Massage is one of the oldest forms of health care.
Certain ancient Egyptian tomb paintings show people receiving massages as well as ancient Indian and Chinese manuscripts.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also used massage. The 16th century Doctor Ambroise Para praised massage as a treatment.
In WW1 soldiers who where suffering from shell shock were treated with massage. Massage therapy is finding its way into the health care system these days.
Massage has also been incorporated into several other therapies.
There are thousands of receptors in the dermis which react to external stimuli. Gentle massage may trigger the release of endorphins which induce a feeling of well being.
Stronger massage may ease stiff joints and improve mobility. While massage is not a cure it can lower the amount of stress hormones.
There is an extensive amount of research that supports the therapeutic claims of massage. When consulting a practitioner a special table or chair is used.
Generally most people undress for a massage but a towel is usually placed over you. There are many different forms of massage.
Remedial massage focuses on specific conditions such as muscle strain. Lymph massage aims to speed the removal of waste products by stimulating the lymphatic system.
Biodynamic massage aims to release emotions that have become trapped. Certain Eastern massage includes acupressure.
Talcum powder or light oil is used so the hands may gently glide over the skin. Essential oils may be added.
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A full body massage generally lasts about one hour.
Shiatsu Massage is a hands-on therapy technique originating in Japan. Shiatsu is an evolving form. Various styles incorporate (to differing degrees) aspects of Japanese massage traditions, Chinese Medicine practice, and "western" anatomy & physiology. Shiatsu, as well as Teate, originated in Japan. There were many hands-on therapies called Teate before traditional Chinese therapies such as Acupuncture and Tuina were introduced to Japan. The term shiatsu was first used in a book published in 1915, Tenpaku Temai's Shiatsu Ryoho. Tokujiro Namikoshi founded the Japan Shiatsu College in 1940 and systematized a form of Shiatsu therapy based more on Western anatomy than traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. In Japan, Namikoshi's system enjoys special legal status, and its adherants often credit him with the development of shiatsu sui generis; the story is told that at the age of seven, Tokujiro Namikoshi developed a technique of pressing using his thumbs and palms as he tried to nurse his mother who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Other styles of shiatsu exist; adherents of the Namikoshi system generally contend that these are derived from the work of Namikoshi, and refer to them as Derivative Shiatsu. For example, Tadashi Izawa established Meridian Shiatsu, incorporating Meridian Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine into his Shiatsu therapy. Shizuto Masunaga’s book, called Zen Shiatsu in English, popularized Zen (or Masunaga) Shiatsu in North America and Europe. Ryukyu Endo, a Buddhist priest, introduced Tao Shiatsu, which involves concentrating the mind and making supplications to the Buddha. Kiyoshi Ikenaga, in his book Tsubo Shiatsu, elucidates from an anatomical and physiological point of view, how meridian points (or Tsubo) are useful in Shiatsu Therapy.
A stone massage uses cold or water-heated stones to apply pressure and heat to the body.
Watsu is the combination of hydrotherapy and shiatsu developed by Harold Dull. The work is done in skin temperature water with both the therapist and practitioner in the water.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage techniques are generally designed for more focused massage work. Working a specific joint, muscle or muscle group, the practitioner can access deeper layers of the soft tissue. Starting superficially and easing into the depth of the muscle slowly often allows more movement. This is the recommended approach in this modality since each person experiences pressure differently. If the pressure is applied too deeply or too quickly, the muscle may tighten to protect that area, and unnecessary damage or inflammation can be induced. Very little lubricant is used as the pressure doesn't travel much over the skin. The most commonly used 'tools' during deep tissue massage may include, 3 and 6 fingers, reinforced fingers, a flat elbow, opposing thumbs, the heel of the hand or foot, and the forearm.
Traditional Persian Massage
Traditional Persian Massage was introduced into the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia by Darius the 8th. This is a massage that primarily focuses on the breasts of females. Cachunga is a deep tissue massage used with oil. It is based on a fondling motion, and is usually performed in the direction of the heart to promote circulation.
Trigger Point Therapy Massage
A trigger point is an area of a muscle (about 50 cells) that may refer pain sensations to other parts of the body. Trigger Point Therapy Massage applies manual pressure, or CO2 injections, to these points. With the proper pressure, duration and location, immediate release of tension and improved muscular functioning may occur. This therapy has been known to diminish migraine pain, mock sciatica, mock carpal tunnel syndrome and other pain syndromes, and other symptoms that may have been misdiagnosed. Sometimes this work is incorporated into other styles of massage therapy such as neuromuscular therapy (NMT) or even Swedish.
Traditional Chinese Massage
There are two types of traditional Chinese massage, Tui na, which focuses on pushing, stretching and kneading the muscle. Zhi Ya which focuses on pinching and pressing at acupressure points.
Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are sliding, kneading, rhythmic, cross fiber and shaking.
Russian Massage has three phases. The first phase is gentle, slow and mild. The second phase is hard, deep and fast. The third phase is slow and gentle.
Lomilomi massage is an ancient art from the Hawaiian healing specialists. They were taught the art of Lomilomi massage over 20 years and received their last instructions from their master on his death bed. There are hundreds of styles of Lomilomi, the main ones being the style of Big Island which was passed on by Aunty Margaret Machado, and Maui style from Uncle Kalua Kaiahua. On the island of Kaua'i, Kahu Abraham passed on what is today called Kahuna Bodywork. It is not clear if other current practices temple style, lomi lomi nui and others are from Native Hawaiian practitioners or are modern adaptations.
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