(Last Updated on : 17/01/2014)
There are various types of massage in Naturopathy which are an excellent form of passive exercise. If correctly done on a bare body, these can be highly stimulating and revitalising. The general massage, dealing with all parts of the body, is 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.
The various types of massages are as follows:
Massage of 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 causes 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 fifteen to thirty minutes. Gentle stroking and kneading is recommended on and around the injured tissues. Fractures can also be treated through massage. Massage provides additional nourishment to feed the muscular tissues, helping them to grow strong. Muscle massage is brought by first effleurage, kneading, followed by tapotement. Later, active and passive movements are given.
Massage of Nerves:
Massage benefits many nerve problems. In case of acute inflammation of the nerves, massage should be done carefully. Light and gentle stroking is 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. Spinal nerve compression is extremely beneficial. It is done by the palm of the hand.
This form of massage is favourable 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 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 enables the abdomen wall to relax.
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. 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.
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, 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. 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.
Massage of 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.
Thus these types of massages are of great significance in Naturopathy.