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The Benefits of Massage Therapy

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1421
  • Category: Therapy

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Massage can be defined as a systematic and scientific manipulation of soft tissues of the body for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining good health. (ABMP) The history of massage and healing touch is long and complex, with more than 75 different types of massage and bodywork modalities, a generic term used to describe massage in its various forms. Now today across the globe, it has grown up to 350 modalities and counting. (NCBTMB) Massage and healing touch have been practiced for thousands of years in all regions of the globe. Massage is very instinctive. It is a natural response to rub our aches and pains, whether or not we are familiar with the medical knowledge behind the instinct to rub our bodies hoping to find relief. In modern healthcare, massage has taken an important role. It is beneficial in several aspects such as to reduce stress, enhance blood circulation, decreased pain, promote sleep, reduce swelling, enhance relaxation, and increase oxygen capacity of the blood. (Salvo) Massage has been also recognized as a nondrug treatment for cancer and post-operative pain. (ABMP) Within my research, I will be looking at the ancient world of massage and how it evolved. The benefits of massage performed on clients which is the major topic of this research and the future of massage therapy.

In the ancient East, a concern with illness has been documented in China for several millennia, and records have revealed that the practice of massage goes back as early as 3000 BC. (Salvo) However, in the period between the second century BC (200 to 101 BC), and the first century AD (AD 1 to 100), Chinese medicine began to take on its basic shape. Manuscripts found in China, dating from the second century BC, Discuss “massages as one of the various methods of treatment for illnesses.” (Salvo) Using their knowledge of massage and later acupuncture, the Chinese developed a style of massage that they termed amma. “Amma” is regarded as the precursor to all other therapies, manual and energetic-the grandparent of all massage techniques. (Salvo) The Chinese had developed the art of massage so well that they were the first to train and employ massage therapist who were blind. Various ideas and beliefs were compiled under the name of the mythical Yellow Emperor and became the classic Scripture of traditional Chinese medicine, the Huang-ti nei-ching-commonly known as “Nei Ching”; contain descriptions of healing touch procedures and their uses. (Salvo)

Techniques and use of massage were well-established in China and have found their way into Japan. In Japan, we see Shiatsu, a Japanese modality based on the Asian concept that the body has a series of energy points, or Tsubo points along the body, each with different purposes. This Shiatsu practitioner massages Tsubo points to bring balance between mind and body. As with the Chinese, the medieval Japanese employed blind massage therapist as well for the purpose of the practitioner to see into your soul without the use of site. In India, massage gradually became an integral part of Hindu tradition, which was termed Ayur-Veda, literally meaning “code of life”, and deals with the rebirth, renunciation, salvation, the soul, the purpose of life, the maintenance and mental health, and the prevention and treatment of diseases. (Salvo) Today, in the modern era, we hold the utmost respect and admiration to Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839) a Swedish psychologist and gymnastic instructor.

Through his experiences at the University of Lund and the Swedish Royal Central Institute of gymnastics, Ling developed his own system of medical (or Swedish) gymnastics and exercise, known as the Ling System (Swedish movements). (Salvo) The primary focus of Ling’s work was on gymnastics applied to the treatment of disease and injury. According to Ling, his Swedish gymnastics was a therapeutic system by which we try the means of influencing movement to overcome discomfort that has arisen to abnormal conditions. Ling’s overall system where he blended massage with physiology was later termed as the new emphasis of Swedish massage. Swedish massage was noted to improve circulation, relieve muscle tension, improve range of motion (ROM), and promote general relaxation. This system eventually led to the development of Physical Therapy as a profession, which is widely used within our rehabilitation centers today. (Salvo) With the various therapeutic massage modalities within practice today there are seven needs that they all target in their unique special ways. The seven key areas that each practitioner will focus on are Trigger point therapy that relieves oxygen deprived and lactic acid filled muscle striations causing pain in other areas of the body.

Deep tissue releases muscle tension by providing the pain relief, loosens scar tissue, and lengthens the muscles. Sports therapy promotes flexibility to decrease risk of injury to provide endurance and reduces post workout recovery time. Reflexology restores relaxation, and decreases stress and anxiety. Prenatal relieves headaches, backaches, enhances sleep and reduces fatigue, and lastly Geriatric and Medical which encourage circulation, improves the balance and flexibility, pain and anxiety, and increases joint movement. (Salvo) As massage therapy moves forward it wasn’t so long ago that there were still some downsides concerning healthcare professionals in the United States remotely thinking of the idea as massage becoming a serious modality for a wide array of healthcare complaints ranging from musculoskeletal injury to pain management for cancer patients. But today, the views have quickly changed and significantly. Groundbreaking studies on alternative medicine used by researchers such as David Eisenberg and Daniel Cherkin have shown a consistent pattern of both increased use and acceptance of massage as not only a viable healthcare modality, but a valuable one. (Cherkin/Eisenberg)

Within these new discussions have brought about a mandated State licensure crossed the United States so that massage therapist can comply with all the laws and legislation and continued educational courses. (NJDCA) In the next five years all associations across the board will become the largest emergence of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), which will give the states a way to work together in the regulatory process. (NCBTMB) Massage therapists are highly sought out today to assist healthcare professionals such as chiropractors, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and even including psychiatrist and psychologist. To step back in time concerning the 1970s, massage therapist were required to have anywhere between 100 to 200 practitioner hours. (NJDCA) But now massage therapist are required to have anywhere between 650 up to 1500 practitioner hours depending on the state where they reside. (NJDCA) The reason for such drastic changes has been for the sole purpose that massage therapist be completely and professionally adequate within their industry. (NJDCA)

In conclusion, massage therapy and its benefits have grown astronomically and will continue to change our lives not only with the relaxation aspects which is sometimes considered the luxury of the few but within time it will be considered a necessity within the medical profession. (Salvo) Associations of massage therapy that have grouped together are pursuing the acceptance that massage therapy be considered an actual medical profession. (ABMP) The National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) will hopefully soon within the next two years have approval of legislation in Congress that would allow massage therapist established consideration to legally accept and bill healthcare providers for the services rendered to their clientele or referred patients from doctors within their network. (ABMP) This will be a monumental leap forward that will allow holistic and natural medicine as part of the medical field. It will in turn give patients the option of opting whether to receive medical treatment, which may include medication or surgery or the option of being helped professionally in a holistic or natural way to better improve their health. (Salvo)

Works Cited

1.”Associated Bodyworks & Massage Professionals (ABMP).” Associated Bodyworks & Massage Professionals. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. . 2.Cherkin, D.C, Deyo, K.J, and Sherman, K.J., “Characteristics of Licensed Acupuncturist, Chiropractors, Massage Therapist, and Naturopathic Physicians,” I Am Board” family practice. 15, no.5 (2002): 378-90. 3.Eisenberg, D.M, and Davis, R.B, “Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States (1990-97): Results of a Follow-up National Survey”, JAMA 280, no.18 (1990). 4.“National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).” The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. . 5.”New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJDCA).” New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. . 6.Salvo, Susan, Massage Therapy Principles-Principles and Practice. The Louisiana Institute of Massage Therapy: Lake Charles, Louisiana. 2007. Print.

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