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What is Massotherapy?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Massotherapy involves the use of massage for therapy, either physical or emotional in nature. Many types of massage fall under the umbrella of massotherapy, ranging from deep tissue massage to reflexology, and almost all types of massage have some form of therapeutic value. Massage schools all over the world offer training in massotherapy, and it is generally very easy to find a massage therapist who offers therapeutic massage. By contrast, clients can also opt for a purely recreational massage, which may encourage relaxation, but provide no other therapeutic benefits.

All types of massage confer some immediate benefits. Touch in general reduces feelings of strain, isolation, and loneliness. Therapeutic massage is also relaxing, as it lowers the heart rate, eases muscle pain, and promotes a general state of relaxation by encouraging people to lie down and concentrate on their breathing. Most massage techniques promote healthy circulation of blood and lymph, which can also have positive benefits for health.

Specific styles of massotherapy are focused on muscle aches and pain, promotion of increased flexibility, emotional distress, injury recovery, and other issues which clients may be dealing with. Massage can be used to help people recover from surgeries, sports injuries, and traumatic accidents such as car crashes. Some techniques also integrate energy work, which is supposed to promote a feeling of balance and well-being, along with principles from various schools of alternative medicine, such as Ayurveda.

The length of a massotherapy session can vary widely, from 15 minutes to two hours or sometimes even longer. Depending on the style of massage being offered, the client may lie on the table or on a mat on the floor, and he or she may be nude and draped or fully dressed. The therapist uses massage techniques to work on the body, and he or she also usually stretches specific limbs to reach particular muscle groups. Ideally, therapist and client work together so that both feel comfortable at all times in the session.

Massotherapy sessions are individualized to the client, making it important to find a therapist who works well with you. Ideally, a chance to meet the therapist before a session should be provided, or you should be able to read the massage therapist's biography and credentials to get an idea of whether or not the therapist is a good fit. During the session, communication about specific issues is critical, and clients should not be embarrassed by emotional outbursts, as massage can trigger deep-seated emotions, causing people to laugh, cry, or exhibit other emotions.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By julies — On Oct 29, 2011

For my daughter-in-law's birthday, I gave her a gift certificate for a massage. This is a massage therapist I had used and knew had been trained at a school of massotherapy.

What I didn't know is that she was reluctant to to go because she was embarrassed. The first and only time she had a massage, she became very emotional and started crying.

She was very embarrassed by this and didn't know how common it can be. When I explained to her that this is a common reaction and a good massage therapist is trained in how to deal with this, she finally made an appointment.

I think it is important to find a massage therapist you feel comfortable with and this might take more than one appointment. Once you find one, they can make a big difference.

I feel like I am really pampering myself when I indulge in a good massage.

By Mykol — On Oct 28, 2011

It took me a while to find a really good massage therapist. I didn't want just a recreational, feel-good massage, but was looking for someone who would do therapeutic massages.

I finally found someone in my area who completed massotherapy school and is just perfect for what I was looking for.

Not only does she do a lot of deep tissue work, but also uses essential oils when she is working that go a long way at helping with my tight muscles and joints.

I don't feel like I am just pampering myself when I go to my massage therapist once a month. I truly believe it helps keeps my immune system strong and also helps me deal with my stress.

I can always tell when it is getting close to my appointment time. My neck and shoulder muscles are very tense and tight.

When I leave after my massage, I feel 10 pounds lighter and so much more relaxed.

By candyquilt — On Oct 28, 2011

I just heard about a massage salon that visits businesses and offices at request and does on-site chair massotherapy! Isn't that great?

I had heard of select businesses offering exercise, yoga and meditation sessions to their employees, but never massotherapy sessions. I think it's a great idea and it has to be the best way to get employees to relax and gather energy and concentration for work.

Apparently, it doesn't cost too much either, something like $10 for 10 minutes. I think it's definitely affordable if it was available once or twice a month. Considering how much it would boost efficiency and mood of employees, it's a good investment.

By burcinc — On Oct 27, 2011

One of my close friends just came from a trip to China. She had the chance to get a Tui Na massage there, which is apparently a Chinese massotherapy method that uses knowledge of acupuncture. She said that it's the best massage she has gotten ever.

Has anyone heard of Tui Na practitioners in the US or have been to a massage center that is licensed to do Tui Na?

I'm really interested in trying it and might even consider getting licensed in it if there are any academic institutions that offer courses on it.

By ysmina — On Oct 27, 2011

The first time I had massotherapy done was actually on a ship. Our family goes on a cruise ship almost every year and massage is always a favorite with them. I avoided getting massages for a long time because I didn't think that I would feel comfortable getting one.

My aunt finally convinced me to try it on the cruise last year. We were really lucky because there was a very experienced and professional massotherapist on board. The one hour session was extremely relaxing and helped my joint aches and pains a lot.

I got the massage two more times while on the cruise and have been getting them regularly since I've come back. I've found a really great massage therapist that makes me feel very comfortable and concentrates on areas where I experience pain. I've noticed that my chronic pains have been getting less and less in this time period. I'm so glad that I gave massotherapy a chance.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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