Massage Therapy is the systematic manipulation of soft tissue through pressure and movement. The soft tissue structures include: skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. The therapist utilizes a variety of massage techniques to encourage healing through the following mechanisms: promoting the flow of blood and lymph, relieving muscle tension, stimulating nerves, and stretching connective tissues and muscles to help keep them flexible.
In general, Massage Therapy has two focuses – relaxation and therapeutic. Relaxation massage utilizes gentle, broad-contact strokes and sometimes uses aromatherapy and soft lighting and music. Therapeutic massage is intended to treat muscle strains, trigger points, tendinitis and to help in the recovery from injuries – such as motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Massage Therapy can also be preventative in nature by maintaining proper function and flexibility of the soft tissue structures.
Although there is a universal agreement that a massage "feels good", there are many physical and mental benefits, such as: decreased tension and stress, as well as, decreased pain due to the release of endorphins - the body's natural painkillers. Massage Therapy can affect all systems of the body but mostly influences the circulatory, muscular, nervous and fascial systems.