What is massage and what can it do?
A massage is essentially a manual manipulation of surface muscles through the skin. Normally undertaken by a masseur or massage therapist, the process involves using the hands and fingers to perform a range of actions and techniques on the body. Actions like, stroking, rubbing, kneading and pressing on the surface muscles of the body.
Massage therapy is thought to speed up natural healing in the body, it is calming and reduces anxiety and stress. It is said to affect the emotions as well as the body producing a holistic change. It can be a chemical free antidote to stress and aid relaxation to help people deal with a hectic modern world full of hussle and bussle.
The essence of massage is touch. Gentle, firm, rapid, slow, circular touch; rubbing and pushing toxins from the muscles and leaving a blissful feeling of calm.
Wikipedia defines massage as:
Massage is the practice of soft tissue manipulation with physical (anatomical), functional (physiological), and in some cases psychological purposes and goals. The word comes from the French massage “friction of kneading”, or from Arabic massa meaning “to touch, feel or handle” or from Latin massa meaning “mass, dough”. An older etymology may even have been the Hebrew me-sakj “to anoint with oil”. In distinction the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was frictio.
Massage involves acting on and manipulating the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration, done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, or organs of the gastrointestinal system. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, and feet. There are over eighty different recognized massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.
In professional settings massage involves the client being treated while lying on a massage table, sitting in a massage chair, or lying on a mat on the floor. The massage subject may be fully or partly unclothed. Parts of the body may be covered with towels or sheets.
Massage Equipment – The furniture – Tables and chairs
Specialized massage tables and chairs are used to position clients during massages. A typical commercial massage table has an easily cleaned, heavily padded surface, and a horseshoe-shaped head support that allows the client to breathe easily while lying face down and can be stationary or portable. An orthopedic pillow or bolster can be used to correct body positioning.
Ergonomic chairs serve a similar function as a massage table. Chairs may be either stationary or portable models. Massage chairs are easier for the practitioner to transport than massage tables, and clients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as corporate offices, outdoor festivals, shopping malls, and other public locations.