Massage is the therapeutic practice of manipulating the muscles and limbs to ease tension and reduce pain. Massage is an integral part of physiotherapy, and is commonly used in conjunction with exercise therapy or mobilisation. It can be effective for reducing symptoms such as pain in conditions involving the muscular and nervous system. It is also used commonly to help reduce stress. Massage is one of the oldest healthcare practices known to man. There are some references to massage found in ancient Chinese texts written more than 4000 years ago.
Massage is delivered to help improve the blood flow of soft tissues, reduce muscular tension, or to affect the nervous system through stimulation. Massage is usually applied with the hands, but sometimes forearms or elbows are used to obtain firmer contact.
Neuromuscular massage is a form of deep massage that can be applied to individual muscles. Otherwise known as trigger point massage, neuromuscular massage involves pressure being applied to a concentrated area of muscle.
Physiotherapists are trained in the art of massage, and commonly use massage throughout the course of injury rehabilitation. In order to provide effective therapeutic massage, it is important that the provider has a very good understanding of human anatomy. There are certain areas throughout the human body where massage may cause more damage. It is also important that following an injury, massage is not administered within the first 48-72 hours. The use of massage in this acute period can increase inflammation, and decrease the rate of healing.