Massage, the use of touch, is perhaps one of the oldest, most natural and instinctive forms of expressing nurture and the desire to heal. Chinese records dating back 3000 years document its use. The ancient Hindus, Japanese, Persians and Egyptians applied various forms of massage for different ailments. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, born in 460BC wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.
Modern day massage therapy, as developed by Swedish physiologist Per Henrik Ling in the 1700’s, is the manual manipulation of soft body tissue (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to encourage increased oxygen flow in the blood and to release toxins from the tissues.
If you have been suffering from chronic pain for a long time, you might be surprised at how effective a massage treatment might be. Therapeutic/Remedial massage is a style of massage that uses strong pressure, slow deep strokes and friction across the muscle grain to reduce chronic muscle tension.
Sports massage is used for the benefit of all sports and exercise participants. The pressure is often deeper than a Therapeutic massage and there is greater focus on the mechanism causing the pain.
Sports massage can be applied to any part of the body, but is most often used on the larger muscle groups of the legs, arms, back and shoulders. The treatment helps to keep the muscles loose and the joints flexible. This has the advantage of enhancing performance but also helps to reduce the possibility of injury.
Massage therapy can be varied to provide for the individual needs of the client and benefits can include relief from headaches, back pain and muscular tension. Whatever the massage system used there will be psychological effects that will be common to all of them. These will include a feeling of well-being and an increased awareness of your body.
Whichever type of massage you choose, treatment may be followed by passive stretching when applicable.