Massotherapy is a general term for medical or therapeutic treatment by massage. Massage therapy is one of the oldest, effective forms of medical care. No one really knows the mystery behind why massage therapy works – we just know that it does.
Worried about the high rates of depression and suicide, the Army is planning therapy for its 1.1 million soldiers (NYT, Aug. 17, p. A1). We propose two basic causes of depression: Hidden emotions, and no secure bond with another person. These ideas lead to a practical self/other therapy that might be effective for the Army (and for anyone else, for that matter).
It is considered a holistic therapy as it reduces the heart rate helping to relax all the muscles of the body. It also helps lowerblood pressure, improves blood circulation, improves the lymphatic system, and increases the release of the body’s natural pain killers (such as endorphins).
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.
There are many different types of massage therapies being done today for many different reasons, each with their own style and purpose. Some therapies help tone and keep the body healthy while others work to relieve different types of pain and stress. Massage therapy also helps to improve the functions of the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous and skeletal systems. It creates a stronger, healthier body that is able to quickly recover from illness and injury.
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.
Some of the more popular forms of massotherapy include:
- Deep tissue massage is a technique that focuses on the manipulation of the deep layers of muscle tissue. The tense areas of the body are massaged by the hands using deep pressure and slow strokes. It works to release tension by loosening the muscles and promoting good circulation of the blood and oxygen.
- A sports massage is designed for athletes for either before or after any sports event. It helps the athlete achieve better performance and to also relax the muscles after an intense workout. It helps to improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and fatigue, and prevent injury.
- Swedish massage is used to increase the circulation of blood and oxygen in the body and to promote relaxation. It integrates a variety of massage techniques, such as kneading, vibration, long strokes, tapping, stretching and bending. It was developed by a Swedish doctor in the seventeenth century, hence the name.
- Lastly, trigger point therapy, also called myofascial trigger point therapy, uses a system of applying gentle pressure to tense areas of the body to relieve stress and pain.
These are just some of the techniques that may be included in massotherapy. There are many more techniques of massotherapy each with unique benefits – you just have to find the one that’s right for you!