What is a massage and why you should try it. The object of a massage is to: – Relax tension in the muscles and other parts of the body – Reduce stress and strains of the day – Relax the mind and encourage total receptivity to relaxation – Improve blood flow throughout the body – Increase overall feeling of well-being and relaxation
This is done by manipulation of the muscles and connective tissues in certain prescribed ways. What a lot of people sometimes forget is that an amateurish bad massage from a friend can be worse than no massage at all and in some cases can in fact cause damage to muscles and the body. Always ensure that any person you allow to massage you is fully trained and has the necessary competence to carry out the technique that you require.
This does not however stop you from having fun with your partner using massage oils that are available in drugstores.
Numerous people swear by body massages for the reduction of back pain and aches caused by over exertion during sport. It is now commonplace to see during International sports matches various trainers and physiotherapists running on to the pitch at half time or the end of a game and start to massage the legs and backs of their sportsmen before muscle cramps and the pain sets in. In fact when it comes to sportsmen and women they are far ahead of the game when it comes to understanding the benefits of massage therapy.
Many massage techniques have been imported from Europe to the US because of their obvious benefits. Massage in its present form has mainly been adopted form the practices prevalent in the early 20th Century in Sweden and the Nordic countries. However massage itself has been around for thousands of years. Both the ancient Roman and Greeks were firm believers in the restorative powers of massages and there are numerous mentions of massages in many old texts from that time. However not just the Europeans understood the healing powers of oil and massage but also the Chinese Emperors and their courts too understood that a great feeling of relaxation and wellbeing emanated from the judicious timing of a full body rub down. Many people are fully aware of the ancient Turkish Bathhouses but how many know that it was not just hot steam available but also a fully body massage too. The art of Massage has a long and noble history and only now are we just beginning to fully appreciate the benefits that were second nature to the ancients.
There are many types of massage from the normal generally accepted body rub, commonly known as Swedish massage, to the rather more esoteric Lomi Lomi massage of Oceania.
The Swedish, or classic massage is the most widely used and enjoyed massage and when carried out by a competent well trained masseur is a joy to receive. In Europe it is usually carried out with the recipient naked with a towel laid over their lower parts for modesty. There are different types of oils used depending on the reason for the massage and quite often there will be certain aspects of aromatherapy included too. This can be the burning of certain oils of a particular aroma which have their own restorative qualities and also using certain ambient light colours. Indeed these are also used in the saunas in Europe as they are now becoming more and more accepted as part of mainstream healthcare.
The Swedish massage consists mainly of five different types of strokes, which are: 1. Sliding, rubbing the hand along the body, 2. Kneading, in a similar manner to kneading bread before baking, 3. Tapping in a rhythm, something similar to what you see doctors doing to patients in old films where the doctor puts two fingers on the patients’ body and rhythmically taps them, 4. The friction stroke where instead of flowing with the grain of the muscle the hands of the masseur go across the muscle, 5. And finally the vibration stroke.
In the Swedish massage the client usually lies face down on a table about waist height with a towel around the waist. If necessary cushions or pillow can be used to ensure the client is lying comfortably. There are many different oils that can be used and it is entirely up to the customer to choose whatever is their preference. However it is always a good idea for the masseur to warm the oil before starting so that right from the beginning the client is comfortable and does not receive any shocks from cold oil that can ruin the ambience and feeling of relaxation.
Another good idea if you are having the massage at home is to light candles in the room to increase further the feeling of relaxation. Quite often the masseur will bring an oil burner so that the room is suffused with the aroma of essential oils which also helps with the relaxation and mood setting. Then the masseur starts on the shoulders and works all over the back and spine. For a lot of people this is the best part of the massage as it is the back that gives the most trouble and pain. Then the legs and arms are completed. After the client has turned over the front of the body is then massaged. Quite often the feet are massaged separately as this is a specialized area in its own right and there are practitioners in the East that make a good living just from being an expert foot masseur.
When the massage is completed the client should sit and relax for a while and take in some fluids.
Drinking fluids will help release toxins from the body. Read a book for half an hour or sit and listen to soothing music and you will feel all your cares recede as your body relaxes and unwinds.
If you have never had a full body massage now is the time to consider it. For the undoubted benefits it brings it is surely a cheap way of improving your health and lifestyle.