What is BODY MASSAGE
Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of normalizing those tissues and consists of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of or to the body.
Generally, massage is known to affect the circulation of blood and the flow of blood and lymph, reduce muscular tension or flaccidity, affect the nervous system through stimulation or sedation, and enhance tissue healing. These effects provide a number of benefits: reduction of muscle tension and stiffness relief of muscle spasms greater flexibility and range of motion increase of the ease and efficiency of movement relief of stress and aide of relaxation promotion of deeper and easier breathing improvement of the circulation of blood and movement of lymph relief of tension-related conditions, such as headaches and eyestrain promotion of faster healing of soft tissue injuries, such as pulled muscles and sprained ligaments, and reduction in pain and swelling related to such injuries reduction in the formation of excessive scar tissue following soft tissue injuries enhancement in the health and nourishment of skin improvement in posture through changing tension patterns that affect posture reduction in stress and an excellent stress management tool creation of a feeling of well-being reduction in levels of anxietyincrease in awareness of the mind-body connection promotion of a relaxed state of mental awareness
Massage therapy also has a number of documented clinical benefits. For example, massage can reduce anxiety, improve pulmonary function in young asthma patients, reduce psycho-emotional distress in persons suffering from chronic inflammatory bowel disease, increase weight and improve motor development in premature infants, and may enhance immune system functioning. Some medical conditions that massage therapy can help are: allergies, anxiety and stress, arthritis, asthma and bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries, chronic and temporary pain, circulatory problems, depression, digestive disorders, tension headache, insomnia, myofascial pain, sports injuries, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Going for a massage requires little in the way of preparation. Generally, one should be clean and should not eat just before a massage. One should not be under the influence of alcohol or non-medicinal drugs.
Massage is comparatively safe; however it is generally contraindicated, i.e., it should not be used, if a person has one of the following conditions: advanced heart diseases, hypertension (high blood pressure), phlebitis, thrombosis, embolism, kidney failure, cancer if massage would accelerate metastasis (i.e., spread a tumour) or damage tissue that is fragile due to chemotherapy or other treatment, infectious diseases, contagious skin conditions, acute inflammation, infected injuries, unhealed fractures, dislocations, frostbite, large hernias, torn ligaments, conditions prone to haemorrhage, and psychosis.
Massage should not be used locally on affected areas (i.e., avoid using massage on the specific areas of the body that are affected by the condition) for the following conditions: rheumatoid arthritis flare up, eczema, goitre, and open skin lesions. Massage may be used on the areas of the body that are not affected by these conditions.
In some cases, precautions should be taken before using massage for the following conditions: pregnancy, high fevers, osteoporosis, diabetes, recent postoperative cases in which pain and muscular splinting (i.e., tightening as a protective reaction) would be increased, apprehension, and mental conditions that may impair communication or perception. In such cases, massage may or may not be appropriate. The decision on whether to use massage must be based on whether it may cause harm. For example, if someone has osteoporosis, the concern is whether bones are strong enough to withstand the pressure applied. If one has a health condition and has any hesitation about whether massage therapy would be appropriate, a physician should be consulted.
Massage therapy does not have side effects. Sometimes people are concerned that massage may leave them too relaxed or too mentally unfocused. To the contrary, massage tends to leave people feeling more relaxed and stress free.
Massage provides an effective way to control pain for some people and may also be an excellent medium to aid in relaxation or stress reduction. For those interested in receiving massage, be aware that technique varies widely from therapist to therapist. It is advisable to shop around to find someone you are comfortable with. I am frequently asked how one finds a good massage therapist. I believe that word-of-mouth is preferable to using advertisements or massage organization referrals. Even those who are licensed or certified often engage in questionable practices. Be wary of any massage therapist who makes specific medical claims or claims to “heal” people.