The Ancient Art of Massage and 10 Health Benefits is about massage therapy and its core benefits.
Massage therapy is one of the most commonly practiced forms of holistic medicine. Therapists use their hands to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body. They work to improve health, wellness, vitality, and the body’s natural functionality through healing touch.
History of massage
The art is one of the oldest healing therapies used on the body. There is evidence of massage taking place as early as 2,700 years B.C, however other findings allude to a history far longer.
Ancient Eastern Chinese cultures practiced massage to heal a variety of illnesses, and Egyptian tombs are adorned with images of massage.
Egyptian massage, in the earliest form, focused on energy pathways and endeavoured to correct and restore any imbalances or blockages in energy flow. This is similar to reflexology and other eastern models of massage.
During the Roman Empire, massage became widely accessible, often available at the famous bathhouses of the time, as an accompaniment to the bathing, cleaning, and steam facilities.
Massage can be used to treat many kinds of pain, so it transcends human culture and history. As long as people are prone to discomfort and ailments, massage continues to develop as a healing practice.
According to traditional Indian medicine, therapeutic massage should be performed using a variety of aromatherapy oils due to their healing properties, and to heighten the sensory experience. Most modern massage therapists use relaxing music as well as incense, scented candles, lotions, and oils.
A powerful provider of release
Nowadays, massage therapy is commonly practiced throughout the world in homes, beauty rooms, clinics, hotels, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, spas, and wellness centers.
It’s often used in treatment programs for sports injuries. Although it cannot cure injuries, it can ease strains and release knots and tension, unwinding and realigning muscles.
There are many types of massage therapy; among the most famous are the Swedish and Thai interpretations, respectively. Traditional Thai massage dates back to 2,500 years BC and was recently added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2019.
In the 1830s, it was widely believed that a Swedish fencing instructor named Per Henrik Ling, who suffered from rheumatism and lung disease, invented Swedish massage.
A famous form of relaxation and self care a massage is also a powerful provider of relief from the stresses of life. A great experience can be healing and therapeutic as well as a luxury. However, there are numerous additional advantages to receiving a massage; to learn more, continue reading for 10 Health Benefits of Massage.
1. Pain relief
A massage therapist can assist in determining the source of pain problems. Gentle strokes can reveal muscle knots and sensitive areas. The massage could relieve and distract from these pains or assist in recovery. People who suffer from joint pain, migraines, repetitive strain injuries, and other pains can all find gentle relief in massage.
2. Increased blood circulation
Massage has been proven to encourage and stimulate blood circulation throughout the body. People that suffer from lymphatic build-up and sports injuries can benefit from the increased circulation, and it can also help when muscles are tight. Healthy circulation is vital to recovering from the gym and weight training. Some gentle massage can also help with circulation problems in pregnancy.
3. Boost immunity
Researchers found that people who received a 45-minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease and infection. Fitting a regular massage into your free time could prevent bugs like common colds, flu, and chest infections.
4. Improve posture
Pain in the lower back, neck, arms, and shoulders is frequently caused by poor posture, but massage can be used to improve it. Deep-tissue, Swedish, or sports massage techniques are most commonly used to deal with misaligned posture. Therapists can often teach stretches and techniques to further improve posture.
5. Lower blood pressure
Studies have shown that patients with high blood pressure or hypertension can benefit from massage. The effects of a long, relaxing massage could lower blood pressure for up to a few days. It’s suggested that a weekly, regular massage could have long-term impacts on blood pressure and contribute to the maintenance of healthy levels.
6. Treat mental health
Massage can treat mental health conditions and help to maintain a stress-relieved mind. Receiving a massage decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behaviour. Massage can provide relief and distraction from anxiety and depression and aid with insomnia, PTSD, and social disorders.
7. Improve flexibility
When the flexibility of a muscle is reduced, it can result in a restriction of movement and the development of pain. Increased flexibility is a common benefit gained through massage and helps to keep joints and bones supple. The most common massage techniques used to increase flexibility include deep strokes and kneading.
8. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is linked to a number of health problems and chronic pains. Research has shown that after a massage, a person can have lower levels of the proteins, cytokines. These proteins play a large role in inflammation. Participants in a study showed lower levels of cytokines after just one 45-minute massage.
9. Chronic conditions
Massage therapy is now often integrated into conventional health care for people who live with chronic conditions, including arthritis, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and kidney failure. Some studies suggest full body relaxation is best for these conditions, whereas others debate focusing on affected areas.
10. Feel good factor
Massages, particularly on the face and head, can stimulate the brain to release chemicals and hormones. In turn, serotonin and dopamine levels are raised, making us feel good. A massage can help us feel positive, happy, focused and energised. As humans are inherently social beings, the simple power of touch and contact can also help us feel grounded and more connected.
Massage isn’t only a way to indulge or pamper yourself. It’s a powerful tool that can be harnessed to help take charge of your health and well-being. Studies continue to take place that further expand our understanding of the therapy’s benefits.
A good massage therapist is respectful and has high standards of client care. It should be a comfortable experience, and this is largely down to the therapist and their operations. For many therapists, the job is rewarding, and they commit a lifetime to developing their knowledge and practice of holistic therapies.
Personally, I have experienced some different styles and approaches to massage, and they provided amazing states of relaxation and release from aches and pains. I’ve always been skin sensitive and ultimately had an interest in the therapy from a younger age.
I recently completed a course in relaxing massage and hope to study more. I’m interested in things related to alignment and posture, having suffered with back pain, and find massage helps with recovery from the gym. For me, it’s a great healer.
I believe the ancient civilizations had it right about the massage benefits, and there’s something almost natural and instinctive about the therapy.
Would you like to try a massage? What is your favourite style? Lets talk in the comments or share the post below
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All text ©J. Thomson, 2022