The Massage Therapy Act (Ontario 1991) defines the practice of massage therapy as the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.
An increasing number of research studies show massage therapy reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion and increases endorphins and enkephalins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It can also hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise induced muscle injury.
Many clients use massage therapy for relaxation. Massage can be used to reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression, which helps clients to live more normal productive lives. It provides many with a sense of relaxation and well-being. Physical and psychological effects have been thought to be due to the release of endorphins and enkephalins
Massage therapy is equally preventive in nature. When muscles are loose and circulation is sufficient, the result is better health and less chance of injury or dysfunction