"I have always believed that an ultimate spa experience is a stimulation of all senses. The aroma should be rejuvenating, the
touch should be healing, the sound should be soothing, the ambiance should be relaxing and the drink should be detoxifying." -- Ema Trinidad
The Benefits of Massage
The Healing Touch
The basic goal of massage is to help the body heal itself and to increase health and well-being. Touch is the core ingredient of massage therapy and also combines science and art. Touch also conveys a sense of caring, an important component in the healing relationship. When muscles are overworked, waste product such as lactic acid can accumulate in the muscle, causing soreness, stiffness and even muscle spasm. Massage improves circulation, which increases blood flow, bringing fresh oxygen to body tissues. This can assist the elimination of waste products, speed healing after injury, and enhance recovery from disease.
Therapeutic massage can be used to promote general well-being and enhance self-esteem, while boosting the circulatory and immune systems to benefit blood pressure, circulation, muscle tone, digestion and skin tone. Massage is primarily about touch, and the touch in itself has healing qualities for reasons that are beyond our understanding.
Wilhelm Reich, the first modern therapist to understand the effects of massage on emotions, introduced the concept of “body armouring.” He believes that unexpressed emotions, such as anger or grief are held in the body. Tense, rigid muscles are not healthy for the body and suppressed emotions are not good for the mind. Lately, research in the US has reinforced Reich’s belief. It has found that old emotions are stored in the ganglion of the spinal cord and other parts of the autonomic nervous system. Massage can free them by inducing relaxation, releasing endorphins (the body’s pain relievers), but also by triggering neuropeptides (molecules that act as intercellular messengers within the nervous system). Massaging the skin releases peptides affecting the mind, stimulating the immune system and improving overall body health. According to a leading US pharmacologist, Dr. Candac Pert, the preventive benefits of massage are so great that almost “90% of mainstream medicines can be replaced with a weekly massage.”
Massage Improves Work Productivity
Research has verified that office workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less stressed than those who weren’t massaged. In fact, a lot of leading companies in the US are resorting to the practice of providing massage therapies to their employees, during their coffee and lunch breaks. The performance of these employees was found to have increased significantly after they have undergone the therapy.
Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
• Helps release and aids
• Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness.
• Alleviates discomfort during pregnancy.
• Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments.
• Reduces pain and swelling, reduces formation of excessive scar tissue.
• Reduces muscle spasms.
• Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion.
• Enhances athletic performance; treats injuries caused during sport or work.
• Promotes deeper and easier breathing.
• Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids.
• Reduces blood pressure.
• Helps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain.
• Enhances the health and nourishment of skin.
• Improves posture.
• Strengthens the immune system.
• Treats musculoskeletal problems.
• Rehabilitation post operative.
• Rehabilitation after injury.
Mental Benefits of Massage Therapy
• Fosters peace of mind.
• Promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness.
• Helps relieve mental stress.
• Improves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately.
• Enhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity.
• Satisfies need for caring and nurturing, touch.
• Fosters a feeling or well- being.
• Reduces levels of anxiety.
• Creates body awareness.
• Increases awareness of mid-body connection.
(Source : American Massage Therapy Association)
Reference: The Magic of Massage by Tanushree Podder