More Than a Luxury, Massage is Essential
The first image that comes to mind when someone presents the idea of getting a massage may vary, depending on a person’s massage knowledge and experience, but the typical image is that of a woman luxuriating on a massage table with the therapist’s hands gently gliding over her back; perhaps with a flower strategically placed in her hair. That is often the very image that spas and massage therapists use to promote their business.
According to historical evidence, the ancient practice of massage began in India and has been evolving for more than 5,000 years. Medical science turned its attention to it in the late 20th century, and with continued research in the 21st century, it continues to discover, recognize and endorse the extraordinary health benefits of massage.
In 2006, massage was legitimized in the U.S., introducing licensure and continuing education. However, massage still struggles with being perceived as a luxury reserved for the wealthy or even with unsavory connotations; therefore, a strong movement continues toward bringing it into mainstream healthcare. Though massage can feel luxurious, it is also an invaluable practice that affects a person physiologically, emotionally and spiritually.
Massage therapists are educated to use different methods of touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. In doing so, they powerfully affect every body system, either directly (muscular, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive, endocrine and urinary/renal, immune/lymphatic and integumentary) or indirectly (skeletal and reproductive).
Massage therapy can help release unexpressed emotions that are literally lodged in the body that can lead to pain and other ailments if left unaddressed. Candace Pert, Ph.D. states, “Organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands all have receptors on them [that send information to the brain], and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just or even primarily in the brain.”
Quantum physics proves that nothing is “solid” and everything is energy. Niels Bohr, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner, states, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” Massage therapists usually have an awareness and openness surrounding this subject, but in respect to the varying interpretations of spirituality, it is not generally an aspect discussed during a session unless a client expresses a desire to engage in conversation.
Educated touch can effectively relieve pain caused by all manner of life situations—exercise, repetitive movement, sitting still, injuries and more. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, soft tissue strains or injuries and sports injuries.”
Contacting a reputable therapist can help us understand whether the condition or symptoms we are experiencing may be assisted by massage.
Sharon Ciccone is a licensed massage therapist and owner of Anima Wellness, located at Flying Hills Business Center, 30 Village Center Dr., Ste. 5, in Reading. For more information, call 610-504-5378 or visit AnimaWellness.com.