Body Massage: Beyond the Pleasure of Relaxation
While body massage is an ancient art, it is still very popular today. This is because the advantages of massage are extensive. It is used as a form of physical rehabilitation program, and it has likewise proven to be helpful for some chronic conditions. Massage also helps reduce the anxiety and pressure of daily living that can cause various ailments.
The most prevalent type of massage in the West is the Swedish massage. It applies long gliding strokes by the hands and palms, firm kneading, bending and stretching, tapping, as well as circular movements on outer muscle layers using massage oil or lotion. It is mild and soothing. I would highly recommend it for first timers. The benefits of Swedish massage go past relaxation. It increases the level of oxygen in the blood and decreases muscle toxins while improving circulation and flexibility, and easing tension.
For stress-related conditions, Aromatherapy massage is the most suitable. It is a therapy that uses scented or essential oils to address particular needs without much physical work. Its purpose is to use the healing properties of essential oils. Essential oils are natural, highly concentrated plant oils. There is an essential oil for practically every type of known illness.
Some of the more common ailments and the right essential oil remedy include:
• Stress: clary sage, lemon, lavender
• Inflammation: German chamomile, helichrysum
• Insomnia: Roman chamomile, patchouli, clary sage, marjoram
• Lack of energy: eucalyptus, lemongrass, rosemary, grapefruit
• Depression: nutmeg, lemon, anise, bergamot
Types of Body Massage
Hot Stone Massage uses heated, smooth stones on the body to warm and release tight muscles. This is a unique style perfect for persons who tend to get chills. This is a lighter type of massage that relieves anxiety, back pain, insomnia, osteoarthritis, and depression. However, it is not ideal for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, tumors, metal implants, varicose veins or diabetes. It is best to consult a doctor first. Pregnant women and children are also not advised to get the hot stone massage.
In Eastern medicine, Shiatsu is the most well-known type of body massage. It originated from Japan and China. In this technique, finger pressure is used in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture points. This is based on the theory of qi or energy that gets blocked in the body. Some of the many benefits of Shiatsu are improving circulation, restoring the body’s energy, relieving arthritis, helps insomniacs, relieves headache, and promotes healing from sprains and injuries. It also aids in the treatment of respiratory and digestive problems.
Another ancient healing system is the Thai massage. It uses acupressure combined with the elements of Ayurveda and Yoga. It aligns the energies of the body by using a series of interactive, flowing movements, stretches and rhythmic massage on particular pressure points. It also includes compression and gentle pressure. It offers a meditative experience that helps release mental and physical stress.
One technique that restores balance and harmony in the body, and is effective in releasing tension is reflexology. It involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot. Practitioners believe that the points correspond to different organs of the body. It is also believed to promote relaxation, calm the emotions and ease the mind. It is also proven effective in reducing pain and anxiety.
There are many other types of massage. It is always best to consult a physician to identify which technique will work best for you, not only for the comfort it brings but also to determine which one is best suited for your particular physical condition. The many benefits of body massage boil down to three aspects: mental, physical and emotional benefits.