Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a way to increase circulation to tense, strained muscles and other soft tissue. Behind this treatment is the belief that improved circulation and relaxation lead to better health and well-being.

A woman having a neck and shoulder massage.

Healing through touch

Massage therapy can be used to increase blood flow, relax muscles, relieve stress, and revitalize the body. The method of massage that’s used depends on the goal. It may include vigorous kneading and rubbing. Or it may be a more subtle, gentle touch, such as light tapping.

Massage therapy may be done using a wide range of techniques. The type you have depends on the massage therapist’s training as well as your preference. Here are some common types of massage therapy:

  • Swedish massage. Long strokes and kneading motions to relax muscles.

  • Sports massage. Various techniques to enhance athletic performance and aid recovery after exertion.

  • Oriental massage. Pressure applied to targeted points to enhance the body’s own healing energy.

Why seek this care?

Massage therapy can relieve many aches and pains. Your discomfort may have come from simply going about daily tasks or after doing physical activity. No matter what the cause, massage therapy may give you a boost in circulation as well as pain relief. This may help you feel both relaxed and revitalized. Other benefits may include improved joint motion, lymphatic drainage, increased energy, and reduced stress.

Questions for the massage therapist

Before you decide whether to get massage therapy, talk with a massage therapist. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:

  • What is your training? How long have you been practicing?

  • What massage techniques do you use?

  • Have you treated problems like mine?

  • What can I expect on a typical visit?

  • How long will treatment take and how much will it cost?

  • Do I need to prepare in any way?

  • Will I need to undress?

  • Will my insurance pay for the therapy?

  • Are there any side effects or reasons not to have massage therapy? 


Research massage therapy in your local library, on the Internet, or contact:

  • American Massage Therapy Association

  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork