Monday, February 2, 2009

Therapeutic Value of Massage‏

NATURE CURE

Therapeutic Value of Massage

Massage is an excellent form of passive exercise. The word is derived from the Greek word

ʽmassierʼ which means to knead. It involves the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the

body. If correctly done on a bare body, it can be highly stimulating and invigorating.

As far back as 400 B.C. , the great Hippocrates, the father of medicine, employed massage and

manipulation in healing his patients. Since then it has been used as a mode of treatment for

many ailments and it has restored many a sufferer to health and vigour.



Benefits

The general massage, dealing with all parts of the body, is highly beneficial in many ways. It

tones up the nervous system, influences respiration and quickens the elimination of poisons and

waste material from the body through the various eliminative organs such as the lungs, skin,

kidneys and bowels. It also boosts blood circulation and metabolic processes. A massage

removes facial wrinkles , helps to fill out hollow cheeks and neck and eases stiffness, sore

muscles and numbness.



Various movements

There are five fundamental modes of manipulation in massage and these are : effleurage

(stroking), friction ( rubbing), petrissage ( kneading), tapotment (percussion) and vibration

(shaking or trembling).



1. Effleurage :

This involves sliding with the hands, using long even strokes over the surface of the body.

Effleurage is performed in five ways, namely stroking with (I) palms of two hands; (ii) the palm of

one hand; (iii) the knuckles; (iv) the ball of the thumb and (v) the finger tips. Effleurage increases

blood circulation and soothes the nervous system. It also warms and relaxes. It is very helpful in

atrophied condition of the skin.


2. Friction :

The movements, which are circular in nature are performed with the help of the thumb and tips

of fingers or the palm of the hand towards the joints or around the joints. Fric- tion limbers up

joints, tendons, and muscles and facilitates the removal of deposits by breaking them. It also

helps in reducing swelling after nerve inflammation.


3. Petrissage :

This is the process of kneading, pressing and rolling of the tissues and is performed with one or

both hands, with two thumbs or with thumbs and fingers. One should apply heavy pressure for

deep kneading and light pressure for superficial kneading. Petrissage is a treatment of the

muscles. It increases nutrition, strengthens muscles, relieves intestinal congestion and helps

elimination of the poisons. It boosts long activity and cellular respiration, eliminates fatigue

poisons and tones up nerve endings.


4. Tapotement :

This involves hacking, tapping, clapping and beating and is achieved by striking the body rapidly.

Short and quick blows are generally given from the wrist. Tapotement helps in atrophied

condition of the muscles. It increases blood supply, soothes nerves and strengthens muscles.


5. Vibrations :

This is achieved by rapidly shaking the pressing movements by use of the hand or fingers onthe

body. Vibrating hand should move constantly. This is beneficial in neuritis and neuralgia after the

inflammatory stage is over. It stimulates circulation, glandular activity and nervous plexuses. It



also helps in bowel movement.

Another form of massage helpful in most elements is the vibratory massage. This can be done

by trained persons only. The vibratory muscles is more efficiently administered by a special,

electrically operated machine.



Material for Massage

Cotton seed oil is most commonly used for massaging, but butter is used for filling out cheeks

and the neck and also for breast enlargement. If the patient is averse to oil, talcum powder may

be used. Oil should not be used by persons with excessive body hair. General body massage

may be done for 40 to 45 minutes and local body massage for 10 to 15 minutes.

The oil should be washed off completely after massage.



Therapeutic Uses

Massage can be used with advantage as a method of treatment for many common ailments. The

various forms of massage and their usefulness in various diseases are described here in brief.


Massage of the Joints :

Stiff and swollen joints can be cured by massage combined with mechanical movements.

Massage is, however, not recommended in serious inflammatory cases of the joints and in

tubercular joints. It should also be avoided in infectious diseases like diphtheria and gonorrhoea

which cause formation of pus as massage may spread the pus to the entire system. Sprains and

bruises can be cured by massage. In these cases, affected parts should first be bathed with hot

water for 15 to 30 minutes. Next the massage should be done for a few minutes. Gentle stroking

and kneading is recommended on and around the injured tissues. Fractures can also be treated

through massage.


This form of massage is of great help in atrophy of the muscles which usually follows if the

muscles are not used for any length of time. This condition may also be brought about by

injuries, diseases of the joints, inflammation of the muscles and nerves, and by too long use of

cats, bandages and splints.

A human being carries one -half of the weight of his body in the form of muscular tissues.

One-fourth of the blood supply circulates in the muscles. When one gets a good massage

treatment, the muscles get regenerated and are then capable of holding half of the blood supply.


Massage thus provides additional nourishment to feed the muscular tissues, helping them to

grow strong. Tapping, striking, and vibrating help the muscle to develop its contractile power.

Muscle massage is brought by first effleurage, kneading, followed by tapotement. Later, active

and passive movements are given.

Massage is employed for eliminatng muscle contraction and for breaking of adhesions. A little

moderate kneading, and percussion cause muscles to contract and become stronger. Deep

circular kneading and vibration loosens the muscles. Kneading under and round the muscles

breaks up adhesions..



Massaging the nerves :

Massage benefits many nerve problems. In case of acute inflammation of the nerves, massage

should be done carefully. Light and gentle stroking are recommended. Deep pressure should not

be used on swollen nerves for it will increase the inflammation. All that is needed is just a gentle

tapotement or beating of the nerve.

Nerve compression is recommended for soothing nerves. Grasp the limb with both hands, and

create firm pressure around and down the arm. Start with the shoulder and proceed down to the

wrist. As you leave the grip, bring the hands down a little and make another pressure. As a

result, blood circulation will increase. Spinal nerve compression is extremely beneficial. It is done

by the palm of the hand. Vibration of the fingers stimulate it. Sleeplessness can be cured by long

slow and gentle stroking down the spine and entire back.



Abdominal Massage :

This form of massage is beneficial in constipation. It stimulates the peristalsis of the small

intestines, tones up the muscles of the abdomen walls and mechanically eliminates the contents

of both large and small intestines. Abdominal massage should not be done in general, femoral,

inguinal and umbilical hernia, inflammation of the uterus, bladder, ovaries and fallopian tubes,



kidney stones, bladder or gall bladder, ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and pregnancy.

Abdominal massage should not be done after a heavy meal, but after two hours or so. The

bladder should be emptied before the massage. The patient is made to lie on his back with his

knees drawn up. This enable the abdomen wall to relax. The masseur should stand at the right

side of the patient and use his finger tips for friction round the umbilical region from right to left.


He should likewise alternatively knead the walls and roll with both hands, making deep and firm

pressure. He should knead with the hand and finger tips and keep clear of any wound or tender

places. He should later take up massaging of the larger intestines.

The manipulation of the large intestine should begin on the right side. Keep it going upwards and

across the transverse colon and move right down on the left side to the signoid flexure and

rectum. Circular kneading should be done with the help of the three middle fingers. At the same

time press into the contents of the abdomen, following the course of the larger colon with a

crawling motion. Keep kneading by means of a few circular movements in one spot with the help

of finger tips. Keep moving the fingers a little further along. Knead repeatedly. Use knuckles of

the hand to make deep pressure along the large colon, moving the hands along after each

pressure.


Once the kneading of the abdomen isover, follow up by tapotement with both hands cupped or

use the knuckles of the hand. Vibration may also be employed. The patient could also be asked

to do some gymnastic exercises for strengthening the walls of the abdomen. Since blood

pressure increases during abdominal manipulation, patients with hypertension should avoid

abdominal massage. Massage should also be avoided in cases where there has been recent

bleeding in the lungs, the stomach or the brain.



Chest Massage :

Chest massage is helpful in many ways. It strengthens the chest muscles, increases circulation

and tones up the nervous system of chest, heart and lungs. It is especially recommended in

weakness of the lungs,palpitation and organic heart disorders. Bust and mammary glands can

be developed by proper massage.

The patient is made to lie on the back with the arms at the sides. The masseur starts

manipulating the chest by means of strokes with both hands on each side of the breast bone. A

circular motion is formed by the movement made up and down, moving down the chest. Next the

muscle kneading is done by picking up the skin and muscles with both hands.


Treatment is

given to both sides of the chest likewise. Circular kneading is next done by placing one hand on

each side of the breast bone and making the circular motion outward towards the side.

Tapotement follows by hacking and slapping.


Massage of Back :

The purpose of the massage of the back is to stimulate the nerves and circulation for treating

backache, rheumatic afflictions of the back muscles, and for soothing the nervous system.

The patient is made to lie down with the arms at the sides. The masseur effleurages the back

from the shoulders downwards using both hands on each side of the spine. Stroking is done

from the sacrum upward. Friction follows with each hand at the sides of the spine going down

slowly. Next, kneading by muscle picking is done with squeezing. Alternate rapid pushing and

pulling movement of the hands sliding down the spine. Circular kneading should also be done.

The treatment should end by slapping, hacking and cupping on each side of the spine. Gentle

stroking and light kneading of the back is relieving and soothing.


Percussion and vibration result

into stimulating experience. Vibration of the end of spine benefits the sacral nerves and pelvic

organs. It is recommended in constipation, hemorrhoids, weakness and congestion of the

bladder and sexual organs.



Massage of the Throat :

This helps to overcome headache, sore throat and catarrh of the throat. The patient is made to

throw his head back.. The masseur places palms of both hands on sides of neck with thumbs

under the chin, and fingers under the ears. A downward stroke is next made towards the chest

over the jugular veins. Do not exert heavily on the jugular veins.

Repeat several times.

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