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Massage therapy: what it is, what it is for, techniques and contraindications

Massage therapy: what it is, what it is for, techniques and contraindications


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There massage therapy it sounds like a massage or something that has to do with muscles anyway, even from the name alone, but it is not enough to guess what it is to understand if it is what it does for us. So let's go deeper into its characteristics, including contraindications.

Massage therapy: what it is

It is a therapeutic massage which acts on muscles and connective tissues. It is done with the hands and usually with the aim of preventing diseases of themusculoskeletal system or because you want to rehabilitate people who are affected by it.

When we talk about massage therapy we are not talking about just one type of massage but about a series of techniques that we will soon see, all aimed at conquering or making maintain a state of health and well-being, especially with regard to the musculoskeletal system.

This practice it acts on a wide range and it is often defined as both rehabilitation and preventive, not only for diseases that affect the muscles, but also for those that affect blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and motor nerve endings.

Not requiring special preparations, the massage therapy it is considered a practice with a low risk of complications but is not entirely free from contraindications. We will see them later but I will mention them: it is better not to perform massage therapy sessions if you are pregnant or in the presence of coagulation disorders, fractures, skin lesions, skin infections and tumors.

Before going into the merits of this therapy, let's open a small parenthesis on its name which derives from the union of two Greek words, which are: "Boulder" (μάσσω) and "therapeia" (θεραπεία). The word "boulder" means "kneading" or "modeling with the hands", while the word therapeia means "cure" or "healing". The literal meaning of the term is therefore "care with the modeling of the hands ".

Massage therapy: what is it for

Most of the time we hear about massage therapy we are in the presence of muscle pain, contracted muscles, tendon contractures and hardening, water retention, psychic stress or cellulite.

For many years the real effectiveness of this therapeutic practice has been investigated but in the end it has emerged that in fact it is a treatment that gives beneficial results albeit limited in time. Much also depends on the type of disorder we are treating, the one for which it seems to have great success is for example chronic back pain.

One of the areas in which massage therapy is often applied is that sporty. Professional athletes undergo it to reduce post-workout fatigue or to accelerate recovery and promote muscle relaxation after competitions or workouts.

Massage therapy: techniques

Let's see some of the different techniques with which this massage is performed. There are numerous, here we list the main ones.

There is kneading which can be superficial or deep, it can only be applied where there is muscle mass, there is the pressure which aims to facilitate the reabsorption of edema and improve blood circulation, and percussion to improve muscle contractility and metabolism, promote muscle vascularization and stimulate the nervous system.

Among the techniques we also find the vibration, which involves small and rapid lateral movements, similar to tremors, to be carried out with the hand on the area to be treated. We continue with the touch, technique with which every massage therapist begins and ends each session, and with rubbing, an essential technique, because it precedes and follows every other massage technique. Let's not forget the friction, technique that allows you to act on both the superficial and the deep layers of our body.

Massage therapy: contraindications

It is a safe and low-risk treatment, as we have already said, of course as long as you go to a qualified therapist, a massage therapist who must have his specific qualification in massage therapy. A professional figure of this kind can usually boast knowledge in the field of human anatomy, physiology, human biology, chemistry, endocrinology, immunology, pharmacology, pathology and histology.

Let's go back to massage therapy and any "side effects" among which we find, among the most frequent, some temporary pains, swelling, the formation of hematomas, some adverse or allergic reactions to the oil or ointment used during the session. Nothing serious as you can notice. However, it is recommended not to undergo this practice for some "at risk" subjects such as for pregnant women, a situation in which it is usually better to avoid any type of manipulation of the body.

The future mothers not only the only ones excluded, there are also people with coagulation defects, fractures, skin wounds, skin infections or osteoporosis. In this case a technique like the massage therapy it could make them worse. If you have recently undergone surgery, it is better to let some time pass before having a massage of this type, while those suffering from a tumor can experience it but not in the anatomical area where the tumor resides.

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