For decades, massage was seen as an indulgence. Maybe you’d head to the spa to pamper yourself on your birthday – but that was it.
But thanks to gobs of research laying out a slew of health benefits, massage has gone mainstream. It’s become a complementary therapy used to treat chronic pain, sports injuries, anxiety, insomnia, and much more.
Nowadays, even hospitals prescribe therapeutic massage as part of their treatment regimen.
But what is therapeutic massage? And how is it different from a regular ol’ massage?
In this article, we’ll break that down, along with the benefits of this massage and how to tell if it’s right for you.
What is Therapeutic Massage?
This type of massage, also known as medical massage, is an intentional style of massage therapy. Rather than focusing strictly on relaxation, it aims to get results. This could be to relieve pain, promote structural change, or improve your range of motion.
In this massage, deeper pressure is often used compared to relaxation massage. This helps mobilize the soft tissues to release knots and trigger points in the body.
That said, massage sessions are tailored to each person’s needs and comfort level. Pressure and techniques will vary depending on the health goal you’re trying to achieve.
5 Therapeutic Massage Benefits
While massage is excellent for relaxation, its benefits run much deeper. So, without further ado, here are five research-backed benefits of therapeutic massage:
1 – Relieves pain
Around 50 million US adults suffer from chronic pain. If you’re one of them, you know how much it can interfere with your health and well-being.
Luckily, therapeutic massage offers a safe and effective way to manage pain. Research shows it can reduce chronic low back pain, as well as pain from fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and even cancer. And unlike prescription painkillers, massage has no nasty side effects.
2 – Aids muscle recovery
If you’ve ever pushed it too far at the gym, you know the after-effects of an intense workout. Your legs feel like jello and even walking to the mailbox can be a challenge.
A massage helps ease that discomfort to get you back on your feet again. Science shows getting a massage after strenuous exercise eases muscle soreness and speeds up recovery time. That’s why many athletes use massage as part of their training routine.
3 – Strengthens the immune system
Now more than ever, we’re all on the lookout for ways to support our immunity. And massage therapy delivers impressive immune-boosting benefits.
It improves circulation, lowers inflammation, and helps the body flush out harmful toxins that can lead to disease. Massage even increases lymphocytes, white blood cells that help fight off infections.
4 – Eases stress and anxiety
Between demanding work schedules, family responsibilities, and never-ending to-do lists, life is stressful. And if stress goes unchecked, it can lead to depression, anxiety, and even heart disease.
That’s why it’s important to have stress-busting tools on hand, like massage. Therapeutic massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol, to help your body shift from ‘fight or flight’ mode into ‘rest and digest’ mode.
5 – Improves sleep
If you struggle with sleep, you’re not alone. Roughly 1 in 3 adults have trouble getting quality shut-eye. If you’re one of them, therapeutic massage may help.
Massage helps your body and mind unwind to set the stage for restful sleep. It’s proven to help you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and feel more refreshed upon waking.
Massage is even used to help those with insomnia get more solid sleep. And unlike prescription sleeping pills, there aren’t any harmful side effects.
Types of Therapeutic Massage
There are many different types of therapeutic massage. And each modality delivers different results. Knowing a bit about each style can help you find the right fit for you.
Here are five different types of therapeutic massage:
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage combines firm pressure and slow strokes to target deeper layers of muscles and tissue. This eases muscle tension and can even break up scar tissue from old injuries.
Deep tissue massage reduces inflammation and increases circulation to promote faster healing. It’s often used to manage pain from injuries, strains, or postural problems.
Sports massage is a form of deep-tissue massage aimed at improving athletic performance. It uses a wide range of techniques to help loosen muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent lactic acid buildup.
Sports massage is often used by athletes recovering from sports-related injuries. But many athletes also include it in their training to prevent injuries and improve recovery time.
Myofascial release therapy
Myofascial release therapy, also called trigger point therapy, is a technique aimed at reducing tension in the fascia. This is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds your organs, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
During a myofascial release session, your massage therapist will search for stiff spots in the fascia. They’ll then use long, gentle strokes to release knots, or trigger points, in the myofascial tissue. This can relieve pain and improve range of motion.
Shiatsu, which means “finger pressure,” is a form of therapeutic massage and bodywork from Japan.
This form of therapy uses the fingers, thumbs, and palms to apply pressure to different areas of the body. This promotes the movement of energy, or ‘Qi’ to correct imbalances, relieve stress, and reduce pain.
Lymphatic drainage massage
The lymphatic system is part of the immune system that helps remove toxins and wastes from your tissues. When the lymph gets stagnant, it can lead to swelling, pain, and weakened immunity. That’s where lymphatic drainage massage comes in.
Lymphatic drainage is a form of massage that uses light strokes to promote the movement of lymph. It helps clear the lymphatic system of any blockages to ease pain and reduce swelling.
What You Can Expect from a Therapeutic Massage
Before your session, you’ll complete a health history outlining any medical concerns or health goals.
Think about why you booked your session. Do you want to relieve chronic pain? Ease anxiety? Improve sleep quality? Whatever it is, share it with your massage therapist.
Your massage therapist will use that information to tailor your session to your needs and goals. Some therapeutic massage sessions may be full-body, while others may focus on specific areas of concern.
Relaxation and healing are equally important during your massage. If at any point the pressure feels uncomfortable, let your massage therapist know. They can adjust to their technique to help your body fully let go.
Typically, therapeutic massage sessions last between 60-90 minutes. Most people report feeling extremely relaxed afterward. You may also notice less pain and muscle tension.
After your session, be sure to drink plenty of water. This helps your body flush out toxins so you can reap the most benefits from your session.
How to Find a Therapeutic Massage Therapist
Therapeutic massage is offered at many wellness centers – including Anchored in Health! If you live near Orland Park, IL our holistic environment provides the perfect peaceful setting for your massage session.
If you live outside the greater Chicago area, this tool can help you find a licensed massage therapist near you.
Feel Better with a Therapeutic Massage in Orland Park, IL
Ready to relieve your pain and feel your stress melt away? At Anchored in Health, our talented massage therapist customizes each massage session to your needs and goals.
Whether you’re looking for deep tissue work, lymphatic drainage massage, or prenatal massage, we’re here to help.
So if you live in the Chicago area and are ready to feel better and find relief, follow these steps:
- Contact us with any questions.
- Book your first therapeutic massage session here.
- Experience how massage can improve your physical and mental well-being.
Other Holistic Health Services Offered at Anchored in Health in Orland Park, IL
At Anchored in Health, we offer a variety of health and wellness services to help you feel your best. This includes functional medicine, acupuncture, genetic testing, thermograms, and the Shape ReClaimed program. Contact us to find out how we can help you improve your health and well-being.