Brief History Of Massage
Massage is considered to be among the oldest of all treatments used by man. Chinese records dating back three thousand years documented its use. The ancient Hindus, Persians, and Egyptians used forms of massage for some ailments, and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, massage is an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs and has proven beneficial to many chronic conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, and bursitis. Massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.
Can Massage, Bodywork, Or Somatic Therapies Benefit Me?
Massage provides relief to people from all walks of life—the weekend or competitive athlete, the home gardener, and the overstressed executive struggling to keep pace in today’s economy. Secretaries, laborers, waitresses—anyone can feel a need for massage at some point in time. The older population, as well, will benefit from massage, as it enhances flexibility and circulation. The bedridden can also be helped in this regard. There are some conditions where massage is not recommended, however. Your practitioner should ask for information regarding any specific health conditions from which you may be suffering in order to determine if massage, bodywork, or somatic therapies are contraindicated. In some cases, the practitioner may need your doctor’s permission before providing services.
Will My Insurance Cover Massage Or Bodywork Services?
If you are in a car accident or have a job-related injury covered by workers’ compensation, insurance may cover massage, bodywork, or somatic therapies when prescribed by a physician. If your insurance covers chiropractic or osteopathic services, the services of a bodywork professional may be covered when prescribed by a chiropractor or osteopath. Therapies provided as part of the prescribed treatment by a physician or registered physical therapist are often covered. The best thing to do is check with your insurance company to see exactly what is covered under what circumstances.
Finding A Qualified Practitioner
Your massage, bodywork, or somatic therapy services should be provided by a professional who has received proper training. Don’t hesitate to ask practitioners about their background, training, and experience. Referrals from friends can usually be relied upon. Members of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals have met stringent requirements regarding training and must adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to remain members.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Care of your body should be at the top of your priority list. You will feel and look better if you take the necessary steps regarding health and nutrition in this age of increased longevity. Stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. Massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies could play an important role in your life.
Massage For Pain And Emotional Problems
With many chronic ailments, massage can relieve the pain and help heal. As with physical problems, emotional problems may also be stimulated into self-healing with massage. In many cases, this helps eliminate the need to take harmful chemical drugs, which will unnecessarily burden the liver, kidneys, and other vital organs.
The Baby Boomer Generation
Unlike generations that have come before, baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—are undoubtedly a generation on the move. Staying that way involves eating right, staying fit, and setting aside time for invaluable self-care, like massage and bodywork.
Massage Benefits for Boomers
- Improves range of motion and decreases low-back pain.
- Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
- Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles.
- Reduces swelling and scar tissue.
- Reduces recovery time from injury/surgery.
- Reduces stress, a major contributor to disease and ill health.
- Releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, thereby reducing the need for medications.
- Stimulates lymph flow and supports the body’s natural process of detoxification.
Improved Circulation, Healthier Skin
With age, circulation slows and skin loses its vitality. Experts say massage combats these effects by increasing circulation through the manipulation of tissue, improving the appearance and condition of the skin and its elasticity, and toning muscle tissue. Massage has a stimulating cellular function in the hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis layers of the skin and also increases the production of skin-nurturing sebum.
Soothing the Pain
Pain is a constant source of grief for an aging body, especially if that body has been abused over time through excess and neglect. Yet, it’s never too late to make amends with your physical self. The passive movement in massage keeps joints more mobile and stimulates the synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints and nourishes the articular cartilage. Massage also prompts the release of endorphins and other pain-reducing neurochemicals.
Immunity and Stress
Did you know that the majority of disease we encounter today is associated with stress? Not only that, stress is a huge factor in premature aging of the body. Researchers say chronic stress ages the body, weakens immune cell function, and can make cells appear up to 17 years older than they really are. Massage deftly attacks stress, while boosting the immune system. Massage encourages the release of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone in the body most often associated with birth and bonding, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system and its relaxation response. Massage also decreases beta brainwave activity, increases dopamine and serotonin levels in the body, and reduces cortisol levels, all of which are linked to decreased stress.