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 illnesses.
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.