MASSAGE is an instinctive therapy that everyone has the ability to learn. The goal of MassageManual.com is to encourage your natural abilities and give you the knowledge and expertise to practice safely and effectively on your family and friends. The information, which we will provide will also be useful to the students choosing massage therapy as a career or practising therapist, particularly the very comprehensive section on massage schools and massage spa.
You emlpoy your innate ability to touch therapeutically in your daily life. If you have a headache, you instinctively rub around the neck and the temples to soothe away the pain and tension. If you hurt your knee or bang your elbow, your first reaction is to massage it to relieve the pain. Children will hold and rub their tummies when they have stomach-ache and eventually the pain will go. A parent feels a child’s feverish forehead to check for a high temperature and will massage in response to a child’s bumps and cries of pain.
The healing power of therapeutic massage is also used for emotional problems. To comfort distraught friends or relatives you may put your arms around them, hold or stroke them to comfort, support and reassure them in their times of need.
Body and mind should not be regarded as separate entities. Physical symptoms such as headaches or constant fatigue are often an indication of what is ‘on our mind’. Muscles contract and tighten in response to anger and anxiety or may become slack as we assign ourselves to what is happening in our lives. Within the physical body is buried a whole lifetime of experience and emotions – birth, childhood, pleasure and pain, shock, frustation, fear, grief, joy and much more besides. Massage is an excellent tool for enabling us to become more aware of what is happening deep within us.
The importance and need for touch is reflected in our everyday language. We talk of being ‘deeply touched’ when trying to express a reaction. We ask friends to keep ‘in touch’ or stay in contact’ with us. We speak of ‘being in touch’ or ‘out of touch’ with our feelings. We describe others as being a ‘soft touch’ or a bit ‘touchy’. We also experience ‘gut feelings’ about a particular situation.
Touch is essential for our growth and well-being. It is the first sense to be developed in the womb, and early touching while the foetus grows in the womb enhances the development of the nervous system and encourages communication between mother and baby. Children needs cuddles from their parents to give them a feeling of security and to show them how much they are loved.
Massage is safe and effective combination of techniques that almost anyone can learn. It is a holistic therapy and offers benefits for the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of the person giving the massage as well as the person receiving it. It works well on young and old, male and female, and can even be applied as a self-help therapy.
The word ‘Massage’ is most likely to have emerged from the Greek word ‘Massein’, meaning ‘to knead’ or the Arabic word ‘mas’h’ meaning ‘to press softly’.
Massage is a successful tool for healing and has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. In adults as in babies, massage has many benefits from a preventive health perspective as well as stimulating the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to aide in the recovery from trauma, depression, back pain and physical or emotional stresses.
References to massage are found in Chinese medical texts 4,000 years old. The Chinese have long recognized the powerful benefits of touch in healing.They recorded centuries of history behind their therapeutic massage techniques. This ancient culture claim they were the first people to systemize and turn massage into a true healing art.A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends ‘breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet” as the appropriate treatment for -complete paralysis, chills, and fever.” Physicians mostly of the Greek and Roman era, prescribed it both for its restorative powers and for general preservation of the body and mind.
In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates (the father of medicine), who had learned massage from the Greeks, prescribed the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory ailments.It is recognised that rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid. Furthermore, rubbing can make the flesh and cause parts to waste, it is these latter beliefs that are so important for those concerned with figure improvement.
In 1363 Guy de Chaulic published a book about surgery, where he described different methods of bodywork in conjunction with surgery. Paracelsus found that bodywork was not only an important therapy but that it was necessary.
Doctors such as Ambroise Pare, a 16th-century physician to the French court, praised massage as a treatment for various ailments.
Massage became popular throughout Europe, due to the work of Henrik Ling (1776-1839) during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. He developed a system of massage that used many of the positions and movements of Swedish gymnasts. This system was based on the newly discovered knowledge of the circulation of blood and lymph which he Chinese had been using these methods for centuries.
In 1813 he established with royal patronage the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics. Ling’s system is generally known as Swedish Massage. It spread quickly from Sweden. In 1895 a society of Trained Masseuses was formed in Britain to increase the standard of training (the date 1894 is sometimes quoted), and in 1899 Sir William Bennet inaugurated a massage department at St. George’s Hospital, London.
Although the practice of massage has been discredited in the past, mainly by advocates of modern medicine, it has recently been growing in practice. Now, commonly accepted throughout the medical world as an effective and true medical art, massage is successfully used in hospitals, pain clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and drug treatment clinics for people of all ages with a variety of medical conditions.