Massage is one of the oldest, simplest forms of therapy and is a system of
stroking, pressing and kneading different areas of the body to relieve pain,
relax, stimulate, and tone the body. Massage does much more than create a pleasant
sensation on the skin, it also works on the soft tissues(the muscles, tendons,
and ligaments) to improve muscle tone. Although it largely affects those muscles
just under the skin, its benefits may also reach the deeper layers of muscle.
Massage also stimulates blood circulation and assists the lymphatic system
(which runs parallel to the circulatory system), improving the elimination
of waste throughout the body. Massage therapy eases tension, stiffness, pain
and enhances well-being. It also improves breathing and improves circulation
as well as having an overall relaxing and soothing effect.
The effects of massage are cumulative and patients should look to undergo a
course of massage treatments to bring the most benefits. Regular massage can
have a strengthening and toning effect on the whole body, and helps prevent
unnecessary strains and injuries that might occur due to excess tension and
any resultant structural weaknesses. Depending on the type of massage given,
it can stimulate or calm the nervous system, and can therefore help reduce
fatigue and leave the patient relaxed, or leave them with a feeling of replenished
energy. At its best, massage has the potential to restore the individual physically,
mentally and spiritually.
Massage is mainly used for musculoskeletal problems and related pain, as well
as stress-related conditions and to promote a general feeling of wellbeing.
Massage is also being used for pain relief during childbirth and labour.
Massage is inadvisable if the patient has certain medical conditions. It is
important the practitioner is aware of any medical condition the patient has
prior to treatment.