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Find a therapeutic bodywork professional near Milwaukee, WI

Find a therapeutic bodywork professional near Milwaukee, WI

64 near you

Find a therapeutic bodywork professional near Milwaukee, WI

64 near you

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Why is physical therapy important?

Physical therapy can help you recover range of motion and ease pain after injury, accident or illness. Many people are prescribed physical therapy by their primary care doctor or specialist after a car accident, surgery or sports-related injury. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to start physical therapy, but unless you are paying out of pocket for the services, your insurance provider might require a referral. Physical therapy is also a medical solution for pain associated with chronic illness such as osteoarthritis and can be used for recovery after a stroke or other neurological disorders.

Physical therapy teaches you how to move your body in a safe and healing way to regain strength and movement. During a physical therapy session, the PT will teach you to use medical exercise equipment and approved exercises to regain your lost flexibility and improve your mobility where possible. You may use treadmills, steps, medicine balls, resistance bands, isometric exercises, weights and more. From young children to seniors, patients of any age can benefit from the science-based movements and exercises that encourage flexibility, rebuild muscle, and ease stiff joints.

What is Thai massage?

Thai massage, also called Thai yoga massage, combines acupressure and assisted yoga postures. Thai massage is based on the flow of energy through the body and focuses on energy lines called “sen.” It doesn’t use oils or lotions and, instead of rubbing muscles, the massage therapist compresses, pulls, stretches and rocks the recipient’s body to promote the flow of energy through these sen. In this form of massage therapy, practitioners use their hands, knees, legs and feet to apply deep muscle compression and stretch the body. It’s often performed on a mat on the floor instead of on a massage table. Like most forms of massage, Thai massage is used to relieve stress, improve range of motion and enhance flexibility. Some people also use Thai massage to address a range of health issues, including:  

  • Relieving tension headaches
  • Decreasing back pain
  • Reducing joint stiffness and pain
  • Stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage
  • Boosting energy

Because a traditional Thai massage session covers all of the muscles in your body, it typically lasts 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

What are the different Swedish massage techniques?

There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:

  • Effleurage: Sweeping, gliding, smooth long strokes done with the hands or forearms. These strokes can loosen and warm the body and are said to help stimulate blood flow.
  • Friction: These circular or transverse rubbing strokes are also warming and can get deeper into the muscle tissue. They should be avoided on injured or inflamed areas or areas.
  • Petrissage: Lifting, kneading, skin rolling, muscle rolling and wringing. These movements help with circulation, which stimulates cell regeneration, and aid in loosening tense muscles.
  • Tapotement: Tapping, plucking, cupping and pounding. Tapotement movements can help improve blood circulation and cell rejuvenation, and also relax and release tight muscles.  
  • Vibration: Rocking, shaking and trembling movements. These motions can help muscles release.

What are the different types of physical therapy?

Physical therapists work with people who have been injured or people who are ill to improve their movement and help them manage their pain. The U.S. Department of Labor explains that physical therapists “are often an important part of rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.” Physical therapists can also choose to specialize in one of nine areas. According to the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, these areas of specialization are:

  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
  • Clinical Electrophysiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Sports and
  • Women's Health

 

The national average cost for a physical therapist is $60 to $80, although it will cost more if the patient is paying for services out of pocket rather than through insurance. If you have insurance and want to work with a physical therapist for a specialty area, such as oncology or geriatrics, you may need a referral from your general practitioner. Patients who are paying directly for services can often contact the physical therapist directly.

What is a traditional Thai massage?

Traditional Thai massage is a different experience if you’ve only ever had a Swedish or deep tissue massage. In Thai massage, you wear loose-fitting clothing (often provided by the massage therapist) and start by lying on a mat. Throughout the massage, the therapist moves your body into various seated and prone positions, which stretch and release your muscles and soft tissue. Although your body is moving, the therapist is doing all the work, making it feel similar to supported yoga. The massage therapist will bend, stretch, and compress and lengthen your body using their hands, forearms, elbows and even feet. Don’t be alarmed by the feet! Many studios have overhead supports that allow the practitioners to safely walk on your back, releasing tight adhesions and promoting ease. Thai massage can be both invigorating and relaxing. It is an excellent option for keeping your muscles in good health if you regularly work out, or if you want to overcome a lack of flexibility. Studies show that Thai massage can increase blood circulation, improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and enhance mental well-being.

What is pregnancy massage?

Pregnancy massage is a therapeutic massage tailored specifically to the needs of a pregnant woman’s body. Before having a prenatal massage, always check in with your prenatal care provider and ask if massage therapy will be safe for you and your pregnancy. A pregnancy massage is much more than just an indulgence. The specialized strokes and techniques used to loosen tight muscles, reduce swelling, alleviate pressure, and ease tension provide positive health benefits for both you and your baby. Experts recommend finding a massage therapist who has received additional training on prenatal massage techniques. This is typically a certification above and beyond their standard massage therapy certification and training requirements. During the massage you will likely lie on your side or in a semi-reclined position; these supported poses keep you and the baby comfortable and free from strain or undue pressure. During the massage, the therapist will listen to what body challenges you are experiencing and work to release tension. The massage should be a relaxing and very soothing experience.

What is a Swedish style massage?

Swedish massage is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, as well as to relieve depression and anxiety and aid in recuperation from chronic illness. Swedish massage is also referred to as classical massage, and — contrary to popular understanding — does not originate from Sweden. There are five main strokes, or movements, that make up a Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Each technique was created to help soothe, stimulate, soften, and rejuvenate muscles and other soft tissue.

During a Swedish style massage, the client will lie on a massage table in a comfortable position — usually facedown to start. Clients can choose to be clothed or nude; if they are nude, the massage therapist will drape them with a cloth so they are never exposed. A Swedish massage typically lasts from 45 to 120 minutes, depending on client need and pricing agreement. During the massage, the therapist typically employs all of the stroke techniques as a way to ease any tension in the body. Swedish massage is one of the most gentle types of massage and is known for being soothing and relaxing.

What exactly does a physical therapist do?

A physical therapist is a health care provider who assists patients with mobility improvement and pain management. Often patients are referred to a physical therapist by a primary care doctor or specialist for help recovering from a surgery or traumatic injury, such as a car crash. Physical therapists help patients manage pain that results from chronic disease and other illness. Physical therapy can help enhance mobility when patients are faced with neurological disorders, such as after a stroke, and provide relief from arthritis or other mobility and pain issues.   

A physical therapist uses medical exercise equipment and exercises to empower patients to regain flexibility and mobility where possible. They may use treadmills, steps, medicine balls, resistance bands, isometric exercises, weights and more to improve muscle control and movement. A physical therapist uses physical movement to help heal the patient, but also can sometimes prescribe medication as appropriate. A physical therapist can also become board certified in one of nine specialty areas.

What is a deep tissue full body massage?

A deep tissue full body massage is a form of healing bodywork. At your first massage, your massage therapist will do a brief intake. They will ask you questions about the type of pressure you’d like to receive during your deep tissue massage, any previous massage experience you’ve had, and any injuries or sensitivities you have. You can remain clothed, or the massage therapist will provide draping so that even if you’re not wearing clothes you are always fully covered. Deep tissue massage may be a good option for people with chronic pain or muscle tension. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen adhesions. Although deep tissue massage work is intense, it should not be painful, so communicate clearly with your massage therapist so they know if you’re having any discomfort. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.

Is hot stone massage safe in pregnancy?

If you’re ready for relaxation and relief from pregnancy pains, prenatal massage may be a great healing option. Once your prenatal care provider has approved you for pregnancy massage, look for a licensed massage therapist who also has training and certification in prenatal massage techniques.

The safety of hot stone massage during pregnancy depends on several factors including the stage of your pregnancy and where on the body the hot stones are applied. The massage therapist should avoid raising your core temperature or using hot stones on the abdomen. When in doubt, talk to your prenatal care provider.

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