Written by: Jasmina Žarkovič
Massage is one of the most popular
natural therapies, for relaxing muscles and releasing tension. It
can also be used to suppress pain or treat illness. One needs only
to choose the right type of massage to suit your preference or treat
a specific condition.
Consists of applying pressure to the appropriate muscle tissues.
It is suitable for easing chronic muscular pain (the back, the nape
of the neck, and the extremities), and for headaches and migraines.
Massage acts on damaged tissues, stimulating the organism to purify
itself. By increasing circulation in the given area, massage eliminates
lactic acid from muscles, easing tension in the organism, and relieving
overall stress. It is very important to adapt the massage to the
patient's current state of health. Massage should not be used on
patients with inflammations, viral or other infections, cardiac
disorders, phlebitis, or advanced osteoporosis.
Reflex zone massage
There are several types of reflex zone massage, but those concentrating
on the feet, hands, and ear lobes are the most widely used. While
foot and sole massages are mainly used to treat physical problems,
hand and ear massages can affect psychological and emotional problems.
The reflex zones on the feet correspond to a map of the body, and
pressure points are rendered accordingly. The effects are various,
from improved circulation and relaxation to treatments of specific
This type of massage relies on using pressure and palpation on affected
areas on the body's surface that are connected by reflexes to internal
organs. Pressure on surface areas thus also stimulate internal organs.
Such massages are suitable for several spine and joint ailments,
headaches due to neck problems, gynecological ailments, certain
bile duct, gallbladder, and liver disorders, as well as respiratory
illnesses. However, it is not recommended for acute conditions that
require a doctor's care or bed rest, or for fevers, infections,
and oncological illnesses.
Lymphatic system massage
This is a generally gentle, non-aggressive massage that should improve
lymph flow through the lymphatic system, whose proper functioning
is closely associated with tissue nourishment, regeneration capability,
and the organism's immune response. Such massage is used for: improving
skin condition (especially the face and upper chest), battling cellulitis,
relaxing the lower extremities. It can also effect abstergent cures
during seasonal changes and edema in individual parts of the body
caused by lymphatic system problems or allergies. Not recommended
for any states of acute inflammation, or edema caused by poor heart
and kidney function.
The principle is the same as that for lymphatic system massage,
and its goal is to ensure ongoing tissue compression. It is used
mainly on extremely obese patients. The massage can be done by hand
or using a special machine. In both cases gentle, rhythmic pressure
waves are involved, beginning at the ends of the soles or at the
ankle, continuing through the calves to the thighs and hips. This
massage is used most often by women trying to shed cellulite, and
the results and the number of treatments depends mainly on the patient's
obesity and age. Massage by machine is more intensive. It results
in the shedding of dead skin cells, better cuticular and subcuticular
circulation, cellular dermal breathing, relaxation of muscle knots
and recovery following exertion, and improved muscular functioning.
Aroma therapy massage
This is a combination of massage and aroma therapy. Depending on
the essential oils chosen, the aroma can have a stimulating or relaxing
effect. It aids relaxation and eases tension by affecting the senses,
nerve endings, and muscles. It is also useful with skin problems,
as it stimulates cell growth and smooths the skin. Essential oils
of cedar, juniper, chamomile, jasmine, marigold, and lavender improve
skin condition and elasticity. Essential oils of cypress, fennel,
and juniper are good for shedding cellulitis, while chamomile, jasmine,
thyme, basil, and sage are used in treating depression.
The main purpose of massage in Eastern cultures is to restore the
body to its proper balance. For this reason, in these massages are
associated with a philosophical concept of life and energy exchange.
"Shiatsu" means pressure using the arms (fingers, palms,
and elbows) or legs (soles or knees). Shiatsu is popular among people
suffering from pain, stiffness, or nervousness, anxiety, the inability
to relax or other complaints of a hectic lifestyle. It is all based
on working with energy, and is as much psychotherapy as massage.
The therapist or masseur senses by touch the patient's body and
energy routes - so-called meridians. Pressure on the Shiatsu routes
stimulates muscles, joints, blood and lymphatic circulation, and
energy flows, which results in improved circulation and movement,
concentration, and positive thoughts.