Title: Massage Therapy Word Count: 382 Summary: Insightful look at massage therapy – what it is and what it isn’t. Keywords: massage benefits, massage therapy, massage techniques, massage tables Article Body: There are a wide variety of different massage styles available, including the widely known Swedish or Classic massage style, deep muscle therapy, and trigger point therapy, all of which are used therapeutically to promote circulation in the body, loosen tired and sore muscles, and to prevent or eliminate pain. Often the terms “massage” and “massage therapy” are used interchangeably – however, the two are in fact somewhat different services according to practitioners of massage therapy. While “massage” may be aimed solely at relaxation, massage therapy tends to be approached from a more therapeutic position, as an augmentation or in some cases replacement for more invasive medical techniques in order to deal with chronic disorders or conditions of pain. There are a growing number of hospitals now either partnering with massage therapy centers or offering massage therapy directly within the facility – some sufferers from chronic pain feel that massage therapy is far more effective than therapeutic drug therapy. Trigger point massage is used on very specific muscle groups which are believed to transmit pain to different areas, in some cases causing a misdiagnosed medical condition, or at least causing the sufferer to believe that the problem is located in a different area than is actually the case. In this type of massage, strong pressure is applied to specific areas, with many patients reporting excellent results up to and including immediate relief of back, neck, and joint pain. Other types of massage include hot rock massages in which warmed stones are used to apply both heat and pressure a client’s musculature as a way of dissolving muscular knots, providing relaxation, and promoting circulation which is known to have a variety of physiological benefits. Over 50 million Americans will get at least one massage this year, with many companies now encouraging their employees to make use of massage therapy services as a way of boosting morale and improving productivity. Sufferers of chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome are increasingly encouraged by doctors and physiotherapists to explore the possibilities of massage therapy as a possible alternative to expensive surgery or prescription drug use. Massage therapy is a growing field with potential benefits for many people – if you experience back pain or headaches, massage may be great way to find relief and relaxation at the same time.