|Frequently Asked Questions
What is massage therapy?
Massage therapy spans a wide variety of therapeutic approaches,
working to improve an individual’s health and well being through the
hands-on manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues of the body.
What are the key benefits of massage therapy?
Physical -- Massage therapy is designed to stretch and loosen
muscles, improve blood flow and the movement of lymph throughout
the body, facilitate the removal of metabolic wastes resulting from
exercise or inactivity, and increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to
cells and tissue. In addition, massage stimulates the release of
endorphins -- the body’s natural painkiller -- into the brain and
Mental -- Massage therapy provides a relaxed state of alertness,
reduces mental stress and enhances capacity for calm thinking and
Emotional -- Massage therapy satisfies the need for caring and
nurturing touch, creates a feeling of well-being and reduces anxiety
Who can benefit from massage therapy?
People throughout the life cycle -- from the very young and very old
to those in between -- all find that a professional massage can have
special applications suited for their needs.
What do research studies say about massage therapy?
Myriad research studies confirm that massage therapy provides
physical, mental and emotional benefits at all stages of life.
How is massage therapy regarded by the medical community?
The results of a survey, conducted between November 2000 and
February 2001 in Washington State, indicate strong recognition on
the part of medical clinicians that massage therapy is effective. In
Washington, where complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
providers have been recognized by health plans since 1996, the
survey asked medical practitioners five years later what they thought
of CAM practices. Of 12 CAM practices included in the survey,
massage therapy was ranked highest (74%) in terms of being
perceived as always or usually effective. The next closest CAM
practice in the same category of effectiveness was acupuncture,
ranked by 67.7% of clinician respondents.1
The American Medical Association published a report in September
2000 that said two-thirds of the nation’s medical schools teach about
herbal therapy, acupuncture, massage or other alternative medicine.2
Is massage therapy a luxury?
This is a perception that is rapidly changing as massage becomes
increasingly accepted as a natural part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact,
according to one media characterization, "massage is to the human
body what a tune-up is to a car. It provides a physical boost to the
weary, sore and stressed."
An increasing body of clinical research confirms that massage
reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood
circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of
motion, boosts the immune system, and increases endorphins (all
may enhance medical treatment).
What is the average cost of a massage?
Cost depends upon the type of treatment, the experience of the
practitioner, geographic location and length of the massage.
Nationally, the range is generally from $55 to $100 for an hour-long
treatment, with home visits sometimes more expensive.
When might the use of massage therapy be inappropriate?
If you suffer from certain circulatory ailments (such as phlebitis),
infectious diseases, certain forms of cancer, cardiac problems,
certain skin conditions, or any inflamed or infected tissues, be sure to
consult your physician before initiating any massage program. A
trained and experienced massage therapist will also be able to tell
you when massage is not indicated.
What should consumers expect when they receive a massage
for the first time?
At first contact, the massage therapist should ask about your reasons
for getting a massage, current physical condition, medical history,
lifestyle and stress level, and specific areas of pain. If necessary,
undressing takes place in private and a sheet, towel or gown is
provided for draping during the massage. The therapist will undrape
only the part of the body being massaged, ensuring that modesty is
respected at all times. The massage takes place on a comfortable
Does the consumer have any responsibilities during the
A person receiving a massage should give the therapist accurate
health information and always report discomfort of any kind --
whether it’s from the massage itself or due to room temperature,
volume of music, or other distractions.