What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
What Is It?
Massage is the application of pressure and movement to the soft tissues
of the body (the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments). The term massage
encompasses a range of methods used to relieve muscle tension, stress
and pain from injury, improve circulation, stimulate the nervous and
immune system and assist in healing and preventing a range of other
physical and emotional problems.
The benefits of massage were known to many ancient cultures, but the
modern form of this therapy developed during the late 19th century
when Swedish gymnast Per Henrik Lin used a system of muscle and joint
massage combined with exercise. This later became known as Swedish
Today, dozens of different massage techniques are used, which generally
fall under one of four therapeutic approaches:
Traditional Swedish massage, which employs five basic
strokes: effleurage (slow, gliding strokes); petrissage (kneading,
pressing and rolling muscles); friction (small, circular pressure movements);
tapotement or percussion (drumming movements on the fleshy parts of
the body); and vibration (rapid shaking movements).
Contemporary Western massage, which includes neuromuscular
massage (deep finger pressure applied to “trigger points” which
acts on the interaction between nerves and muscles); deep tissue massage
(slow, deep strokes to release chronic muscle tension); sports massage
(using massage to prevent sports injury and treat sprains and strains);
and manual lymph drainage (used to stimulate the flow of lymph fluid).
Bodywork, which focuses on the structure of the body
and the way it moves, correcting problems with posture and movement.
These techniques include the Alexander technique, hellerwork and rolfing.
Oriental massage, which is based on the system of
Traditional Chinese Medicine which aims to balance the flow or qi,
or energy, through the body’s meridians. These include acupressure
and shiatsu and reflexology (see separate entries).
How Does It
Massage increases circulation of the blood and lymph fluid which helps
to remove toxic wastes, and promotes healing by supplying nutrients
to injured soft tissue. Massage may also improve immune system functioning
by decreasing the level of stress hormones such as cortisol, while
increasing the level of natural painkilling and mood elevating hormones
called endorphins. Massage can relieve chronic muscle tension caused
by anxiety or pain, and its soothing and relaxing effects can promote
emotional healing. Massage after exercising helps remove the lactic
acid that builds up in muscles during vigorous activity, and it helps
keep muscles and other soft tissues elastic with stretching and loosening
What Happens During
Treatment methods vary according to the type of massage you choose.
For a typical Swedish massage, the therapist will ask about your general
health and lifestyle and discuss any specific problem areas you would
like to concentrate on during the massage. Therapists will normally
use a quiet, warm, dimly lit room, sometimes with soft, soothing music
playing or incense burning. Your therapist will leave the room while
you undress (you may leave your underwear on if you wish) and lie on
a padded massage table with a towel covering the parts that will not
be massaged. Therapists may offer a full body massage, a back and neck
massage, or you can ask her/him to concentrate just on one particular
area of tension.
The therapist will employ a range of strokes with the use of massage
oil that may be mixed with aromatherapy oils. Your therapist will check
whether the pressure s/he is using is too deep or too light for you.
Massage therapy sometimes brings up strong emotions, particularly
if you have been under stress for a long period, and some therapists
are also trained in basic counselling techniques.
Sessions last for 30 to 90 minutes, and the number of sessions required
will depend on the condition being treated. Many people use massage
therapy once a week for general stress relief and wellbeing.
What Is It Used
Massage therapy can help relieve mental and emotional problems such
as depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia. It is useful for treating
chronic pain and pain from sports injuries or repetitive strain. Massage
helps warm up the muscles before exercise, and reduces cramping and
stiffness when performed after exercise. It has been shown to reduce
levels of the stress hormone cortisol, promoting relaxation, and enhances
the immune system by stimulating blood flow. Other conditions which
benefit from massage therapy include chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches,
joint problems, neck pain, sciatica, asthma and premenstrual tension.
Massage should be avoided by anyone with open wounds, a high fever,
inflammation, infections, varicose veins, or nerve or tissue damage.
Abdominal massage should not be used during the first trimester of
pregnancy, or just after eating. Massage of the legs and feet should
also be avoided during pregnancy.
Prices are in US Dollars
Job's Body : A Handbook for Bodywork
Possibly the most famous and widely used resource in therapeutic
bodywork, this beautifully written, detailed, and reader-friendly
picture of how and why the body responds to touch is both
scientifically reliable and inspiring. Furthering the presentation
of recent research in biochemistry, cell biology, and energy
medicine in the Second Edition, this new update includes
advances in neurophysiology and physics, reconfiguring knowledge
of mind and body, from "microgenesis" to "quantum
consciousness." A rare book that fits general reader
as much as professional and student.
Deep Tissue Massage: A Visual Guide to Techniques
"A masterpiece on deep tissue massage and myofascial
release. Art Riggs reveals various techniques for different
parts of the body used in structural integration. Art Riggs
has excellent narrative style, shares not only his techniques
but his experience, advice and empathy as a massage therapist.
This book is a perfect companion for Riggs' DVD Deep
Tissue Massage and Myofascial Release: A Video Guide to Techniques,
which is a must." - Alfred Hartemink
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment
Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition
Trigger point therapy is one of the most intriguing and
fastest-growing bodywork styles in the world. Medical doctors,
chiropractors, and alternative health practitioners are all
beginning to use this technique to relieve the pain of individuals
suffering from undiagnosable soft tissue pain - a condition
that studies have shown to be the cause of nearly 25 percent
of all doctor visits.
The technique involves applying short, repeated massage strokes
to trigger points, places in the muscle tissue where lack
of oxygen causes referred pain. These points are easily located
by general readers and create pain throughout the body in
predictable patterns characteristic to each muscle, producing
discomfort ranging from mild to severe. The stimulation of
the point causes an increase in the oxygen level in the area
and produces often instant relief. The first edition of The
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook has made a huge impact in
the use of this dynamic technique. This is the first major
revision of the overnight classic - a complete update that
includes new information specifically for massage professionals
as well as a detailed discussion of systematic muscle relaxation
techniques that can reinforce the therapeutic power of trigger
Massage Therapy Books
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