Certified Massage Therapist
A certified massage therapist is a healthcare practitioner in the United States that has been give formal licensure to treat muscle pain disorders with using massage therapy. The therapist will apply pressure to the muscle fibers, using various techniques, in order to break up bands of tightness and constriction. Though the muscles of the body are highly vascular - with an innate ability to heal themselves, there are certain types of muscle injuries that are stubborn to get better on their own. For these types of injuries, massage therapy may be beneficial.
Massage therapy typically feels good for the patient receiving it. In addition, this form of therapy has clinical benefits to the muscles that have become tense and inflexible, either due to inactivity, injury, or stress. Due to injuries, the muscle may go into a sustained point of contraction. This sustained point of contraction is known as a muscle spasm. This causes the muscle to become shortened and hard, which puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels. This pressure may cause severe pain, especially when it occurs in the lower back.
The massage therapist will use the hands as well as other smooth tools to rub pressure into the muscle fibers to try to break up these areas of tenseness in the affected muscles to bring about pain relief.
Massage therapy promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation. These treatments also inhibit motor-neuron excitability, which in involves in muscle tension and spasm. Massage therapy will also decrease muscle reflex activity and facilitate the healing process.
Massage therapists are trained to locate the regions of the muscle that where the source of the pain is. These areas of the muscle are referred to as trigger points, and you may not be aware of them until they are pressed upon. These trigger points are more popularly known as knots in the muscle.
There are many different types of massage therapy that are used to treat muscle spasms and related disorders such as fibromyalgia and back pain. The treatment modality that is most popular in the US is Swedish massage. Other therapy modalities include Watsu, Tui na, Shiatsu, Naprapathy, Manual lymphatic drainage, and the Bowen Technique.
The certified massage therapist will work to cause physiologic changes to the injured muscles by applying pressure to them. This application of pressure is often done with the hands, though other instruments may be used to affect the muscle fibers, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and joints in the injured parts of the body.
The therapist will use his hands or mechanical aids and apply pressure to the injured muscles and soft tissues. The pressure may be stationary, moving, gliding, or vibrational. The target structures of these massage therapy treatments may include the muscle cells, fascia, ligaments, tendons, lymphatic vessels, joint spaces, and other soft tissues. Massage therapy does so many things to help treat muscle injuries, including the restoration of adequate blood flow to the injured tissues that need it.
Massage therapy is often applied using the talented hands and fingers of the massage therapist, though elbows, knees, forearms and feet may also be used to get to the deeper muscle and soft tissues.
Massage therapy is often done in professional settings, though the therapist may make home visits or trips to a person's workplace, along with their massage therapy table.
Other methods of massage include the Reciprocal inhibition technique, Chue K'a, Balinese massage, aqua massage, and acupressure massage.
Massage therapy is an accepted complementary therapy for muscle pain disorders in the US. Massage therapists are active in hospitals to help patients recover from injuries and to get sleep. Massage therapists are often on staff in competitive sports programs, chiropractor offices, and professional offices such as physical therapy clinics.