Massage is rubbing the soft tissues of the body, such as the muscles. Massage may be helpful in reducing tension and pain, improving blood flow, and encouraging relaxation. Massage therapists usually apply pressure with their hands, but they can also use their forearms, elbows, or feet. There are at least 80 different types of massage. Some are gentle, and some are very active and intense.
People use massage to promote relaxation and relieve pain. It can also relieve muscle tension and may improve blood flow, relieve pressure on nerves, and restore normal joint movement.
When done properly, massage is considered safe. But talk to your doctor before you get a massage if:
- You have open wounds, bruises, or areas of weak skin.
- You have a blood clot in a vein.
- You have a bleeding disorder, have low blood platelet counts, or take a medicine (called a blood thinner) that prevents blood clots.
Choosing a massage therapist who has received provincial certification ensures that your massage therapist has a certain level of training and uses certain practice guidelines. Keep in mind that massage requires a time commitment and may be expensive. The cost of massage therapy is generally not covered by provincial health plans but may be covered by private health insurance.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.