How Massage Therapy Works
What to Expect From the Different Types
- Swedish—Considered the most common type, this involves long strokes, kneading, and other techniques on the more superficial muscle layers, along with active and passive joint movement. This type of massage is intended to relax and energize you.
- Deep tissue—Designed to release tension by administering slow strokes and deep finger pressure, deep tissue is so named because it focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. The strokes and pressure either follow or go across the grain of muscles and tendons. It is commonly used for muscle damage from an injury, like whiplash or back strain.
- Chair—This is massage of the upper body. It is done through your clothes while you are seated upright in a portable chair.
- Sport therapy—Sports massage focuses on warming up an athlete to prevent athletic injury, keep the body flexible, or help rehabilitate injured muscles.
What the Studies Found
How to Find a Massage Therapist
- Where did you receive your training?
- Are you a member of the American Massage Therapy Association?
- LMN—Licensed Massage Therapist
- LMP—Licensed Massage Practitioner
- CMT—Certified Massage Therapist
- NCTMB—has met requirements (including exam) of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork for practicing therapeutic massage and bodywork
- NCTM—has met requirements (including exam) of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork for practicing therapeutic massage
The American Massage Therapy Association http://www.amtamassage.org/
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine http://nccam.nih.gov/
Canadian Massage Therapy Associations http://www.massage.ca/
Massage Therapist Association of Alberta http://www.mtaalberta.com/
Massage can aid in pain relief. AMTA Position Statement. American Massage Therapy Association website. Available at: http://www.amtamassage.org/statement6.html. Updated September 2009. Accessed May 30, 2012.
Massage therapy. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated February 2011. Accessed February 3, 2011.
Massage therapy: an introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/massage/massageintroduction.htm. Accessed May 30, 2012.
Massage therapy may benefit newborns. AMTA Position Statement. American Massage Therapy Association website. Available at: http://www.amtamassage.org/statement4.html. Updated September 2008. Accessed May 30, 2012.
Types of massage. The American Massage Therapy Association website. Available at: http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/massage%5Ftype.html. Accessed May 30, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/27/2012 -