The ancient Chinese did it. The age old Egyptian Pharaohs did it, and now we do it. Early from about 3000 years back itself, massage has become an important part of the healing arts. Presently, it is being categorized under alternative therapy.The benefits of massage has been already accepted by many health professionals. It is now widely used as standard treatment in sports medicine. The physical therapy is used for treating everything ranging from depression and stress to migraines and young diabetes.
Massage is actually exploiting the surface and subterranean layers of the muscles and the connective tissue. A variety of techniques are followed to improve the functioning, reduce reflex activity, support relaxation and comfort and helping in the curing process.
Magic of the hands:
Hands, and at times elbows, forearms, knees and feet are used by the massage therapists to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues. Techniques such as stroking, kneading, tapping, shaking and pressing seem to be rather simple, but provides relaxation, relieving aching muscles and makes healing possible in some cases.
Benefits of massage proved through studies includes;
1. Muscular tension reduction
2. Temporarily lower blood pressure
3. Relieve stress
4. Improve circulation
5. Reduce swelling
6. Improves flexibility of muscles, joints and posture
7. Lowers fatigue and pain
8. Bring about a feeling of wellness
9. Supports growth and development of premature infants
Before undergoing a massage:
The conditions before getting a massage has to be considered well. Certain physical situations like, an open wound, a skin infection or a patient with cancer should not normally get massaged. Proper consultation with a doctor is recommended before it.
Before getting started, the therapist makes sure about the kind of massage that is required. Some may require relief from any injury and some just for relaxation. Depending on the type opted, jewelry and clothes may have to be removed.
The massage takes place on a well padded table in a relaxing environment. The experience is normally pleasant and pain free. The pressure applied seem to be painful initially, but slowly become tolerable. Massage oils help reduce friction.
A typical session lasts for about 30- 60 minutes. Massage may also be carried out in a sitting mode. A specially designed massage chair is used for the purpose, which takes only about 10- 30 minutes.
Common types of massages:
1. Swedish massage; consists of long strokes and mild pressure with the hands and fingers. It relieves muscle tension and promote relaxation.
2. Shiatsu massage; works on specific pressure points to re-balance the flow of energy of the body and to promote general health.
3. Sports massage; focuses on specific muscles and used for rehabilitation. It also shows the effectiveness before and after a workout or competition.
Massaging may also help to treat the following conditions;
1) Muscle spasms
2) Lower back pain
3) Migraine headaches
5) Job- related stress
6) Morning sickness
7) Premenstrual syndrome
10) Injuries of the muscles and ligaments
11) Post surgery pain and discomfort
12) Childhood difficulties like asthma, skin rashes, insomnia, etc.
13) Respiratory and circulatory disorders
Beyond everything, the expertise of the therapist should be confirmed before getting into it.