Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues to achieve the desired result such as relaxation, loosening of tight muscle, and toning of the muscles to increase their performance.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Massage therapy is a type of treatment in which a trained and certified medical professional manipulates the soft tissues of your body — muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and skin — using varying degrees of pressure and movement.“
Massage therapy can vary between feather-light touch, to intensely deep. How deep the pressure depends on a variety of factors, the modality (a type of massage), the client’s preference, the needs/goals of the client, the types of medications, surgeries or injuries they’ve had and their tolerance for pressure.
What massage therapy is not
Contrary to what some people may say, a massage should never be excruciatingly painful. Some massage therapists may use a 1-10 scale to measure pressure, similar to the pain scale presented in doctor’s offices. Some massage facilities have simplified this scale even more by making it a 1-4 scale. In either case, a level one pressure is feather-light, while the highest number is the deepest pressure.
When I was in school I was taught the 1-10 scale and was told that a therapeutic deep tissue, a commonly asked for modality, was a 7.5, or the “hurts so good” pressure.
To better understand what modalities are on each point of the scale, I will use the 1-10 scale.
- Level 1 -Energy work where touch is not required: Reiki, Acupressure, etc.
- Level 2 -Superficial, light touch for manipulating surface systems: Lymphatic massage
- Level 3 –Relaxing massage with some pressure: Facial massage, Shiatsu, etc.
- Level 4 -Direct work for small areas: Reflexology on the hands or feet.
- Level 5 -Relaxing light to medium massage that works at the surface of the skin and fascia level: Swedish Massage
- Level 6 -Firm, relaxing massage that goes deep with little to no intensity: Hot stone, cupping.
- Level 7 -Therapeutic work for overall stress: Deep tissue, Thai massage, Ashiatsu
- Level 8 -Detailed, intense pinpoint work for areas of built-up stress in the muscles: Trigger point therapy
- Level 9 -Deeper work meant for restructuring injured tissue: Injury massage, sports massage
- Level 10 -Direct manipulation of the muscles and underlying structures to create permanent change in the shortest amount of time: Structural bodywork, Rolfing, Etc.
Benefits of massage
Everyone knows a massage can be relaxing, they aren’t all relaxing though. So I find it redundant to even list that as a benefit.
The benefits include:
- Stress reduction
- Better sleep
- Greater flexibility
- Toned muscle tissue leading to greater performance and strength
- Increased blood flow
- Reduced pain
- Decrease in inflammation
- In the case of abdominal massage, better digestion
- In the case of prenatal massage, easier pregnancy, less time in labor, and a greater sense of well being for mother and baby.
Now that you are familiar with massage and its benefits call or text 480-359-7452 to book your session!