ARTICLES / General /
Understanding Dysphagia /
By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer
It is advisable for all persons interested in
massage to consult first with their doctors to
confirm that massage will be beneficial to them.
There may be some conditions where massage is not
recommended or specific techniques need to be
limited. This may be especially true for some cancer
patients or those who have varicose veins, skin
inflammations, infections or tumors.
Locating a massage therapist can be done by word
of mouth, through a physician or clinic or by
contacting the American Massage Therapy Association.
They represent therapists around the country and
require members to follow specific practices and a
strict code of ethics. Massage therapy services
should be provided by a professional who has
received proper training in a variety of techniques,
has graduated from an accredited or approved program
and is certified, licensed or regulated by the
state. Ultimately, having a sense of trust and
comfort with the therapist will reflect on the
outcome of the massage experience.
Basics of Massage:
Once the choice to have a massage has been made, it
is important to discuss general health questions,
concerns and massage methods with the therapist.
This will help alleviate apprehension and maximize
the massage experience. A massage session will take
place in a warm, comfortable and quiet room on a
special massage table. Soft, relaxing music is
played and the aroma of healing oils or scents may
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.