Massage: A healing touch

Massage is a therapy used for relaxation and various health problems, practiced in many countries by trained therapists.

The ancient Chinese did it. The old Egyptian pharaohs did it, and now we do. Beginning from around 3000 years ago, massage has become an essential part of the healing art. Currently, it is being categorized under alternative therapy. The benefits of massage are already accepted by many health professionals. It is now widely used as standard medicine in sports medicine. Physical therapy is used to treat everything from depression and stress to migraines and young diabetes.

Massage actually exploits the surface and underground layers of muscles and connective tissue. Various techniques are followed to improve function, reduce reflex activity, promote relaxation and comfort and aid in the healing process.

Hand magic:

The hands, and sometimes the elbows, forearms, knees and feet are used by massage therapists to manipulate muscles and soft tissues. Techniques like stroking, kneading, tapping, shaking and pressing seem rather simple, but provide relaxation, relieve sore muscles and make healing possible in some cases.

The benefits of massage that are proven through studies include;

1. Reduction of muscle tension
2. Temporarily lower blood pressure
3. Relieve stress
4. Improve circulation
5. Reduce swelling
6. Increase flexibility of muscles, joints, and posture
7. Reducing fatigue and pain
8. Brings a healthy feeling
9. Support the growth and development of premature babies

Before undergoing a massage:

The conditions before getting the massage must be carefully considered. Certain physical situations such as open wounds, skin infections or patients with cancer usually should not be massaged. A proper consultation with a doctor is recommended before that.

Before starting, the therapist makes sure about the type of massage needed. Some may need relief from any injury and some are just for relaxation. Depending on the type chosen, jewelry and clothing may have to be removed.
The massage takes place on a soft table in a soothing environment. The experiences are usually fun and pain free. The applied pressure seems painful at first, but gradually becomes tolerable. Massage oil helps reduce friction.
A typical session lasts about 30- 60 minutes. Massage can also be done in a sitting mode. A specially designed massage chair is used for this purpose, which only takes about 10-30 minutes.

Common types of massage:

1. Swedish massage; consists of long strokes and light pressure with your hand and fingers. It relieves muscle tension and promotes relaxation.
2. Shiatsu massage; works at specific pressure points to rebalance the body’s energy flow and to promote general health.
3. Sports massage; focuses on a specific muscle and is used for rehabilitation. It also shows effectiveness before and after training or competition.

Massaging can also help treat the following conditions;
1) Muscle spasm
2) Lower back pain
3) Migraine headaches
4) Depression
5) Work-related stress
6) Morning sickness
7) Premenstrual syndrome
8) Arthritis
9) Tendinitis
10) Injury to muscles and ligaments
11) Postoperative pain and discomfort
12) Childhood difficulties like asthma, skin rash, insomnia, etc.
13) Respiratory and circulatory disorders
Above all else, the therapist’s expertise must be confirmed before entering into it.