What was once
considered luxury is quickly coming to be seen a serious medical aid,
as 3,000 years of research and practice have demonstrated. Massage
therapy is what it is, and while the Eastern worlds have turned this
art into health-beneficial techniques, it is only recently that the
western world has come to embrace it, and so happily realize that
massage is not only feels pleasant, but can also ease pain and prevent
The techniques used
in massage therapy vary widely, and any one massage therapist will be
trained in a few, if not a wide array, of the many existing
techniques. Massage therapy, a combination of pressing, kneading and
stroking various parts of the body, does much more than relieve
stress, which is one of its most obvious and immediate benefits.
relief is just the tip of the iceberg of massage’s health benefits,
and as doctors have come to realize this, massage therapy has become a
common sight at the doctor’s office from chiropractor to physical
therapist. Massage therapy penetrates circulation and lymph nodes,
thus improving blood flow and the effective removal of wastes from the
body. Better circulation and a more efficient lymphatic system will
improve skin as well, as surface capillaries will be stimulated, and
urea will be leaving the body more efficiently, giving the skin a
In general, the healthier
movement of oxygen and more rapid clearing of bodily wastes will
leave you feeling energized and replenished. Massage also affects
soft tissues, which include tendons, ligaments and muscles, thus
easing pain and lessening stiffness that feels as though it comes
attached to these soft tissues.
Overused and tense muscles will benefit dramatically
and will feel better immediately. The ability to move with more
ease paves the way to a healthier life, as those sore joints will no
longer prevent you from getting the exercise necessary to stay
healthy and fit. Studies are now giving reason to believe that
massage not only affects the circulation and superficial soft
tissues, but deeper internal organs as well, which can prove to be
important in providing supplementary treatment to diseases affecting
For optimal results, massage should be routine.
While one certainly feels relaxed and de-stressed after a massage,
one isolated massage is not enough for massage therapy to sprout its
benefits in full. Regular massage sessions with a professional
masseuse will lead to the full health benefits and leave the body
feeling younger and stronger.
Massage techniques vary, and specific techniques are
recommended for specific ailments, but all share in common the
benefits of massage, including relaxation, release of stress and
pain on soft tissues, and improved circulation, among others.
Specific techniques certainly do have their specific strengths.
Shiatsu, for one, deals with the energy that affects the nerves and
the body. The Japanese word “shiatsu” is translated as “finger
pressure”. Thus, this type of massage will have its greatest effect
on the nervous system, relaxing one’s whole being.
Swedish massage was developed in the 1800’s and made
great waves in therapeutic massage. A Swedish physiologist created
a system of five basic strokes, which serve as the basis for many
types of massage today. These strokes include vibration, stroking,
friction, tapotement, and kneading.
Another massage technique, vastly different from
either of those mentioned, is foot reflexology. This technique
approaches massage holistically, treating the body as a whole. In
other words, applying pressure and massage to specific points in the
feet affect the entire body. Thus, the reflexes in the feet are
connected to all of the parts of the body (including the organs),
and stimulation of the feet, in turn, stimulates the corresponding
organs, thus affecting the entire body. Massage therapy, through
its various means, achieves balance and relaxation throughout the
Massage therapy is growing in popularity for more
reasons than just the pleasant sensation and immediate stress-relief
so necessary to deal with our contemporary, fast-paced lives.
Massage also has long term benefits that are really very worthy
bonuses received in addition to the immediately gratified benefits.
The age-old wisdom of massage is dawning on the new and modern
medical techniques as worthy and useful.
Through the different techniques, like Shiatsu, Swedish and
Reflexology, to name a few, countless benefits are derived, such as
relaxation and stress relief to soft tissue, improved circulation and
lymphatic system, and clearer skin. In the great game of life, all
decisions need to be weighed for their risks and benefits.
Fortunately, massage provides the benefits, while your mind lays at
peace and forgets the troubles of the world, if only for an hour a
By Marina Petroni
Marina researched and wrote this article on the
subject massage therapy for
Books about Pain
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