Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure. Techniques are commonly applied using hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or a device. The purpose of massage is generally promoted as treatment for stress or pain. In professional settings massage clients are treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor.
Archaeological evidence of massage has been found in many ancient civilizations including China, India, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia. It is known that some form of massage has been used 2500 BC and probably a lot longer than that.
AD 1878: Dutch massage practitioner Johan Georg Mezger applies French terms to name five basic massage techniques, and coins the phrase "Swedish massage system". These techniques are still known by their French names (effleurage (long, gliding strokes), petrissage (lifting and kneading the muscles), friction (firm, deep, circular rubbing movements), tapotement (brisk tapping or percussive movements), and vibration (rapidly shaking or vibrating specific muscles)
China: Massage has developed continuously in China for over 5000 years. Western ideas are considered within the traditional framework. It is widely practiced and taught in hospital and medical schools and is an essential part of health maintenance and primary healthcare
There are many different types of massage, some of the common ones are listed below:
Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices.
Ayurvedic Massage is one of the most common and important Ayurvedic therapies. The massage technique used during Ayurvedic Massage is known to stimulate the lymphatic system to expel the toxins out from the body.
Foot massage (Reflexology) It is believed there are specific points on our feet that correspond to different organs in the body. Stimulation of these points during foot massage can cause significant reduction in pain. Lymphatic drainage Lymphatic drainage is a technique used to gently work and stimulate the lymphatic system, to assist in reduction of localized swelling. The lymphatic system is a network of slow moving vessels in the body that carries cellular waste toward the heart, to be filtered and removed. Lymph also carries lymphocytes, and other immune system agents. Manual lymphatic drainage improves waste removal and immune function.
Myofascial release Myofascial release refers to the manual massage technique that claims to release adhered fascia and muscles with the goal of eliminating pain, increasing range of motion and equilibrioception. Myofascial release usually involves applying shear compression or tension in various directions, cross fiber friction or by skin rolling.
Shiatsu Shiatsu (shi meaning finger and atsu meaning pressure) is a type of alternative medicine consisting of the fingers and palm pressure, stretches, and other massage techniques. Used in Japan for hundreds of years typically by the military and martial arts, where overzealous instructors would injure students. Shiatsu is taught alongside many martial arts.
A hot stone massage Treatment where stones (pebbles) are heated and then placed on the client in specific areas, the warmth penetrates through the skin and deep into the muscle tissue. Used for a variety of treatments including stress relief, aches and pains and the relaxation of tense muscles
Swedish massage The most widely recognized and commonly used category of massage is the Swedish massage. The Swedish massage techniques vary from light to vigorous. Swedish massage uses five styles of strokes. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber or with the fibers) and vibration/shaking. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis. Clinical studies report that Swedish Massage can effectively reduce low back pain and the effectiveness can last for as long as 15 weeks. One study reported that Swedish Massage caused reduction in salivary cortisol indicating its role in management of stress and improvement in mood.
Thai massage Traditional Thai massage (Nuad Boran) is generally based on a combination of Indian and Chinese traditions of medicine. Thai massage combines both physical and energetic aspects. It is a deep, full-body massage, It draws on yoga, acupressure and reflexology. Thai Massage is a popular massage therapy that is used for management of conditions such as musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Thai Massage involves a number of stretching movements that improve body flexibility, joint movement and also improve blood circulation throughout the body.
Traditional Chinese massage Involves pressing, rubbing, pushing, stretching, and kneading muscles, and Zhi Ya, which focuses on pinching and pressing at acupressure points. Technique such as friction and vibration are used as well.
Trigger point therapy This involves deactivating trigger points that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other treatment is applied to these points to relieve myofascial pain.
Massage therapy involves the rubbing and kneading of soft tissues and muscles in the human body. This is to promote healing and enhance a person's health and well-being. Many different types of massage cremes, lotions, gels, and oils are used to lubricate and moisturize the skin and reduce the friction between skin (hands of therapist and client).
Sports massage is designed to help prevent and treat injuries that can occur as a result of overexertion or poor training exercises.
The aim of Swedish massage is to increase the body's absorption of oxygen, which helps the body to rejuvenate. It also contributes to the detoxification process, which speeds up the rate at which cells eliminate waste. This process involves flushing lactic acid, uric acid and other waste from the tissues. Swedish massage helps stimulate the skin and nervous system, and exercises the ligaments and tendons to keep them supple. The entire process is very relaxing and is championed for its ability to reduce both emotional and physical stress.