Monday, October 10, 2011

The Benefits Of Massage Therapy

By Owen Jones

Everybody knows some of the benefits of massage therapy, because massage is one of the oldest forms of therapy in existence, if not the oldest. It has been with us since we first existed. Why do I say that?

Well, which parent would not intuitively massage their child's leg if it gets growing pains or cramp? Which spouse has never massaged their partner's shoulders at the end of a gruelling day? And the clincher? Who does not massage a part of their body that hurts?

These reactions are instinctive, they are not gained. On the other hand, acupuncture, herbal medicine and any other kind of medicine or treatment has to be acquired, it has to be studied, it is not instinctive.

OK, there is a huge difference between having a massage from a qualified expert and getting a well-meant rub-down from your spouse, but so what? That does not mean that the rubdown is not a form of massage therapy.

The foremost benefits of massage therapy are the elimination of tension and stress and the keeping flexible of joints, muscles and tendons. However, massage therapy also stimulates the nerves and promotes the flow of blood, which increases the supply of oxygen, especially to the extremities.

Massage will also promote the removal of waste chemicals that build up in the joints during a standard stressful day. These are normally carried away by body fluids and exit in the urine, but massage assists be rid of them more quickly. The result is less joint ache, tiredness and stiffness.

Massage, in general, may be used by anyone to accomplish the above benefits, but it can have extraordinary benefits for the sick and bed-ridden. Those who have to spend a long time in bed or in a wheelchair will suffer from muscular atrophy sooner or later.

Regular massage will ensure that this is as late as possible, because it stimulates blood to the muscles and some types of massage force the joints to work. Thai massage and Shiatsu are especially helpful for physiotherapy in these examples.

In this way, some types of massage will go a long way to make up for a deficiency of exercise due to immobility. The heart has to pump more frequently in individuals who do not exercise to pull the blood back from the extremities, massage will relieve the heart from some of this extra burden by exciting the blood flow.

I began taking Thai massages after I slipped a disk and trapped my sciatic nerve. I had to wait two weeks to get a visit with the best masseuse in the region. I could not walk even to the bathroom whilst I waited. I was truly pathetic when she began work on me, because I could barely come out of a curled up position and I could not straiten my back or my legs.

She bent me, twisted me, kneaded me and walked on me for two hours and I was in pain. For the majority of of the time it was all I could not to tell her to go home. I hated her. She reminded me of Nurse Ratchet with her fixed, professional smile.

Anyway, after the two hours were up, she told me to stand up and I did, as straight as a bamboo cane, but just for a few seconds.

I was amazed and asked her to come back the next day. She smiled, refused courteously and booked me in for ten days time. She said it would take five sessions. She was right, I got better after each session and lost 13 kilos (29 pounds) in the process although I have never done less exercise at any other time in my life.

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