Many physicians have been recommending massage therapy for nearly 2,400 years. The medical benefits of “friction” were first documented in Western culture by Greek physician Hippocrates around 400 B.C. Today, massage therapy is being used as a means of treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, and promoting genera l health. This is accomplished by manipulating a client’s soft tissues in order to improve the body’s circulation and move waste product from the muscles.
While massage therapy is done for medical benefit, a massage can be given to simply relax or rejuvenate the person being massaged. It is important to note that this type of massage is not intended for a medical purpose and provides medical value only through general stress reduction and increased energy levels. Massage therapy, on the other hand, is practiced by thoroughly trained individuals who provide specialized care with their client’s medical health in mind.
Massage therapists can specialize in over 80 different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage, and neuromuscular massage are just a few of the many approaches to massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Some use exaggerated strokes ranging the length of a body part, while others use quick, percussion-like strokes with a cupped or closed hand. A massage can be as long as two hours or as short as five or ten minutes. Usually, the type of massage therapists give depends on the client’s needs and the client’s physical condition. For example, they use special techniques for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes, and they would use approaches for clients with injuries that would not be appropriate for clients seeking relaxation. There are also some forms of massage that are given solely to one type of client (for example, prenatal massage and infant massage).
Delta College’s Therapeutic Massage program in Covington, LA, will arm students with information and experience so that they can perform their job responsibilities with confidence and accuracy.