Massage therapy is all about the healing and health techniques involving movement and touch, it is an activity wherein the therapist uses manual techniques and other associated and complementary healing techniques for the well-being and health of the patient.
Origin of Massage Therapy
Massage is actually a word derived from the Greek 'Massein', which means 'to knead'. It also is derived from ‘mash,’ an Arabic word that means 'to press softly'. Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of medicine in human civilization. There are references to it known as early as 400 BC in ancient Chinese medical texts. Hippocrates who is regarded as the father of medicine espoused the benefits of this great treatment. During the ancient Roman era, massage was often referred as a mode of treatment and even Julius Caesar had it to help treat his neuralgia. Massage therapy was mentioned by almost all of the major cultures of the ancient world. These cultures include:
Massage therapy began to grow in North America around the 18th century. It suffered a setback due to advances of scientific and technological medicine. The major disadvantages in using modern medical treatments allowed massage therapy to experience a comeback in the 1970s.
Very few are aware that there are over 80 kinds massage therapy. People often stick to a single or a couple of techniques that help them feel much better and more relaxed. They also tend to stick to one therapist adept at their favorite types of massage.
For people using massage therapy to treat a certain condition, the therapist will first study their symptoms and look for a technique that suits their needs.
Most of the time, massage therapy is used to help reduce stress and pain, improve blood circulation and relax the muscles to help relieve and relax the patient.
Massage therapy is often applied on the joints and soft tissues of the body. These body parts include the:
• Joint capsules
Some massage targets the deeper muscle layers and sometimes even the organs themselves helping improve blood flow to these body parts. Along with the improvement of blood flow, the lymphatic system also is enhanced helping the body to efficiently remove waste material from its system.
The method of the massage therapist is to manipulate, rub, stroke and press the soft tissue and muscles targeting pressure points and particular muscles. The therapist kneads and presses different parts of the body to relieve pain and to relax and tone the muscles. Besides his/her hands, the therapist may also use his/her elbows, forearms, fingers and even his/her feet.
Photo credits to Nick Webb
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.