Massage is a hands-on manual therapy that has been used by humans from all parts of the globe throughout our history. Touch releases hormones that make us feel good, and reduce stress hormones.
Massage is used to improve circulation (blood flow), ease tension (loosen tight muscles), lower stress, improve sleep, reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and speed return to normal function.
There is clear evidence that massage therapy can reduce pain, improve function, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve sleep in adults and children. Benefits are seen for a reasonable period after massage therapy, but repeat sessions are needed for ongoing benefits.
Massage is quite safe most of the time. Some types of massage may not be suitable if you are in a flare or with some inflammatory conditions. Always check with your therapist, tell them about any pain you have, let them know about your arthritis and give feedback during the session if you feel uncomfortable.
What does a session involve?
It depends on the type of massage you are receiving. You may be seated or lying down. Some types of massage involve stretches where the practitioner moves your limbs and applies pressure to different parts of your body. If you are using oil or stones in your treatment, you may be asked to take your clothes off and wear a towel or blanket for the duration of the massage. Everything you are asked to do or the therapists does to you is voluntary. If you don’t feel comfortable at any stage of a massage you can ask your therapist to stop or let your therapist know there are certain things you don’t want.
How can I get access to massage?
You do not need a referral. Some massage therapists may provide fully or partially covered services by ACC and/or health insurance. Not all massage therapists are registered with Massage New Zealand. There are so many types of massage and traditional practices that registration with an overarching body isn’t common or necessary in New Zealand.
Massage New Zealand (MNZ)