What is Body massage?
Body massage involves using the hands to perform movements on the skin to promote relaxation, healing and wellbeing. The main techniques of Western massage involve stroking, kneading, rubbing or pressing on the body.
Massage has been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures: in ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, for example. The oriental traditions of acupressure, foot and hand massage, and therapeutic massage have survived for thousands of years and are still widely practiced in the East and the West. They've also influenced the development of modern techniques such as zone therapy and reflexology.
Modern Western massage techniques are based on an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the body. The hand movements are used to facilitate the circulation of blood and the lymphatic system, and to release muscular tension and joint stiffness.
Oriental massage therapies are based on the 'meridian' system of energetic channels that course through the body. Pressure techniques are thought to release blockages and improve the flow of vital energy (or 'chi') in these channels.
How Body massage helps?
When the body is touched, receptors in the skin send messages to the brain causing the release of chemicals such as endorphins. These produce a sense of relaxation and wellbeing and can also relieve pain.
Massage also improves the flow of blood and lymph fluid and helps to eliminate waste products from the body. It's also useful for specific ailments such as depression, neck and back pain, and insomnia.
It can be helpful during pregnancy and labor, too, and is used to help premature babies thrive and mothers bond with their infants.
What does Body massage involve?
Western massage therapies are performed directly on the skin. Clothing is usually removed for a full-body massage, although underwear can be worn if you prefer. Towels cover the areas not being massaged and help to keep the body warm. In oriental massage therapies, which use pressure techniques, clothing is usually kept on.
A full-body massage usually takes about an hour. If only part of the body is being massaged, such as the neck and shoulders, the massage may last 15 to 30 minutes.
Body massage – care to be taken before during and after :
Massage shouldn't be applied to varicose veins, anywhere that fractures are present or any parts of the skin with swelling, bruising, cuts or infection. Care should be taken during pregnancy and if someone has cancer.
Massage should be comfortable and relaxing. If it's painful, or if you're not happy with the way that touch is being applied, tell your practitioner or ask them to stop.
Who can do Body massage?
It's important to make sure that the massage therapist you choose is fully licensed or certified (requirements vary from state to state). The rapport you establish with your therapist is also important:
The right person -- as well as the right type of massage -- will help you reap all the benefits of bodywork. You must place your trust in your practitioner in order to feel completely relaxed and comfortable. In fact, the success of your session often depends on the connection between you and your massage therapist, particularly when doing energy work.
Usually, the best way to find a good massage therapist is through word of mouth. If you have a friend you trust who raves about the way her massage therapist helped her lower back pain, start by contacting her practitioner. You can also find licensed massage therapists in your area by calling the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. And well-known and accredited spas generally have massage therapists on staff.