Most cultures of the world have used massage as a therapy since ages. It has come far since then. Along with its conventional use, massage therapy is treated as a part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the US.
Massage is performed by pressing, rubbing, and controlling the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. The massage therapists use their hands and fingers, and sometimes forearms, elbows, or feet to promote relaxation and increase circulation in the body’s soft tissues.
Types of Massage
Chinese Massage – This is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese massage therapy is closely related to Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Acupressure. Chinese Massage treatment works on the theory of creating movement and is therefore seen as a treatment for pain relief. It is done on a couch or a stool.
Connective Tissue Massage – This massaging technique does not involve the use of oil or lotion. It is connected to the Myofascial release technique. People experiencing chronic tension and inveterate diseases like Arthritis, Tendonitis, and scatia can benefit from this massage therapy.
Hot Stone Massage – This type aids the client to experience deep relaxation. Heated basalt stones are placed on body’s acupressure points. Then the therapist performs various Swedish massage style techniques. Using essential oils, they work the stones on your body so that the muscle tension goes away.
Deep Tissue Massage – This style focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It is designed to reach the deep sections of thick muscles, specifically the individual muscle fibres.
Remedial Massage – This type is based on the principle of heating. It works to heat muscles and tendons that are damaged, impaired or knotted. The whole body is treated holistically and the discomfort is traced back to the original cause.
Specialised techniques to support and speed up the body's own repair mechanisms are used by this technique. The massage is applied directly to the skin usually with an oil lubricant. Passive stretching moves are also employed.
Shiatsu – A traditional hands-on Japanese ‘healing therapy’- Shiatsu has originated from the Japanese amma therapeutic massage. The therapist uses thumbs, elbows, forearms, feet and knees to apply pressure on the body. Stretches, joint rotations, and joint manipulation is also combined to provide an over-all treatment.
Swedish Massage – It is a system of long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration and shaking motions that apply pressure between muscles and bones, rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Swedish Massage feels good, is relaxing and invigorating.
Thai Massage – This is a more physical manipulation of the body using passive stretching and gentle pressure with the hands and feet. Allied with yoga stretching movements, this massage will help to adjust the skeletal structure, increase flexibility, relieve muscular and joint tension, stimulate internal organs and balance the body's energy system. The effect is both relaxing as well as energising. This type of massage is performed on a floor mat.
Benefits of Massage
People leading a busy life and loaded with stress can use massage for mental relaxation and relieve physical symptoms like back and neck pain; which are caused by sitting for an extended period of time at a desk.
Massage is used to treat a wide range of disorders, such as:
- Muscular tension
- Headaches and migraines
- Work related stress
- Repetitive strain injury
- Eating disorders and digestive dysfunction
- Pre-natal pregnancy conditions
- Frozen shoulder
Sports and dancing injuries
Various theories have been formulated about how a massage therapy can affect the body. Like, the "gate control theory" suggests that massage may provide stimulation that helps to block pain signals sent to the brain.
Other theories suggest that massage might stimulate the release of certain chemicals in the body, such as serotonin or endorphins, or cause beneficial mechanical changes in the body. However, additional studies are needed to test the various theories.
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