What is a massage?

The Nurturing touch

Touch is vitally important to human wellbeing, especially in the modern world where social inhibitions have led to limited touching between people, and the pressures of daily life mean that we all suffer from stress and tension. Massage is the ideal way to ease tension and soothe tight muscles resulting from these conditions. 

In reality, massage is an advanced and conscious form of our instinctive and innate ability to offer healing through the laying-on-of-hands. In this respect, tender loving touch may be just as important to our health as food and cleanliness.

Indeed, psychologists tell us, that stroking and caressing especially during infancy, is vital to our emotional and physical development. When touching takes the form of skilled and sensitive massage, not only does it relax and revitalise an ailing or tired body, it is also a way of communicating warmth, reassurance and a sense of self worth and we are nurtured on every level of our being.

History of massage

Massage is an ancient, revered form of healing that has been practiced for thousands of years by every society, community, tribe or group of people. It has been performed by healers, shamans, medicine men and women, by medical personnel. In ancient Egypt, it was the duty of the high priest to give the Pharaoh his daily session. The Incas began all healing activities with a invigorating massage. Today, most sportsmen and women are well conversed with this energising art form.

Types of massage

There are many kinds and variations of massage. There is a host of different moves and styles and sequences used in every part of the world. Very often local traditions and conditions do influence the style of massage being performed. A Swedish Massage includes quick stimulating chopping motions of the hands, enhancing blood circulation for fast gain of warmth, necessary in these cold Nordic climates, Polynesian Massage is gentle, with a lot of long, soothing, stroking motions following the rhythm and the tones of the traditional music.

Massage in South Africa

South Africans are becoming more and more aware of the many benefits gained from a massage received, therefore its popularity is increasing by the day. Many people are questioning the wisdom of using drugs constantly, while understanding the fact, that medical drugs handle only symptoms, not causes. As massage is among the "fast acting" healing modalities from the Body's point of view (within the Body-Mind-Spirit triumvirate), it is expected that very soon it will gain a regular notation in every health conscious individual's diary.

Massage will benefit every living being, young and old, human and animal. All Beings need tenderness, connection and nurturing, irrespective of who they are, what they are or where they are coming from.

Health benefits

From the physical point of view, the benefits are considerable. Massage enhances blood circulation, which is a vital function for our bodies to operate to full capacity. When our circulation is less than fully efficient, our bodies are receptive to a host of different ailments, problems and illnesses.

When we do not exercise regularly, our lymphatic system will store toxins, instead of eliminating them. As the lymphatic system is being pumped clean by moving muscle tissue, lack of exercise will effect this toxin- storing action. This is a direct cause of many serious conditions. Massaging the lymphatic glands is the only other means of draining them.

By using "pressure points" while facilitating massage, virtually any organ in our system can be manipulated, eased, moved, creating a condition of healing. Very often, by employing massage, healing results can be achieved where drugs have failed. And unlike drugs, massage does not have side effects. It uses all the natural energies within the body, and in a "holistic" massage-sequence, also energies all around the body, and beyond.

The healing effect of massage has always been recognised by medical science. The physical stimulus gained in the process can only enhance healing. Massage creates an automatic feeling of relaxation, which is the basis of any healing process needed to take place. (George Berkovits, Health24, updated April 2011)

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