What Is Massage Therapy? History and Understanding

By Jessica Fuller / July 4, 2015
What Is Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can be traced back more than 4,000 years. There are writings and teaching documented about this process, and much has stayed true to the origins today.

Of course, the techniques have been refined and changed over the years. But it’s amazing how the core principles have held up.

Although there is a wealth of information available. A lot of people have never had a massage. Still ask what is massage therapy, and how can it help them.

What Is Massage Therapy?

To define massage therapy in a few words;

it’s a therapeutic form of manipulation involving the soft tissue in the body.

This includes the muscles, skin, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues.

How Does Massage Therapy Help People?

There is a wide range of health and wellbeing benefits to massage therapy. Some of these are as follows:

  • To promote and help with relaxation.
  • To relieve the symptoms of stress.
  • To free and release constrictions in the connective tissue.
  • To aid in the emotional and physical well-being.
  • To increase blood circulation.
  • To improve and correct posture.
  • To increase joint flexibility.
  • To ease the pain and effects of chronic conditions.
  • To ease a migraine and headache pains.

What Are the Techniques Used by Massage Therapists?

There are a number of different types of massage, techniques used, and methods. It will differ from country to country, between practices, and the individual therapist.

There are some consistent factors, however. Massage therapists use a range of different hand strokes and techniques.

Such as:

Some methods also focus on targeting the body’s natural energy. Using energy healing and holistic treatments to realign the body’s energy.

Are There Any Risks with Massage Therapy?

While have covered some of the various health benefits of massage therapy. It’s worth covering any potential risks.

Massage therapy is considered to be an alternative medical practice. It’s not something that is often recommended by doctors unless physio for a certain injury is being targeted.

There have been various medical studies covering the health benefits I have listed above and more. It’s not theory, massage really does help in a wide range of ways.

You do need to be aware of some of the risks too, however. You should always consult your doctor if you have any concerns. Or before you have your first massage. Then be fully aware of the following.

Blood Clots

If you have high blood pressure it’s recommended you don’t have a massage. Around 31% of Americans over the age of 21 have high blood pressure. So get this checked out by a doctor before heading into the massage room.

The pressure used during a massage can cause a blood clot to form if the client has high blood pressure. This can have some very serious health defects and blood clots can then move through the body so block arteries.

Clients with deep vein thrombosis are also at risk of developing and worsening the condition. A lot of people are not even aware if they have this condition. Massage can release a clot and let it travel to an internal organ proving very dangerous.

Infectious Skin Conditions

Infectious skin conditions have the possibility to transfer between client and massage therapist. You have a responsibility to be aware of any such conditions and make the therapist aware.

When You Should Not Be Having a Massage

There are medical conditions that are worsened by massage too. Such as cancer, broken or fractured bones, burns, blood clots, some forms of arthritis, pains, skin conditions, and infectious skin conditions.

About the author

Jessica Fuller

I started studying and experimenting with alternative medicine, different massage techniques, and alternative therapies after graduating. I also love travelling and writing, so I found a way to combine all my loves - blogging!