Therapeutic Body Massage
Therapeutic body massage helps release toxins and enhance body tone. Therapeutic massage is an ancient technique used to promote general well-being and enhance self-esteem, while boosting the circulatory and lymphatic systems and reducing tension.
A well-trained massage practitioner employs his hands as finely tuned yet powerful tools to promote wellness. As awareness grows and misconceptions fade regarding the value of massage therapy, more and more people are discovering the profound benefits available to them through regular body work.
The origins of therapeutic massage are rooted in the common instinctual response to hold and rub a hurt or pain. It is found in all cultures as an integral part of health care and maintenance. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, considered massage of prime importance in any health regime. Galen and the Romans also greatly prized the healing benefits of massage. With the re-emergence of holistic health theories and therapies, therapeutic massage is experiencing a renaissance and is regaining its rightful place among health care practitioners.
Swedish massage was originally developed in the late eighteenth century by a Swedish fencing master as the first systematic application of therapeutic massage in the West. It was based on European folk massage, oriental techniques from the Middle East and the then emerging knowledge of modern anatomy and physiology. The strokes and manipulations of Swedish Massage are each conceived as having a specific therapeutic benefit.
One of the primary goals of Swedish Massage is to speed the venous return of unoxygenated and toxic blood from the extremities. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and young. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress man agement. It also has many specific clinical uses in medical or remedial therapy.
Shiatsu is based on the Chinese theory of the circulation of subtle energy, or Ch'i, through meridians running through and over the body which ultimately govern the internal organs and thus our entire metabolism. Situated along these meridians are points, the same as those used in Acupuncture, where this energy can be effectively manipulated by the therapist. Although the foundation of this massage is deep pressure exerted upon these specific localized points, this system also includes a wide variety of stretches, rubbing, hacking and other common massage techniques.
It is a somewhat subtler form of massage since it deals with a higher level of body mechanism - the etheric Ch'i prana -- or energy, rather than just the gross physical bones, joints, muscles, etc. It can be used as a complete system of health maintenance, or simply for stress reduction, relaxation, and a general improvement of feeling-tone. Unlike Swedish Massage, Shiatsu requires the recipient's participation with the therapist in coordinating the breath with the manipulations. It is a quiet and contemplative form of massage having profound results.