Massage therapy is often used as an alternative treatment for back pain

Massage therapy is often utilized as an alternative treatment for back pain, neck pain, and shoulder by relieving muscle tension in the affected area. Massage therapy can also be used to treat headaches along with stiff and painful joints.

Here, we look at a few comprehensive articles that will assist in guiding you towards the best form of massage therapy for your particular condition.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Wikipedia has a very nice description of massage therapy including what it is, who performs massage therapy, and the different types of massage therapy used to treat various ailments, including back pain.

The main professionals that provide massage include massage therapists, athletic trainers, physical therapists and practitioners of many traditional Chinese and other eastern medicines.

Massage practitioners work in a variety of medical and recreational settings and may travel to private residences or businesses.[7]

Contraindications to massage include deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, damaged blood vessels, weakened bones from cancer, osteoporosis, or fractures, bruising, and fever.[7]

Acupressure massage
Acupressure (a portmanteau of “acupuncture” and “pressure”) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) technique derived from acupuncture. With acupressure physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by the hand, elbow, or with various devices.

Anma massage
Anma is a traditional Japanese massage involving kneading and deep tissue work

Ayurvedic massage
Ayurveda is a natural health care system originating in India that incorporates massage, yoga, meditation and herbal remedies. Ayurvedic massage, also known as Abhyangha is usually performed by one or two therapists using a heated blend of herbal oils based on the ayurvedic system of humors.

Balinese massage
Balinese massage techniques are gentle and aim to make the patient feel relaxed and calm throughout. The techniques include skin folding, kneading, stroking,and other techniques. The massage therapist applies aromatheraphy oil throughout the massage. A patient’s blood, oxygen and energy flow is said to increase as a result of the treatment.[citation needed] Balinese hot stones are an option.

Barefoot deep tissue massage
Barefoot deep tissue, also known as barefoot compressive deep tissue, or barefoot sports massage, is a blend of Eastern barefoot techniques, such as barefoot Shiatsu massage, coupled with a Western manual medicine, encompassing deep tissue, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, transverse friction, compression, tension, shear, PNF, stretching, as well as parasympathetic response, on clothed clients using no oil.

This modality typically uses the heel, sesamoid, arch and/or whole plantar surface of foot, and offers large compression, tension and shear forces with less pressure than elbow or thumb, and is ideal for large muscles, such as in thigh, or for long-duration upper trapezius compressions.[21] The unclothed cousins of this modality are Keralite, Yumeiho, Barefoot Lomi Lomi, Fijian Barefoot, Chavutti Thirummal.

Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, which is a form of barefoot effleurage, combines western science and contemporary American ingenuity, for therapists who specialize in deep tissue work using Swedish techniques performed by the massage therapist’s feet.

Bowen Therapy
Bowen technique involves a rolling movement over fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. It is said not to involve deep or prolonged contact with muscle tissues as in most kinds of massage, but claims to relieve muscle tensions and strains and to restore normal lymphatic flow. Because this technique is so gentle, so Bowen Therapy can be suitable for newborn baby to elderly. It is based on practices developed by Australian Tom Bowen and the practitioners are all over the world. [22]

Breema massage
Breema bodywork is performed on the floor with the recipient fully clothed. It consists of rhythmical and gentle leans and stretches.

Champissage massage
Champissage is a massage technique focusing on the head, neck and face that is believed to balance the chakras.

Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two.

The term “deep tissue” is often misused to identify a massage that is performed with sustained deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a separate category of massage therapy, used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders and complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. It should not be confused with “deep pressure” massage, which is one that is performed with sustained strong, occasionally intense pressure throughout an entire full-body session, and that is not performed to address a specific complaint. Deep tissue massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures. The sessions are often quite intense as a result of the deliberate, focused work.

When a client asks for a massage and uses the term “deep tissue”, more often than not he or she is seeking to receive a full-body session with sustained deep pressure throughout. If a practitioner employs deep tissue techniques on the entire body in one session, it would be next to impossible to perform; it might lead to injury or localized muscle and nerve trauma, thereby rendering the session counterproductive.

Esalen massage
Esalen Massage was developed by Charlotte Selver and works with gentle rocking of the body, passive joint exercises and deep structural work on the muscles and joints, together with an “energetic balancing” of the body.

Hilot massage
Hilot is a traditional healing technique from the Philippines that also includes massage techniques. The massage techniques relax stressed muscles. Hilot also includes joint manipulations to help relax stressed muscles.

Hilot encompasses a wide variety of techniques beyond the treatment of stressed muscles. Hilot can be used to reset sprained joints, diagnose and treat musculoligamentous and musculoskeletal ailments, and even to aid in giving birth and to induce abortion.

Dislocated joints can also be reset by hilot after an X-ray has been done on affected body parts and medical experts advised that the same body parts are safe to be massaged.

After giving birth, hilot can be done on the mother and the baby born of normal delivery for 10 consecutive days so that they may recover easily. Hilot should not be done on mothers who deliver via caesarian section.

Medical massage
Medical Massage is a controversial term in the massage profession.[24] Many use it to describe a specific technique. Others use it to describe a general category of massage and many methods such as deep tissue massage, myofascial release and triggerpoint therapy as well as reiki, osteopathic techniques, cranial-sacral techniques and many more can be used to work with various medical conditions. Massage used in the medical field includes decongestive therapy used for lymphedema[7] which can be used in conjunction with the treatment of breast cancer. Light massage is also used in pain management and palliative care. Carotid sinus massage is used to diagnose carotid sinus syncope and is sometimes useful for differentiating supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) from ventricular tachycardia. It, like the valsalva maneuver, is a therapy for SVT.[25] However, it is less effective than management of SVT with medications.[26]
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About.com has several excellent articles related to massage therapy.

Massage therapy is an alternative treatment used to relieve pain. Simple enough, right? It makes sense that massage could relax and relieve muscular aches and pains. Did you know though that there are more than 80 types of massage therapy?

In all 80 types, massage therapists manipulate the muscles and soft tissues. It’s the technique that varies. If you are interested in exploring massage therapy as a possible treatment, discuss your plans with your doctor.

What You Need to Know About Massage Therapy

Massage therapists mostly use their hands and fingers, but some use their forearms, elbows, or even their feet to manipulate the patient’s muscles and soft tissues. The amount of pressure used and direction of movement is variable.

The goal of massage therapy is to relax muscles and soft tissues, increase blood and oxygen being delivered to the massaged area, warm the affected area, and relieve pain.
Some of the well-known and popular types of massage include: (Read full article)

Although massage therapy can be very effective for some people in relieving their back pain, it must not take the place of a comprehensive medical examination and establishment of an accurate diagnosis.

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