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What is a Massage?

In order to manipulate the soft tissues in the body, one goes for a massage.  For most people, massage therapy is a way to relax the bodies muscles that are often tight.  A massage parlor is a place in which you can go and relax yourself for around 30 minutes at a time. Most massage therapy sessions are for around 30 to 60 minutes. There are many different types of massages as you will soon see.  Massage parlors are becoming more popular today because society is demanding services for relaxation.

We live in a highly intense society.  Massage therapy helps someone to feel like they are being taken away into another world when the massage therapist is giving your muscles time to relax. 

Most men and women get massages done on their: feet, back, fingers, knees, forearms, neck, buttocks and head.  People go to massage parlors to relieve stress and pain.  For most people, massage therapy is a good option for making someone feel good. 

The person giving the massage is called a masseuse if they are a woman and masseur if they are a male.  They are often professionally trained and must attend school before being able to give massages to the public. However, not all massage therapists are professionally trained. 

If you want to get a massage, in most situations, you are laying down on a table.  Sometimes it could be upside or downside. This all depends on where you want to have the massage done.  Sometimes you have back ailments and other times you need more massage on your chest and stomach.  Sometimes, chairs can be used if a person is getting a shoulder massage. 

Many people today choose aquatic massages as well.  In this type of massage, the client sits in a pool and a massage is given to them. The water temperature can be hot, cold or lukewarm. 

Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years.  It has been used in China, Greece, Rome, Korea, Japan and the United States.  Most countries use massage therapy in the 21st century.  Ancient Chinese text shows that massage was given around BC 722-481.  The Nei-jing is the ancient medical textbook for healing all types of ailments.  The information that is in this book is what has been documented for thousands of years using Chinese medicine.  Massage is mentioned at least thirty different times in the text. 

The text teaches the person giving the massage how to use different techniques for different problems of the body.  This kind of information has also been seen in the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon.  This text is from the time period of 2700 BC. 

In 762 BC, the text says that in order to relax a soldier’s limbs and treating their pain, aroma and oil should be used with massage. I have seen this technique used in many massage parlors from around the world.  Many massage parlors use aroma therapy and work with different oils to relax the muscles in the body. 

In 460 BC, Hippocrates himself said that the doctor should know a lot about different things but have great knowledge of rubbing.

It was during the middle ages that massage therapy made its way into Persian and Rome.  It is estimated that massage therapy is most popular in China. This is understandable since this is where massage therapy got its start. 

In Shanghai, there is an estimated 1600-foot therapy centers.  In China, massage therapist is the title of thousands of its citizens.  This goes to show you how popular this really is. 

In China, massage therapists are some of the highest paid men and women.  It’s high in demand and work is plentiful. 

Massage therapy came to the USA in the 19th century.  It was brought to the United States by two doctors by the name of Charles and George Taylor.  During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the United States was experienced a revolution in the medical industry. This brought many new treatments to the American public. This caused a slowdown of people getting massages. However, it quickly picked back up in 1970’s.

During the 1970’s, the nursing industry used massage for treating pain.  In the United States today, the massage industry is a six billion dollar a year industry.  It seems to be having an exploding growth as it is in China. The most recent updates for massage therapy say that its now a 12 billion dollar a year industry in 2019. 

Fact Check

#1 6 states in the United States require someone to be licensed before doing massage therapy.  They are required to attend massage therapy school before being certified. During training, they are required to pass exams. 

#2 The first recorded advertisement for massage therapy in the UK happened in 1880. 

Athletes in ancient Greece and China were said to have used massage therapy.  Even Taoist priests started to use massage therapy after practicing Kung Fu and other physically demanding exercises. 

In the United States, the world became first exposed to massage being used on a mass level. It was televised in 1984 that during the Olympics in Las Angeles California, athletes were getting massage therapy out in the open. 

Here Are Some of the More Popular Styles of Massage:

  • Ashiatsu
  • Acupressure
  • Aquatic Bodywork
  • Ayurvedic Massage
  • Biodynamic Massage
  • Medical Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Structural Integration
  • Swedish Massage
  • Traditional Chinese massage
  • Turkish Bath Massage

Equipment Needed for Massage Parlor:

  • Massage tools
  • Vichy Showers
  • Warm-Water Therapy Pools
  • Massage Tables and Chairs
  • Dry-water massage tables
  • Cremes
  • Lotions
  • Gels
  • Oils

Professionals that Provide Massage Therapy:

  • Physical Therapists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Chinese Medicine Practitioners

It is becoming more practical for massage therapists to travel to a person’s home or office to give a massage.  The tables can be heavy and so its important for the massage therapist to go to locations in which they feel they can carry the equipment to.  Massage therapy in the office or home is generally more expensive than if you went in for an office visit. Massage therapy in an office can cost around $70.00 for 30 minutes and a home/office visit can cost over $300.00 because you need to pay for travel and the luxury of having the massage therapist carry all the equipment in to see you.

In many parts of the United States, massage therapy is being used in drug and alcohol treatment centers.  Many clients say that the massage helps them to relax during detox and treatment. Chiropractors are starting to use massage therapy as a form of back ailment treatment as well.

What Benefits Are There to Massage Therapy?

  • Pain Relief
  • Helps Reduce Anxiety
  • Helps Reduce Depression
  • May Reduce Blood Pressure
  • May Reduce Heart Rate

Some massage therapists use acupuncture alongside of massage at different times. This is said to help bring the persons mind, body and soul into calmness and less pain. Many people that experience this form of healing tend to feel an overall feeling of happiness. 

Even though massage therapy is used on the back, it is said that it doesn’t do much to relieve lower back pain.  However, it does have a good effect on tired and sore muscles in other parts of the body.

Where is Massage Therapy Regulated Around the World?

Canada – New Brunswick, British Columbia, Labrador, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Must be licensed. 

France – Massage therapists must go through school for 3 years and pass 2 exams to apply for a massage license. 

Germany – Massage therapists must complete three thousand two hundred hours of training (3,200) before being allowed to practice massage.

Students in Germany must study anatomy, psychiatry, orthopedics, surgery, podiatry and much more. 

They also learn techniques in body wraps, water massage, steam bath, hydrotherapy and much more.

Massage therapists in Germany can only do massage therapy if they work under a doctor.  Germany has some of the strictest guidelines for massage therapy in the world. 

India – The Department of Ayurveda regulates massage therapy in India.

India massage therapy began in around the year 600 BC.

Japan – Oil and Thai message therapy is not regulated in Japan.  Only Shiatsu is controlled.

Mexico – Massage therapists use massage oil and lotion.  Massage therapy is not regulated by the government. 

New Zealand – Massage therapy is not regulated by the government.  However, certifications do exist for course completion or some type of group.

South Africa – Massage therapy is regulated by the government. 

Thailand – Massage therapy is regulated by the government and considered to be a medical practice.

United Kingdom – Massage therapy is regulated by the government.  Training for certification includes spa and beauty. 

United States – Almost all 50 states have certification that is required to practice massage therapy. Some states require by law for the message therapist to get certified and others just force you to obtain a license from the state. 

Massage Therapist Education Requirements

Most massage therapists must attend a certification program for at least 6 months.  As listed above, most countries, states and provinces have their own set of requirements. The toughest seem to be in Germany. 

Massage Therapy Facts

  • Our skin has five million touch receptors.
  • Julius Caesar used massage therapy to assist with epilepsy.
  • Massaging your ears may improve immune system.
  • A 30-minute massage is almost as relaxing as 4 hours of sleep.
  • Actor Bob Hope had massage therapy every day. He lived to be one hundred years old. 
  • In the United States, most people prefer to leave their underwear on and bras (for women). In most of Europe, most people prefer to get completely naked when getting massage therapy.
  • There are over 80 styles of massage therapy.

Biodynamic Massage

This style of massage was developed by Gerda Boyesen.  It was developed in the 1950’s.  It is seen as an alternative therapy.  This kind of massage therapy is often given in different massage parlors around the world.  Training is often conducted at the Gerda Boyesen Training School.  This style of meditation often focused on the digestive tract. 

Massage Spa Treatments

There are many different types of massage spa treatments to include:

  • Facials
  • Body Wraps
  • Salt Glows
  • Body Treatments
  • Body Scrub
  • Mini Facial
  • Couples Massage

Some massage parlors have nail salon services as well.  Some men and women prefer going to the massage parlor for one shop stop treatment.  It is also common to see massage parlors offering hair salon services, makeup, coloring and styling. 

In states Like New York, Florida, California and Texas, the most common types of massages are deep tissue massage and Swedish massage.  In states like Iowa, Alabama, Colorado and New Hampshire, popular massage therapies include aromatherapy and hot stone massage.  Aromatherapy uses oils for relaxation.  Hot stone therapy uses basalt stones. These stones are round and flat.  The massage therapist will heat these stones in water before placing them on your body. 

In many Asian communities in the United States, Thai massage and reflexology is often used.  Pregnant women often go for sports massages. It is said to help with aching feet.

After having a massage, many people enjoy going into an infrared sauna.  It is said that infrared saunas help remove toxins from the body as you sweat in them at around 130 to 150 degrees.  This is often great for people that are on vacation or people that need this for daily use.  Some Infrared saunas today can be purchased for under $3,000.00 for one person use at a time. 

Best Massage Service

The best massage services are those that bring relaxation to the mind, body and spirit.  You should feel good when coming out of a massage. Here are some of the most popular massage chains around the United States:

  1. Massage Envy – Probably the largest chain in the United States.
  2. Elements Massage
  3. Massage Green Spa
  4. MassageLuXe
  5. Spavia
  6. Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa
  7. Massage Heights
  8. The Woodhouse Day Spa
  9. LaVida Massage

Tissue Massage Therapy

  • Almost Identical to Swedish massage.
  • Focuses on deeper parts of the muscles.
  • Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Reduces stress.

Aromatherapy Massage Spa

  • This is Swedish massage used with massage oil.
  • You inhale essential oils during massage.
  • Makes you feel calm.
  • Helps to reduce menstrual cramps.
  • Lavender oil is often used.
  • You get to choose which blend you want to use.

Swedish Deep Tissue Massage

The massage therapist will put a strong pressure on your muscles. It uses strong strokes.  The massage therapist will often use massage oil to penetrate deep levels of the skin. 

The massage parlor is trying to increase your blood flow and cause your muscles to be a lot more relaxed then when you first walked through the door.  People often get a Swedish massage to help oxygen in the blood to flow better. The 5 strokes involved in the Swedish massage are: vibration, tapotement, friction, pertrissage and effleurage.

When you massage the deep tissue, it helps to heal small injuries in the muscle. It helps to heal muscle pains that don’t seem to go away.  Many people that do sports say that its great to get a Swedish massage because it helps your muscles to feel a sense of relaxation.  It can relieve a lot of muscle tension as well.  Parts of the body are massaged slowly in order to get maximum effectiveness.  Different muscles will require strokes. The massage therapist will determine how many strokes to give to you.

A trained massage therapist will not put to much pressure on areas that don’t need to be.  They will often ask you if they are pressing to hard or if it’s a comfortable amount of pressure.  This often helps the man or woman feel more at ease.  People that get massage therapy often have a stronger resistance to pressing down on the muscles than those that are getting massage therapy for the first time. 

Best Pregnancy Massage

Massage therapy helps pregnant women in many ways. It can relieve stress in the back, stiff neck, cramping of the legs, headaches and foot pain.  It will help to relax your joints as well. 

Ayurvedic Massage Therapy

People often turn to ayurvedic massage therapy when they have had too much of Swedish massages.  Ayurvedic massage therapy gives you more intense pressure on your muscles.  This style of massage therapy was developed nearly 3,100 years ago.  This style of massage therapy believes that the body is made of:

  • Earth
  • Space
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Water

Ayurvedic massage therapy focuses on emotional blockages.  This style of massage therapy focuses on the chakras. Primarily the heart and the root. 

The massage focuses on energy aspects of the body.  Ayurvedic massage therapy tries to balance your energy points.

Massage Oils Used:

  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Rose
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang

People that get this kind of massage say that it puts them to sleep. Once your emotions are properly in line and in balance, you get to experience more relaxation in your life.

Active Release Massage

This style of massage therapy treats the aching muscles by using movement and manipulation.  This style of massage has been around for around thirty-five years.  This style of massage therapy helps to breakdown scar tissue.  If you have trouble with your tendons, muscles, nerves and ligaments, then this is a great form of massage.

It has also been used in working with tendons, ligaments, fascia and your most prominent muscle groups.  People have also used this to help treat carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, plantar fasciitis and shin splints. 

Is Massage Therapy Right for You?

As you can see, massage therapy seems to be right for mostly everyone. There is a lot of benefits to getting a massage. Most people say that they enjoy getting a massage at least once a week.  There seems to be massage parlors popping up all over the United States and around the world.  Always make sure that you go to a massage parlor that is licensed within your state or having the proper certifications that are necessary. There are some “shady” massage places out there.  However, if you ask around and see who is legitimate, you should be able to bind one that you will enjoy. 

Massage therapy is a great career for people that are looking to earn good money and to experience helping people.  If you are someone that just wants to get a massage, then it’s up to you as to which kind of massage will work out best for yourself.

Most men and women that do sports, get massages at least once every week. This helps the muscles to relax and they perform a lot better. If you are someone that sits down a lot and your muscles don’t have a lot of movement, you may experience stiff muscles.  Massage therapy would work perfect for you as well because it will give you the feeling of relaxation and help you throughout the day. 

People that have lose muscles often stretch a lot. Your massage therapist can best advise you on how to treat each of your muscles during the week. Sometimes, stretching out a certain muscle will help you to feel better.  Massage therapy is often pricey.  There are many message parlors that offer monthly memberships for clients that want to get them regularly. This often keeps down the costs and helps you to get your massage on a regular basis. 

Once you start getting massages, you often want to keep on getting them because you tend to feel so good afterwards. You tend to want to feel like you have someone around you that is working well with you.  Massage therapy is expected to grow a lot more over the next 10 years. Today, you can travel to most any country in the world and get similar massage treatments.  It’s fun to see how the whole world is doing massage therapy now because of a remedy that was started originally in China.  You can learn more about massage therapy by reading books on the topic. 

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