it.

Types of Massage

There are several different types of massage therapy, some of which are as follows.

Prenatal Massage
Also known as pregnancy massage, prenatal massage is a safe, effective way to treat some of the aches and pains accompanying pregnancy. It improves the circulation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body and to the baby, decreases tension and pain, increases flexibility, and helps with stress. Certain areas of the body known to stimulate the uterus and even start labor contractions are avoided during prenatal massage, so it is important to find a massage therapist who is familiar with these points and the pregnant woman’s body.

Infant Massage
Babies love to be touched, and naturally love massage. Infant massage can help increase the baby’s awareness of his or her body, which in turn is good for their development and growth. It can help with a fussy baby, improve sleep, calm an upset tummy, and even help to improve motor skills and strength.

Swedish (Circulatory) Massage
This form of massage consists of long, smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements using oil or lotion. It is usually a more gentle, superficial, and relaxing type of massage.

Aromatherapy Massage
The use of essential oils, or aromatherapy, with massage can enhance massage’s benefits and add certain properties to the treatment, such as improving immunity, increase detoxification, or address specific emotional issues. The essential, or aromatic, oils can be added directly to the massage oil used over the whole body, or can be applied to specific points, depending on the person’s complaints or desired goal with the massage.

Applying pressure to specific points along the body is called acupressure. These points, also known as acupoints, have particular actions and effects, and are chosen according to specific complaints or patterns in the person receiving the massage. Acupressure can be very effective in easing labor and helping it progress, as well as decreasing the pain during labor. It may also be a good alternative to acupuncture for those who prefer pressure instead of needles.

Similar to acupressure, but usually done on the foot or hand, reflexology can affect certain organs and systems in the body by applying pressure to specific areas of the palms and/or soles of the feet.

Abdominal Massage
Avoided during pregnancy but often very beneficial for fertility, abdominal massage can guide the internal organs into their proper position for optimal health, improve organ function and circulation, and break adhesions and scar tissue.

To find a massage therapist near you who specializes in fertility, pregnancy, and baby, visit our Massage Therapist Directory.

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