Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed or infected skin, skin rashes, unhealed or open wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, fragile bones, or areas of recent fractures. Massage may cause bruising and rarely, hematoma (a localized collection of blood outside of blood cells), venous thromboembolism, and a condition known as spinal accessory neuropathy.
AD 1150: Evidence of massage abortion, involving the application of pressure to the pregnant abdomen, can be found in one of the bas reliefs decorating the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It depicts a demon performing such an abortion upon a woman who has been sent to the underworld. This is the oldest known visual representation of abortion.[12]
Bastian B, Jetten J, Hornsey MJ, Leknes S. The Positive Consequences of Pain: A Biopsychosocial Approach. Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2014 Apr;18(3):256–279. PubMed #24727972. Bastian et al. write about “pain’s capacity to produce positive consequences, thereby decoupling the experience of pain from the experience of suffering” — pain’s silver linings, basically. BACK TO TEXT
Athletic people often overuse specific muscle sets. If you do a lot of kicking, running, jumping, or skating, you’re putting a significant amount of stress on the muscles you depend on. It’s important to help those muscles repair and grow stronger, allowing you to achieve a higher level of athletic ability. Sometimes, some good old-fashioned rest and a sports massage can be exactly what you need to get back out there and do your best.

This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Josh Axe and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Axe nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

The Swedish massage is the foundation of the art of massage. It’s typically characterized by friction techniques, kneading, and long strokes, and can be performed using either gentle pressure or deeper pressure. The Swedish massage is the usual go-to if you’re dealing with a lot of stress from work, school, or just everyday life! It’s a soothing, relaxing massage that relaxes muscle tissue while increasing the body’s circulation, sending healthy, oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and tissues.
In ashiatsu, the practitioner uses their feet to deliver treatment. The name comes from the Japanese, ashi for foot and atsu for pressure.[34] This technique typically uses the heel, sesamoid, arch and/or whole plantar surface of foot, and offers large compression, tension and shear forces with less pressure than an elbow, and is ideal for large muscles, such as in thigh, or for long-duration upper trapezius compressions.[35] Other manual therapy techniques using the feet to provide treatment include Keralite, Barefoot Lomi Lomi, Chavutti Thirumal.

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Contrary to popular belief, Swedish Massage was not created by anyone from Sweden.  The History of Swedish massage by Robert Calvert describes where Swedish massage came from.  Per Ling a Swedish Physiologist and gymnastics instructor created something known as the Swedish Movements or Swedish Movement Cure (link to Massage Today Article: November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11 The Swedish Movement CureBy Judi Calvert, LMP ) but it was focused on movement which is only one component of Swedish Massage and not the basic techniques of efflerage, pettrissage and so on (see below).    Johann Mezger promoted Swedish Massage and helped make it more popular in the US.


Some sports massage therapists use myofascial techniques that focus on stretching the fascia, which are connective tissues surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments in the body. This particular massage technique involves the therapist applying forces in opposing directions which relaxes the tissues. It can help ease pain and increase mobility in the tissues and surrounding muscles.

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Deep tissue massages are not for everyone, and it’s very important to find a well-trained therapist. If you’re actively healing from surgery, have nerve damage or an existing injury, you’re wearing a cast or brace, or you’re pregnant, then talk to your doctor before seeking a massage therapist. Although it’s rare, massages that are poorly performed can sometimes cause increased pain, inflammation and other complications in high-risk patients. (16)
If it is your first time receiving a deep tissue treatment, there are a few things you may want to do before your appointment. First, ensure that you’re well hydrated and have eaten a meal (nothing too heavy). Consider stretching before to ensure you get the most out of your treatment — this promotes blood flow and flexibility. If it is your first time visiting a massage therapist, relate all the issues you may be facing—after all, stiffness and chronic pain may be related to other injuries, poor posture, etc. The more your massage therapist knows, the more he/she can assist you during the session.
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people's blood pressure fell after a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Swedish massage is often selected as a way to promote relaxation and release stress, as a way to loosen muscles or to ease pain in a specific area. Deep tissue massage is often used to address deeper and longer-term pains and health challenges. For example, if you were in a serious car accident as a child and suffered severe whiplash, you may have residual problems, even as an adult. Deep tissue massage can work to relieve that long-term neck pain. Or, if you had a bad knee from playing soccer for years and still have stiffness, deep tissue massage can release some of that scar tissue and allow more freedom of movement in your joints. But you don't have to live with pain for years to enjoy the benefits of deep tissue massage. If you have a desk job and spend a lot of time hunched over a computer, deep tissue massage can prevent future back and neck pain. Whatever your reason for seeking out this form of healing treatment, if you have any existing health concerns, always talk with your health care provider before introducing deep tissue massage into your care routine.
There is absolutely a time and a place for DTM, the problem is that everyone has a different idea of what this means. Some therapists go after deep fascial layers, some therapists think this means trigger point work, and some just increase pressure as much as they can. If the client and therapist don’t have an open dialogue with clear instructions of when ‘enough is enough’, the client can experience a lot of discomfort and we don’t want that.

Swedish massage therapy can be helpful with a number of other physical challenges, such as reduction in scar tissue by physically manipulating the fibers of the tissue, allowing the scar tissue to be successfully reabsorbed into the skin. Additionally, it can aid with lymphatic drainage, where the long strokes of the therapist help move fluids successfully out of clogged areas.

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My massage therapist has been doing massages for 30 years. He is really aggressive. I thought that I was going to die. The pain was so intense that I honestly feel that it was worse than having children. When the massage was complete, I felt relaxed. When I got home I felt exhausted, like I had been in a major accident. Truthfully I feel like crap. I ache from head to toe, what the heck is this? I feel absolutely horrible. I had a bath before bed and it did help somewhat. But this morning I still feel like hell …
Neck pain is among the most common reasons people seek medical treatment. In fact, 40 to 70 percent of people report significant neck and Back Pain at some point during his or her life. The good news is that you do not have to allow your neck pain to become a real and constant problem. Deep tissue neck massage techniques help you to manage pain. This is even true if you suffer from neck pain well after a neck injury occurred.
When most people think of massage, they think of Swedish. The style takes its name from a 19th-century Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling, whose system of medical gymnastics included massage. Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) coined a reduced set of maneuvers and techniques of Dr. Ling’s system as the “Swedish massage” system. Swedish massage is defined by four or five (somewhat familiar) techniques, which have French names: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic choppings), and friction (rubbing). Some therapists now incorporate advanced techniques that have rehabilitating effects and stretches for improving your range of motion. But the ultimate goal is relaxation. As the default Western massage, Swedish massage is extremely popular and is simple, soothing touch therapy.

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