The benefits of massage

Older couple

Overview

Most people agree that massage makes you feel good. But what does it really do for you?
The Australian Association of Massage Therapists defines the practice of massage therapy as “the systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to: maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function; relieve pain; prevent dysfunction; enhance health and promote wellness”.

When performed by a qualified practitioner, massage techniques are based on current scientific understanding and evidence-informed practice. National Competency Standards were introduced for massage therapy in 2002 as part of the Australian Government’s Health Training Package.

There is a significant body of evidence for the effectiveness of massage therapy in the treatment of a range of musculoskeletal conditions including lower back pain. Other studies indicate that massage can help in the management of pre and post-operative pain, anxiety and tension, and post-operative nausea. Massage can also be effective in reducing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and enhancing recovery after strenuous exercise.
Evidence supports the efficacy of massage in treating a range of conditions associated with aging, while it can also be beneficial for infants (and their mums). One of the key effects is the ability of massage to reduce anxiety – important not just for mums and babies, but for anyone experiencing stress.

Research studies have found that massage is generally a very safe form of therapy when guidelines are adhered to and treatments are given by appropriately trained and qualified massage practitioners. Of course, if you have a medical condition and you’re not sure whether massage therapy would be right for you it’s wise to discuss your concerns with your health care provider.