The delightful benefits of massage don’t appear out of nowhere. The immediate soothing effects of massage and the long term health benefits of massage occur not from occasional back rubs from friends, but from the trained arms of certified massage therapists. Trained arms would be an understatement, because massage therapists actually use their entire upper body trunk to apply correct pressure – if they merely used their hands and arms, they would quickly tire, and the necessary pressure would not be applied. When looking for a massage therapist, there are a few things that must be understood in the search. First of all, it is important to understand who exactly a massage therapist is, and how to find one suitable for your needs. The next step, of course, is to understand what massage therapists do – what their job encompasses and the actual art that they practice. With this knowledge in hand, a wise decision that will lead to less stress and better use of muscles will be much easier to make.
A massage therapist is a health professional who is certified and licensed to practice a range of massage therapies to improve the well being of his or her patient. The completion of a massage school, which is accredited by the state that it is located in, is necessary to legally practice massage within a recognized location. Thus, a massage therapist can be found working in such varied locations as hospitals and clinics, their own private or group practices, health spas and resorts, and large sporting events. The general program of study required for a massage therapist includes courses in neurology, anatomy, pathology, first aid, physiology, combined with practice in western and eastern massage theories. It is important to note that a massage therapist does not replace medical treatment by a doctor, but can very well supplement a physician’s prescribed treatment. Physicians often recommend seeing a massage therapist, and can refer their patients to an appropriate therapist.
However, a massage therapist’s services are certainly not confined to doctor referrals. A massage therapist’s office can be a great place for the prevention of maladies. Seeing a massage therapist on a normal basis, even for the healthy person (although in today’s social climates, stress has become a factor in virtually everyone’s life, and negatively affects health), decreases stress on muscles, and thus decreases stress on the mind. Massage therapy also acts positively on circulation, immediately aiding the capillaries, so near to the surface of the skin, to circulate blood, as well as acting on the muscles aiding veins bring blood back to the heart. A massage therapist assesses his or her patient, and designs a massage therapy program specific to the needs of the client. Seeing a massage therapist regularly can also lead to disease prevention in referring patients to see doctors when a condition out of the scope of a massage therapist arises.
The massage techniques used have been both subjected to the test of time and scientific study. Many techniques are quite ancient, and with modern study shining more light on their secrets, we are learning that their effects certainly are positive on the body. Massage therapy affects both the muscles being manipulated, as well as certain internal organs, via the pressure points in our hands and feet that influence those specific organs. The techniques used by massage therapists are very varied, from the traditional Swedish massage, which is known to be especially beneficial for the lymphatic system and the circulation of the blood in the veins, to the less conventional reflexology massage, which is the massage affecting our organs through manipulation of points on our hands and feet. Many other types of massage therapy exist, and it is wisest to both research the type that will be most beneficial for your specific need, as well as consulting with your massage therapist which therapy will be right for you. While every massage therapist will be trained in a variety of techniques, no one massage therapist will be a specialist in all of the types.
The job of the massage therapist is to reduce the mental and physical effects of stress, to improve the general well being of their client, to restore health and to prevent future sicknesses and disease. These desired effects are achieved via the various techniques of massage therapy, which are wide and varied.
While a massage therapist is not a physician, and does not pretend to be one, the regular visiting of a certified massage therapist can be very beneficial for the health, as well as an important supplement to many medical treatments. As information about massage therapy becomes more widely available, the medical community has begun to incorporate massage therapy into modern medicine. Massage therapists, who study the ancient art of muscle manipulation through rubbing, are making their permanent appearance in the modern setting of the medical community.