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Massage: Centuries of Healing the Body and Spirit

From babies to adults, everyone benefits from the healing and relaxing powers of touch. Also known as massage, its simple definition is “the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain”. Some of the most common types of massage are: deep massage, Swedish massage, sports massage and trigger point massage. Here, we will take a brief look at the origin and the golden years of massage, as well as its numerous benefits.

The Origin and Golden Years of Massage

Since the prehistoric era, touch has been used as a means of primates to groom and communicate with each other. For human beings, touch was used in social interactions and as part of healing rituals, religious activities and ancient spa sessions. It wasn’t until the modern times that massage therapy was formally used as a therapeutic tool.

According to historians, the Golden Age of the massage therapy industry was from 1880 to the early 1900s, which specifically occurred in America. Other forms of touch therapy were used before then, and the peak years of when massage therapy was commonly used were from the 1950s to the 1960s. A couple of decades later, massage therapy was more widely accepted and has even been used in clinics and hospitals. The massage chair became a huge hit in the 1980s and several gadgets and equipment with massage features flooded the market. However, there was a time when massage had a sexual connotation because of the emergence of seedy establishments offering services other than a professional massage. Fortunately, the unpleasant reputation of massage establishments has slowly faded in the background. Today, massage has become a totally accepted form of relaxation and healing.

Numerous Benefits of Massage

If you haven’t tried booking a massage session yet, you are missing out on a lot of benefits. There are many trials and investigations conducted to determine the benefits of therapeutic massage and bodywork. Here are some examples:

  • In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute in 1986, it shows that 47% of pre-term babies who received massage therapy had greater weight gain and shorter stays in the hospital.
  • Patients with tumors feel less pain, nausea, anxiety, pain and depression after a massage therapy.
  • Those who experience chronic back pain report reduced pain after massage therapy and complementary healing techniques.
  • Those who have osteoarthritis consider massage therapy to be a safe and effective way of reducing pain and restoring function to the affected area (hands or knees).
  • Massage helps reduce post-surgical pain, alcohol-withdrawal symptoms, distress during burn treatment, and pain in Fibromyalgia patients.

Generally, massage therapy also helps reduce anxiety; boost the immune system; reduce stress and anxiety during labor; boost self-esteem; reduce muscle soreness during and after sports-related activities; and alleviate stress.

More importantly, massages provide a therapeutic component in today’s ultra-stressful world through the magical healing properties of touch. As a massage therapist’s trained hands go over one’s body, the pent-up and taut emotions seem to all go away. After a very long day or week at work, nothing beats the feeling of going through the skilled ministrations of a massage therapist’s hands. If you have yet to discover the body-and-mind healing properties of a massage, now is the best time for you to try it out.

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