The gift of touch Touch is as essential to a healthy and happy life as eating right, getting proper sleep, and exercising. With the world growing more technological, the need for healthy human contact is more important than ever. Massage and body therapies are an age old healing refuge for us in this fast-paced, stressed-out world. The practice of massage therapy is rapidly growing in the United States. It has so much to offer and is becoming more widely accepted by doctors and the general public.
Massage is touching another person by such movements as rubbing, kneading, pressing, rolling, slapping, and tapping. This type of therapy provides circulation of the blood and lymph, relaxation of muscles, relief from pain, restoration of metabolic balance, and many other benefits both physical and mental. There is much historical evidence to indicate that massage is one of the earliest remedies for pain relief and for the restoration of a healthy body. It is said to be the most natural and instinctive means of relieving pain and discomfort. Massage has proven to be an effective method for treating many conditions for thousands of years and it will continue to be used for thousands of years to come.
Massage therapy is a great treatment for the body and soul. The roots of massage can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In the book titled The Complete Book of Massage by Clare Maxwell-Hudson she illustrates that much evidence has been found to support the belief that prehistoric people massaged their muscles and even rubbed oils on their bodies (8).
... to indicate that massage is one of the earliest remedies for pain relief and for the restoration of a healthy body. It is said ... . Enhancing Your Health with Therapeutic Massage. 1999. American Massage Therapy Association. 1 Nov. 1999. What Can Massage Therapy Treat? . Alive! Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 4 Nov ...
The history of massage probably begins before we could properly call ourselves human. We instinctively rub a pain or an ache, we instinctively stroke a bruise. We use touch in healing without thinking about it, which suggests that it’s very, very old.
Some form of massage was practiced in almost all early civilizations; Ancient Chinese, Japanese, India, Hindu, Greek, and Roman civilizations to name a few (Maxwell-Hudson 8).
In the The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook by Andrew and Valerie Levine they write about how, “Julius Caesar, who suffered from epilepsy, had himself pinched all over and massaged on a daily basis” (12).
Massage has been a major part of medicine for at least five thousand years and a important figure in developing massage technics is Per Henrik Ling. In the early part of the nineteenth century, Ling, a physiologist and fencing master from Sweden developed and systemized movements that he found to be beneficial in improving physical conditions (Levine 46) And a massage technic is born, although he had interesting and debatable theories for his time they proved to be true. “He laid great emphasis on medical gymnastics and massage, and classified his treatments as passive or gymnastics movements, pressure, friction, vibration, percussion or rotation” (Maxwell-Hudson 9).
Lings research helped break the already underling truth that massage can be a beneficial.
“Ling’s influence has lasted, and massage is still frequently referred to as Swedish massage” (Maxwell-Hudson 9).
There are many types of massage therapy and many benefits. Some advantages are increased circulation; stretching of muscle tissue, and loosening of scar tissue, as well as indirect effects such as reduced blood pressure, and the general relaxation of muscles. Massage therapy offers benefits in four major ways: the muscular system, the nervous system, the circulatory system, and psychologically. Massage enhances nutrition and development of the muscular system by stimulating its circulation, nerve supply, and cell activity. In general, it relaxes and refreshes muscles.
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Muscle tissue that has been injured will also heal more readily and with fewer complications when a therapeutic massage is applied as it prevents, or breaks down the formation of scar tissue. Massage also eases the pain of an injury to a ligament or tendon by diffusing the inflammation an injury would cause. Because of the benefits massage therapy offers the muscular system, massage is an effective means of improving muscle tone as well as muscle stamina and strength. Massage will help to relieve, or even prevent, muscle cramps or spasms. In an interview with Donald Woodward a massage therapist he states, “The nervous system can be stimulated or soothed depending on the type of massage applied” Massage stimulates the nerve endings in the skin and muscle tissue. As easily as massage can stimulate a nerve, it can bring about a sedative effect to the nervous system.
Massage can induce deep relaxation and even relieve insomnia. A therapeutic massage effects the quality and quantity of blood flowing through the circulatory system. An increase in blood flow causes an increase in the blood supply and the nutrients that muscles and other vital organs receive. Massage eases the strain on the heart by helping to push blood toward the heart.
It also improves the blood-making process, resulting in an increase in the number of red and white blood cells. Because of the benefits a massage offers to the circulatory system, it can eliminate swelling in the extremities. The psychological effects of massage can not be underestimated. Massage relieves mental fatigue by oxidizing and removing toxins from the body. “Many people who suffer from stress find that massage promotes both mental and muscular relaxation” (Woodward).
Overall, massage helps to create a greater sense of self-awareness and well being.
The psychological effects of massage should not he underestimated. In treatment. centers for addictions, massage has proven to be an effective therapeutic tool to rebuild a more positive self-image and sense of self-worth. People have regular massages as much for psychological as for physical benefits. (The psychological effects of massage 1) There are many different types of massage that are used in order to obtain a desired outcome. The most commonly used massage is known as Swedish massage.
“People thinking of getting a massage for the first time usually opt for a Swedish massage” (Levine 45).
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It is a collection of techniques that are designed to relax muscles, increase circulation, remove metabolic waste products, and help the recipient obtain the Swedish system emphasizes applying pressure against muscles and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Swedish Massage can help reduce emotional and physical stress and is often used in stress management programs. Another type of massage is Shiatsu. Shiatsu is more than acupressure. “Like acupuncture and other Asian medical practices, shiatsu works with the body’s energy system.
The Asian concept of energy can be loosely understood as “”vitality”” or “”vital force””, which we cannot see but can sense or feel” (Sutton PAGE #? ? ? ? ? ).
Shiatsu is a combination of many different techniques including pressing, hooking, sweeping, shaking, rotating, grasping, vibrating, patting, plucking, lifting, pinching, rolling and brushing. Shiatsu is viewed in some cases as a form of treatment alternative to medicine or surgery. We use massage instinctively. If we bruise an elbow we rub it, if our stomachs hurt we rub them. Parents instinctively hold and stroke their children to calm and reassure them.
Touch is a fundamental part of our being. And massage is touch. Closely related to Shiatsu is Polarity Therapy, it asserts that energy fields exist everywhere in the body and that the flow and balance of this energy in the human body is the underlying foundation of health. Reflexology is based on the belief that there are points on the hands and feet that correspond to other parts of the body and that the manipulation of one of these points will have a direct effect on a corresponding body part. It is unclear why Reflexology works, but one currently accepted theory is that it works by way of neuro-reflex points found in the hands and feet.
Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant substances for a remedial treatment. Aromatherapy is often combined with massage since oils can be used to carry fragrances while also allowing more pressure to be applied to muscles. It is believed by many that certain health benefits are associated with specific scents. Another type of massage is an On-Site Massage; it is a short, 15-20 minutes, massage. The client sits in a portable massage chair while the shoulder; neck, upper back, head and arms are massaged. “This type of massage is popular at the office as an employee benefit and at conferences and workshops.” (Woodward).
... Claire, a trained shiatsu therapist and the author of the massage-therapy book, Bodywork. "Our feelings get lodged in our muscles and tissues, and ... muscle pain in one part of the body can aggravate surrounding areas and the effects physical imbalance can have on mind and spirit. Massage ... towel or a sheet covers the person. Only the part of the body being worked on is exposed. The practitioner uses a ...
Trigger Point or Myotherapy; these are pain-relief techniques that ease muscle spasms and cramping. Trigger Point reduces muscle spasms by introducing new blood flow to an affected area. Myotherapy relieves muscle pain and stiffness. It is usually most beneficial to people with chronic muscle tension. Craniosacral Therapy; focuses on releasing tension in the membranes of the head, spinal column, and cranial bones to which these membranes are attached. The release of these tensions is deeply relaxing and may relieve certain types of headaches, spinal nerve problems, and stress.
Reiki is a gentle, hands-on healing technique used to reduce stress, relieve pain, and promote healing. It is based on the belief that energy can be channeled through a practitioner to energize the various body systems of a client. Reiki practitioners hold that an imbalance of the energetic nature manifests in the body to cause stress or even life-threatening diseases and that re-channeling the energy in the body can reverse these conditions. In addition to these types of massage is an athletic massage which is a method of massage especially designed to prepare an athlete for an upcoming event and / or to aid the body in recovering from a workout or competition. For many years athletes have included massage as part of their training.
Since then, massage areas have become common at many athletic events. Athletes have recognized massage as a valuable asset to improving their ability to perform better with fewer injuries. Athletic massage enables athletes to attain their highest potential by accelerating the body’s natural restorative processes, enabling the athlete to participate more often in rigorous physical training and conditioning. “It helps to reduce the chance of injury by identifying and eliminating conditions in the soft tissue that are a possible risk” (Woodward).
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A rehabilitative massage helps an athlete to recover from an injury more quickly with less of a chance of re-injury. There are many career opportunities for a certified massage therapist.
There are positions available as a massage therapists in many chiropractic offices, in health clubs or day spas, in resorts or on cruise ships, in hair salons, and in hospitals. Many certified practitioners will either establish or work in a massage clinic. Another opportunity for a massage therapist exists in the sports field. Many professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, ice-skating, and swimming teams keep a professional massage therapist on its staff.
The vast number of benefits realized by massage therapy make it one of the most used and useful tools for dealing with mind and body stresses We use massage instinctively. If we bruise an elbow we rub it, if our stomachs hurt we rub them. Parents instinctively hold and stroke their children to calm and reassure them. Touch is a fundamental part of our being.
I find massage therapy so interesting. I had always wanted to become a massage therapist, I studied massage we I was young and would give my friends and family massages. Then I go the chance to train I have been working for a chiropractor for more than a year as a massage therapist the one thing that makes me feel guilty and a little bit sad is the basic neck and shoulder rub. You take hold of the muscle, you squeeze gently, you move it around a little, the muscle relaxes. As simple as that. Although I am still in training I know the great effects it has on people because I have seen it first hand.
I don’t know how long I will be able to do it though, only after a year my hands and writs are already hurting. What is massage? For me it’s part of our family heritage that we ” re suffering for the lack of, and by not using it we ” re laying ourselves open to physical problems that shouldn’t affect us anywhere near as badly as they do. I believe that by not using massage we ” re stiffer, tenser, and tireder than we’d be if we took back this ancient and essential part of our birthright. Work Cited Fritters, Sid “The psychological effects of massage.” < web >Levine, Andrew and Valerie.
... taxing event of the entire process in becoming a Massage Therapist. Even though I was very confident in my knowledge ... could study. Despite all the memorization, the main part to massage therapy was learning the actual soft tissue manipulation techniques ... ”, which later became what we call Swedish massage today. The parts to Swedish massage are effleurage, kneading, friction, stretching and tapotement ...
The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1999 Maxwell-Hudson, Clare. The Complete Book of Massage. New York: Random House, 1988.
Sutton, Catherine. “Discovering Shiatsu.” < web > Woodward, Donald. Personal interview. April 6. 2002..