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massage therapy

Massage therapy involves applying pressure, stroking, kneading or hacking the soft tissues of the body - the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Depending on the techniques used, massage might relax, stimulate and/or strengthen the body.

What happens at a session?

Your first session will last about an hour. The massage therapist will start off by asking you about your medical history, general state of health and your diet and lifestyle.  You will also be asked to fill in some forms regarding your condition.  A massage might include a full body massage, with or without a facial massage, or it might be specific to one part of your body, such as neck and shoulders. It will usually take place on a treatment couch, face down for one half and face up for the other. For a full massage, you will usually have to undress down to your underpants, although this isn’t compulsory. The therapist will then use towels to cover the parts of your body not being worked on. Massage therapists normally use an oil, or sometimes body lotion or talcum powder, to help their hands glide more easily over the skin. How many sessions you need will vary. For help with a specific health or emotional problem, weekly sessions over a period of four to six weeks or longer may be needed. Otherwise, one session a month may be enough.

What does massage feel like?

Often, a massage feels pleasant and relaxing. But, the pressure from some massage techniques can cause temporary discomfort. If this is unpleasant, then ask the massage therapist to ease the pressure and, if you feel persistent pain, stop the treatment immediately. So that you will feel comfortable during your massage, avoid eating or drinking immediately before you have a massage, and make sure you have emptied your bladder.

Is massage safe?

Massage is very safe when practised by a well-qualified therapist. Massage therapists claim that some people experience a ‘healing’ reaction after a massage that can manifest as a headache or ’flu-like symptoms for about 24 hours. Some people can experience aches and pains for a day or two after a massage. You will also be asked by your practitioner to drink plenty of water after your treatment in order to flush the toxins that have been released in your body.

General Council for Massage Therapy