Massage is one of the oldest healing arts and today massage therapy is part of many physical rehabilitation programs. It has proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including lower back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.
So what is massage?
Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies are defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body.
- Massage: The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation. The many variations of massage account for several different techniques.
- Bodywork: Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or re-patterning to affect structural changes to the body.
- Somatic: Meaning “of the body.” This term is often used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach, as distinguished from a physiology-only or environmental perspective.
There are more than 250 different types of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies. Depending on the type of therapy, techniques may include stroking, kneading, tapping, compression, vibration, rocking, friction, pressure to the muscles and other soft tissues, passive or active movement, and/or techniques intended to affect the energetic systems of the body. Oils, lotions, or powders may be used to reduce friction on the skin.
Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies specifically exclude diagnosis, prescription, manipulation or adjustments of the human skeletal structure, or any other service, procedure or therapy which requires a license to practice orthopaedics, physical therapy, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychotherapy, acupuncture, or any other profession or branch of medicine.