DEFINITION OF MASSAGE...
...is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes. The moves include rhythmic stroking (effleurage), kneading (petrissage) & repeated tapping (tapotement).
Swedish Massage is used to relieve muscular spasm & pain, improve blood circulation & reduce swelling due to accumulation of fluid in the tissues.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MASSAGE
The word Massage apparently derives from either the Greek word "Massein" -to knead or the Arabic "Mas’h" - to press softly.
The idea of the "healing power of touch" is a very ancient concept, which embodies the theory, that part of the healing is the caring of one person for another.
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF MASSAGE THERAPY
- Far beyond simply helping one feel good, massage has an impressive range of health benefits. Research studies conducted in Europe, the United States and Asia have documented the positive effect of massage on adults with job-related stress and anxiety, cocaine-exposed infants, premature babies, adolescents with anxiety disorders, the immune function of HIV positive males, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer and many other conditions
- With a variety of hands-on methods, a skilled Massage Therapist not only stretches and loosens muscle and connective tissue, but also improves blood flow and the movement of lymph throughout the body. The therapist’s hands facilitate the removal of metabolic waste products resulting from exercise or inactivity, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach the cells and tissues
- Sensory receptors in skin and muscle ‘wake up’, bringing new awareness to areas that have been ‘cut off’ by chronic tension patterns
- In addition, massage can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers – into the brain and nervous system. The release of muscular tension also helps to unblock and balance the overall flow of life energy throughout the body (known in different cultures as vital force, bio-energy, c’hi, prana, ki, etc). All of this benefits the body’s general health and well being
- Movement is essential for life. Massage helps us to keep mobile by encouraging all our moving parts to move – which is essential for health. This is because the body relies on movement for the flow of nutrients and oxygen into our cells and wastes out of them
- Health relies on a state of balance and can be described as the ability to adapt and cope with whatever occurs, combined with feelings of comfort, safety and enthusiasm
- Touch in the form of massage can make a huge difference. There are many explanations for this:
- improved circulation – more oxygenated blood plus removal of toxins
- reduction in pain – massage stimulates the brain to release natural painkillers
- anxiety reduction – it has been shown that relaxation and anxiety cannot co-exist. This helps the person realise that they can cope.
- relaxation effects – as the body lets go of accumulated tension it is able to work better as there are fewer demands being placed on it
- healing – touch is healing and certainly the improved circulation already described improves healing time and is why sports people seek massage therapy
- energy – we tend to have more energy after a massage. Tension tends to ‘trap’ energy; massage tends to encourage energy to flow. The Massage Therapist will hopefully create all these effects which are made even more special by the caring and love given, as well as his / her intent
- People who are starved of touch can feel very isolated and anxious which then affects their total well-being, after all, solitary confinement must be the worst punishment. Appropriate touch is soothing and relaxing and also helps that ‘feel good feeling’.