Massage Therapy is the manipulation of soft body tissues, originally done by hand but given time instruments have been designed to help in that purpose. We could say that it is a mixture between art and science; you have the skilled hands of the therapist applying his physiological knowledge to reach the desired parts of the muscle he/she is treating
Massage Therapy Techniques
There are many different kinds of massage therapy techniques. Most massage therapists apply a combination of techniques but others; the purists, just stick to a determined massage therapy technique. Massage is applied at different levels. There is a shallow massage, with soft movements on the surface and a gentle touch and there is a deeper massage that applies more pressure so as to reach deeper levels of the muscle mass. These last ones might be a bit painful or uncomfortable at the first moment, but provide a better sensation and relief after all.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
There are several benefits of massage therapies, the most recognized ones are that these help to relax the muscles, stimulate the nerves, improve blood flow and induce to a mental state of relaxation. There is no scientific proof that can exactly determine how massage therapy works, but there is empiric evidence of the benefits in the overall health of those whose regularly attend massage sessions.
Theories on Why Massage Therapy Works
There are different explanations or theories about how or why massage therapy works. Some people claim that massage dissolves calcium deposits on the muscles, but there is no objective confirmation of this so far. Another explanation is that massage therapy boosts overall health, as it provides mental relaxation and reduces stress. And there is a demonstrated fact that stress really has a harmful impact on our physical and mental health.
Case studies have shown that severely sick babies improved their health much more when they were receiving soft massage from their mothers than those who did not………………
Ever since our births, the massage plays an important role in developing our body and in helping us to adjust to our physical environment . Consciously or unconsciously everyone uses it to beneficial effects. Soon after the infant’s birth, his massage starts. The mother pats and cuddles the body, the physical touch that helps him to grow well fast. Wealthy massage also imparts strength to the bones and relaxes the muscles. Every living being, including bird or animal, adopts the basic principle of massage and keeps itself fit. No doctor teaches this. It’s a natural instinct.
Massage also plays a vital role in this respect. It helps improve the functioning of veins and arteries and makes them healthy. The muscles gain elasticity. On the whole massage helps to improve the general health, prolonging the life.
It also plays a vital role transporting food stuff from one part of the body to the other, for thin people it works miracles. If a person doesn’t eat for several days but gets himself massaged by an expert he can survive for several days. His body would use less energy, as massage will supply him with diet.
In Ayurveda massage treatment the body is subjected to the purification process through panchakarma therapy by cleaning the body, improving digestion and the metabolic processes hence the health is restored.
Poorva Karma (Pre care ) – prepares the body for main therapy of panchakarma
a) Paachan (Digestion) – A unique preparation of ghee is being administered, which helps in cleansing the digestive process which makes the impurities softer and lubricates the body tissues.
b) Snehan ( oleation) – An oil massage is applied to the entire body, which opens the channels and moves the toxins towards the gastro intestinal tract and also makes the deep tissues softer.
c) Swedan (Fomentation) – It involves heat to make the patient sweat. A herbal concoction may also be added to the steam which dilutes the toxins and increases it movement to the GI tract.
After a week of above process, the doshas are expected to be ripened and now the main panchakarma treatment which suits the individual body constitution and the disorder is advised..
Panchakarma (Pradan Karma) :
a) Vamana Karma – induced vomiting – Here the toxins due to the vitiated doshas are expelled out through the oral route. It purifies respiratory tract and upper part of the body.
b) Virechana Karma – induced purgation – Here a proper bowel movement is brought about by flushing out the toxins which are flushed out through the anal passage. It usually expels pitta from stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
c) Basti Karma – Medicated Enema – Involves the introduction of either medicatedwater or oils in the rectum passage and expels the toxins.
d) Nasya – elimination of the toxins through the nose – Oil or medicated milk is administered in to the nostrils thereby expelling toxins from the forehead and head thereby rejunevating the sense organs.
e) Rakta Mokshan (Artificial bloodletting)- A small amount of blood is extracted from a vein which relieves the tension created by the pittagenic toxins found in the blood.
Paschat Karma (Post care)
f) After the main purification process the body functions are reestablished and slowly only has to start his normal diet from the special diet and also some rejuvenating therapies are to be done.
Kalari Massage :
This type of massage combines the chavutti thirummu and synchronized massage, Here the therapist uses one feet to massage and for balancing himself he uses the string. Also synchronized, a whole body massage is done by two therapist who are experts in the kalari, a martial art of Kerala. It relieves one out of the body pain and rejuvenates the whole body.
Kathakali Massage :
Kathakali is one of the traditional dance in Kerala. The teachers massages the students by themselves at the morning hours as the kathakali dancers need to keep the body supple and flexible. Here the oil is applied from the head to toe and massaged with feet.
Marma massage :
It is a full body hand massage with warm medicated oil and marma points on the body are massaged. This generates the own energy and removes blockages found at these marma points and improves the functions of the connecting organs.
Ever since our births, the massage plays an important role in developing our body and in helping us to adjust to our physical environment. Consciously or unconsciously everyone uses it to beneficial effects. Soon after the infant’s birth, his massage starts. The mother pats and cuddles the body, the physical touch that helps him to grow well fast. Wealthy massage also imparts strength to the bones and relaxes the muscles. Every living being, including bird or animal, adopts the basic principle of massage and keeps itself fit. No doctor teaches this. It’s a natural instinct.
Just as regular of yoga asanas and good food habits are essential for good health, the massage also plays a vital role in this respect. It helps improve the functioning of veins and arteries and makes them healthy. The muscles gain elasticity. On the whole, massage helps to improve the general health, prolonging the life.
It also plays a vital role transporting foodstuff from one part of the body to the other, for thin people it works miracles. If a person doesn’t eat for several days but gets himself massaged by an expert he can survive for several days. His body would use less energy, as massage will supply him with diet.
Main Advantages of Yogic massage.
1.The circulatory system gets activated and helps body organs function efficiently.
2. Proper circulation of blood helps to cleanse the body of the impurities collected at different points in the body through outlets like breath, sweat, stool and urine.
3. The excretory organs like skin, rectum, lungs, kidneys, etc. get strengthened and they start working more efficiently.
4. The digestive organs like liver, small intestines get activated and function more smoothly.
5. Massage helps to reduce fat.
6. A patient suffering from ailments like rheumatism, paralysis, polio, tuberculosis, headache and muscular problems get relief with massage.
7. The pores of skin improve
8.The veins and arteries gain elasticity and body become more efficient and oily.
9. In the case of chronic diseases, the skin loses its vitality. The massage helps the skin to regain the lost vigor.
10. Those who do not do exercise or patients who cannot exercise can find in massage an ideal substitute. Because like exercise the massage improves the blood circulation and cleanses the body of impurities.
Types of Massage.
Massage can be of many types:
1. Oil massage
2. Dry massage
3. Foot massage.
4. Cold massage.
5. Warm-cold massage.
7. Electric massage.
For every massage, there is a certain procedure which must be followed faithfully. Different ailments call for different massage, and they must be done keeping the patient’s conditions in mind. Not all patients can be given the same type of massage.
The cold massage is ideal for patients suffering from insomnia, dry scratching, excessive heat, nervous weakness, burning sensation and vibration in hands and legs. Even light massage with oil proves useful in these cases.
For weak and thin people, oil massage is ideal.
Dry massage and cold massages are good for reducing fat.
Those suffering from paralysis, rheumatism, backache, pain in legs, polio, sciatica greatly benefit from oil massage, foot massage, hot-cold massage and electric massage. During fast one should have oil massage.
Dry massage, powder massage, and oil massage help to relax the body.
A normally healthy person benefits from oil massage and cold massage.
Apart from these in many ailments massage of some particular parts of the body produces incredible results. For instance massage of the back and backbone in case of weakness of nerves; massage of neck, head and backbone in case of insomnia; the massage of front part of neck in case of tonsils; chest and back in case of asthma and bronchitis; head and neck in case of headache, leg and lower part of the back in sciatica; back and stomach in anemia and particularly massage of liver is very beneficial for the patients.
Oil massage: The oil massage should be done in the direction of the heart. Although one can massage oneself, is better to get somebody else to do massage. Leave your hand to lose and massage toward the heart from the upper parts of the body downwards and from below upwards. The massage should begin from leg, knee, thighs, arms, stomach, chest, back neck and head. The massage activates the veins and helps to cleanse the body of impurities. The massage should concentrate on the muscles and not on the bones. This will help the muscles to become elastic and flexible.
Other types of massage are Tapping, rubbing, kneading, patting, wringing, useripping, Swapping, thumbing, pressing, punching and heating with hand.
Daily massage: Massage the body well for five to seven minutes before the bath.this can be an oil massage or simply dry one by rubbing the hand on the entire body.
Leg: Rub a little oil on the leg.Start from the ankle and using circular motion bring the hand Use the palms of the both hands and rub in opposite directions.pat and stroke gently the leg with hands.
Arm: Rub oil on the arm and massage upwards starting from the wrist.Use a circular motion.Pat and strike gently with hand.
Stomach: Rub oil with both hands on stomach from right to left using clockwise motion.Then catch the flesh with fingers and rub downwards upwards.This helps to reduce fat.Now press with fingers and rub many times towards right and move upwards using clockwise motion.
Chest: Rub the chest all over with oil from left to right, and down to up.Move the hand outwards from the middle.This will broaden the chest.Cup both palms and gently tap the chest all over.This will benefit the heart and lungs.
Back: You can’t massage your own back yourself, so as far as you can expand your hand, gently press and rub outwards.However, if you can get someone else to massage for you.It would be better.Rub oil at the back and massage well from left to right and down to up.Place both palms side by side with backbone in the middle, press and rub downwards.Press with thumbs on both sides of the backbone and rub upwards.Rub every vertebra properly.Gently pull the flesh from different places and massage.Cup the palms and pat gently.
Neck and face: using circular motion massage oil over the face and gradually move the hand downwards from the chin and rub the neck.Massage the face downwards.Use fingers to massage around the eyes.Without pressing hard use palms to massage clockwise.