1. How much training do massage therapists receive?
In New York State, there are strict regulations regarding education, which includes a minimum of course hours and a state board exam. Many schools require therapists to study subjects which include anatomy and physiology, medical massage, ethics, clinic and study in various techniques. They are trained to know when and when not to massage. Other states vary on their requirements for certification.
2. How long does a massage session last?
Most full body massage sessions last 1 hour. This gives the therapist time to address the issues that the patient may have. An hour or an hour and a half session is also beneficial because extra focus can be given to a particular muscle or muscle group. Half hour sessions are also available and usually focus on one area of the body.
3. What are those "knots"?
Technically, it is the abnormal joining of tissues. Those knots or "adhesions" can occur around a site of previous inflammation. Although they don't always cause problems, they can limit flexibility and range of motion in and around a joint capsule.
4. Are there any restrictions?
Certain conditions may require a physicians approval before receiving a massage. They may include high blood pressure, acute inflammation, fever, recent trauma and certain heart conditions, as well as pregnancy. When in doubt, you should always consult with your physician.
5. Should massage be at all painful?
Many factors come into play here! It depends on the modality of bodywork you choose.If your muscles feel tight and sore and you choose Swedish massage, there may at first be some discomfort. Usually the pain will dissipate after a few minutes. However, in some cases of extensive deep work, it may take 24 hours before you reap the benefits of the massage.
If you decide on energy work like shiatsu or reike or therapeutic touch or just a relaxation massage, it should not cause any discomfort. It should be soothing yet invigorating. Always feel free to communicate with your therapist when you are uncomfortable, or for that matter, when it's feeling good!
6. What about sports massage?
For years, massage has been used by athletes at sports events to try and gain a competitive edge. Whether you are a world class athlete or a weekend sports enthusiast, massage is the perfect complement to prepare and train for any type of strenuous physical activity. It can also be beneficial after a sporting event. Massage decreases recovery time. It helps you prepare better, psychologically. Massage can assist in preventing injuries due to muscle stress, strains and sprains because it helps increase your flexibility and suppleness.
7. When should I expect results?
Depending on the type of bodywork you choose, in most cases, tangible results can be realized as soon as your massage session is completed. You'll feel rejuvenated, relaxed and pain free. However, chronic conditions may require specific massage techniques and could take up to 4-6 weeks of massage therapy to achieve positive results.
8. Should I eat before a massage?
It is best not to eat at least a half hour before your session. You don't want to eat a full meal and then lie on a table. Your body is focusing on digestion and needs time. Massage could possibly upset your stomach because of all the stroking, kneading and pressure being applied to your back, in addition to causing the blood flow away from the stomach and towards the heart.
9. How often should I receive massage?
Your personal situation will determine when and how often to receive a massage. In cases where there is chronic pain or medical conditions, your massage therapist and/or physician will determine the frequency of your sessions. When stressful situations arise, a massage can help you relax, release and let go. The cumulative effects of a weekly massage will certainly enhance your health and well-being.
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