Massage is the manipulation of soft tissue effecting a change in the surrounding tissue and structures. Our bodies and posture are held in balance by the muscular system. In order for you to stand still there are various muscles throughout the body constantly tightening and slackening to maintain the stillness that you desire.
If one or more of your muscles becomes too tight or slack then your posture will be thrown out and your body will deliberately put other muscles out of there normal state of tone to compensate. If this is not corrected it will over a period of time be accepted by your body and you will have a permanent imbalance.
You will become accustomed to this over time and quite probably will not notice that you have a dysfunction until you try to do something which requires a normal full range of movement.
This is where massage therapy comes into its own for if the muscles being worked are too tight they will be relaxed and stretch, however if they are too slack then they will be toned and tightened.
If a joint is too tight causing stiffness then it will be released, or if too slack then it will be tightened, or rather the surrounding tissue that holds it in its proper alignment will be adjusted.
Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints. It is a health option to help alleviate soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday stress, muscular overuse and some chronic pain syndromes. Massage therapy works to improve the circulation of blood through the body and to speed the removal of metabolic waste products from muscles and the kneading of muscles and ligaments increases flexibility. People visit a massage therapist to relieve pain, relax, and reduce stress.
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 affects 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.
Therapeutic massage is often used for aid in recovery from injury, stress relief and relaxation, and as treatment for illness or pain. Techniques can be varied and specialized, but most commonly fall into several basic categories, such as Swedish, trigger point, neuromuscular, deep tissue and sports massage
Massage Therapists work in spas, cruise ships, clinics, fitness centers, hospitals, wellness centers, doctor’s offices, corporations, professional sports organizations, and private practices.
Massage Therapy is an effective approach to pain management and rehabilitation. Massage Therapists are effective in treating and providing relief for a wide range of conditions such as migraine headaches, tendonitis, arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, as well as many other common conditions related to soft tissue and joint dysfunction.
Types of Massage:
There are various techniques mentioned for massage. First, the self-massage which a person does for himself. All able-bodied persons can massage themselves a few minutes before they take a bath. For this purpose, hot and warm oils are used in winter and in summer it is vice-versa.
Though there are various medicated oils indicated in different conditions, simple oils like those of sesame and mustard and even desi ghee serve the purpose of a general massage. Self massage removes the dryness of the skin, improves blood circulation and supports the body at the tissue level. It is akin to a light exercise.
Partner Massage: To get the maximum benefits of massage therapy, it is necessary that the therapist should be well versed in this art. While applying the massage, he should also be calm and free of anger and his hands must be warm with nails clipped, clean and unpolished. With an access to natural light, the massage room should be clean, dry and devoid of any dampness.
Massage benefits are achieved through physiological and psychological processes. When the body is massaged, blood flow to that area increases, bringing oxygen and nutrients. Lymphatic drainage also increases thereby removing waste products and chemicals that are responsible for inducing pain. Massage reduces pain-producing chemicals like histamine and bradykinin. Psychologically, as the body is touched during the massage, pain-relieving chemicals (resembling morphine) such as endorphin are released.
These techniques are generally organized into five broad categories:
Traditional European massage: Swedish massage is the primary example of traditional European massage.
Contemporary Western massage: neuromuscular massage, (a form of deep massage to reach the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments); sports massage (a combination of Swedish massage and deep tissue massage that deals specifically with the effects of athletic performance on the body); myotherapy (a specialized form of muscle massage and stretching)
Oriental massage. It include acupressure and Shiatsu.
Energy-based methods: include polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, and Reiki.
Structural realignment and movement integration: These techniques place an emphasis on body structure and movement. It include: Hellerwork, Rolfing and the Alexander technique.
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