Massage is a simple way of rubbing, pressing or manipulating the skin, muscles, and stressed ligaments of the body to get desired results. Many known cultures around the world like the Indians, Japanese, Arabians, Egyptians and Greeks have made use of massage as a therapy to relieve pain, cure illnesses, as a relaxation technique and many other health–related purposes.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine has referred to it as ‘The Art of Rubbing’. The scientific world has finally woken up to its benefits and recognized it as a part of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine).
The Technique of Massage
Different cultures have used different techniques, like Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai, Hot Stone, Ayurvedic, and Chinese, to achieve success in their own unique way. Some massage therapists deftly use their hands to manipulate the skin, muscles and bones of the body whereas some experts make use of the forearms, elbow and feet to bring out different effects. Some prefer light and relaxing massage whereas medical practitioners like chiropractors use deep pressure and manipulation of spine to get desired results.
The Japanese use their fingers to apply pressure on precise focal points of the body, to influence the flow of the energy named qi or chi.
The Thai massage is unique in a way that the therapists move the clients into different positions to compress muscles, mobilize their rigid joint and apply acupressure to specific points in the body. Often they make use of whole body during the therapy.
The Ayurvedic massage gives importance to the oil which includes herbal extractions to get the desired results. Another popular and relaxing technique is using special stones which are heated for the purpose. The stones are left to transmit heat deep into certain parts of body at the right acupressure points. This is known to be one of the most soothing and relaxing massages that gives instant relief from pains.
Benefits of Massage
Massage therapy is increasingly becoming a part of standard treatment as a complimentary and adjuvant part of the whole procedure. It is known to be highly effective in reducing rigidity and tension in muscles, reducing stress and relieving pain.
Scientific studies conducted to evaluate its effects have found substantial proof of its benefits in treatment of:
- Stress, depression and anxiety
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Sports injuries
- Joint, muscle and nerve pain
- Back pain
It is highly effective in counter acting the side-effects of cancer like depression, pain, swelling, extreme tiredness, vomiting and nausea.
Though massage therapy has various health benefits, it is often sought after by people for relaxation and comfortable feeling in the body it leaves behind.
Despite the known effectiveness of message therapy, it cannot replace regular treatment process; hence, it should be used to compliment a regular treatment procedure rather than independently when treating serious illnesses.