What Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Massage therapists use a range of hands-on techniques to manipulate the muscles and soft tissue of the body. They may also offer advice on wellness and self-care practices.Massage

Getting regular massages can increase your parasympathetic nervous system activity, decreasing feelings of anxiety and increasing relaxation. These professionals work in spas, fitness centers, and even medical offices. Visit to learn more.

Studies suggest that massage decreases the sympathetic nervous system response to stress by promoting parasympathetic activity. This reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, cortisol, and levels of inflammatory markers. It also lowers anxiety, depression, tension and frustration while improving mood and self-esteem.

When a person is stressed, their body produces a stress hormone called cortisol that blocks the immune system. A continuous fight-or-flight response is detrimental to the body and causes many issues, including muscle tightness, aches, pains, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, poor digestion, sexual dysfunction in men, menstrual cramps in women, as well as weight gain. During a massage, the therapists encourage the muscles to relax by increasing their temperature and encouraging blood flow, which helps flush out the cortisol and other negative hormones.

In addition, a good massage therapy session can help with emotional health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Massage increases the brain’s serotonin, a chemical messenger that affects emotions and thoughts. Massage is a way to treat psychological problems, and it may even be more effective than prescription medications for certain conditions, such as depression. This is why it’s important to learn a variety of techniques when you enroll in the 9-month Massage Therapist program.

Relieves Pain

Massage reduces pain in patients suffering from chronic back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and other health conditions. It improves the flexibility of joints and muscles, relieves tension in tendons and ligaments and increases circulation of blood to the affected areas. Massage also helps to release the hormone-like substance endorphins which act as natural painkillers. This allows the patient to experience relief without the side effects associated with taking prescription medications such as NSAIDs or opioids.

When a client arrives for treatment, the therapist will generally ask questions to gain an understanding of their health history and the source of their pain. It is important to communicate clearly so that the therapist can adjust their technique to suit the individual’s needs and comfort level.

During a therapeutic massage, techniques are tailored to the specific problem area and pressure is increased where necessary. Deep tissue massage involves deeper, slower strokes that reach the deep layers of muscle and connective tissues to release adhesions. This may be combined with assisted stretching to improve the range of motion in stiff joints.

A therapist may use trigger point massage to break up tight muscle fibers that are responsible for referred pain in other parts of the body. In a study of hospitalized oncology patients, massage improved sleep quality, decreased pain, anxiety and depression and increased mobility and vigor.

Massage is a safe and effective therapy for most people, but it should not be used on a pregnant woman or an infant. It is contraindicated with certain medical conditions such as advanced heart disease, phlebitis or thrombosis, skin infections, unhealed fractures, dislocations and some cancers where massage may accelerate metastasis or damage fragile tissues due to chemotherapy.

Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety is an important aspect of mental health and can be a factor in the development of conditions like depression, insomnia, chronic pain, and heart disease. Massage therapy can reduce anxiety symptoms, increase a sense of well-being, and promote relaxation. It can also be an effective part of treatment for many conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, asthma and bronchitis, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more.

Massages stimulate the autonomic nervous system to release positive hormones and neurotransmitters that encourage a feeling of calmness. These hormones include endorphins, which relieve pain, serotonin, which promotes happiness and a feeling of well-being, and dopamine, which increases motivation and boosts self-esteem.

When a person is stressed, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which triggers the “fight-or-flight” response. A one-hour massage can lower the cortisol levels in the bloodstream and increase serotonin, which can help a person feel less anxious.

A study of 66 people who had chronic low back pain found that shiatsu massage reduced their state and trait anxiety levels over the course of four treatments. Their pain level was also significantly decreased, and they reported that their life functioning improved as a result of the treatment.

Finding the right therapist is an important step to improving your overall health and wellness. Before making a decision, research your options and seek out reviews and recommendations from trusted sources. A good therapist will listen to your needs and create a safe, nurturing space for healing and rest. They will take the time to build a trusting relationship with you and provide guidance through the process of massage. The emotional benefits can be just as valuable as the physical ones when it comes to maintaining mental wellness.

Increases Flexibility

A good Massage Therapist needs to have good physical health and strength to be able to deliver treatment. The work involves standing for long periods and often putting the body into awkward positions to access certain muscles. The profession also requires stamina to keep working week in and out. Massage therapists that get injured jeopardize their ability to continue treating patients which can affect the livelihood of both the therapist and the patient.

Tight muscles are a major cause of limited flexibility. Using techniques like deep tissue massage, the skilled hands of a Massage Therapist are able to release knots and tension in muscles enabling them to stretch and elongate. The therapist can also use techniques that address soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments which support muscles.

Flexibility is increased through the breakdown and realignment of collagen fibres. Collagen fibres are tough fibrous structures that form to heal injuries but when they become over-tightened due to injury, a lack of flexibility becomes the result. During massage the temperature of these fibres increases causing them to soften and break down the cross links that restrict flexibility.

Increasing muscle flexibility is a great way to improve performance in sports or simply decrease pain and discomfort. It can also help to prevent injuries as it helps to ensure all muscles are working correctly, reducing the likelihood of over-working or tearing muscles.

Daily stretching is a great way to increase flexibility. Some Massage Therapists are also trained in stretching techniques and can provide valuable guidance on what stretches would be most beneficial for their clients given their specific flexibility goals and challenges. Massage can also be used in combination with other flexibility improving methods such as foam rolling. For example, a Massage Therapist may use a foam roller on a tight hamstring, followed by a deep hamstring stretch, to significantly enhance flexibility.

Increases Energy

Stress and anxiety are common afflictions that can drain energy, leaving people feeling tired, sluggish and unmotivated. In fact, many of these issues can lead to sleep disorders which further depletes energy. Studies show that massage can alleviate these symptoms, allowing for more restful nights and improved energy levels during the day.

The physical manipulations and pressure applied during a massage promote blood circulation which improves the delivery of oxygen to muscles cells, helping them function more efficiently and eliminating waste products. These benefits of massage can last long after the session is over, boosting energy and overall wellness.

Lowered Stress Hormones

Massage lowers cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone,” while raising levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. This endocrine balance helps stabilize mood, fight depression and increase overall mental and emotional health, which gives people more energy and focus to enjoy their lives.

Massage therapy has also been shown to boost energy in women. In addition to easing the symptoms of PMS, which can be a major contributor to fatigue, it has been shown to reduce insomnia in pregnant women. It has also been shown to ease the discomfort and pain of labor & delivery, alleviate pre-menstrual syndrome and enhance skin tone and facial complexion. For these reasons and more, the energy boosting effects of massage are a valuable asset for anyone. The good news is that massage can be easily incorporated into any healthy lifestyle routine. A professional massage is a wonderful way to relieve tension, stimulate the body and clear the mind. It’s no wonder why so many people feel revitalized after just one treatment! The key to maintaining the benefits of massage is regular visits.