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Related TermsAcupressure Deep-tissue Massage Neuromuscular Massage Reflexology Rolfing St. John’s Neuromuscular Shiatsu Structural Integration Swedish Massage
Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
Anorexia ; Anxiety ; Asthma ; Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) ; Autism ; Bulimia ; Cancer Treatment Support ;Cystic Fibrosis; Depression ; Diabetes ; Eczema ; Fibromyalgia ; HIV Support ; Iliotibial Band Pain ; Interstitial Cystitis ;Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis; Migraine Headaches ; Multiple Sclerosis ; Neck Pain ;Neonatal Sepsis (Life-threatening Infection in Premature Infants); Osteoarthritis ; Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) ; Pregnancy Support ; Quitting Smoking ;Recovery from Severe Burns;Spinal Cord Injury
Along with herbal treatment, touch-based therapy is undoubtedly one of the most ancient forms of medical care. We instinctively stroke and rub areas of our body that hurt; massage therapy develops this instinct into a professional treatment. There is no doubt that massage relieves pain and induces relaxation at least temporarily; besides that, it feels good! Whether it offers any lasting benefits, however, remains unclear.
There are many schools of massage. In most cases, massage therapists combine several techniques, although there are also purists who stick to one method. The most common technique is Swedish massage, which combines long strokes and gentle kneading movements that primarily affect surface muscle tissues. Deep-tissue massage utilizes greater pressure to reach deeper levels of muscles. This may be called the “hurts-good-and-feels-great-after” approach. Shiatsu or acupressure massage also uses deep pressure, but according to the principles of acupuncture theory. (Acupuncture is so similar to acupressure that we have elected to discuss studies of acupressure in the acupuncture article rather than here.) Neuromuscular massage (such as the St. John Method of Neuromuscular Therapy) applies strong pressure to tender spots, technically known as trigger points.
Several other techniques are best described as relatives of massage. Rolfing® Structural Integration aims to affect not muscles, but the connective tissue (fascia) surrounding muscles and everything else in the body. This highly organized technique aims to permanently improve the body’s structure. Reflexology is a form of foot massage based on the theory that the whole body is reflected in the foot.
Last reviewedSeptember 2014by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.