Massage has been used as a healing therapy for thousands of years. Historical texts from ancient cultures show that they considered massage to be calming, soothing and relaxing, and also very important as a healing therapy. With the recent revival of interest in alternative therapies, massage has once again attained an important place as a holistic cure and preventive therapy for various ailments. There are many different kinds of massage therapies available, each of which offers specific benefits to the mind and body.
Body massage therapies are mainly derived from two schools. The modern Western school of massage therapy aims at releasing muscular tension and joint stiffness by facilitating the circulation of blood and the lymphatic system. The Oriental school of massage therapy releases blockages and improves the flow of vital energy in the energy channels that course through the body. Some of the popular kinds of body massage are as follows.
Aromatherapy Massage: Aromatherapy massage utilizes the therapeutic properties of essential oils to speed up the healing process of massage. Different oils are used depending on the ailment for which the massage therapy is being given. These oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds.
Ayurvedic Massage: In this form of traditional Indian massage, the entire body is vigorously massaged with large amounts of warm oil and herbs to remove toxins from the system. This has a soothing effect on the nervous system, strengthens the circulation, and helps to remove toxins from the body.
Breema: Breema bodywork is usually performed on the floor with the patient fully clothed. The massage consists of rhythmical and gentle leans and stretches for deep relaxation, increased vitality and stimulation of the self-healing processes of the body.
Lomi Lomi: The word Lomi Lomi simply means massage. It is a unique healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians. The massage is given in a fluid and rhythmic motion using the forearms as well as the hands. It helps in relieving stress and tension, assists in the flow of blood and lymph and stimulates the elimination of wastes and toxins.
Thai Massage: This form of massage involves manipulation using stretching techniques and gentle pressure along the meridians or energy lines of the body. It focuses on releasing toxins and waste materials from the joints, muscles and connective tissue, and stimulating internal organs by gentle pressure on specific energy points. Thai massage helps to relieve tension within the body and can be effectively used for pain relief. It improves the function of the lymph glands and blood circulation, balances the nervous system and clears out blocked and stagnant energy. It is appropriate for a range of musculoskeletal problems including back, neck, shoulder, hip and leg pain.
Shiatsu: Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage which aims to correct energy imbalances within the body. In this type of massage the practitioner applies pressure to the main energy pathways within the patient’s body. The aim of this therapy is to release energy where there are any blockages, and to move energy into those areas of the body that are depleted. Shiatsu is used to treat a range of conditions including back, neck and shoulder pain, circulatory problems, digestive disorders, sinusitis, catarrh, asthma and bronchitis, migraine, headaches, chronic fatigue and stress related problems such as anxiety and depression.
Swedish Massage: The development of this style of massage is generally attributed to the Swedish fencing master and gymnastics teacher Per Henrik Ling. Swedish massage utilizes long, flowing strokes designed to increase circulation and blood flow. It shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing the heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system, soothes the nerves and reduces stress.