For anyone believing that Massage Therapy is part of a “new age,” alternative, holistic practice, think again. The practice of Massage Therapy is documented in China as early as 3000 BC . Hippocrates, known as the father of western medicine was a proponent of therapeutic massage. Julius Caesar used massage to help with his epilepsy and massage therapy evolved, from the ancient world, the Middle Ages, the European Renaissance, into the “Modern Era” beginning 1776.
Whether to maintain homeostasis (the human body’s ability to masterfully maintain balance of all its various systems, regardless of stressors such as climate, diet or external stress) or to assist in the body’s ability to heal itself, massage therapy has become one of the most popular sources of self care.
Healing Benefits of Massage therapy can help ease or prevent many common ailments that are often treated with prescription drugs and/or surgeries. Massage therapy is based on the ability of the body to naturally heal itself.
Massage has also been shown to:
- Decrease stress
- Increase circulation
- Release muscle tightness
- Improve joint range of motion and flexibility
- Release endorphins
- Diminish aches and pains and reduce anxiety, depression and other common ailments associated with stress
More than 75 styles (modalities) have been categorized, with the primary approach to heal the human body, mind and spirit. Modern medicine has come to recognize the benefits of massage therapy to maintain good health and assist in the healing process when dis-ease strikes or an injury occurs. Examples of a few massage modalities:
– a hands-on full body massage of light to medium pressure. Relieves muscle tension, stimulates circulation, increases serotonin levels, improves muscle tone and promotes total mind and body relaxation.
Deep Tissue Massage
– A firm pressure therapeutic massage. Helps alleviate pain, muscle spasms, stress, inflammation and tissue damage. Great for anyone with soft tissue problems that produce any discomfort or pain.
Hawaiian Hot Stone Massage
– Penetrating heat from smooth oiled and warmed stones is used to relieve tense muscles and sore joints. Combined with Swedish techniques, this creates an unforgettable, thoroughly relaxing experience.
– A therapeutic massage that includes stretching and compression techniques. Rehabilitates soft tissue dysfunction that can result from physical labor, lifting weights or sports-related injuries. Promotes flexibility, reduces swelling, relieves muscle tension and alleviates muscle fatigue.
– A gentle massage geared to relieving the muscle cramps, spasms and pain often encountered in the lower back, neck hips and legs during pregnancy. Safe semi-reclined and side to side body positioning with body pillows are for extra comfort.
– An ancient Chinese alternative healing practice using negative pressure created by fire and glass cups. Fire cupping works deep into the tissue, typically without any pain, increasing circulation and drawing toxins to the surface.
– A method of using the thumb and fingers on the reflex areas in the feet and hands to help relieve stress and tension, improve blood supply, promote the unblocking of nerve impulses, and help achieve homeostasis. Basically, every aspect of your body can be found on the bottom of your feet, and these locations correspond roughly with your anatomy. Reflexology sends a message to the organs to increase, decrease or normalize hormonal levels.
– The practice of using the healing power of plants with the use of essential oils to enhance physical and mental well being. Used in conjunction with other massage modalities.
If you have never had a massage before and you are apprehensive about receiving your first massage, understand that you only need a little information.
Even an individual in good to excellent health has the occasional stressor of being cut off in traffic, harassed by an unreasonable boss, in a demanding relationship or deal with unruly (but loveable) children. Take a breath…and when at all possible, enjoy a massage, in a relaxing visual environment, surrounded by calming music and the wondrous scents of essential oils.
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