massage and Stretching the muscles, mobilizing the joints, kneading the sore points is the oldest healing art. To be massaged is to take care of oneself but also better withstand the stress trigger of pathologies. But what really are the health virtues of massage?
The origin of this therapeutic gesture dates back to antiquity. Old Chinese manuscripts evoke the use of massages 3 000 years BC.
“The Greeks and the Romans also advocated to be massaged to accelerate convalescence, regenerate the body or relieve pain after the gladiator games,” remarked Jean-Marc Harel-Ramond, psychotherapist, and Sophrologue.
But in the west, despite the benefits found, the practice has long remained in oblivion, especially because of the rise of Christianity which saw with a bad eye all the steps involving the touch, the physical contact.
A valuable tool against stress
Today she comes back in force in the wake of the sweet medicines, the need to take care of oneself and to curb the stress of modern life.
According to an investigation, carried out on July 2018 by the Ipsos Institute on behalf of the Salon Rééduca, only 5% of the USA people extra to the benefits of massage. While not medically prescribed, the sessions are a bit onerous * * But when the practitioner is of high quality, they do not resemble comfort or mere luxury.
Beyond the pleasure and relaxation, it provides at the moment, the massage has, in fact, curative virtues, in the short and long term, undisputed. Many clinical studies have found the relevance of some maneuvers to reduce joint stiffness and chronic neuromuscular pain, soothe headaches and digestive disorders, stimulate immune defenses as well then the blood and lymphatic circulation.
Once released from the tensions that assail it, the body is more able to defend itself, especially to better withstand the stress. However, this proves to be the trigger or even the accelerator of eight current pathologies in ten, stresses Christophe Fosseer, masseur-physiotherapist.
These long-known positive impacts have, for decades, been attributed only to the increase in skin temperature at the level of the treated area, to the elimination of locally accumulated toxic waste, but also and above all to the effect Placebo generated by being taken care of, cocooned.
Not to mention the irrational explanations advanced to justify the supposed benefits of some practices of exotic inspiration, which usually have oriental only the name. Hence the skepticism or even the mistrust of some about the actual usefulness of massages.
Canadian researchers have deciphered the inner workings of their modes of action on humans. And, surprisingly, they would be even more efficient than we imagined in the sense that these manipulations are likely to engender in the organism biochemical changes in chains that propagate to the very heart of the cells, at the level of their DNA.
For their study, biologists from the Department of Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, recruited eleven young athletes to cycle on a stationary bike for seventy minutes at All speed.
After this intense effort, each of them benefited from a massage on one leg. By analyzing the muscle samples taken from the inside of their thighs just before the exercise, ten minutes after the massage and then two and a half hours later, the researchers realized that the massage had triggered effects comparable to a Medicated analgesic treatment.
Although biopsies of both legs exhibit the same microlesions caused by frenzied pedaling, those from the massed muscles actually concentrate much less inflammatory molecules than the others. The latter were not evacuated by the movements of effleurage, friction, and kneading, but simply silenced by the muscle cells themselves.
The pressure induced by the massage is detected by tiny sensors embedded in the cell membrane. These immediately transmit the information inside their cell in the form of molecular signals (protein kinases with a modified structure).
As a result, the cellular machinery starts and causes cascading events that lead to the activation of nine normally silent genes, some of which neutralize the inflammatory process.
This is why the immediate pain and aches of the next day are reduced. But that’s not all. In the longer term, other genes solicited encourage the genesis of new mitochondria, these small organelles responsible for the production of energy inside the cells. The increase in their number may take several weeks.
Also massaged tissues will be more toned and better armed in the face of aggression during all this time.
Maneuvers very strong all over the body, such as those performed during a real Swedish or Californian massage, also have a beneficial effect on the immune system and hormonal.
Specific deep-seated receptors located in the dermis, the layer of skin just beneath the epidermis, are stimulated on this occasion. They then send nerve impulses to the spinal cord, which leads them to the brain.
In response, it begins to produce large amounts of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin, the brain hormones of relief and pleasure that spread throughout the body through the bloodstream.
A US study, conducted in September 2010 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, clearly showed that it also resulted in a significant decrease in the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Intravenous catheters were placed in the arms of fifty-three healthy volunteers. All of them then lay on a comfortable massage table, in a strictly identical setting.
But only half of them received a Swedish massage of forty-five minutes in the rules of the art. The others were only allowed light touches, mainly effleurages.
The analysis of blood samples taken from all participants before and after the session clearly showed the difference.
In people who have been massaged, there is a clear increase in the concentration of lymphocytes (white blood cells of the immune system) and a significant decrease in vasopressin, a hormone that regulates blood pressure and release of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
In others, however, only an elevation of oxytocin (the hormone of satisfaction) is detectable. The anxiolytic effect of massage is not a simple placebo effect.
Work on the Physical and Psychic Tensions
“Touch is not just physical contact, it can be emotionally effective, connect the individual to himself and others, open to inner touch,” explains Isabelle Barat, shiatsuki and reflexology trainer.
Some massages manage to evacuate repressed emotions, physical and psychic tensions. The tomatoes-psychopedagogy sessions at the Miramar Crouesty thalassotherapy center are based on this principle.
Like the biodynamic massages offered by some sophrologists and wellness practitioners. By associating the touch and the word, they release the traumatisms inscribed in the body generating psychosomatic ills.
Who Can Perform Massages?
But for a massage to bring real health benefits, it must be properly performed.
In USA, legislation is strict in theory. “Only masseurs-physiotherapists have the right to perform massages, explains Christophe Foster. The other practitioners (beauticians, hydrotherapists, spa employees …) can provide manual therapies only under the term modeling.”
Certainly, a perfect knowledge of the gestures and anatomy is essential for the result to be the height. But all massage aficionados will tell you that it is not the diploma that makes the practitioner’s aptitude.
Among the kinds, the skills are very heterogeneous. It is the same masseurs who officiate in massage center or thalassotherapy. Some have only received an apprenticeship of a few days, which is very clearly insufficient. Others have followed a real training and practice in full knowledge of the facts.
In schools accredited by the French Federation of Wellness Massage (FFMBE) such as the Ling Dao Institute, a minimum of two hundred hours of classes is required to qualify as a professional masseur.
Type of Massage
Best of all worlds! This allows the therapist to work with your body and use any technique that is most beneficial to your body’s needs. It may include some or all of the types described here (or even ones not listed here). This massage experience is designed with your body in mind; unique to you each and every time.
The most relaxing massage, as it promotes relaxation and improves circulation. Good for stress and conditions needing a gentle approach. The therapist will apply massage with Essential oil and use long gentle strokes such as effleurage, rocking, and kneading.
Deep Tissue Massage
Treats chronic pain caused by tight muscles, knots, or injured tissue. The focus is on realigning all layers of muscles and connective tissue. The movements are similar to that of Swedish massage but can be more intense because it affects deeper tissue.
Trigger Point Therapy
Based on the work of Dr. Janet Travell. Trigger points are points that when activated cause pain in another area. The therapist will focus on releasing the point by engaging the tissue and deactivating the trigger. It differs from the other types of Western massage in that the receiver can be asked to participate by performing certain movements. It does not require massage essential oil as each point is worked individually.
CranioSacral and SomatoEmotional Release
Developed by Dr. John Upledger, craniosacral addressed the cranial system of the body. Using pressure equal to a weight of a nickel, migraines, TMJ issues and many hyper conditions can be relieved. Somato Emotional Release relieves pain by releasing emotional restrictions connected to body tissue and memory.
Benefits of Massage
Many of us already know how relaxing and how wonderful a massage feels but not everyone knows the benefits of massage. Massage affects the body as a whole, not only do the skin and muscles benefit from massage but so does circulation, lymphatic system, nerves, and the internal organs.
The skin benefits from massage because of the increased circulation that is provided during and after the massage. The increased circulation can help the skin become softer, finer and hydrated. Massage helps to exfoliate dead skin cells encouraging the renewal process. Skin elasticity and strength are helped be maintaining the collagen fibers.
Circulation is increased during a massage, which helps to bring more nutrients to the area through the increased blood flow. With the increased circulation the work on the heart is lessened and the blood-making process is improved.
Muscles benefit also from the increased circulation; it helps to flush out any toxins that have settled into the muscle tissue and brings in fresh blood to supply nutrients to the muscles. Muscle tone is improved and mobility can be restored by massage. Muscle pain and soreness are relieved and strains and sprains heal faster with regular massage.
Circulation of the lymph is increased during a massage because the massage movements help to empty the vessels and encourage the natural movement of lymph. This helps to eliminate waste products from the body. By increasing the flow and eliminating the wastes from the lymphatic system it can help to strengthen the immune system.
The nerves benefit from a massage in two different ways, they may either be soothed or stimulated. When soothed the muscles relax, some people may even fall asleep from being so relaxed. When the nerves that control glands and internal organs are stimulated it helps to normalize the secretions which are beneficial to the nerves, glands and internal organs.
Stress is also reduced by massage which most of us can greatly benefit from. Many of us have to deal with so much stress in our lives and with so many physical and mental conditions caused by stress, it’s very beneficial to find a way to lower your stress level.
Mental and physical fatigue is relieved, allowing more awareness to pay attention to proper nutrition, exercise, and good health practices. This can help relieve fatigue, increase productivity due to less mental strain, relieve headaches and reduce tension.
Massage is a great therapy for the body and mind, it’s a good practice to get in the habit of getting a regular massage. I know that not all of us can get a massage as often as we need do to situations in our life but even to take a few minutes every once in a while to rub our shoulders, neck, feet or hands will still give you some of these great benefits.