Massage therapists use several different massage therapy products to enhance the effectiveness and comfort of massage therapy sessions. For the most part, these are products that are basic to all types of massage therapy, although different massage therapy products are chosen depending on the type of massage and desired outcome. An overview of these products and their general purposes is outlined here.
The purpose of oils used in massage therapy is primarily to make the body more workable. Massage oils make it easier for the massage therapist’s hands to glide smoothly and evenly over the skin, which make the massage both more effective and more comfortable for the client.
Many massage therapists choose to use safe, natural essential oils that also function to repair and soothe the skin, muscles, and soft tissues. Among the more regularly used essential oil massage therapy products are almond oil, apricot oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, wheat germ oil, and hazelnut oil. Holy oil is also frequently used as a carrier oil (one that delivers essential oils into the tissues) for these essential oils because its molecular structure is easily recognized and safely accepted by the human body.
In addition to providing natural relief, essential oils are also used in massage therapy as a means of relaxation; a number of different oils might be chosen as aromatherapy agents to enhance relaxation and reduce stress and tension.
Massage lotion is a massage product that is often chosen to replace massage oils in certain types of massage; massage lotions are effective massage therapy products which are chosen for deep-tissue massages when stimulation requires a non-slip technique with increased friction. Massage lotions are not greasy, so they allow the massage therapist to moisturize and deliver relief to tissues while providing the friction necessary for deep tissue work. The massage lotions used in massage therapy may include essential oils in the list of ingredients, delivered in a workable medium. These lotions are carefully balanced so as to provide optimal skin and tissue conditions; these are not your normal over-the-counter type moisturizing lotions.
Massage Creams & Gels
Massage creams and gels are still other types of massage therapy products used by massage therapists. These provide the “happy medium” between massage oils and massage lotions. Massage oils may provide too much glide, and massage lotions may absorb into the skin too quickly to elicit the desired effects. Massage creams and gels balance out between the two, providing a slowly absorbing, medium-glide moisturizer. As an added plus, massage creams and gels are used in smaller amounts, so there is no need to excessively apply product throughout a session.
Other Massage Therapy Products
In addition to functional massage therapy products like the oils, creams, gels, and lotions mentioned here, massage therapists often use other products to enhance the mood and overall massage experience. Candles, incense, stones, and relaxing music selections might all be employed.
Many massage therapists are happy to offer their high-quality products to their clients for sale. This allows the client to benefit from the products and continue the experience in the comfort of his or her own home.
Massage and massage therapy are umbrella terms that encompass a variety of massage therapy techniques and styles used in massage, bodywork, and somatic therapy.
The basic massage therapy techniques that are most commonly used and recognized by massage therapy clients include
â€¢ Fixed pressures (concentrating on one location on the body)
â€¢ Movable pressures
Some of the technical terms that reference various applications of massage therapy techniques include acupressure, cranio-facial, Ayurvedic massage, Bowen technique, deep tissue massage, hydrotherapy, reflexology, orthopedic massage, shiatsu, soft tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage, Alexander technique, and many, many more; there are more than 80 types of massage which employ various massage techniques. These are techniques that are most often performed by the hands, but some techniques also involve the use of the massage therapist’s elbows, arms, and feet (therefore, if you are uncomfortable with the use of other body parts, you need to let the therapist know ahead of time and talk about what types of techniques will be used).
Massage therapy techniques are focused primarily on the muscles, joints, and soft-tissues of the body; applying the various techniques to these areas has peripheral benefits for many other body systems, thoughâ€”the circulatory and lymphatic systems in particular.
Different massage therapy techniques are used for different purposes; in addition, techniques used in massage are applied to varying degrees, with and without massage products, and at varying degrees of pressure and friction. The intensity and choice of technique depends of the type of massage being employed (also called the ‘modality’). Delivery of technique also relies on individual client factors, including
â€¢ Goals for massage therapy
â€¢ Advice of primary care physician
â€¢ Presence of injury
â€¢ Medical conditions
â€¢ Physical/therapeutic needs
â€¢ Pain and pressure tolerance
â€¢ Aversion to areas of touch
â€¢ Success of past massage therapy techniques
â€¢ Target body areas
â€¢ Target health benefits
The information provided to the massage therapist prior to the first session is what he or she will use to determine the best massage therapy techniques for you. This information is collected in the massage therapy intake form, and also through conversation with the therapist. Being open and communicative with your massage therapist on an ongoing basis will help him or her design and adjust your massage therapy sessions to optimize the results. Communication is equally important as therapy progresses so that results can be maximized and past progress can be maintained.
It’s not hard to sell most people on the benefits of massage therapyï¿½who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in an hour of therapeutic relaxation? But since massage therapy does carry some moderate expense, it helps to know about the many benefits of massage therapy.
Some people seek out the services of a massage therapist simply because they need some down-time to relax and refresh; certainly, this is enough of a reason to frequent the massage therapist’s office in itself, but there are also many health benefits of massage therapy; an increasingly large number of clients find their way to the table in search of relief modern medicine has been unable to manage. Likewise, clients also seek massage therapy services to supplement and enhance both modern and alternative medical treatments.
The Many Benefits Of Massage Therapy
Regardless of the impetus, massage therapy clients find numerous incomparable benefits in massage therapy; it is not at all uncommon for a client to come into massage therapy for the treatment of one symptom or condition, only to find wide ranging benefits of massage therapy that treat a number of other conditions.
The most notable advantages of massage therapy include:
* Improved blood circulation
* Stimulation/relief of muscle pain due to lack of activity (often caused by sedentary jobs)
* Increased alertness
* Decrease in back pain (one of the leading reasons for seeking massage services)
* Improved mood
* Reduced stress levels
* Reduced instances of stress-related illness including tension headaches
* Decreased muscle stiffness/increased mobility
* Improved ability to heal (in part due to circulation/stimulation improvement)
* Reduction in muscle spasms
* Increased physical performance/athleticism
* Improved deep breathing
* Improved posture
* Strengthened immune system
* Reduction in anxiety levels
* Lower dependence on medication
* Improved joint flexibility
* Lessened risk of depression
* Promotes healing of soft tissues, including scars
* Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients
* Increases pain tolerance by releasing endorphins (natural pain killers of the human body)
* Eases pain of childbirth
* Relieves sleep loss/insomnia
* Increased energy, reduction in frequency and severity of fatigue
Netting The Biggest Benefits Of Massage Therapy
Even a one-time visit to the massage therapist can net excellent benefits; but for the most lasting benefits of massage therapy, regular sessions are recommended. Regular massage therapy ensures that the body continues to enjoy the increase in circulatory health and relief of muscle tension which directly contribute to the benefits of massage therapy. Over time, the expense of massage therapy sessions is easily mitigated in increased health and well-being, and in a large number of cases, in the savings enjoyed between decreased use and cost of medications, doctors’ visits, and time lost from work.