Friday, December 5, 2008
Massage Therapy: The systematic manual application of pressure and movement to the soft tissue of the body (the skin, tendons, ligaments, fascia). It encourages healing by promoting the flow of blood and lymph, relieving tension, stimulating nerves, stretching and loosening muscles and connective tissue to keep them elastic.
(Photo at left from: bodydayspa.net)
(Photo at right from: harmonymindbody.co.uk/page3.htm)
Conditions Massage Therapy Helps With Include: ADD, Anorexia nervosa, asthma, autism, bulima, cystic fibrosis, anxiety, diabetes, migraine headaches, PMS, pregnancy, burn recovery, spinal cord injury, quitting smoking, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, iliotibial band pain, stretching prior to exercise, improve circulation, stress management, relaxation, muscle spasms, and anxiety management

Additional Physical Benefits Of Massage:
- Reduces lactic acid and carbonic acid that cause irritability. Enhances the immune system and aids in soft tissue injury recovery by increasing blood circulation to injured areas.
- Dilates blood vessels, improves circulation and relieves congestion. Massage also increases the number of red blood cells.
- Pushes along the lymph and facilitates elimination of wastes and toxic debris. Helps to eliminate edema of the extremities
- Improves muscle tone and helps prevent muscular atrophy. It also relaxes muscle spasms and relieves muscle tension.
- Stretches connective tissue while improving circulation and nutrition and preventing the formation of adhesions.
- Compensates for lack of exercise in people who are injured, ill, or aged. Massage helps return venous blood to the heart.
- Acts as a sedative while having a stimulating or exhausting effect on the nervous system
- Bursts fat capsules in subcutaneous tissue so that can be absorbed. Aids in weight loss.
- Increases the excretion of fluids, nitrogen, inorganic phosphorous, and salt.
- For individuals with bone fractures, massage encourages the retention of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur, which are necessary for tissue repair.
- Lessens inflammation and swelling in joints, thereby alleviating pain.
Additional Physiological Benefits:
- Reduces tension and waste products that cause pain by releasing endorphins.
- Muscle relaxation due to heat generation, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.
- Reduces anxiety by inducing relaxation.
- Produces an invigorating feeling if done with brisk movements.
(Photo at right: from handandstoneanthem.onmycity.com)

Effects Broken Down By Body System:
- Integumentary System: stimulates sensory receptors in skin, increases superficial circulation, removes dead skin, and increases sebaceous gland excretions
- Connective Tissue (fascia): improves pliability and separates tissue
- Circulatory System: increases local circulation, enhances venous return, relaxation, and reduces heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscular System: relieves myofascial trigger points, relaxes muscles, and gets rid of metabolic wastes
- Skeletal System: increases joint mobility and flexibility
- Nervous System: stimulates parasympathetic nervous system leading to relaxation. Reduces pain and increases body awareness
- Endocrine System: stimulates release of endorphins
- Immune System: increases lympathic flow and improves immune function by reducing stress
- Digestive System: stimulates better digestion with relaxation, movement of contents of the large intestines and stimulates the liver and kidneys to alleviate faulty elimination

Types of Massage:
- Chair: concentrates on back, neck, shoulder and arms. Lasts 20 mins.
- Relaxation/Therapeutic: full body technique that includes both effleurage (long strokes) and petri sage (small circular) strokes - includes stone massages

- Sports/Athletic: targets and stretches specific areas - gentle stretches to loosen up muscles prior to a sporting event

- Deep Tissue: a relaxation massage that uses deeper pressure to manipulate soft tissue and muscles - strokes and deep finger pressure for knots and muscle tightness. You will often be sore after this massage, but you should not be bruised or hurt.
(Photo at left: from backinactionuk.com)
- Reflexology: use of pressure application to specific parts of the hands and feet that correlates with other parts of the body - look at reflexology chart (ex. tip of toe works sinuses) (photo below: from lannayoga.com) - Oriental: referred to as a bodywork - involves stretches and acupressure point massage
- Swedish: characterized by ong strokes, kneading and friction on muscles and joints to aid flexibility

* NUMBER ONE RULE: MASSAGE SHOULD NEVER HURT *


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