What Is Body Massage?

Kinds, Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many opinions and ideas on the subject of massage, ranging from a nice rubdown from a friend or family member to the variety of professional treatments available in a spa setting. In general, massage is meant to reduce tension in the body and help the individual get through stress. More specific massage techniques might be called for when the goal is to manage and reduce pain.

In general, massage involves the correct manipulation of the body with the hands. Other tools, such as smooth stones, are sometimes used in a particular type of massage. Most spas and professionals in the massage field will offer the basics of reducing stress and relieving tension in muscles. They will also go a step beyond that to include rehabilitation through deep-tissue massage and manipulation. Aromatherapy is sometimes included on the menu, a technique that combines physical massage with fragrances, for example.

In addition to stress and reducing muscle tightness, massage may focus on injuries from accidents, back pain, pain in the hands and wrists from overstimulation, headache and even pain following childbirth. For the foundation of massage, practitioners are advised to concentrate first on the neck, shoulders and back, since this is where most people experience the most discomfort from everyday tension and stress.

One of the massage types not often considered is head/scalp massage. The sides of the head and the area behind the ears are good areas to focus on. The neck and the skull base are also part of many massages. Among the terms used in manual massage are slight pressure, kneading of skin and muscle tissue, and soft “stroking” with the fingers.

Correct technique during massage not only gives the individual a relaxed feeling, it can also help give muscles better “tone” and improve circulation of the blood. The physical stimulation of muscles and soft tissue helps open up the circulatory system, which reduces tension and increases flexibility.

Some individuals have found that the benefits of proper massage techniques include better elimination of wastes from the body. Not only do internal muscles such as the stomach respond to massage, the lymphatic system of the body can be stimulated by the proper massage techniques. This may lead to more efficient waste elimination.

If there are disadvantages to massage, they would involve relying too much on this surface stimulation without treating a real medical condition. For example, some people have regular massage to reduce back pain and muscle tightness when these are symptoms of a more serious medical condition involving the spine and vertebrae.

Some people have found that they get a bit light-headed and have some mild pain after a professional massage. Some of the sensitivity and mild pain is natural when the muscles and soft tissue are manipulated with energetic motion. Increased circulation can cause the individual to feel warm or “flushed” for a short time. If problems persist, it may be good to check with a physician to see if there are real medical conditions that need to be addressed.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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