Massage Therapy Today: How We Treat Our Inner Health
Massage therapy takes its' roots from ancient times and medical beliefs. Ancient Egyptians and Chinese believed in internal healing and the power of massage. That is why we still have some of the oldest scrolls from China and Egypt, including those that indicate massage therapy uses and benefits.
Through the years, humanity perfected awareness, methods, and techniques to achieve maximum effect. It is also important to mention that for quite a long time, massage and spa sessions were only for the rich, and the poor couldn't afford the same access to treat their internal health.
Today, everything has changed. Well, maybe not everything - massage therapy is still popular within the upper class, but the middle and lower classes can also afford to visit a spa or a salon. Humanity has moved to perfect massage therapy as well as make it more accessible, and have even added the use of machines to improve the industry.
Some people consider massage therapy to be an alternative means of medicine, and it is commonly used in hospitals and nursing homes for relaxation and pain management.
What is new in the industry?
The industry is still developing as we continue to learn more, and we're always waiting for more exciting discoveries to come up. We have different types of massages that have undergone what we’ll call “construction”, development, and refinement through the years: Swedish, hot stone, aromatherapy, deep tissue, sports massage, and others.
I'm sure you have all heard about the massage modalities listed above; they are popular and well known. But there are some types of massage the industry has introduced or popularized.
Reflexology; for those who don't like to be touched on the whole body
Although reflexology was first used in 1930-1940 and hence has been around for a long time, it's still sometimes considered quite unusual by some people today. Traditional massages include touching and rubbing on the whole body. Reflexology focuses on feet, hands, and ears.
Reflexology carries a deep effect of relaxation for 30-60 minutes by pressuring the focus areas on feet and hands as shown in this video book. Some Physicians even claim that reflexology methods are able to heal chronic pain and anxiety.
If you are someone who doesn't like a human touch (even if it is only on feet or hands), then Osaki OS-K818 Foot Reflexology Massager is for you. It is a reflexology massager that relaxes your tired feet and is practical to use.
Remote massage therapy for your relaxation
Who would have thought that massage therapists could also become freelancers (remote workers)? Thanks to modern technologies, Youtube and other platforms that allow us to upload videos, this is true.
Now you might have come around videos called ASMR relaxation. If you know what ASMR stands for, then you know the concept. But if you are new to this, then you might feel weird at first. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, simply put - shivers down your spine.
In ASMR videos massage therapists and ASMR enthusiasts make the same motions, sounds, and personal care steps that you would receive on a regular session with the massage therapist. The only difference is that these people are away from you, not touching you and causing only relaxation and reduction of anxiety (plus sleepiness in some cases).
Yes, it sounds weird and different, but have you tried it yet? It's experimental, new and trendy today.
Essential oil treatment is the 21st century's gem
Haven't you noticed how popularized and famous coconut oil, peppermint oil and other oils have become? These are all essential oils - compounded and distilled, extracted from plants. They all carry a unique essence (contracted from the plant), making them each irresistible for people with different and similar likings.
Some people like using essential oils for their make-up, to infuse them in the water, for the smell and other uses. Some people even found healing and relaxing abilities in them.
Essential oils go for:
- Treating the scalp - often women have been known to massage their scalps with coconut oil, castor oil or aloe oil to improve circulation and hair growth.
- Treating the skin - people often use essential oils to smear them on their skin to soften, smoothen and give them a nice smell.
- Treating stress, anxiety, and depression - Studies have shown that aromatherapy helps reduce stress and cope with anxiety and depression.
- Treating headaches - Some people experiment with peppermint oil and ethanol mix and put them on their foreheads to treat the headaches.
There are claims and studies that show that aromatherapy helps with insomnia, inflammation and other issues. However, the results of the effectiveness of essential oils have been mixed, and there is no actual statistical data that can prove that essential oil treatment is genuine medicine.
But feel free to use aromatherapy for relaxation, stress reduction and sleep preparation. Treat your skin and scalp with these oils that come in every shape and size.
Tired of massages from a human? Here are some animals to help.
Some countries are known to use animal fluids, animal parts and even live animals to conduct massage sessions.
In Russia, Japan, and the U.K. you can come find massage rooms where African Snails crawl on your body. It is proven that the slime of snail can cover damaged skin, and help regenerate it faster as well as help skin cells grow healthy.
Another weird animal massage tradition is found in the Philippines. They offer a relaxing python massage. And let's not forget about Thailand's elephant massage.
These techniques are not new, but they are truly experimental. They come from ancient times. History shows that back in the day, these methods were known to be popular, but after the development of modern therapy techniques and professionalization of the practice, improvements in technology, and culture of massage therapy, they ceased to exist. Until today, of course! Because today, people love experimental methods and they are bringing back these techniques in their bucket lists.
Machines in massage therapy
It would not be right to finish the article about today's massage therapy traditions without mentioning the machines!
Water massage machine
Water massage already sounds pretty relaxing. What about a machine that needs no human touch but provides you with a relaxing water massage?
This machine looks a lot like a Solarium (tanning bed). You get into the machine, stick your head outside and receive the relaxation. These machines are self-service, and you can find them at various locations like fitness clubs, and some hotels in Japan offer them in their spas.
Lymphatic drainage machine
This is a revolutionizing machine in massage therapy and weight loss. These machines are full-body (sometimes partial-body) suits that follow the movements of a massage therapist and give you a full-body massage all over your body at the same time.
They serve for lymphatic drainage, which makes them so good for weight loss. It makes your body free of the excess fluids and lets you lose approximately 1 to 2 pounds after the session is over.
There are other lymphatic drainage methods you could try with a professional massage therapist.
And of course, there are self-massaging machines that we often use in our daily lives: Neck massagers, back massagers that can be attached to the chairs and other seats, foot massagers, foot baths and other.
Of course, we had hand tools like Kelly Kinetics SoloMax Tool, and other similar products.
A relaxing foot massage is never a bad idea. Even if you don't have a high-tech foot bath, take a simple bowl, pour some hot water and use bath salts.
What changed in massage therapy education and culture?
Massage therapy went through a lot of changes and developments through the years, but we also changed our ways of perceiving it. Education and culture, nowadays, is different.
The idea of massage therapy interested a fairly different set of people back in the day. Colleges and universities implemented massage therapy courses not so long ago. Even in the 1980s, this profession was not-fully-understood. People just didn't have much respect for it.
After the creation of the Massage Therapists Association, this profession grew in popularity, and people started noticing how advantageous it could be for their future. Today, people get massage therapist certificates as a full time career, or even just as a side project, hobbies, and interests.
With further growth of massage therapy, today's healthcare system even ensures that some of the insurance plans cover massage therapy expenses.
What does the future hold for massage therapy?
Nobody knows what new technologies and techniques we will be introduced tomorrow. But since it is such a developing industry, we are sure to see another experimental method soon.
Massage is everywhere, and it comes in many forms. Even a small rub between the palms of your hands, a rub on your neck and a little stretch you may do after sitting down for a while is a part of a long-desired massage. You could achieve this relaxation on your own with hand tools, essential oils, and other massage tools that you can easily store at your house.
So take a deep breath and do a good stretch at home, take up yoga for 10-15 minutes a day and plan your visit with a professional massage therapist.
Want even more? Enroll in a massage therapy course, listen to some audio and video books, get fascinating massage tools and learn more about how your body functions and how massage can help treat your daily burdens.
NOTE: The statements made in this post have not been evaluated by the
FDA and are the opinion of the author based on their own research and
experience. Your results may be different.