Today, massage takes this ancient healing touch further in a variety of ways, mostly based on 'Swedish movement treatment'. The variety of strokes used, such as kneading and rolling motions on the tissues has a profound effect on the physical body and also on the mind. Massage allows the body to release endorphins, its own natural 'feel good' pain relievers. As such, it is the perfect antidote to stress, stimulating the body's immune system and acting as a preventative benefit. Internationally-recognised pharmacologist Dr Candace Pert asserts that 'we could replace 90 per cent of mainstream medicine with a weekly massage'.
Touch is the most primitive form of reassurance. Physical contact has a profoundly positive effect on our psyche; it has been shown that when babies are not touched and held they do not thrive. When someone is distressed, we reach out to them; when something hurts, our automatic reaction is to touch it. This ancient and instinctive form of healing was advocated by the Egyptians, illustrated in tomb paintings. Greek and Roman physicians considered massage an integral part of healing and relieving pain. In the 5th century Hippocrates, 'the father of medicine' wrote: 'the physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing (massage)'. After many centuries when massage was disapproved of by the church, it was a Swedish gymnast who revived the practice, bringing modern massage to the medical forefront in the early 19th century.
What to Expect
There are many different types of massage. Aromatherapy massage uses essential oils, chosen for their specific properties by the therapist, depending on your requirements. See also Shiatsu and reflexology. A therapist will ask about you and your lifestyle and take any medical history. Massage is usually conducted in a very relaxing environment; you will need to undress (usually fully). For reflexology, only the feet, and sometimes hands, are massaged.
Training & Colleges
Practitioners have usually undertaken an accredited college course and had training in anatomy and physiology. For membership of a massage association the time committed to educational requirements varies enormously from 1600 hours to 100 hours.
Education & Training