What is massage?
Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:
Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping. It helps you feel relaxed and energized.
Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries.
Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Benefits of massage
Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Massage benefits can include:
Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
Improving circulation, energy and alertness
Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
Improving immune function
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
Insomnia related to stress
Low back pain
Myofascial pain syndrome
Soft tissue strains or injuries
Temporomandibular joint pain
Upper back and neck pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.