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Massage Therapy: Fundamentals And Benefits


Massage Therapy: Fundamentals And Benefits



Massage is a general term encompassing pressing, rubbing and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage is one of the most important remedial procedures occupying a crucial position in Naturopathy.



  1. Most popular:
    a) Swedish
    b) Deep tissue
    c) Sports
    d) Trigger point
    e) Chair
  2.  Other:
    a) Shiatsu
    b) Hot stone
    c) Myofascial
    d) Reflexology
    e) Medical massage



  • Dates back to before 2000 BC
  • Prevalent in civilizations in both East and the West
  • Chinese:
    a) Based on theory of Jing Luo (Channels)
    b) Same as acupuncture
  • Indian:
    a) Based on ancient Ayurvedic healing system



Massage is becoming widely popular among people around the globe. Considered to be part of complementary and alternative medicine, it is increasingly being recommended during the course of standard treatment for a variety of medical conditions. Massage has been proven to be beneficial for:

1. Anxiety
2. Fibromyalgia
3. Headaches
4. Insomnia
5. Stress
6. Myofascial pain syndrome
7. Soft tissue strains and injury
8. Temporomandibular joint pain
9. Sports injury
10. Relieve pain of osteoarthritis


Apart from the above mentioned benefits, there are other physiological effects of massage. Some of the physiological effects of massage include:

      1.  Effects on skeletal system:
        a) Increases joint mobility by reducing thickness of connective tissue
        b) Helps release restrictions in the facia
        c) Helps free adhesions, break down scar tissue, reduce inflammation and hence, restore motion of stiff joints
        d) Improves muscle tone and balance
        e) Reduces physical stress on bones and joints
      2.  Effects on muscular system:
        a) Relieves muscular tightness, stiffness, spasms and restrictions
        b) Increases flexibility of the muscles
        c) Increases blood circulation
        d) Reduces muscle fatigue and soreness
        e) Stimulates removal of toxins
      3. Effects on cardiovascular system:
        a) Improves circulation of venous blood back to the heart
        b) Dilates blood vessels for efficient working
        c) Enhances blood flow
        d) Delivery of oxygenated blood to tissues and removal of wastes from the body is quickened
        e) Decreases blood pressure, temporarily
        f) Decreases heart rate
        g) Reduces ischaemia
      4. Effects on lymphatic system:
        a) Increases lymphatic drainage
        b) Reduces oedema
        c) Increases white blood cells production and hence, boosts immune health
      5. Effects on nervous system:
        a) Stimulates sensory receptors
        b) Soothes nerve endings
        c) Stimulates parasympathetic nervous system
        d) Reduces stress and promotes relaxation
        e) Reduces pain by the release of endorphins
      6. Effects on skin:
        a) Improves blood circulation to skin and so, nutrition to cells is improved
        b) Stimulates cell regeneration
        c) Increases sweat release from glands
        d) Vasodilates the capillaries and hence, produces glow in the skin
        e) Provides resistance to infection
        f) Improves elasticity
      7. Effects on respiratory system:
        a) Deepens respiration
        b) Improves lung capacity
        c) Relaxes any kind of tightness in respiratory muscles
        d) Improves rate of respiration
        e) Stimulates sympathetic nervous system
      8. Effects on digestive system:
        a) Stimulates peristalsis of large intestine
        b) Relieves constipation, colic and gas
        c) Stimulates digestion
      9. Effects on urinary system:
        a) Increases urinary output
        b) Improves lymph drainage



Massage is not recommended in case of:

      • Bleeding disorders or if taking blood-thinning medication
      • Burns or healing wounds
      • Deep vein thrombosis
      • Fractures
      • Severe osteoporosis
      • Severe thrombocytopenia
      • Fever
      • Pregnancy (around abdominal muscles)



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