Mmmmm the thought of a massage…! But do you realise there are many different types of massage, all with different responses from the body.
But before we look at the different types of massage, let’s look at the history of massage…
Body Massage History
Body massage dates back to the beginning of time and was practiced by early Chinese, Hindu, Assyrian, Greek and Roman civilisations. There are many examples in ancient artwork that depict massage.
Until the 1600’s massage was not really heard of in Europe. It wasn’t until a Swedish physiologist called Dr Peter Henry Ling int he 1900’s gave a clear and ordered system of working, which we now call ‘Swedish Massage’.
Other names for massage include ‘Classical’ (as used in Sweden), ‘Clinical’ and ‘Therapeutic’.
Traditionally massage is carried out lying on a couch and usually the whole body is massaged (back, shoulders, arms and legs, or just the back and shoulders are treated . However, since we all have different needs and requirements it can be given in a seated position, either in a special massage chair, or by use of pillows and a chair.
Massage can have a profound effect on the body – in many ways. Below is a short description of the ways massage can help the body and mind, for more information please click here for a full report.
This type of massage encompasses a variety of moves and pressures. Soft, sweeping, or firm – they can all be part of this type of massage, but this type should never hurt! It is the best type of massage for pain management.
Skeletal: Increase joint mobility, Free adhesions and scar tissue, Improve the tone and texture of the muscles
Muscles: Relieves muscle tightness and stiffness, Increases tissue relaxation, Increases blood circulation, Reduces muscles soreness, Rapid removal of toxins.
Cardiovascular: Improve circulation, Dilate blood vessels, Produce enhanced blood flow, Help temporarily decrease blood pressure, Decrease heart rate, Reduce ischaemia
Lymphatics: Reduce oedema, Strengthen the immune system,
Nerves: Stimulation of the sensory receptors, Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, Reduce pain
Skin: Improve circulation to the skin, Increase the production of sweat, Improve the skins colour, Increase sebum production
Respiratory: Deepens respiration and improves lung capacity, Slows down the rate of respiration
Digestion: Help with the movement of food around the digestive system, Stimulates digestion
Urinary: Increase urinary output
Psychological: Reduce stress and anxiety, Create a feeling of well-being, Improve self-esteem. Promote positive body awareness, Ease emotional trauma through relaxation
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of massage that stimulates the lymph through the one-way drainage pathways within the body. It is gentler that some other forms of massage and uses flowing rhythmic movements.
Lymph is a clear fluid that moves water, protein, cells and electrolytes around the body. by stimulation the lymphatic system the tissues of the body as assisted i the process of clearing excess fluid. It is a superficial massage on the lymphatic drainage paths and it is thought that by applying gentle pressure to superficial lymph vessels the deeper lymph vessels will also be influenced.
One aim of the massage is to reduce swelling (oedema) by increasing lymphatic drainage. The softer the tissues or the more severe the oedema, the lighter the pressure and the slower the movements.
Gentle and therapeutic touch to help relax and ease some of the symptoms of pregnancy. Using supports to maximise your comfort, take time out for yourself and unwind.
Our special pregnancy massage relaxed tired muscles and relieves aches and pains. Massage during pregnancy can help improve headaches, mood swings, quality of sleep and back and joint stiffness.
Benefits of Pre Natal Massage:
- Relaxation – ‘me’ time
- Aid good quality sleep
- Help with aches and pains
- Eases headaches and mood swings
For the new mum, time seems to slip by and maybe all attention goes on the little-one, but it is important to make sure they are not neglected. Their bodies and minds have worked very hard over the last 9 months, and are now working even harder!
During the postnatal period, your body is going through big changes and you need to be careful not to overstimulate it. The time it takes for your body to return to normal differs for different women and depends on factors such as your general health, the type of pregnancy you experienced, the type of birth, how well you are bonding with your child, the kind of baby you have and how easy you are finding breastfeeding.
It is important that you take care of yourself as well as your baby in the months following childbirth.
Benefits of Postnatal Massage:
Emotionally and physically the postnatal period can put a great deal of strain on mothers and massage during this time can help to:
- Give nurturing and emotional support
- Alleviate the muscle strain of pregnancy and childbirth
- Promote pelvic floor healing and rebalance the spine and pelvis
- Restore and normalise abdominal structures
- Facilitate healing after a Caesarian section
- Restore normal walking patterns
- Prevent and reduce back and neck pain caused by newborn care
- Can aid breastfeeding
Massage has been around for thousands of year and must be one of the oldest and most natural forms of all healing methods. Throughout history, and in many different cultures, massage has been used to aid healing in both adults and children, ease the pain of childbirth and help recovery, as well as soothing babies and infants all over the world.
Baby massage is becoming more popular as the benefits are realized, and its use is being encouraged by Midwives, Child Welfare Organisations, Health Professionals, as well as Complementary Practitioners.
A baby will show much evidence of exceptional flexibility of movement but as development occurs, and with time, this flexibility will decrease. If massage is started from the first few weeks of life this can encourage and maintain a higher level of flexibility, as strength increases.
Sessions are aimed at mum and dad (why should dad’s miss out on all the fun??), or mum and another. Baby loves these sessions and so will you!
A massage therapy that works specifically on the areas surrounding the head, scalp and face, neck and extending to the shoulders and upper back. Used for thousands of years to help reduce stress and muscle tension, eases headaches and can help with migraines. Treatments can use oils, or you can have it dry if you prefer.
The head, neck and shoulders are important energy centres within your body. When we feel stressed or angry tension tends to accumulate. This can later show itself as a stiff neck and shoulders or even eye strain.
Indian Head Massage involves work with a firm and gentle rhythm to help unknot blockages and relieve the uncomfortable build up of tension. However the effects are not just physical: it works on an emotional level too, calming the spirit, promoting relaxation and relieving stress.
The main aim of massage is to release tense and tight muscles, gently move the joints and restore you body back to feeling ‘normal’ again. With regular treatments you can prevent lots of common ailments and help keep stress at bay.
Who would’ve want that?