The art of massage has been around for centuries, with one of the first written documents on massage originating from ancient China and dating back over 4,800 years.
The document was used as a textbook for teaching several alternative medicinal techniques and practices, including massage therapy, herbology and acupressure.
It is believed the practice of massage for physical and mental healing has been around longer than this document indicates, as some cave drawings depict what seems to be massage techniques.
If you have ever rubbed a sore shoulder, calf muscle or some other body part that was strained or stressed, you understand how massage therapy works at a very basic level. The manipulation and treatment of soft body tissues such as tendons and ligaments includes therapies such as relaxation massage and rehabilitative massage.
Those are the two major subdivisions of massage therapy, a practice which is sometimes prescribed as a complementary as well as alternative medicine.
Everyone loves a good massage, especially if there are feelings of tension, stress and tightness of muscles. Having your neck and shoulders rubbed feels wonderful, not to mention your aching back and feet.
This simple but powerful alternative healing practice leads not only to the effective treatment of many health aches and pains, but provides prevention of many health problems too.
Massage Therapy Is Not A New Trendy Treatment
Massage therapy works at a very interpersonal level, and a massage can be given using the hands, feet and other parts of the body, such as the elbow.
The primary purpose of massage therapy is to relieve stress and/or pain, and prevent illness and injury. Professional massage therapists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine may use massage as a therapeutic tool.
Many of these professionals practice several techniques, including those that are commonly associated with massage, such as bodywork therapy, Bowen therapy and reflexology. There are over 80 different massage therapy techniques, so these are just a few!
Massage Therapy Benefits
There are several benefits from receiving massages, backed up by numerous medical journals and satisfied patients. These benefits include both mental and physical relief, such as relief from anxiety and stress and getting better sleep, and relief from pain and injury.
It can also help boost your ‘feel-good’ hormones and reduce headache pain. It is also thought that massage can block the sensory nervous system’s response to harmful or potentially harmful stimuli, which in turn activates physiological processes which happen unconsciously.
This activation prompts the release of your feel-good hormones, which help boost your mood and level of happiness.
Of the more popular types of massage is Swedish massage. It is used to treat lower back pain and the relief can last for a few weeks.
Thai massage is a full body massage which begins at the feet and moves upward. This practice helps stimulate the flow of blood throughout the body. Thai massage is mainly used for managing muscular pain and skeletal pain conditions. However, it also contributes to flexibility and mobility.
One study actually compares the relief from a Thai massage to the pain-killer ibuprofen, for patients suffering with joint pain and arthritis. Needless to say, we all know which one is the healthier alternative option!