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The Value of Massage for Caregivers

By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 4)

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.

  • LaStone Massage - a deeply relaxing treatment using smooth, warmed basalt stones and cooled marble stones.

  • Shiatsu - an old oriental therapy that treats points along the acupressure meridians and aims to release discomfort and rebalance energy.

  • Reiki - a gentle but powerful Japanese energy healing technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes self-healing.

  • Trigger Point Massage - applies direct finger pressure to painful, irritated areas of the muscle to release tensions and break cycles of spasms and pain.

  • Reflexology - massage of the feet, hands or ears by pressing points to stimulate corresponding areas of the body that are linked to vital organs.

  • Rolfing - a massage that focuses on the connective tissues.

  • Craniosacrial Massage - a light touch manipulation of the head and bottom of the spine that helps restore movement of the fluid in the spinal cord. This technique can be helpful in treating headaches, jaw problems, and back pain.

Cost of Massage:

Massage therapy ranges from $40-$100 per hour depending on the type of massage and the expertise of the therapist. Half-hour sessions are also offered at most massage clinics. In recent years, some insurance companies have added massage therapy to the list of covered medical procedures, especially if prescribed by a physician following a car accident or job-related injury. The best recommendation is to check with your insurance company for coverage prior to making an appointment. Choosing to invest in massage may be the best dollars caregivers spend to increase their capacity to provide care in the future. Family members can also support the caregiver by offering a gift of massage appointments.

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