|What is massage?
Massage is one of the oldest, simplest forms of therapy and is a system of stroking, pressing, and kneading different areas of the body to relieve pain, relax, stimulate, and tone the body. Massage does much more than create a pleasant sensation on the skin, it also works on the soft tissues (the muscles, tendons, and ligaments) to improve muscle tone. Although it largely effects those muscle tone. Although it largely effects those muscles just under the skin, its benefits may also reach the deeper layers of muscle and possibly even the organs themselves. Massage also stimulates blood circulation and assists the lymphatic system (which runs parallel to the circulatory system), improving the elimination of waste throughout the body.
Basic Massage Techniques
1. EFFLEURAGE: Place your hands flat on the bottom of your partner's back. Slide them upward, leaning into the palms to add pressure. At the shoulders, fan your hands out to each side and stroke lightly down each side. Repeat, varying the length of each stroke.
2. CIRCLING: Place both hands on your partner, a few inches apart, and stroke in a wide circular movement. Press into the upward stroke and glide back down. Your arms will cross as you make the circle, so just lift one hand over the other to continue.
3. KNEADING: Place both hands on the area to be massaged with your fingers pointing away from you. Press into the body with the palm of one hand, pick up the flesh between your thumb and fingers, and press it toward the resting hand. Release and repeat with the other hand.
4. Finish with gentle soothing strokes and end the massage by holding your partner's feet for a few seconds. Holding the feet helps to "ground" the person being massaged and brings them back to reality.
The Effects Of Massage
Although a single massage will be enjoyable, the effects of massage are cumulative and a course of massage treatments will bring the most benefits. Regular massage can have the effect of strengthening and toning the entire body mechanism, and so help to prevent unnecessary strains and injuries that might otherwise occur due to excess tension and any resulting structural weaknesses. Massage can stimulate or calm the nervous system depending upon what is required by the individual - and thus help reduce fatigue, leaving the receiver with a feeling of replenished energy. At its best, massage has the potential to restore the individual physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Some Benefits Of Massage
- Eases tension, stiffness, and pain
- Improves breathing
- Improves circulation
- Enhances well-being
Massage can be used either to soothe and relax or to stimulate and revitalize. It is particularly effective for any stress-related disorders such as tension, anxiety, headaches, muscle pains, sleeplessness, depression, and digestive disorders, and its gentle healing properties are equally effective on ailments ranging from babies colic to the painful arthritis of the elderly. Massage is a simple, safe form of therapy, but there are situations where it should be avoided (bruising, open cuts, recent major operation etc). If you are unsure about whether it is safe to undergo massage, consult your physician first.