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The Value of Massage for Caregivers

By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 5)

Most massage techniques are performed with the client unclothed; however, each person may decide what clothing to wear for their own comfort. The therapist will leave the room to allow the client privacy while disrobing. Clients then cover themselves with a sheet or towel and are properly draped at all times to maintain warmth and privacy. Only the area of the body being worked on will be exposed. It is important to discuss with the therapist which parts of the body need to be massaged such as back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck and shoulders. Private areas will not be touched. A scented oil or lotion may be used to hydrate the skin and allow for smooth strokes.

Massage techniques include: basic rubbing strokes to stimulate blood vessels, rocking movements and the application of pressure to specific muscle points for tension release. The average full-body massage lasts about an hour while a half-hour session allows time for a focus on specific areas such as the back, neck and shoulders or legs and feet.

Most people close their eyes, listen to the music and become completely relaxed throughout the session. The therapist may gently move the body and talk briefly about the massage techniques that are being used. Clients should immediately communicate any discomfort they may be experiencing so that another approach can be taken. Massage is the most beneficial when the body is not resistive to touch and the client feels at ease with the experience.

Once the massage is completed, many people feel a sense of freedom and calmness. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often have an increase in energy, focus and productivity, which can last for many days. The frequency of receiving massage therapy varies from weekly to monthly depending on the perceived benefits, physical and emotional results and cost factors.

Types of Massage:

There are a variety of massages and techniques offered today, although most therapists focus mainly on only one or two types. Some of the most common are:

  • Swedish Massage - the most commonly practiced form of Western massage. It combines light stroking in one direction with deep pressure in another direction. This technique includes kneading, tapping, long strokes and circular pressure. It mainly loosens the muscles and eases aches and pains for the purpose of relaxation, rehabilitation and health support.

  • Deep Tissue Massage - helpful for chronic aches and pains because the focus is on the inner muscles and connective tissues. This uses slower strokes and more direct pressure.
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