Massage is derived from the Greek work ‘massier’ which means to knead. In Ayurveda as far as five thousands of years has utilised massage not only as a therapeutic agent but also a preventive aspect to protect and preserve the health. At 400 BC Hippocrates, has used massage for healing the diseases of patients.
The Magic Touch
When you hold the hand of a troubled friend, or wipe the feverish brow of a child, you are using therapeutic touch. Massage is an extension of this instinctive, caring gesture. Numerous physical and emotional benefits await not only the recipient of massage but also the giver. You can learn to move your body more flowingly, respond to environments more kinesthetically and improve your relationships with others through the art of touch. Massage transforms into a dance, a meditation and a form of communication simultaneously!
HOW TO MASSAGE
What should I use to massage with… oil, lotion, nothing?
Organic vegetable oils provide an avert, slippery surface facilitating body-length strokes. Vitamins and minerals from these oils are absorbed (to a small extent) through the skin. Oil of any kind should be removed from acne-covered areas with rubbing alcohol after massage.
Lotions are also available in a myriad of consistencies and smells. They tend to get soaked up more quickly than oil and require more re-application, but people with dry skin may appreciate this absorption. Others may prefer lotion to oil. Petroleum products like baby oil are not recommended; petroleum belongs in cars, not people. Remember that your skin absorbs some of what it comes in contact with. The detrimental effects of petroleum skin products are still being studied.
Powders are an enjoyable change from oils and lotions, especially in hot weather. Powders are cooling, as they soak up perspiration, and are particularly suitable for foot massage, since feet tend to sweat when stroked firmly.
Oriental massage shuns lubricants and is designed for bare skin. It depends on pressure points which may be difficult to locate on covered skin. With shiatsu or accupressure, you don’t need lubricants, massage tables or anything other than your hands.
Till (sesame)oil is widely used in Ayurveda for massage as it is specific for removing pain which is produced by vata. There are three humours which control the body viz-vata., a more or less a nervous activity, pitta-Enzymes, digestive juice and bile, Kapha-a growth factor and material present in joint spaces lungs, throat, head joints, stomach.
There are several medicated oils widely used in massage, they are maha masha Taila of black gram, used in wasting of muscles, karpasas thyadi taila of cotton seed oil used in nervous diseases. Marichadi oil of pepper used in phlegmatic diseases. Chandanadi Taila of sandal wood used in bilious disorders. Suitable selection of oil is made by the physician. The massage is usually done for 30 to 45 minutes and for local massage 15 minutes. After massage, the oil is removed by a dry cloth and if need be warm water bath is given.
Benefits of Massage as per Ayurveda
Daily massage must be done in healthy persons and its benefits are as follows.
It removes fatigue, oldage and pains, it increases vision, produces good body, good sleep, and good skin. It eliminates poisons of the body from the skin. It stimulates circulation and smoothens the nervous system.
massage relieves sprains and brushes. It unites the fractured of bones. It is beneficial in muscle wasting. It regenerates the muscle tissues. The contractile power of muscles is increased by stricking and tapping. Effleurage, kneading and tapotement are used for muscle massage
- Massage opens up blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion.
- It increases the number of red blood cells, especially helpful in cases of anemia.
- It acts as a “mechanical cleanser,” pushing along lymph and hastening the elimination of wastes and toxic debris.
- Muscle spasms relax and tension is relieved.
- The blood supply and nutrition to muscles increases without adding to the load of toxic lactic acid (produced by voluntary muscle contraction). Massage thus helps to overcome harmful “fatigue” products resulting from over-exercise or injury.
- Muscle tone improves. Massage helps prevent or delay muscular atrophy from forced inactivity.
- Massage can compensate, at least in part, for lack of exercise. It assists the return of venous blood to the heart, easing the strain on this vital organ.
- An increased interchange of substances between blood and tissue cells accompanies or follows massage, heightening tissue nutrition and metabolism.
- Massage increases excretion, via the kidneys, of fluids, nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus and salt in normal individuals.
- It encourages the retention of chemical compounds necessary for tissue repair in persons convalescing from bone fracture.
- Connective tissue is stretched, breaking down and preventing adhesion formations and reducing the danger of fibrosis.
- Massage improves the nutrition of joints and helps lessen inflammation, swelling and pain.
Before exploring the positive effects of massage, it is important to know when massage is inappropriate or harmful. Anyone with a chronic or serious health condition should consult a medical doctor and a certified massage therapist before receiving professional or amateur massage. Heart ailments can be aggravated by an overly vigorous massage. Low blood pressure can be lowered more when neural neck points are stroked. Migraine headaches may be intensified when massage is given after the prodrome phase (the warning stage), although massage given before or during the prodrome can prevent a migraine episode. Skin problems might be aggravated by friction or oil (acne, for example) and some conditions are contagious. Painful joints may be adversely affected by massage, if caused by certain diseases.
Avoid massage In Tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and diptheria.
Some cancers may spread to other regions, if massage is given.
Since massage improves circulation, medications can travel through the body more quickly after massage. Diabetics must inform whoever massages them of that day’s insulin injection site to prevent a too fast distribution of the drug. Certain other medications are meant to be released on a timetable that massage or other activities may disrupt.
Unfortunately, many alopathic doctors are ignorant of both the pros and cons of massage. A certified massage therapist should be consulted, along with a physician. In fact, consider having the therapist accompany you to your doctor’s appointment. She or he can explain what massage style might be best and educate the M.D. further. The massage therapist should be thoroughly familiar with massage contraindications and have pathology training.
The patient is made to lie on his back with his arms, kept in the sides on a Abhyanga table, which is 6½ feet length x 3 feet breadth, usually it is made up of wooden plank. The masseurs must put strokes on the chest with both hands on each side on chest a circular movement is done. In Ayurveda the massage of the chest is done from the middle of the chest towards the sides. In Naturopathy the muscle kneading is done by picking up the skin and muscles with hands. This is repeated on either side. Circular kneading is also done by placing each hand on each side of breastbone with circular motions towards the sides. Tapotement is done with slapping and hacking.
MASSAGE OF NERVES
It is done in acute inflammation with light and gentle stroke. It is better to avoid heavy pressure to smoothen nerves, with only gentle tapotement. Compression of nerves is done for smoothening the nerves, try to grasp the limb with hands and give pressure down and around arm. As you try to leave the grip, it is safer to bring the hands down a little, and put another pressure. Spinal nerve compression is highly beneficial and it is usually done with palm of the hand. Stimulation of spinal nerve takes by vibration. One can induce sleep with this therapy.
MASSAGE OF THROAT
Make the head of the patient to go back and the masseurs will place palms of the both hands on the sides of the neck with thumbs under the chin and the fingers under the ears, and a downward stroke is made towards the chest on the Jugular veins, put little pressure in the Jugular veins. It is better to repeat it.
It is beneficial in sorethroat, catarrh of the throat and headache. Massage therapy is to tone up the muscles and to relieve pain in the body.
MASSAGE OF THE BACK
The patient is made to lie down on his back on a wooden plank with his arms on his sides. The masseur will put strokes on the back from the shoulders by using both hands on each side of the spine. The stroke is done from sacrum upwards. Then friction is done with each hands at the sides of the spine going down. Kneading by muscle, picking is done along with squeezing. It is better to do rapid pulling and pushing movements of the sliding down the spine, alternately. Circular kneading is also advised. The treatment ends with hacking, slapping, and cupping on each side of the spine.
It is useful in constipation as haemorrhoids, congestion of bladder and weakness of sex organs. Gentle stroke and light kneading is done, relieves the backache and also smoothening. Vibration is useful in disorders of pelvic organs and sacral nerves.
The patient is made to lie on his back with his knees drawn up. It is a position of abdominal relaxation. The masseur must stand on the right side of the patient and use his finger tips for friction round the umbilicus from right to left. Then alternately knead the walls and roll with both hands, by making deep and firm pressure. He must massage the large gut, which is done at the right side by keeping it, move upwards on the left side along the transverse colon and move right down on the left side up to sigmoid flexure and rectum. Here circular kneading is done with three middle fingers and press the contents of the colon. Knead repeatedly both few circular movements in one place with the help of fingertips after kneading of abdomen do tapotement with hands cupped. Sometime vibration is also beneficial. Abdominal muscular exercises are advised to the patient.
1. Constipation is stopped. 2. It promotes peristalsis. 3. It tones abdominal muscles, 4. It clears bowels, 5. The bladder must be emptied before this therapy.
High Blood pressure, Hernias. Femoral and inguinal, umbalical. fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus and their inflammation, kidney stones, gall bladder stones, pregnancy, bleeding of lungs, stomach and brain.
Massage related research :
Researchers in Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences have reported people who undergo massage experience measureable changes in their body’s immune and endocrine response. Although there have been previous, smaller studies about the health benefits of massage, the Cedars-Sinai study is widely believed to be the first systematic study of a larger group of healthy adults. The study is published in the October printed edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Read More