(Last Updated on : 11/12/2012)
Massage therapy in Naturopathy is a therapeutic cure to many diseases. 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 refreshing. Massage therapy dates back as far as 400 B.C., when 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.
There are many benefits of massage therapy. The general massage, dealing with all parts of the body, 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.
The Massage Therapy 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. There are five basic modes of manipulation in massage and these are: effleurage (stroking), friction (rubbing), petrissage (kneading), tapotment (percussion) and vibration (shaking or trembling).
Cotton seed oil is most commonly used for massaging. 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 forty to forty five minutes and local body massage for ten to fifteen minutes. The oil should be washed off completely after massage. 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 causes formation of pus as massage may spread the pus to the entire system.
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 vibration help the muscle to develop its contractile power. There are different types of massages prescribed for different body parts.