Health Benefits of Body Massage
Massage originated from the Greek word “massier”, which means to knead. An excellent form of passive exercise, it involves the scientific manipulation of the body soft tissue. When done correctly on a bare body can be highly stimulating and invigorating. As early as 400B.B, the Hippocrates, father of the medicine have used massage in healing his patients for many ailments.
Health Benefits of Body Massage
Body massage helps to tone up the nervous system, influences the respiration and quickens the toxic and waste elimination from the body through various organs such as the lungs, skin, kidneys and bowels. The various massage movements also boost blood circulation and increases body metabolism. It enhances beauty by removes facial wrinkles, fill out hollow cheeks and neck. Massage can also eases stiffness, sore muscles and numbness of various body parts.
Healing Benefits of Various Massage Movements
Massage movements can be categorized into five fundamental modes of manipulations, which are petrissage (kneading), effleurage(stroking), friction (rubbing), tapotement (Tapping) and vibration(shaking or trembling).
1. Petrissage or Kneading
Petrissage involves kneading, pressing and rolling of the tissues, performed with one or both hands, with two thumbs or with thumbs and fingers. Heavy pressure is applied with deep kneading and light pressure for superficial kneading. This movement heal the muscle by increasing nutrition absorption, strengthening the muscle, relieving congestion, and toxic elimination. It enhances cellular respiration, eliminates fatigue and tones up nerve endings.
2. Effleurage or Stroking
Effleurage involves sliding movement with the hands, using long even strokes over the surface of the body. It is performed in five ways, namely stroking with
(i) palms of two hands;
(ii) the palm of one hand;
(iii) the knuckles;
(iv) the ball of the thumb and
(v) the finger tips.
Effleurage boosts blood circulation and soothes the nervous system. The massage movement produces heat that warms and relaxes the body. It is very helpful in smoothening the wrinkled skin, slowing down the aging process.
3. Friction or Rubbing
Friction movements are performed in circular motion using the thumb and tips of fingers, or the palms towards the joints or around the joints. Friction movement is useful to limbers or loosen up stiff joints, tendons and muscles. The action removes deposits around the area by breaking them. Friction is often practised to reduce swelling due to nerve inflammation.
4. Tapotement or Tapping
Tapotement involves tapping, hacking, clapping and beating by striking the body rapidly, using short and quick blows from the wrist. Tapotement helps in healing the atrophied muscles. It increases blood supply, soothes nerves and strengthens muscles.
Vibration movement rapidly and constantly shakes the pressing movements using the hand or fingers on the body. This movement is beneficial for neuritis and neuralgia after the inflammatory stage is over, which serve to stimulate circulation, glandular activity and nervous plexuses. It also eases bowel movement.
Material for Massage
The commonly used material for massaging is cotton seed oil which contains emollient properties that smoothen and soften rough skin.
Butter is used for filling out cheeks, neck and for breast enlargement.
If the patient is averse to oil, talcum powder can be used instead.
Oil should not be used for people with excessive body hair.
General body massage takes about 40 to 45 minutes while local body massage for 10 to 15 minutes.
The oil should be washed off completely after massage.
Massage can be used with advantage as a method of treatment for many common ailments. The
various forms of massage and their usefulness in various diseases are described
here in brief.
How Does Massage Heals ?
Massage can be an effective treatment of many common ailments.
Benefits of Joints Massage :
Massage can cure :
· Stiff and swollen joints
· Sprains and bruises
· Rebuild atrophied muscle where muscles are not used for any length of time
These conditions are caused by injuries, diseases of the joints, inflammation of the muscles and nerves, and by long use of cats, bandages and splints.
Massage is not recommended in serious inflammatory cases of the joints and in tubercular joints. It should also be avoided in infectious diseases like diphtheria and gonorrhoea which causes formation of pus. Massage may worsen the case by spreading the pus to the entire system.
Human muscular tissues have to hold the body weight of a person. Massage treatment boosts blood circulation to the muscles, which enhances muscle regeneration, supplying better nourishment to feed the muscular tissues, and thus improve muscle growth.
Tapping, striking, and vibrating movements are important to develop the contractile power of the muscle. Massage eliminates muscle contraction and breaks up the adhesions. Deep circular kneading and vibration loosens the muscles.
Benefits of Massaging the Nerves :
Massage helps to improve nerve problems. However, massage should be done carefully in case of acute inflammation of the nerves - light and gentle stroking should be applied.
Deep pressure should be avoided on swollen nerves or else inflammation will worsen, apply gentle tapotement or beating of the nerve instead.
Gentle nerve compression is recommended for soothing nerves and improves blood circulation.
Long, slow and gentle stroking down the spine and entire back can help to overcome insomnia problem.
Benefits of Abdominal Massage
Abdominal massage is useful to overcome constipation problem. The massage movement stimulates the peristalsis of the small intestines, tones up the muscles of the abdomen walls and mechanically eliminates the contents of both large and small intestines.
However, abdominal massage should be avoided in femoral, inguinal and umbilical hernia, inflammation of the uterus, bladder, ovaries and fallopian tubes, kidney stones, bladder or gall bladder, ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and pregnancy.
Abdominal massage should be done at least 2 hours after a heavy meal, not immediately after. Empty the bladder before going for this type of massage.
Massage should also be avoided in cases where there has been recent bleeding in the lungs, the stomach or the brain.
Benefits of Chest Massage
Chest massage strengthens the chest muscles, increases circulation and tones up the nervous system of chest, heart and lungs. It is especially recommended in weakness of the lungs, palpitation and organic heart disorders.
Benefits of Back Massage
Back massage stimulates the nerves and circulation of back muscle, good for treating backache, rheumatic afflictions and for soothing the nervous system.
It is also recommended in cases of constipation, haemorrhoids, weakness and congestion of the bladder and sexual organs.
Benefits of Throat Massage
Throat massage overcomes headache, sore throat and catarrh of the throat.