Massage is thought to be as old as human existence – perhaps even as old as Adam and Eve. The ancient Chinese and Indians are credited with the earliest forms of massage. The Japanese are said to have developed this art to manipulate energy inside the body. This tradition traveled westward to the Romans and Greeks. It began to evolve and now there are several forms of massage that combine the ancient techniques and modern principles.
The link between massage and modern medicine is something new. Researchers have not yet come to a conclusion as to what type of treatment helps with what kind of ailments. However, studies reveal that anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder are helped with massage. The “why they help” is still a mystery.
Spas have mushroomed everywhere and they offer different types of massages that help in different ways. Let us take a look at some of the massages that are available and what they can do for the human body and mind.
This is one of the most heard of and common massages available at most spas. The goal of the therapist is to push the blood flow towards the heart. This is done with long smooth strokes. They also use a little “chopping” with the side of their hands to relax any tension in a particular area. This massage is said to help with stress, provide relaxation and improve circulation. It may also help with hypertension, although this has not been medically proved. There is also indication that this massage can reduce swelling and scar tissue.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is where therapists can get to the tissue that is hidden in the layers of muscles. Pressure is used to reach the deep tissues by using elbows or even body weight by leaning over. This massage is said to elongate the muscle fibers and helps release the tension deep down, which cannot be relieved with a superficial massage. Therapists say that this helps in recovering from soft-tissue injuries, reduces arthritic pain, tendonitis and increases range of motion.
This is considered as a healing therapy rather than a massage. This is an ancient therapy that has been around for ages. Therapists rest their hands softly on the various parts of the head, on the front of the torso, back of the torso and limbs. People getting REIKI treatment are completely clothed and lie down on a table or sit in a chair comfortably. The duration is usually for a period of 45 to 90 minutes. Therapists do not encourage talking during the therapy, ensuring utmost relaxation. Pain and anxiety as well as tension can be managed very well with this. They say that it helps one feel more invigorated and alive.
This is considered to be part of yoga and involves a combination of acupressure, rhythmic massage, deep stretching, twisting and meditation. Pressure point massage is also part of this. Traditionally, no oil is used in this massage. It is said to help relieve tension and increase vitality.
This massage borrows some of its techniques from the Swedish massage and has to be performed only by a trained pregnancy massage therapist. Please make sure to consult your physician before undergoing any massage during pregnancy. The main goal of this massage is to relieve the tension from areas that get affected during pregnancy, such as the neck, shoulders and lower back. As a word of caution, this should not be initiated unless otherwise approved by a physician. Do not let any spa therapist talk you out of consulting your physician prior to this.
This is a massage that has been designed to help athletes perform better and recover faster from sports stress. This is a good massage for the average person who is into exercising for health. The concentration is usually on specific areas that cause trouble, such as a sore leg or shoulder. It lasts for more than half-hour. The techniques used in this massage are a combination of deep tissue and Swedish massage. It is wonderful for relaxing muscles after a long workout and also helps in toning up the muscles. People use this massage to recover from injuries too.
Nowadays, more and more people are beginning to understand the importance of massages and rely on them to maintain good health and fill their bodies with good energy. They use it as a means to cure and even prevent illness. The benefits of a soothing rub down are priceless and help with bodily tension and mental stress – a result of modern lifestyles.