Since the beginning of time we have used our hands to bring on comfort and healing. Touching is contact, warmth, reassurance, and affirmations that we are not alone. It is a simple way to communicate, which we all want and need. Our sense of touch is confirmed by our skin which happens to be our largest organ. Touch is also the VERY FIRST sense that becomes functional while we are in the embryo. Basically, touch is so very important to our growth from the beginning of our creation.
There have been many techniques and names for the many types of massage made up over hundreds of years. I'm going to bring you up to speed with the names and ideas behind some of the TOUCH therapy that is practiced around the world today.
SWEDISH MASSAGE uses soothing, tapping and kneading strokes to work the entire body, relieving muscle tension and loosening sore joints. Swedish massage therapists use five basic strokes, which anyone can learn and use on themselves and others. They are effleurage (stroking); petrissage(muscles are lightly grabbed and lifted); friction (thumbs and fingertips work in deep circles into the thickest part of muscles; tapotement (chopping, beating, and tapping strokes); and vibration (fingers are pressed or flattened firmly on a muscle, then the area is shaken rapidly for a few seconds).
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE targets chronic tension in muscles that lie far below the surface of your body. You have five layers of muscle in your back, for instance, and while Swedish massage may help the first couple of layers, it won't do much directly for the muscle underneath. Deep muscle techniques usually involve slow strokes, direct pressure or friction movements that go across the grain of the muscles. Massage therapists will use their fingers, thumbs or occasionally even elbows to apply the needed pressure.
SPORTS MASSAGE is designed to help you train better, whether you're a world champion or a weekend warrior. The techniques are similar to those in Swedish and deep tissue massage, but Greene says sports massage has been adapted to meet the athlete's special needs. Pre-event massage can help warm up muscles and improve circulation before competition, but it can also energize or relax an athlete and help him focus on the competition. Post-event massage can push waste products out of the body and improve recovery. .
NEUROMUSCULAR MASSAGE is a form of deep tissue massage that is applied to individual muscles. It is used to increase blood flow, reduce pain and release pressure on nerves caused by injuries to muscles and other soft tissue. Neuromuscular massage helps release trigger points, intense knots of tense muscle can also "refer" pain to other parts of the body. Relieving a tense trigger point in your back, for example, could help ease pain in your shoulder or reduce headaches. .
ROLFING seeks to re-educate your body about posture. Rolfing seeks to realign and straighten your body by working the myofascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles and helps hold your body together. The ten-session, head-to-toe Rolfing program used to be rather painful, but new techniques that employ a therapist's hands and elbows are quite tolerable and just as effective at improving your posture. .
REFLEXOLOGY is a natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the hands, feet and ears that correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and promotes the natural function of the related areas of the body. The therapy session is focused only on the hands, feet, and sometimes reflexes in your ears.
REIKI is one of the more widely known forms of energy healing. It focuses more on the energy forces within your body as oppossed to the more hands on your physical body described in other modalities. The reiki practicioner places his or her hands upon the person to be healed with the intent for healing to occur, and then the energy begins flowing. From my personal experiences, being a REIKI practioner is nothing that you can learn in a text book. This is a spirit that you either have or you don't. I've met a few of these individuals and they truly are filled with a wonderful energy. ( Lucky for me-I was told that I too, had the gift)
There are many reasons why we should receive massage. For some individuals it is about maintenance. For the active individuals, it's important to keep muscle soft and supple to keep up with an active lifestyle. For others it truly is about the importance of TOUCH. There are many common and chronic ailments that arise in our lives that massage therapy can help alleviate. Cancer patients, preemies, individuals with AIDS, senior citizens...It's been tested time and time again that the effects of massage on these individuals assists in recovery. FOR whatever reason you receive a massage, the end result is the same. You will be giving a gift to your body, your temple. Touch is the most loving, natural, and comforting way to heal and highly effective as well.
by Goddess Golden Hands