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Therapeutic massage is an alternative medicine practice, often used to treat muscle pain, injury, and stiffness. Used also for the treatment of mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression, it has been proven to have significant benefits.

Therapeutic massage image

What types of therapeutic massage are available?

  • Swedish massage: This is the most popular type of massage therapy involving a total body massage slowly working through different muscle groups. Swedish massage also helps circulate blood flow, relieve mental stress, and reduce muscle pain and tension.

  • Deep tissue: Pressure and intensity is what defines and sets this style of massage apart from the others. Aimed at releasing tense and painful muscle knots, deep tissue is best suited for someone with a higher tolerance for pain.

  • Sports massage: Used by athletes, sports massage focuses on preparing muscles for intense training or to aid in the recovery of muscles due to intense performance or injury.

  • Shiatsu: Often referred to as acupressure, Shiatsu is a form of massage that is similar to acupuncture. Originating in Japan it means "finger pressure." Instead of using needles like acupuncture, the therapist uses their fingers and applies pressure to specific points throughout the body. It is thought to help release energy and restore balance back to the body and mind.

What are the benefits of therapeutic massage?

Often used to help relieve muscle tension and pain it may also be helpful in dealing with symptoms of various mental health concerns such as:

The reduction in muscle tension that comes from therapeutic massage is why it may help relieve some associated symptoms that come from stress and anxiety. If you experience any of these symptoms please speak with your doctor immediately to discuss a treatment plan.

The physical and mental benefits of therapeutic massage can have resounding effects. Some of these benefits are:

  • Increased blood circulation

  • Less muscle pain and tension

  • Lower Heart Rate

  • Improved flexibility

  • Less anxiety

  • Balanced fight or flight response

  • Induced calm and relaxation

How does therapeutic massage help?

Results of research suggest that massage therapy may be helpful for some fibromyalgia symptoms.

  • 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 studies (478 total participants) compared the effects of different kinds of massage therapy and found that most styles of massage had beneficial effects on the quality of life in fibromyalgia. Swedish massage may be an exception; 2 studies of this type of massage (56 total participants) did not show benefits.





Li Y-h, Wang F-y, Feng C-q et al. Massage therapy for fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2014;9(2):e89304.

Yuan SLK, Matsutani LA, Marques AP. Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Manual Therapy. 2015;20(2):257-264.

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