Massage Therapy as Alternative Medicine
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage is manipulating muscles and connective tissues to enhance the health and well being of the person or animal receiving the massage. Massage can be deep tissue or a soothing light touch.
One of the biggest overlooked benefits of massage is the improvement in our body's largest organ, the skin. The skin covers and contains our entire corporeal body. We absorb many elements through the skin as well as sweat out impurities. By protecting and nourishing the skin, we are receiving benefits to our whole body.
Massaging the muscles also improves the exchange of beneficial oxygen to the tissues. If our muscles are overworked there is a build up of lactic acid. Massage helps increase circulation which will remove this acid.
About Massage Therapy
What are the benefits of Massage therapy?
- Relaxation is probably the number one benefit of massage because stress and tenseness tend to cause pain and stiffness in our muscles.
- Massage increases the ability of the muscles to move. Inactivity and paralysis can decrease the range of motion for a body. Massage makes the muscles flexible again.
- Chronic pain is relieved through massage. The nerve bundles we call "trigger points" are released during muscle manipulation.
- Blood pressure is reduced during a massage which means the heart gets to rest a bit.
- A daily or weekly moisturizing massage will enhance skin tone and nourish this important organ.
- The mental benefits of massage therapy are substantial. These benefits include: reducing mental stress, improving concentration, providing restful sleep and helping with tension headaches.
Types of Massage Therapy
Commonly Used Massage Techniques:
- Swedish Massage
- Sports Therapy
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Aromatherapy during a massage
- Neuromuscular Therapy
- Prenatal Massage
- Reiki and Shiatsu
- Equine and other animal massage
- Asian and Thai Massage
- Accupuncture and Accupressure muscle manipulation
- Medical Massage
- Lymphatic Drainage
Many medical doctors are now prescribing massage therapy as a medical treatment. Sports doctors have known for some time that massage can drastically improve an athlete's performance. When the skin, muscles and connective tissues are smooth and supple, the body tends to be more relaxed and responsive.
One of the most common and persistent ailments in the human form is low back pain. Our spines are not completely evolved enough to support walking upright. Our back muscles must support the spine. The spinal column also protects large nerve fibers and when the spine is misaligned or collapsed, the bone and cartilage of the spine actually puts pressure on these nerves causing pain.
Medical massage for low back pain is designed to support the muscles, nerves and fibers surrounding the spine. This improves the muscle tone of those large muscle groups so they can better support the spinal column.
Myofascial release is another massage technique for relief of "trigger point" pain. In this type of malady a bundle of nerve endings are caught in a muscle spasm that will not release itself. Gentle massage is great for bringing a fresh blood flow and removing the built up lactic acid.
People suffering with muscle spasms, muscle damage and paralysis and stress can all substantially benefit from medical massage therapies. When hydrotherapy is included, the results are even more significant.
Massage therapists will tell you that if your feet hurt, your whole body will hurt. The science of reflexology massage is based on this empirical evidence.
There is some science behind it. It is true that there are many nerve endings in the feet. The feet are sensitive to touch. If you have had even a small pebble in your shoe, you know exactly how sensitive your feet are.
Some people swear by reflexology and massage classes are available to teach this one discipline. As you can see from the foot map in the photo, all organs and major muscle groups have nerve endings in the feet.
The theory behind reflexology (and by association accupuncture and accupressure) is that stimulation or desensitization of these nerve endings will help the associated organ of the body.
Massage therapy should be considered as a viable alternative medical treatment for any condition affecting the nerves, muscles, joints and connective tissues. As many medicinal treatments can be absorbed through the skin, massage should also be considered for a delivery method of certain medications.
Aspirin is well received through the skin and will reduce swelling and inflammation of the affected area. Aspirin in a cream or lotion can be applied by gentle rubbing. This not only helps the injury, but saves irritation of the stomach, the alternative way to absorb aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medicines.
Simply applying moisturizing agents via massage to the skin is a good remedy for many skin problems. Dry skin is unhealthy and cannot absorb beneficial agents from the air and water.
There are some medications that work best through massage type applications. Some carrier agents, such as DMSO, have been found to have the ability of penetrating the skin without damage and carrying drugs along with the application. Anti-fungals work well with this method.
How to do Foot Massage
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© 2012 Austinstar
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