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Massage Advocacy
Origins of the massage therapy

Massage therapy as a cure for ailments is as old as Cain and Abel. And its tenacity makes its genesis almost untraceable. But, if experts are to be believed, it was first practiced in the land of far and middle east. Approximately a 5000 year old therapy, it has since been practiced in myriad ancient civilizations including India, Greece, Rome, China and Egypt. It gradually percolated to other parts of the globe, with today most of the countries having adapted it, thus giving birth to copious novel techniques of massage.

What is massage therapy?

An alternative healing technique that focuses on holistic well being, which simultaneously stresses upon curing the affected body organs, massage is a panacea for an array of physical, psychological, and mental ailments that have ridden humankind since ages. And although massage therapy cannot be propagated as an alternative to contemporary medicine, it can definitely be hailed as an aid to it.

What does a massage involve?

Massage is a technique of working upon the soft tissues of the body in order to cure a host of maladies. The process involves pressing, kneading and stroking particular parts of the body or the entire body to make it feel relaxed and stress free.

Advantages of a massage

To name a few, a massage provides relief from pain, stress, sore muscles, depression, battle fatigue, high or low blood pressure, injury, decreased fitness levels, and tension. Apart from this it is useful in boosting the comfort levels of patients, strengthening the immune system, and comforting patients trying to quit a drug, cigarettes or alcohol. It improves the muscular, nervous, respiratory, circulatory and immune systems, increases blood circulation, relaxes the tensed up muscles, and aids digestion too. Massage also increases the range of motions of a body, and releases endorphins, the natural pain killers of the body. A massage also positively affects the heart rate, increases the lymph flow, and enhances the excretion of toxins and other bodily wastes by aiding the lymphatic system that runs in congruence with the circulation system. The benefits of massage on the physical level seem a tad too small when juxtaposed against its deeper benefits. Making the body more efficient and increasing the alertness of mind are only the tip of the iceberg. Summarizing the whole thing, the benefits can be listed below:

• Relieves pain and stress
• Alleviates tension and stiffness
• Improves respiratory system
• Strengthens nervous, circulatory and immune systems
• Improves circulation of the blood
• Cures depression, battle fatigue, high or low blood pressure
• Treats injury and decreased fitness levels
• Aids in quitting drugs alcohol and smoking
• Boosts comfort levels of the patient
• Enhances digestion
• Increases the range of body motions, and releases endorphins
• Heals the mind and body
• Positively affects the heart rate and increases lymph flow
• Flushes out toxins and other bodily wastes from the system
• Improves sense of well-being

How does a massage work?

The feel good effect that a massage can have is only the tip of the iceberg. A massage works upon the muscles, ligaments and tendons, enhancing muscle tone and bringing about a change in the malfunctioning body organs. By relaxing the nerve endings that nourish the muscles, and by allowing organs to breathe with the increased blood flow, massage therapy achieves the desired results without the patient having to deal with dreaded side effects.

Who is taking a massage?

Giving massage to infants as well as the new mother is seeped in Indian tradition. Pregnant women also benefit a lot from a massage, with massage increasing the blood flow in the womb, nourishing the baby inside. Many a leading hospital has embraced massage to treat chronic pain. Recent research has shown the powerful effect a massage can have on cancer patients, and this has promoted many healthcare centers to adopt it in their cancer treatment regimen. Hospitals have also started introducing massage therapy for their staff, to reduce stress on the job.

Before getting a massage

Letting the massage therapist know about any past injuries or allergies will help him deliver better results through massage therapy. A typical spa massage lasts for an hour or so, and covers the entire body. A therapist will target the most common parts that experience pain, unless intimated otherwise. Also never avoid seeing a doctor for a particular ailment, and rely completely on the massage therapy. Even though doctors themselves propagate massage therapy, they do so only as an aid to contemporary medicine.

Choosing a therapist

A licensed practitioner is the only authorized person to give you a good massage. An untrained massage therapist might do more damage than good. So be careful before you lay your body at the disposal of a therapist. Take advice from family and friends on some trusted massage practitioners. Check out if anybody of them has visited the therapist earlier. Make sure to check their license and existing clientele.


Massage is not only a good stand-alone therapy, but it can be used equally well with as a conjunct to other spa therapies such as acupressure, acupuncture, reflexology, and aromatherapy. With massage fitting into any type of wellness program, it is definitely not left to die a slow death.
About the Author
Ashish Bhattacharya is an exponent of oriental and alternative medicine. Armed with a degree in East Asian Therapies from China, he has worked in an Ayurvedic spa resort in Mauritius, and is an expert in spa reservation.
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