We've all heard of massage and many of us have even experienced it, in one
form or another. By a masseuse who happened to be an armature, loved one or
professional. If the person knew what they were doing, you came away feeling
like a million bucks. But what is massage, really!
Massage or massage therapy as it has come to be known in our time, began with
the ancient Egyptians, then the Greeks and finally the Romans. Yes these ancient
cultures used massage therapy for both healing and pleasure. The science of
massage therapy had also spread to other early cultures such as India, China and
Japan. The last three went further by integrating it to form an integral part of
their systems of medicine and healing.
Massage is the organized form of touch. It is performed by the hands, elbows
and forearms gliding over the skin and applying pressure to the underlying
muscles by a system of movements. These movements involve stroking, rubbing,
pressing and kneading. Massage is not a panacea, but can greatly aid in the
normal functions of the body and restore balance as well.
How Massage Works
Massage works by the body responding to the various touch techniques given to
it. These touch techniques causes the body to engage in there normal functions.
Massage itself, acts like a natural stimuli for the body to respond with
positive effects in many different ways. Some of these therapeutic effects are,
stimulating the circulation of the blood and lymph, loosening of muscular
tension, toning and firming the muscles. When fibers stop sliding over each
other easily, it's most likely the cause of people not getting enough exercise,
too much exercise, physical or mental tension. These factors cause the drop of
any increase in muscle tone. The waste products from muscular activity, like
carbon dioxide, lactic acid and urea, build up in the muscles. Massage therapy
fosters drainage of those wastes, therefore restoring there normal
Massage therapy also fosters the drainage of lymph, causing better
circulation of the blood. Because of this, the skin looks much better than if
drainage was difficult. Why bother with the how the skin looks? Because the
appearance of the skin, is usually a good indicator of a persons inner
condition. In reference to muscles, massage therapy has a good effect on the
fibrous tissue surrounding the joints.
The effects of massage upon the autonomic nervous system gives birth to the
feeling of relaxation. How? By stimulating the sensory nerve endings located
within the skin, signals are sent to the brain by the central nervous system.
This in turn produces the experience of feeling good. Once again because of this
action, a new reaction takes place by causing a significant reduction in the
body's stress level. When a person is relaxed, abdominal breathing becomes more
natural. I can assure you, your abdominal organs appreciate this. It's quite
clear that the nervous system plays a crucial role in massage therapy. It's also
responsible for the vascular system, since it controls it. A decrease in
efficient drainage and supply of blood, is caused by a reduction of
Massage works by reducing stress, managing the body's waste products,
fostering normal bodily functions, providing a sense of well being and boosting
The Logic of Massage
The gradual development of massage therapy into a full blown art and science
can be determined as only logical. When we fall, bruise or sustain any sort of
physical injury, we usually tend to touch it. Even if that act produces no form
of healing solution, or does it? Touch in itself is very comforting to us. It
reassures us, make us feel loved and accepted. Whenever someone is in pain, we
tend to want to hug, hold or touch that person in someway. Somehow sensing that
the very act of physical contact will contribute to the overall holistic health
of the person. Guess what? You are correct in that assumption.
Studies have shown that, touching among other comforting and intimate
contact, does assist in the overall recovery and health of a person. Whether
that person is in need of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual healing or
comfort. In looking at the big picture, I see massage therapy continuing to play
an important role in human history for a long time to come. What are you waiting
for, join the minions.
Gabriel Foster is the editor for http://www.gabrielfoster.com, the online magazine for both
vegetarians and natural health enthusiasts.