Massages have been performed and practiced for thousands of years in Rome, Greece, Egypt, India, China, Japan and other South-East Asian countries. Body massage is the using of hands, elbows, knees to promote healing, therapy, relaxation and wellbeing. Massage as a healing tool has been around for thousands of years in many cultures. Touching is a natural human reaction to pain and stress, and for conveying compassion and support. Think of the last time you bumped your head or had a sore calf. What did you do? Rubbed it, right? The same was true of our earliest ancestors. Healers throughout time and throughout the world have instinctually and independently developed a wide range of therapeutic techniques using touch. Many are still in use today, and with good reason. We now have scientific proof of the benefits of massage – benefits ranging from treating chronic diseases and injuries to alleviating the growing tensions of our modern lifestyles. Having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind – there are specific physiological and psychological changes which occur, even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus and shorten recovery time. It basically involves two types of responses: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement and a reflex response where the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage.
As an exerciser or an athlete, you’ll benefit more from a deep tissue or sports massage than you will a spa soft-and-gentle-and-smelling-good massage. However, these types of massage may not always be comfortable.
A sports massage often involves a fast-paced massage, stretching and other approaches, depending upon the sport in which you participate. It can be tailored to be used as a pre-workout stretch and opportunity to warm up the muscles or used as a post-workout massage designed to reduce soreness and increase flexibility. Lead instructor at Delta College and licensed massage therapist Craig Simon uses different techniques for pre-event massage, intermediate massage (massage during the event that day) and post-event massage to get the muscles warmed up, stretched out, and spasm-free or for relaxation.
The deep tissue massage often is suggested by massage therapists because it works on particular issues you may have, applying heavier pressure on layers of muscles and other deep tissues. Don’t expect to be comfortable throughout this massage. It’s designed to get into knots and tension the muscles may be holding. But be prepared. With their attention to soft tissue aches and pains, either type of massage can leave you feeling sore.
A massage reduces stress levels in most people. Massage may also help manage or reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. While no studies prove that massage reduces depression symptoms, some people with depression feel that their symptoms decrease after massage. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals reports that massage offers other benefits for your well-being, such as better sleep, increased energy, better concentration and less fatigue. A full body massage helps remove dead skin cells over the entire body for improved skin tone. The stimulated blood flow benefits the appearance and health of the skin. The massage can also encourage tissue regeneration, which may help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks according to Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. Depending on the kind being used, the massage oil may provide moisturizing and other benefits to the skin.