Massage is considered to be one of the oldest therapies in medical science. Thought to be an origin of Chinese culture around 2,700 B.C., the traces of massage can be found in the Indian, Greek, Rome, Japan and Mesopotamian civilizations. In ancient India, therapeutic massage was practiced frequently as a part of ayurvedic treatment. Use of aromatherapy in massage was most prevalent at that time. Massage is a combination of various techniques, which involves pressure, stokes and compression of specific muscles and tissues for healing. This is done with the use of different oils and lotions. Massage has proved to be a beneficial therapy from the day it began to the present. This treatment therapy has the direct effect on the muscles, circulatory system, nervous system and the immune system.
There are various massage practices followed all over the world, each having their own significance. The most prominent methods of massage existing today includes: Swedish Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Reflexology, Sports Massage and Back Massage.
Swedish Massage Therapy: This the most common therapy accepted worldwide at present. It involves deep smooth strokes and rubbing of the superficial muscular layers using different oils and lotions. This provides deep relaxation to the body.
Aromatherapy Massage: This is the most effective method of stress reduction and relaxation in which different essential oils and scented oils are used for massage. The selection of oils is need based. The one the most common oils used in aromatherapy is lavender.
Hot Stone Massage: This is generally practiced to reduce the muscular tension in the body. A number of warm small stones are placed on the specific points of body and a gentle pressure is applied to them. This phenomenon stimulates the energy centers of the body and tightens the loose muscles of the body.
Deep Tissue Massage: This method is particularly aimed to the deep muscular layers and the connective tissues of body. Slow strokes and friction is applied to the muscles of the body during this therapy. This method provides relief from pain in muscles, strains and other postural problems.
Shiatsu: It is a Japanese technique in which a rhythmic and sequential finger pressure is applied on the acupuncture points of the body depending on the problem. It improves the flow of energy in the body and provides relaxation too.
Thai Massage: Thai massage uses several compressions and stretches to some specific points to enhance the circulation of energy all over the body. It also includes several postures like yoga. This increases flexibility of the body and much effective for stress reduction.
Pregnancy Massage: As the name suggests, this form of massage is generally practiced at the time of pregnancy. This includes a set of positions, which helps in a healthy and safe delivery. Apart from that it is helpful in stress reduction, relieve from pain and in reducing swelling.
Reflexology: Reflexology is basically a foot based massage and often called foot massage too. A pressure is applied to specific points on the foot, which are related to other parts of the body. This is a great relaxation to the people who keep standing more of the time.
Sports Massage: This method basically focuses on the people involved in a lot of physical activities such as sportsman and athletes. It lays emphasis on preventing and treating injuries rather than relaxation. It is very helpful in enhancing the performance of an athlete. Techniques such as stroking and stretching are commonly used in this method.
Back Massage: Back pain is one of the most common problems today. Continuous back massage for 30-40 minutes can bring much relief to the back pain and can prevent it too.
Apart from providing relaxation, massage therapy has much medical significance too. It is still one of the best alternative therapies, which helps in living a healthy life. Research has provided the evidence that, if done correctly massage is itself capable of relieving from various ailments such as stress, pain, injury, blood pressure and even cancer. Moreover, it boosts our immune system and helps us to manage anxiety, emotions and depression. So, the importance of massage cannot be ignored and hence the popularity of massage therapy is increasing day by day.