Do you wake up in the morning feeling as if someone is taking a jackhammer to your skull? Do you down an entire pot of coffee every day because you can’t seem to get the engine revving? Does your lower back cry out for mercy at the end of each shift? If you answered yes to any of these questions, seeing a massage therapist may be for you.
What is a Massage Therapist?
A massage therapist is a professional who manually manipulates the soft tissues of your body (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance your health and well-being. In the US, massage therapists are required to obtain a license before practicing in most states (Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Vermont being exceptions). Aspiring therapists attain their license upon completing a minimum number of training hours, typically at an accredited school, and passing a licensing exam. Depending on the style of massage the therapist offers, techniques may include stroking, kneading, rocking, tapping, or holding steady pressure.
*Fun fact: Massage therapy is among the oldest of the healing arts. Dating back to at least 3000BC, massage has been practiced in a variety of ancient cultures, including China, Egypt, and Rome!
What Conditions Can a Massage Therapist Treat?
Massage therapists treat several conditions, including but not limited to:
- Anxiety and depression
- Headaches and migraines
- Pain, including back, shoulder, and neck pain
According to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), massage can also temporarily reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and improve blood circulation.
What Are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?
The benefits of massage can range from a reduction in pain to alleviation of anxiety and reduction in stress level. Massage is generally considered complementary to and offered alongside standard treatment for a range of medical conditions and situations.
*Not to mention that massages feel amazing. Even if you don’t have a medical condition that calls for them, massages are worth seeking out for this reason alone.