A brief history of massage.

Massage is considered to be among the oldest of all treatments used by man. Chinese records dating back 3,000 years documents its use. The ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians used forms of massage for some ailments and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, massage is an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs and has proven beneficial to many chromic conditions such as low back pain, arthritis and bursitis. massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.

Can massage, bodywork or somatic therapies benefit me?

Massage provides relief to people from all walks of life - the weekend or competitive athlete, the home gardener and the overstressed executive struggling to keep pace in today's economy. Secretaries, laborers, waitresses - anyone can feel a need for massage at some point in time. The older population, as well, will benefit from massage, as it enhances flexibility and circulation. The bedridden can also be helped in this regard. There are some conditions where massage is not recommended, however. Your practitioner should ask for information regarding any specific health conditions from which you may be suffering in order to determine if massage, bodywork, or somatic therapies are contraindicated. In some cases, the practitioner may need your doctor's permission before providing services. 

Finding a qualified practitioner.

Your massage, bodywork, or somatic therapy services should be provided by a professional who has received proper training. Don't hesitate to ask practitioners about their background, training and experience. Referrals from friends can usually be relied upon. Members of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals have met stringers requirements regarding training and must adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to remain members. ABMP offers a referral service to the public and will provide you with a lost of practitioners in your area. For information, call 1-800-458-2267, or visit their website at massagetherapy.com

Taking care of yourself.

Care of your body should be at the top of your priority list. You will feel and look better if you take the necessary steps regarding health and nutrition in this age of increased longevity. Stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies could play an important role in your life.

Massage for pain and emotional problems.

With many chronic ailments, massage can relieve the pain and help heal. As with physical problems, emotional problems may also be stimulated into self-healing with massage. In many cases, this helps eliminates the need to take harmful chemical drugs, which will unnecessarily burden the liver, kidneys and other vital organs.

Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?

Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.

Will lubricant be used?

A light oil or lotion may be used to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. The lubricants use should hydrate the skin and be readily absorbed.

What will the massage or bodywork feel like?

It depends on the techniques used. In general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, lowing strokes that will help to calm your nervous system and at east exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax and relive specific areas of muscular tension. You should communicate with your practitioner immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.

How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?

Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness and greater productivity, which can last for days. Since toxins are released from soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water afterward.

What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?

Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase join flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork are also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.

Types of massage, bodywork and somatic therapies.

There are a variety of bodywork techniques. Following are brief descriptions of just a few.

Swedish Massage - The most common form of massage, Swedish mainly relaxes the muscles and eases aches and pains.

Sports Massage - For the athlete, sports massage techniques are utilized at all stages: pre-event, post-event, during training and to expedite the rehabilitation after injury.

Shiatsu - Japanese acupressure massage that restores energy to the body.

Trager - Utilizes rhythmic rocking movements to relax the body and mind.

Hellerwork - A combination of movement re-education and muscle and connective tissue therapy.

Polarity - Balance the energetic system of the body.

Reflexology - Massage of the feet, hands and/or ears. Stimulates corresponding areas in the body.

There are more than 150 variations of massage, bodywork and somatic therapy techniques. Many practitioners utilize an integration of techniques.

MediCupping: This therapy utilizes glass or plastic cups and a vacuum pistol, bulb or machine to create suction on the body surface.