Massage or massage therapy; It is a treatment for soft tissues in the body from muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints through some special movements that depend on rubbing and kneading, to relieve pain due to daily stress, overuse of muscles, and some cases of chronic pain.
Massage should be a part of life as diet and exercise to spare the body injury and stress, and to create a balance between physical and mental health.
Types of body massages
There are several types of massage that differ from each other according to the area of the body being massaged or the method of conducting the massage, including:
- Swedish massage.
- Hot stone massage.
- Massage with aromatic oils.
- Deep tissue massage.
- Sports massage.
- Reflexology massage.
- Shiatsu massage.
- Thai massage.
- Prenatal massage.
- Chair massage.3
The effect of massage on the body
Massage causes physiological changes in the body through:
- The relaxation response
It is an involuntary response that the nervous system predicts upon massage and touch, in which the heart rate and breathing slow down, blood pressure decreases, the production of stress hormones decreases and the muscles relax, it increases the level of serotonin; It is a chemical in the body that positively affects emotions and thoughts.
The relaxation response reduces the physical effects of stress and the risks associated with stress such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, persistent fatigue, digestive disorders, and psychological problems.
- Mechanical responses
They are the physical effects that occur in the body when the tissues and muscles are pressed and massaged. Physical manipulation of massage has two main physical effects:
- Improving blood circulation: Relaxing tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments during a massage improves blood circulation due to physical therapy and chemicals that are released in response to relaxation, improving blood circulation enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, which leads to the removal of waste products, and increases It reduces excess fluid absorption and reduces swelling in the tissues.
- Tissue relaxation : Massage therapy relaxes the muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions, spasms and nerve pressure. When muscles contract, they will in turn put pressure on the surrounding nerves, after massaging them they relax, and decompress the nerves, which helps them get the appropriate nutrients, and improves the performance of muscles and organs.
How to carry out the massage
Each type of massage has its own method of implementation, which is:
- Swedish massage method
Swedish massage: It is a gentle type of full-body massage that helps in releasing cramped muscles, and is suitable for people who try massage for the first time, or suffer from excessive tension, or have sensitivity to touch.
The therapist asks the person to lie on the massage table and completely remove the clothes or keep only underwear, and cover with a light cover, the therapist performs some soft circular movements, light kneading of the muscles, and deep movements towards the heart, and continues to perform these movements for 60-90 minutes.
- The method of massage using hot stones
Similar to Swedish massage, this type is suitable for people who suffer from muscle pain and tension, or who just want to relax.
In which the massage therapist asks the person to lie on the massage table naked, and cover it with a light cover, the therapist uses hot stones instead of his hands, and places them in different areas of the body to relieve muscle tension and pain and improve blood flow, the massage lasts about 90 minutes.
- Aromatherapy massage method
An aromatherapy massage is suitable for people who want to improve their mood, reduce stress and anxiety, eliminate symptoms of depression and relieve pain.
In it, the therapist asks the person to lie on the massage table naked and covers it with a light cover, then begins to implement light and gentle movements on the back, shoulders and head after adding the massage oils chosen by the therapist, or that the person prefers, and it continues for 60-90 minutes.
- Sports massage method
It is suitable for people who suffer from frequent muscle injuries such as athletes, it helps increase flexibility and performance and relieve pain and anxiety, it can be performed on the whole body or on specific parts of it that may need the most attention, and it lasts for 60-90 minutes.
- Shiatsu massage method
It is a type of Japanese massage that is suitable for people who want to relax and relieve stress and pain. It helps in improving emotional and physical calm and relaxation and helps relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and headaches.
The therapist massages using the palm of his hand and fingers, and uses a certain rhythmic pressure, the person can dress completely and last for 60-90 minutes.
- Thai massage method
It is suitable for people who want a more effective massage to relieve pain and tension, helping to improve flexibility and energy levels.
The therapist applies pressure to the body with the hands and fingers using a series of movements similar to yoga exercises, and it lasts for 60-90 minutes, and the clothes can be worn completely in it.
- Deep tissue massage method
This type of massage is suitable for people who suffer from chronic muscle problems. Such as soreness, injury, or imbalance.
In which the therapist applies more pressure than a Swedish massage, and uses deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of muscles and connective tissues, and the massage lasts for 60-90 minutes.
- Chair massage method
Suitable for people who want a quick massage on the neck, shoulders and back, it helps relax and relieve stress.
In this type of massage, a person sits on a special chair, and returns his back to the back to allow the chair to reach the entire back, and it lasts for 10-30 minutes.
- Prenatal massage method
It helps reduce body pain during pregnancy and relieve tension and muscle spasms, and it can be performed at any time during pregnancy.
The therapist extends the woman on her side or on a pregnancy table that has an opening for the abdomen, then applies gentle pressure to some areas such as the lower back, hips and legs, and it lasts for 45-60 minutes.5
Benefits of a body massage
Body massage has many benefits, including:
- Relieve stress and reduce anxiety levels.
- Reducing the healing time of cramped muscles and tight ligaments.
- It increases joint flexibility.
- Improves athletic performance.
- It makes breathing deeper and easier.
- It improves blood circulation and movement of lymph fluid.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Improves body posture while standing.
- Improves the health and nourishment of the skin.
- It strengthens the immune system.
- Helps relieve stress.
- It increases the capacity for quiet thinking and creativity.
Side effects of a body massage
Body massages have some side effects; Such as temporary pain, some bruising and swelling, and sensitivity to massage oils, but it is considered relatively safe.
You should pay attention to some warnings before performing the massage:
- Avoid vigorous massage for people with low platelet counts.
- Avoid vigorous massages for people taking heart disease medications .
- Do not massage any area of the body affected by blood clotting, fractures, open wounds, or skin infections.
- Do not massage any area affected by osteoporosis or undergo new surgery.
- Not to massage people with cancer without consulting the oncologist supervising their condition.
- Not to massage pregnant women without consulting their doctor