Massages have always had an interesting role to play in the lives of those who receive them. Some view a massage as a means to be pampered, while still others seek them out for their ability to provide short term relaxation and relief from stress. Still another category of people adhere to the alternative medical usage of massage - in the form of therapeutic massage - as a means for treating various medical ailments including pain. Though the therapeutic massage has sometimes been the subject of some controversy, and has even been ridiculed at times by various conventional medical practitioners, the fact is that each year sees a growing body of documentable evidence that demonstrates just how effective this type of treatment can be for the treatment of medical conditions.

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To understand therapeutic massage, it is important to first define what a massage is. While most people have their own understanding of the definition of massage, the most commonly accepted understanding is also the simplest. A massage involves the manual manipulation of the recipient's body to relieve muscle tension, speed up the flow of blood, and encourage healing of ligaments and other connective tissue. During any massage - including therapeutic massage - the therapist utilizes his or her hands, fists, elbows, feet, and even inanimate objects to achieve the goals of the therapy.

Understanding its role

Therapeutic massage is now commonly recognized as one of the most effective methods for dealing with a variety of medical conditions. Whether the patient is an active athlete, sedentary office worker, or somewhere in between, therapeutic massage can assist in alleviating the everyday stress and pain that is a part of many people's lives. For many people suffering from high levels of stress, massage therapy can help to rid the body of toxins that otherwise accumulate in the muscles and other tissues of the body and which invariably lead to any number of physical ailments.

We've all experienced the occasional tightness in our backs and necks, and many of us will occasionally remark about how we need a good massage. Well, the truth is that our casual remarks are probably truer than we realize, especially when you consider the positive benefits therapeutic massage can have on tight muscle pain. The professional providing any therapeutic massage can usually identify the muscle region in which the pain originates, and quickly go to work on loosening any tightness to enable proper blood flow and muscle relaxation to occur. In addition, the very act of massage can act as a pain blocker in many cases, meaning that even those whose pain stems from something other than tight muscles can still experience relief.

The most powerful benefits of therapeutic massage can be seen in the area of pain that is systemic and chronic. With a focus on the muscles surrounding the spine, therapeutic massage serves to disrupt the transmission of pain impulses from the affected part of the body. At the same time, endorphins are released that offer additional relief from pain as well as a general feeling of relaxation and well being. The bottom line is that there are few methods of relieving pain and stress that are more effective than therapeutic massage.