Massage therapy is manipulation of soft tissue, it has an impact on both mind and body. Massage involves the application of various techniques both firm and light.
Firm techniques do not necessarily achieve a better result than light techniques, it depends on what outcome you wish to achieve.
Massage techniques can be applied in a variety of ways including the use of oils, powder. Many techniques can be applied through clothing so the removal of clothing is not always required to achieve a results.
Always inform your practitioner if you are feeling uncomfortable about any of the techniques being used or if pressure is too firm or too light.
Report any reactions to the treatment in the following hours or days. If you have any questions in regards to your treatment contact your practitioner.
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety.
Theories behind what massage might do include blocking nociception (gate control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep, but such effects are yet to be supported by well-designed clinical studies.
Massage is hindered from reaching the gold standard of scientific research, which includes placebo-controlled and double blind clinical trials. Developing a "sham" manual therapy for massage would be difficult since even light touch massage could not be assumed to be completely devoid of effects on the subject.
It would also be difficult to find a subject that would not notice that they were getting less of a massage, and it would be impossible to blind the therapist.
Massage can employ randomised controlled trials, which are published in peer reviewed medical journals. This type of study could increase the credibility of the profession because it displays that purported therapeutic effects are reproducible.
Practitioner: James Flaxman