Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Lowdown on Rubdowns Massage Can Provide Relief for All Kinds of Discomfort

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Lowdown on Rubdowns Massage Can Provide Relief for All Kinds of Discomfort

Article excerpt

For decades the mere mention of "massage" evoked images of the seedy side of town. No longer. The practice of massage is earning credibility for its therapeutic power.

Massage was central to Chinese medicine as far back as 1600 B.C. The ancient Egyptians used it to treat disease. And Hippocrates wrote that physicians must be experienced in the art of massage.

Today, massage is an integral part of physical therapy, sports medicine and nursing care. It's also becoming more accepted as a simple way for healthy people to relieve emotional stress, relax and just feel good.

Massage is the kneading, stroking and manipulation of the soft tissues of your body - your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your massage will vary depending on the rhythm, rate, pressure and direction of these movements.

Swedish massage is the most popular form of massage in the United States. This method employs smooth stroking, kneading and mild tapping of the soft tissues. You disrobe and are appropriately draped. The massage therapist applies lotion or oil to your skin to facilitate smooth movement of the hands over your skin.

While massage therapists deal with the whole body, a physical therapist is more likely to concentrate on a specific area of your body that is affected by muscle spasm, swelling, stiffness, scarring, pain or other medical problems.

The environment in which you receive a massage is important. A warm, quiet area, free from distracting noise or interruptions, can help relieve muscle tension. Low-volume sound or music also relaxes muscles.

Your massage therapist should use a good lubricant, such as mineral oil. By reducing friction, the lubricant contributes to smooth, effective massage strokes. A lubricant also reduces the potential for skin irritation.

Massage is used for different reasons. A professional athlete may get a massage to reduce muscle strain or to warm up before a performance. An executive might seek massage to prevent or relieve a tension headache. A person with an injured back might get a massage to obtain pain relief. …

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