Benefits of Using massage
Massage is a complementary therapy that, when applied with skill, love and care, can evoke many beneficial changes within the body, mind, and spirit of the whole person. Massage is a powerful treatment precisely because it workson both the physical and psychological levels, and because it has the ability to relax and invigorate the person receiving it. While the techniques and strokes of massage can ease pain or tension from stiff and aching muscles, boost a sluggish circulation, or eliminate toxins, the nurturing touch of the hands on the body soothes away mental stress and restores emotional equilibrium at the same time.
As tensions dissolve there is an ensuing integration between thephysical body and underlying emotions, which breaks the vicious cycle of tension between mind and body. Massage allows time for the replenishment of innate resources of vital energy. This is particularly relevant in a modern world when stress is known to be the root cause of many serious physical and mental conditions.
Stress is a natural factor of life, but if it is not discharged appropriately, or is suffered for a prolonged period of time, it robs the body of health and energy. Stress can also lower the natural defenses of the body’s immune system and its ability to fight disease. When a person is constantly exposed to the adverse effects of stress, the situation can result in anxiety, depression, lethargy, insomnia, and panic attacks. Increasingly, both the medical profession and the public recognize the benefits of massage as a successful treatment of symptoms arising from stress.
The importance of Touch
Massage provides a safe and neutral situation in which to receive loving touch and stimulation of the skin senses, which is so important for emotional health and self esteem. Touch is fundamental to the development of a healthy human being, and touch deprivation in the early stages of life is known to inhibit the emotional and physical growth of a child. Yet the need to be touched in a caring way does not stop with the advent of adulthood. Unfortunately, in many societies, physical contact between people has become strictly limited to intimate relationships.
The power of a loving touch, and its ability to heal, share empathy, and to comfort, has been largely forgotten. Massage should combine skilful techniques with loving touch, so that as the hands stroke the body, they unlock not only the physical tensions trapped in muscles, but also acknowledge, with complete accept ance, the essence of the person within. While massage itself is active, the underlying quality of the touch is one of stillness and calm, a sense of being totally present with that person. This is why massage is such a beneficial therapy, because it helps the person receiving it to feel safe enough to relax and unwind from the deepest parts of the mind.
Massage benefits the entire physiological system. Soft, flowing strokes calm and soothe the nervous system, stimulate the sensory nerve-endings in the skin, and warm and loosen the superficial tissue. They integrate the different parts of the body, defining its shapes and contours to bring a renewed sense of body image and self-esteem. Deeper strokes remove tension from the muscles and increase suppleness and mobility.
Massage assists the cardiovascular system by boosting blood and lymph circulation, so that vital nutrients reach all the cells and toxins are eliminated from the tissues.
Revitalizing strokes invigorate energy levels, and leave the skin with a healthy glow. Breathing deepens as the person becomes more relaxed and energized through massage, increasing the intake of oxygen into the body and the expulsion of carbon dioxide from the lungs. Calm, still holds enable the person to relax deeply and discharge pent-up feelings of stress. Massage, combined with the healing properties of essential oils, is a truly holistic therapy.
To touch or rub, and to caress and hold as a response to emotional or physical pain, is natural to people. The laying of hands on the body as a means of healing the sick is well described in the Bible, but its practice is found in every culture.