In general terms, massage is the process of working on the body with pressure applied by hands, fingers and other parts of the professional’s body. This pressure can also be applied by a specially designed device. The goal is to relieve stress or pain. In most massage settings, the patient lies on a massage table. The treatment may also be carried out when the patient is in a chair designed for the purpose.

This treatment is certainly not new. There is evidence of massage being used in many civilizations, thousands of years ago. In fact, one image in an ancient Egyptian tomb shows men having their feet massaged by hand. Medical knowledge in this area has been compiled, so that many of the successful methods used centuries ago can still be used.

Specific Ailments

These techniques have been used for a number of specific conditions and injuries, the foundation for using massage in a medical setting. Methods have been refined through the years, though some of the earliest techniques are still in use, exactly as they were used so many years in the past. In the Middle Ages, massage was widely used, both in Europe and in the area around the Mediterranean, especially Persia.

In more recent years, the methods of massage grew in popularity, primarily because they produced positive results. Some basic massage techniques were outlined as recently as the 1870s, when European practitioners applied French names to some of the common movements – gliding strokes, kneading the muscles, friction/rubbing motions, vibration and tapping.

In the United States and Europe, massage has continued to grow in popularity, especially in medical settings. The key to proper use of massage therapy lies in the knowledge and skill of the professional, as well as in the specific movements used. It’s essential for you and the medical professional or therapist to know which techniques and movements will produce the results you need.

Your Objective

The type of massage movements and techniques used will depend on what the goal is. Your therapist can determine which methods will produce the best results only when he or she knows what conditions and pain you’re trying to eliminate or reduce. It’s also possible for massage to be used in combination with other treatments.

For pain relief, you might try over-the-counter pain relievers. The therapist or medical professionalism might also use certain injection techniques, electrical stimulation of muscles, use of heat and special oils. Massage can provide relief from everyday pain and stiffness and may relieve other maladies.