Massage is a manual therapy that manipulates the soft tissues and decreases muscular tension, pain, stress and depression. Massage may be the oldest and simplest form of medical care, and has many health benefits.
The History of Massage
- The earliest references to massage can be found in Eastern cultures. Chinese Literature in 3000 BC shows that massage, exercise, martial arts and meditation were considered essential for complete health.
- In 1800 BC Hindu Writings indicated that massage was used to reduce weight, improve sleep, and promote relaxation.
- In 1800 BC in India, Ayurvedic massage originated. The focus was on sensual massage aspects. Ayur-Veda is a code of life and it deals with rebirth, renunciation, salvation, soul, purpose of life, maintenance of mental health, prevention and treatment of diseases.
- Massage was one of the main methods of relieving pain for Greek and Roman doctors. In 300 BC Greeks used massage and exercise as a part of their daily regular routine. Soldiers were provided with massage to ease pain and fatigue during training, as well as before and after tournaments.
- Herodicus, in 5th Century BC, was a Greek physician who professed to have a great deal of success in extending lives with a combination of massages, natural herbs, and oils.
- Hippocrates, 460 to 380 BC is considered the Father of Medicine. He claimed that he could improve joint function and increase muscle tone with massage. He also believed that massage strokes should be carried toward the heart rather than to the feet. This was remarkable since there was no knowledge of blood circulation during this period.
- In 100-44 BC Julius Caesar used Massage therapy daily to relieve his neuralgia and epileptic seizures.
- In 25BC -50 AD Aulus Cornelius Celsius a Roman Physician wrote “De Medicina” (8 textbooks with a wealth of information on massage therapy).
- Swedish massage is the method of massage most familiar to Westerners, and was developed in the 19th century by a Swedish doctor called Per Henrik Ling. His system was based on a study of gymnastics and physiology, and on techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It now forms the basis of many different massage disciplines used today such as: deep tissue massage, sports massage, aromatherapy, and hot stone massage.
How does Massage Work?
The client lies undressed, but covered with a towel on a massage couch, whilst the therapist performs various massage techniques directly onto the client’s skin. Techniques such as effleurage are long, gliding, soothing strokes aimed to relax the client. Other techniques such as hacking – used to break down tension in the tissues are more stimulating. The therapist uses a carrier oil such as grape seed, or almond oil to move more easily over the client’s skin. Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. Massage also improves circulation, and lymphatic drainage. Improved circulation can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, and leads to a more efficient removal of waste products. Massage is also highly beneficial to relieve stress. Heart and breathing rate slow down, blood pressure reduces, the production of stress hormones decrease, and the muscles relax.
Which Clients would Benefit from Massage?
Many people chose massage to help alleviate muscular tension, and to aid relaxation. However, the treatment can also be very effective for those suffering from the following conditions: backache, poor circulation, stress, anxiety and tension, insomnia, and depression. Essential oils can be added to the massage carrier oil (if the therapist is trained in aromatherapy), or pre-blended oils can be used to further enhance the benefits of the massage treatment. Natasha works holistically with the belief that the mind, body, and soul are connected and should be worked on in unison for ultimate health.
Principle Benefits of Massage
- Reduces muscular tension, spasm, and chronic pain.
- Break down adhesions within muscles, tendons and ligaments.
- Reduces stiffness and swelling by clearing out waste products and toxins.
- Assist in recovery from injuries
- Provides gentle stretching of the tissues, and improves flexibility
- Can stimulate or soothe nerves
- Improves postural problems
- Improves lymph flow and blood circulation.
- Encourages endorphin release
- Encourages relaxation and reduces stress
- Improves self-esteem