Who Will Use Massage?
Anyone can benefit from massage, as a giver or a receiver. The natural instinct of a parent to rub a baby's back brings instant calmness and comfort to both the baby and the parent. We all reach out to touch another who is suffering from physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. A simple touch of the hand indicates empathy and compassion.
The specific use of massage is found in many arenas. Massage application is found in hospice, elder care, pregnancy, and childbirth. It is an important asset in health care today and may be found in chiropractors’ offices, in association with physical therapy, and in hospitals as part of a recovery plan. Massage is equally important in the field of exercise, helping the athlete stay fit and pain free, and the beauty business endorses the use of massage as well.
Massage and Recovery
Studies indicate compassionate touch speeds recovery from illness, and provides a release from tension that hastens healing. Whether a person is in the hospital or at home, gentle massage will support the return to health. As the tissues are massaged, the muscles relax and take in oxygen and blood, which helps the body gather strength. The depletion felt following an illness is often lessened, at times even eliminated, through massage.
People afflicted with arthritis enjoy massage, finding relief from joint and connective tissue pain. The lack of mobility arthritis sufferers experience is often lessened with repeated massage. Arthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is one of many in this group of diseases sharing the commonality of inflammation, pain, and restricted movement of the joints. Massage is one of the ways to bring relief to those with these ailments.
Massage is not indicated when arthritic joints are inflamed. The body is naturally protecting itself from further overuse by creating inflammation of joints, which results in stiffness, swelling, excess heat in the affected area, as well as aching. Wait until the swelling subsides before massaging the inflamed region.
Massage and Work
Standing on our feet for eight hours a day, whether as a waitress, a teacher, a builder, a nurse, or any other occupation that requires standing, puts great stress on the muscles of the back, legs, and neck. Those who must sit all day at their jobs cause harmful stress to other joints and muscles, such as back, hips, and shoulders, and inhibit natural circulation. The danger of tension coupled with muscle strain or lack of circulation needs to be reduced. Frequent massage is essential for the health and well-being of all our muscles when the body is stressed from constant standing or sitting.
Folks who work with repetitive motion benefit from massage, too. Whether wielding a hammer or typing on a keyboard, constant use of the same muscles within the body structure often weakens the muscles in the surrounding area as well as those doing the work. People in service to others, such as medical professionals, emergency workers, educators, parents, and bodyworkers, call on their bodies to perform often with no regard to rest. For those people, receiving massage is receiving instruction on relaxation. The person being worked on will surrender, releasing the mind and the body to calmness.
Massage and Sports
Massage is a useful tool in the overall conditioning of muscles used for action in exercise. By stimulating muscles, massage tones them for peak performance. Massaging the muscles after strenuous exercise also helps to relax them, pulling out waste quickly. If an injury has been sustained, massage improves circulation and lymphatic function allowing for speedier repair.
Don't Forget Your Pet
Animals love massage, too. Dogs and horses in particular will allow us to gently, yet firmly stroke with steady even pressure along their muscles. A young pet learns to relax and receive, creating a pattern that can continue throughout the life of the animal. Cats, too, will allow massage, generally for a shorter period of time. Whatever pet you have, try gently stroking along the back or legs, introducing this form of touch slowly. Massage helps a nervous animal relax and creates an atmosphere of quiet tranquility.
Can I Learn Massage Myself?
Anyone can learn to massage—all it takes is the desire to learn compassionate touch. We all know how to touch with care; the next step is to discipline that knowledge into an effective system of massage. Massage is fun and a source of pleasure and tenderness. Whether you massage yourself, a friend, or a loved one, the therapeutic art of massage brings awareness of the body to the forefront in you and the recipient.