Massage therapy is derived from many medical and spiritual or metaphysical concepts prevalent throughout human history. Concepts of natural healing like acupuncture and Reiki form part of a wealth of ancient knowledge that has survived the passage of time through passage of the healing arts from generation to generation, often being refined and reinvented with new knowledge and more experience.

The best thing about learning massage therapy techniques is that there is no prior knowledge of physiology or a doctor’s degree or other medicine-related education required in order to learn, however massage therapy is a licensed profession in most states in the US. In massage therapy, practice is as important as learning from a good therapist or master; while learning massage therapy, you will learn different things about different nerves and muscles related to the parts of the human body. These will include the location of the nerves, the muscular anatomy and the ways to relieve tension and cure illnesses through the manipulation and manual stimulation of these parts using various methods. The Massage methods in practice today are many and come from diverse cultural backgrounds and lines of thought. Many medical professionals, especially those who work with muscles and joints, like physiotherapists and sports-therapists, chiropractic and orthopedic surgeons learn massage therapy as a means to provide alternative healing stimulation for patients undergoing western medical treatments as a means to augment the treatment and improve results.

Many massage therapy institutions and schools all over North America (and the world, especially where the various techniques originated) conduct regular training of new and experienced massage professionals in the various popular methods. The following are some of the popular methods in use today. In order to read more about other popular methods, consult the article ‘Massage Therapy training – Types of massage Therapy’.

Sports Massage

The focus of sports massage is not therapy but prevention. For people who are involved with rigorous activity, such as professional athletics and sports, and for people who work out and run to stay in shape, sports massage is a way to prevent and treat injury and to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, stamina and speed; thereby improving overall performance. Sports massage is the combination of a rigorous version of a Swedish massage and stretching and Indian massage.

Reflexology

The theory of this form of massage is based on the belief that there are ‘reflex’ areas on the hands and feet which correspond directly with some part of the body. Some examples of the theory are as under;

The tips of the toes reflect the head, the heart and chest reflex points are around the ball of the foot while the liver, pancreas and kidney have reflex points in the arch of the foot and the lower back and intestines have reflex points in the heel of the foot.

The therapy focuses mainly on the feet and also the hands. Pressure is applied to the reflex points and it is thought that corresponding organs can be made healthy and their operations made normal in this way - through energy pathways which connect these reflex points and their corresponding organs.

Hot Stone Massage

Heated, smooth stones, usually basalt stones (which maintain their temperature due to the amount of iron they contain), are heated and placed on various points of the body (related to energy points or centers of energy). The heat from the stones warms relevant muscles and body points and regular massage techniques can be applied to provide more stimulation and pressure. The heat is also said to improve circulation or the blood and energy, and calm the nerves. The stones are either placed or stroked against parts of the body and also used, in place of the hands, to provide massage pressure directly along with the heat.

References:

Wikipedia – extensive reading
altmedicine[dot]about[dot]com/od/massage/a/massage_types.htm

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Author's Bio: 

Frank Johnson is a staff writer for HolisticJunction.com. Find online massage therapy schools, courses & degrees; as well as other colleges & universities offering massage therapy certificates at Holistic Junction, your positive pathway to discovery.