Massage is an integral part of many physical rehabilitation programs and the benefits of massage provide relief to people from all walks of life.
Here we will go through the benefits of massage and how they can help anyone in terms of healing and relaxation.
What is Massage?
The benefits of massage as a healing therapy date back 4,000 years when massage was used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure a number of conditions.
Massage is a ‘hands-on’ therapy. There are many variations, ranging from a gentle stoking and kneading of muscles to firmer, deeper, manual techniques.
The benefits of massage affect the body as a whole and influences the activity of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.
Types of Massage
There are several types of massage available that offer different benefits.
o Aromatherapy Massage: Essential oils from plants are massaged into the skin in order to enhance the healing and relaxing effects of massage;
o Lymphatic Massage: Light, rhythmic strokes are used to improve the flow of lymph throughout the body;
o Reflexology: Specialized thumb and finger techniques are applied to the hands or feet;
o Shiatsu: Gentle finger and hand pressure are applied to specific points on the body to relieve pain and enhance the flow of energy through the body’s energy pathways;
o Swedish Massage: A variety of strokes and pressure techniques are used to enhance the flow of blood to the heart, remove waste products from the tissues, stretch ligaments and tendons, and ease physical and emotional tension.
Other massage treatments, which may be more specialized include:
o Craniosacral Massage: Gentle pressure is applied to the head and spine to correct imbalances and restore the flow of cerebrospinal fluid;
o Myofascial Release: Gentle pressure and body positioning are used to relax and stretch the muscles, fascia and related structures;
o Polarity Therapy: A form of energy healing, used to stimulate and balance the flow of energy within the body to enhance health and well-being;
o Rolfing: Pressure is applied to the fascia to stretch, lengthen and make it more flexible, realigning the body so that it conserves energy, releases tension, and functions better;
o Sports Massage: Often used on professional athletes and other active individuals to enhance performance and prevent and treat sports-related injuries;
o Trigger Point Massage: Pressure is applied to “trigger points” (tender areas where the muscles have been damaged) to alleviate muscle spasms and pain.
Benefits of Massage – How can massage help me?
The benefits of massage are extensive and include the ability to reduce stress, relieve muscle tension and evoke feelings of calmness and relaxation.
Growing evidence suggests that if you allow regular periods of massage in your schedule you will gain a sense of wellbeing be fitter and be healthier in mind and body.
The benefits of massage include:
o Enhanced flexibility and circulation
o Encourages lymphatic flow
o Assists venous flow of blood
o Reduces edema
o Stimulates sensory receptors of the skin and subcutaneous tissues
o Improved self-esteem
o Provides gentle stretching of the tissues
o Encourages endorphin release
o Stimulates or soothes nerves
Massage isn’t capable of curing any serious or life-threatening medical disorder. The benefits of massage however, can provide welcome relief from back pain, muscle pain, headache and symptomatic relief of some psychological disorders.
Benefits of Massage – is it safe for everyone?
In general, massage is considered relatively safe.
However certain medical conditions require caution.
These include cardiovascular conditions and heart disease especially in cases of thrombosis, phlebitis and oedema.
Pregnant women should avoid massage on the abdomen during the first three months of pregnancy when the risk of miscarriage is highest.
After this period the benefits of massage during pregnancy can be enjoyed and many practitioners specialize in this area.
If you are in any doubt, check with a qualified medical practitioner before embarking on a course of massage therapy.
Benefits of massage – finding a therapist
There are many different ways that you can enjoy the benefits of massage.
You can choose from traditional couch massage, chair massage, normally carried out in the office or similar location, or have a therapist come to your home so that you can enjoy the benefits of massage in your own surroundings.
The industry is an unregulated activity so ensure you use a reputable organization and check that they have the necessary experience in the discipline before trying massage treatment for yourself.