BY DOUG DONALDSON
assage has been around
since before recorded
history. But here’s
something that hasn’t:
“The link between
massage and modern medicine is a brand new
baby science,” says Ruth Werner, author of A
Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology
massage therapist. “We’re not yet at the point
of definitively saying what kind of treatment
helps what kind of ailments. But studies
suggest that massage may help depression,
anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and
insomnia Why it works is still a big mystery.”
Here’s a guide to the most common types
of massage and how they can help.
SW ED ISH Swedish massage uses long,
smooth strokes, pushing the flow of blood
toward the heart. The therapist will often use
a light chopping with the side of the hand to
relax a specific area of tension, says Brenda
L.Griffith, a certified massage therapist in
Richmond, Virginia, and a spokeswoman for
the American Massage Therapy Association.
Benefits Relaxation, stress reduction,
improved circulation, and possible aid in
treating hypertension. Swedish massage may
also help dissolve scar tissue and reduce
swelling from some injuries.
DEEP TISSU E With the application of more
pressure than other treatments, deep-tissue
massage allows therapists to work tissue in
the sub-layers of muscles. To apply enough
pressure, therapists may use an elbow or
leverage their body weight while leaning over
a client, according to Griffith. The goal of a
deep-tissue massage is to elongate the muscle
fibers and loosen hard-to-budge tension. It
may be used in conjunction with other types
to relax a specific muscle or muscle group.
Benefits May help in recovery from soft-tissue
injuries, increase range of motion, and reduce
the pain of arthritis and tendonitis.
SHIATSU A Japanese form of massage,
Shiatsu incorporates pressure points, instead
of the long, flowing style of Swedish massage.
Often done on the floor on a mat instead of
massage table, the Shiatsu massage therapist
uses leverage and gravity to apply pressure
to specific points around the body using
acupressure to relieve tight muscles.
Benefits Helps with overuse injuries. Can
possibly strengthen the body’s immune system.
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2 5 6 SEPTEMBER2008 BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS