The Power of Massage
By Jane Grimshaw
Many people consider massage to be the ultimate treat. It is an opportunity to indulge in a session of immense stimulation and satisfaction, which can help to soothe away a troubled day at the office, or help to blank out all your troubles. This is of course true, but there are many other benefits to be gained from massage – particularly when used on a regular basis.
Massage has actually been around for thousands of years and has been used as a healing tool in a variety of different cultures. It is one of the oldest and simplest forms of therapy, which involves stroking, kneading and pressing different areas of the body - with varying degrees of pressure - to stimulate, tone, relax and relieve pain.
People of all ages and from all walks of life can enjoy the enormous physical and mental benefits of massage. It offers a drug-free alternative, which is based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and can assist in the treatment of many disorders such as: Back pain, infertility, sleeping problems, high blood pressure, infertility, eating disorders, stress, depression, diabetes, post-operative surgery, breathing problems and discomfort during pregnancy.
Massage can be performed as full or partial body massage and can work on specific areas to give maximum benefit. Gentle massage works on the nervous system, which releases endorphins. This relaxes the body giving it an overall sense of well-being. It helps to reverse the damaging effects of stress on the body, by slowing down the heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering blood pressure. Stronger massage helps to relax muscles and ease tense joints. It stimulate blood circulation, thus improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and improves the lymphatic system.
As well as different pressures, there are various types of massage available, specialising in specific areas. Here are a few examples:
Relaxation Massage – The smooth, flowing action of this type of massage improves circulation, movement and muscle tension, allowing the body to completely unwind.
Sports Massage – Aids in the recovery of sporting accidents and improves performance, by using a variety of massage techniques.
Pregnancy Massage – This is also known as prenatal massage and is performed by specially trained therapists to alleviate stress, anxiety, aches and pains during pregnancy.
Aromatherapy Massage – This is where massage is combined with essential oils to bring maximum massage benefits.
Reflexology - This involves massage to the reflex areas of the feet to help the body gain complete equilibrium.
Baby Massage – Once you know how to perform this, you can carry it out yourself. It can help to relax your baby, thus aiding sleep and helping to enforce the bonding process between you.
Before any massage is carried out, you should be asked certain questions about your health. This will determine whether or not massage is going to be appropriate for your condition.
There are certain conditions, which are unsuitable for massage and these include: Certain forms of cancer, thrombosis, varicose veins, fractures, swellings, bruises, high temperature, infections or any contagious diseases. If you are unsure about any symptoms it is best to check it out with your doctor first.
Try this at home
You can perform gentle massage at home on your partner too. It is a wonderful way to relax and bring pleasure. Make sure you provide some extra pillows for added comfort and ensure that the room is warm. You can add soft music, scented candles, or low lighting to create the perfect mood. Remember to choose a suitable time when you will not be required to rush off anywhere, or are likely to be disturbed by anyone.
When it comes to choosing oils, there is a variety to choose from. It is probably best to try different ones to find out which suit you the best. You can choose from oils such as: Almond, Apricot, Grape seed, Avocado, Jojoba and Wheat germ.
These oils can be applied easily to the skin and will help your hands to glide smoothly across the body.
Considering the ever increasing stress in our lives these days, massage is worth considering as a very beneficial treatment to help prevent the onset of illness, as well as alleviating any existing problems. Touching the body brings with it a feeling of care and compassion and provides a deep and lasting sense of relaxation; thus allowing the body to experience complete emotional and spiritual balance.