Once seen as a luxury for the rich, more and more average Americans are getting massages on a regular basis. According to numbers from the America Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), about fifteen percent of US adults have at least one professional rubdown a year. When expanded to a five-year timeframe, near one-third of American adults receive one. Let us take a moment to discuss this increasingly popular form of physical therapy.

Types

An ancient practice, there are many different styles of pressing, rubbing, and manipulating the skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons during a therapy session. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

* Swedish – A gentle form that relations on deep circular movements, kneading, long strokes, and vibration to help clients relax, the Swedish version is nearly ubiquitous. Most people use it to help them relieve stress and recharge their batteries.

* Deep – For patients who have acute or chronic injuries, the deep version can be used to target damaged areas with slower, more powerful strokes that reach the deer layers of muscle and connective tissues that are the source of discomfort or pain.

* Sports – This type of rubdown is incredibly popular with athletes and exercise enthusiasts who are recovering from injuries. By using a specialized series of techniques, masseuses can treat current injuries and help prevent future ones.

* Trigger Point – Repetitive motion injuries often cause areas of tightness to form in affected muscles. By targeting these areas with certain techniques, massage therapists may be able to help clients achieve real and lasting relief.

Benefits

No matter the type, a professional rubdown provides a series of temporary and longer lasting benefits. Here are just a few of the conditions it can be used to treat:

* Anxiety – Because it relaxes the body and the mind, a professional massage can work wonders for clients who suffer from anxiety disorders.

* Digestive disorders – Doctors are not exactly sure why it works, but the soothing effects of all that rubbing and kneading often help alleviate the symptoms of some digestive disorders.

* Headaches / Migraines – Often cause by putting too much stress on the central nervous system, headaches and migraines are no match for the relaxation that washes over clients during a thorough rubdown.

* Soft tissue injuries – Serious strains and sprains can cause an incredible amount of damage to the soft tissue at the injury site. Gently rubbing and kneading this area can help promote blood flow, which may expedite the healing process. Techniques can also provide much-needed pain relief to injured tendons and ligaments.

* Joint Pain – Whether caused by injury, overuse, or simply by old age, specialized rubbing techniques may help with pain management and mobility issues.

* Nerve Pain – Most forms of nerve pain, or neuralgia, are caused by something pressing down on a nerve. By kneading and rubbing the affected area, muscles may loosen up enough to relieve that pressure, providing temporary pain relief.

For all of these reasons and more, a professional massage can work wonders for the body and mind.