A massage therapy is a combination of art and science. The strokes and pressure applied on your body during a massage relax your mind and body. In our chaotic life and hectic work schedules, we forget that our body and mind both need and deserve a relaxing break. Massage therapy helps to beat stress and relax your mind and body.
In these modern time, massage therapy is highly prevalent among people who suffer from various health problems. It helps to relieve pain, cure injuries of accidents or sports, rejuvenate mind, relax muscles, reduce stress, treat anxiety and depression, and assures overall wellness.
Equipment required for massage therapy:
There are various equipments used for massage therapy. They are introduced to suit and relax different parts of the body.
- Tables & chairs: Specialised tables and chairs are used for client’s/patient’s comfort. It provides comfortable position to the person who’s taking the massage, and ensures his/her safety. Going by the advanced technology, many doctors and massage centres also have mechanical massage chairs. The client has to sit on the chair, and it automatically starts massaging the entire body.
- Oil: Different types of herbal and aroma oils are used for relaxing muscles and rejuvenating the mind. Olive oil, grape-seed oil, almond oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, lavender oil – all these have different properties, and are used to soothe pain and relax the muscles of different body parts.
- Vichy shower: a form of hydrotherapy, which uses various forms of showers. The client lies in a shallow water-bed, and the nozzles spray larger quantities of water.
- Body rock: Body rock is carved out of a stone, and usually has the shape of a serpentine. It applies pressure on certain areas. It can be used directly on the skin after applying a medium like oil or corn starch.
Various methods of massage:
Various techniques and methods of massage have developed in various countries over a period of time
Ayurvedic massage: Ayurveda, which originated in India, is considered to be an age old health care system. Ayurvedic massage, which is also known as ‘Abhyanga’ makes use of various heated herbal oils combined together. This blend is applied on the body by the therapist and necessary pressure is applied on various parts of the body to relax the aching muscles and rejuvenate the mind.
Acupressure: Acupressure, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is a combination technique. Mainly derived from the alternative medicine – acupuncture, in acupressure, pressure is applied on the same points as acupuncture with the help of hands, elbows or with one of the various available devices.
Thai massage: Although the name is Thai massage or Thailand massage, it has originated in India. Thai massage is based on Ayurveda and yoga. It is a combination of deep massage and yoga-like positions. No oils or lotions are used in this method, and it is mainly performed on the floor.
Stone massage: In this type of massage, pressure is applied on the body with the help of stones which are either heated or cooled in water. While giving the massage, the therapist may also apply oil over the stones for lubrication. These heated stones are either lava rocks or Basalt stones, and can be placed on a specific point on the back, between the toes or on palms. These heated stones, when kept on the recipient’s back, help to retain the heat, which penetrates into the muscles and helps to release tension.
Champissage massage (commonly know as ‘champi’): Commonly known as the Indian head massage, Champi is a massage of the head, neck and face. It basically helps to channelise energy levels or balance the chakras. This method aims at draining out the negative energy, which may cause diseases or ailments in the long run. Champi helps to treat stress, pain, aches and hair loss.
Reflexology: The principle on which reflexology works is that hands and feet have reflex points that relate to every organ, gland and system of the body. It is an alternative medicine and treats the client/patient by applying pressure on hands, feet and ears through the use of thumb, fingers and hand. Unlike Ayurveda, it does not make use of any medium like oil.
Benefits of Massage therapy:
- It relieves the tensed muscles and stiffness. Strained muscles, sprained ligaments and swelling can be reduced by massage therapy.
- It relieves pain in migraine, and reduces need for medication.
- Massage therapy increases blood circulation in the body. This helps in better pumping of oxygen into the body and supply of nutrients to essential parts of the body.
- Specific herbal oils when applied through massage therapy can treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis, back pain and neck pain.
- Besides treating muscular pains, massage therapy also helps in rejuvenation of mind. It is known to treat anxiety and depression. In a way, it helps to relax your mind.
- It improves posture, treats musculo-skeletal system, and strengthens the immune system.
Although massage therapy is considered to be very safe and rarely causes side-effects, it is important to practice caution. It is necessary that the masseur or the therapist sticks to the norms of the massage therapy while giving a massage.
- First and foremost, the masseur should check with the client/patient that he/she is not allergic to the medium he is using for the massage. For instance: herbal oil or aroma oil.
- The masseur should ask the patient if he/she has any injury or any sensitive area on the body, and should avoid applying pressure on that particular part. Massage should be avoided on open wounds, skin infections, fractured parts, weakened bones or blood clots.
- If the person is suffering from bleeding disorders or low platelet counts, he/she should avoid getting a rigorous massage.
- All those who are suffering from cancer should consult their doctor before opting for massage therapy.
- Expectant mothers too, should speak to their doctors before undergoing a massage therapy.