The Benefits of Massage Therapy

The Benefits of Massage Therapy and Massage Technologies for Recovery

There’s no feeling quite like sore muscles after a great workout. When your body stiffens up to the effects of lactic acid, it may be harder to walk or move, but it certainly feels like a job well done.


However, these bouts of soreness can linger anywhere from a day to a week. If you need to get back in the gym tomorrow, how can you accelerate the recovery process? How can you address the sore muscles that don’t seem to be going away fast enough? 


Enter massage therapy. 88% of consumers agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain, according to a 2014 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet. Working and kneading through sore muscles is a great way to loosen up the tight muscles and prepare your body for the next workout. Not to mention, it has therapeutic effects, helps relieve stress, and feels great.

 

Massage therapy tools - Legion Gears

One challenge of getting a massage in the past was that it was not always in everyone’s budget, nor did they have time for a 60 or 90 minute session. Some folks get anxious when someone else treats them too, so unfortunately they don’t get to experience the therapeutic effects, but rather the opposite. The benefits of massage are quite obvious, but it’s usually a tradeoff between cost, comfort, and time. 


Thankfully, there are different options that you can take to ensure that your body is cared for and in top shape for the next workout or event. In this article, we will explore the latest technologies and discuss the best options for massage therapy that fit anyone’s budget.


 

Table of Contents

Option 1: Hire a Massage Therapist

How to Discover A Qualified Massage Therapist

Education

A Plan for You

Questions to Ask When Looking for a Massage Therapist

Option 2: A Home Massage Chair

What Are Benefits Of Using A Massage Chair?

Where Should You Put The Massage Chair?

What attributes should the massage therapy chair have?

Can Anyone Use A Massage Chair?

What Should My Budget Be?

 

Option 3: What about Massage Guns?

Conclusion



 

Option 1: Hire a Massage Therapist

This is the obvious first choice: find a massage therapist near you, and enjoy the benefits!


Not so fast.


The massage industry, for better or for worse, is filled with both professionals and those posing as professionals. If you’re looking for a massage to help you recover, you want to make sure you find someone who’s trained, certified, and knows the body well enough to fix it.

How to Discover A Qualified Massage Therapist

We have a method to make discovering a massage therapist a little simpler: American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)'s “Find A Massage Therapist” nationwide locator service. By utilizing this solution, you can search the names of a number of professional massage therapy specialists near you. If you or someone you recognize needs to locate a massage specialist, AMTA's Find A Massage Therapist works great.


The key national credential is the designation Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage as well as Bodywork, which is marked by the initials NCTMB. Expert certification differs from governmental law due to the fact that it is personal (i.e., non-governmental) and not mandatory. The designation NCTMB is granted by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and also Bodywork (NCBTMB), which is a non-profit firm. The Board is elected by the people who are licensed across the country.

 

Massage therapy tools - Legion Gears

Education

One more criteria is education. The minimum number of hours of training that AMTA advises is 500 hours, which is the standard followed by the majority of the states regulating massage therapy specialists. However, these standards may be changing and increasing in difficulty.


AMTA suggests you look for a graduate of a training program that has been certified by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) or an agency with equivalent requirements. 


Why? 


To end up being recognized by COMTA a training program must offer a curriculum that fulfills certain demands, send a considerable self-evaluation, undergo a website browse through assessment by a team of experts, and also be assessed by an independent accreditation board. 


This suggests a training program approved by COMTA has actually qualified professors to educate, appropriate equipment and also class, called for mentor topics, and other features needed to sufficiently educate trainees in massage treatment. Subsequently, the customer can have some guarantee regarding the massage therapist’s training if they graduated from an approved training program.


You may locate a good massage therapist the first time you search. You might also need to try several massage therapists to locate the "ideal fit" for you. Credentials are only half the consideration: you need to really feel positive and comfortable with your massage therapist. Since they will be working on your body and aching muscles, you ought to feel comfortable with your massage therapist.


Those who receive certification must also re-certify every 4 years, so you can have confidence that they will continue to stay up to date on techniques, best practices, and skills. What is especially significant for the consumer is the nationwide accreditation program has been recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), situated in Washington, D.C. This suggests the national accreditation program has been thoroughly reviewed by an outside firm according to extremely strenuous standards. AMTA is proud to have actually been a key contributor to the development of the nationwide certification program.


People make the classification NCTMB by satisfying particular needs: education, experience, and taking a test. If they pass, they get to be certified for 4 years.

A Plan for You

Next off, you could want to ask concerning your potential massage therapist’s strategy to treat you. 


Some massage therapists may only make use of one or 2 kinds of massage therapy, and use the same routine for every client they have. But the best ones tailor their sessions based on your needs, and they use a variety of methods and techniques. They check for contraindications, and make sure to spend extra time on spots that are in need. Furthermore, they will continue to monitor and work on it in sessions to come, to progressively heal and help the client.


This is how you can distinguish those who know what they’re doing and those who were just trained as a one-trick pony. What you should seek is a massage therapist that is able to provide you what you need.


One more thing to consider is whether a prospective massage therapy specialist belongs to a legitimate professional organization, such as AMTA. To belong to AMTA, a massage therapy therapist needs to either pass the nationwide accreditation test, graduate from a training program approved or accepted by COMTA, or have an existing AMTA approved state, rural, or city license. AMTA members have to likewise follow a stringent Code of Ethics.

Questions to Ask When Looking for a Massage Therapist

  • Are you a graduate of a training program certified or approved by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)?
  • Where did you receive your massage therapy training? How many hours of training did you finish?
  • Are you currently certified as a massage therapy therapist in this state? 
  • Do you have advanced training in any particular massage therapy techniques?
  • Are you licensed by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork?
  • Are you a member of AMTA?

Massage therapy tools - Legion Gears

 

Option 2: A Home Massage Chair


There are times when going to get a massage is too expensive, too difficult to schedule, or just straight up not allowed (for example, massage therapy businesses had to shut down in many parts of the country due to the coronavirus lockdown).


Rather than sitting at home wallowing in your pain, technology has given us the gift of massage in our own homes. Where we can’t meet with a certified therapist, we can fall back on the gift of a massage chair.


A massage chair is specifically designed to alleviate the stress in your body and also relax your muscles. A well-designed massage therapy chair will provide you relief from discomfort. It can also be used for leisure, or a novelty when family and friends come over. 


The two most popular kinds of massage chairs are Shiatsu and Swedish massage therapy chairs. Shiatsu massage therapy chairs make use of a mix of pressure and percussion to hit the body's pressure points. The options typically include pushing, patting, sweeping, moving, and rotational movements. 


Swedish massage therapy chairs make use of long and smooth strokes incorporated into the massaging motion. Swedish massages are typically done in person by applying oil to the body, but you won’t find that in any massage chair. Yet. 


Massage chairs are not cheap; they are a significant investment. For that reason, it is essential for you to do some research beforehand. Your choice to get a massage chair is generally affected by your requirements and your budget. Asking the right questions to establish your requirements can help you make the ideal selection.

 

What Are Benefits Of Using A Massage Chair?

Understanding the benefits of a massage chair can help you understand how it can change your life. There are many advantages to having a high quality massage chair. The biggest benefit is to your health - being able to treat yourself as often as you want. You’ll also get much more coverage on your body than a simple tennis ball or a massage gun, which we’ll cover in the next section.

 

Where Should You Put The Massage Chair?

Now that you have checked the massage therapy chair and also most likely composed your mind concerning which chair to acquire, it's time to think about where you can place the chair. Massage therapy chairs are bulky, so they require more space. 

Massage therapy tools - Legion Gears


Typically, a living room or an office are some of the most popular places to put a massage chair. There are many massage chair owners today, and though chairs are not perfect, they have come a long way. Here are some of the most common benefits that the owners mentioned when it comes to owning a chair:


  • Total freedom from anxiety
  • Deep leisure
  • Relief from stiffness and also tension in muscles
  • Reduction in body tension and muscle spasm
  • Better joint flexibility and larger series of motion
  • Enhanced flexibility and reliable motion
  • Reduced high blood pressure degrees
  • Better blood circulation

Of course, unlike a massage therapist, the chair can only treat so many parts of the body, and can only be customized as much as the chair’s programming allows. So a chair will never match the level of care a person can provide. But where the chair falls short, it makes up in other areas. 


For example, a chair never gets tired. It’s not restricted to 30 minute time slots. And once you pay for it, it’s yours - you can use it over and over again for no additional cost.


If you are not sure where you'll put the chair, you may desire to buy one with wheels. If you desire a reclining massage chair, you have to be careful not to place it against a wall. 


A better idea is to determine the room where you would put the massage chair prior to making a selection. You can also look at others reviews and pictures to get a good sense of what would work for you.

 

What attributes should the massage therapy chair have?

Choose a massage therapy chair with attributes that match your requirements. For example, if you are prone to muscle tension and tightness, make sure to look for a chair that has excellent mechanical massage functions for your body, or specific part of your body.


When checking the massage chair, likewise pay special attention to the pressure or strength of the massage supplied. The intensity of the massage therapy can be adjusted according to your preference. We would recommend you to try the chair out for at least 15 mins to see if it’s comfortable, and that the pressure will work for you long-term.


If you like to rest your legs while getting a massage, then examine if the massage therapy chair has an extendable leg remainder or an ottoman that comes with it.

 

Can Anyone Use A Massage Chair?

Since you recognize the benefits of massage chairs, you are probably curious about who can use it. Well, massage chairs are commonly designed for a typical height of 5'10". So, if you are much taller or shorter, we recommend you try the massage chair prior to buying it. 

Some massage chairs that immediately adjust to your elevation by noticing the top of your shoulders when seated. If you are over 6 feet tall or have suffered from back pain or knee or hip injuries, then do not buy a massage therapy chair that is really lowered to the ground.

 

What Should My Budget Be?

The cost is likely the most important factor when buying a massage chair. The cost of massage chairs starts at around $700, but can go as high as $6000 or more. But cost is not an indication of the highest quality. Sure, they may have a lot of nice features and functions, but what’s more important is if it can carry out its basic function: high quality and reliable massage for the sore body part. 

Bear in mind, a good massage chair can help you manage your daily stress and anxiety, and relieve body tension in a matter of minutes. But because it is such a significant investment, we would recommend you try it first before purchasing. 

 

Option 3: What about Massage Guns?

Massage guns are the cheapest and most convenient to use of the 3 options. Doctors call it “an absolute game-changer in rehabilitation and sports performance."

There’s a wide range to choose from, based on features and quality. They can go for anywhere near the $50 range and go up all the way to almost $1000. Where massage therapy and chairs can cost an arm and a leg, massage guns are the more reasonably-priced option to spot treat some soreness and tightness on your body.

They are fairly simple to use. A massaging head is attached to the gun, and when you turn it on, it pulsates and strikes your muscles (also known as vibration therapy). You'll want to aim the head about an inch away from your skin as it vibrates back and forth. Experts recommend that you use it for one to two minutes per muscle group, and they advise users to start on a lower intensity and work your way up. Any longer than that, and you risk bruising and having sore skin.

Massage therapy tools - Legion Gears

One can administer it on their thighs, arms, legs, and glutes, among other body parts. Unlike massage chairs and therapists, these guns are great to hyper-target a specific problem area. It can increase blood flow to a specific muscle area, reduce inflammation and muscle tension, and help break up knots that linger after workouts. A 2014 study suggested that vibration therapy is equally as effective as massage to alleviate Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).


However, the gun is limited to only places you can reach (unless a doctor or a partner is helping you with it). As a result, you may not be able to reach all your sore spots, but it does a fine job when you’re on a budget and just need to treat something immediately. Alternatively, you can pair up the massage gun with some other analog solutions. A tennis ball and foam roller work great for those hard to reach places.

Various guns on the market feature different power levels, deep tissue massage functions, and a variety of heads to match the occasion. Some even have head tips so you can apply heat therapy on top of the massage. These guns are lightweight and travel friendly, but they can be noisy and the battery life can be lacking.

 

Conclusion: Which Method is Best? 

As you continue your journey in becoming healthy, ripped, and fit, don’t forget the role that massage can play in helping you recover and improving your performance.


However, what was once considered to be luxury and prohibitively expensive is now accessible to all athletes through improvements in technology. From hiring a massage therapist, to getting a massage chair and now massage guns, everyone has a solution to resolve the pain and the knots they deal with on a daily basis.


Each has its benefits and drawbacks. The massage therapist is experienced, knows what he/she is doing, and can create a plan customized for your needs. However, during this period of coronavirus, these services are much harder to come by. Furthermore, you can only get treated around the therapist schedule and at recurring payments. So you’ll get a customized and expert treatment, but it comes with a price.


The massage chair - a staple of Brookstones, Sharper Images, and other high-tech stores, has been growing in popularity in households. The technology continues to advance, and it makes watching TV at home all the more comfortable. Yet a high price tag, and the low ability to customize where exactly it will massage are some of the minor drawbacks. You would want to see it and test it before making such a large investment.

Which brings us to the last technology, the massage gun. The guns will not replace a live massage therapist, but it will allow you to treat yourself well no matter where you’re at, and no matter your level of expertise.


Those who work out - please have a chance to try all 3 methods, and leave a comment below on which one you opt for the most. I’m sure there are some who still favor the more analog methods like tennis balls and foam rollers. Whatever the case, let’s work out hard, recover well, and treat our bodies with the latest and greatest treatment we can afford and find. 

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