Massages have been used for therapeutic purposes in many cultures for millennia. Meanwhile, there is an almost unmanageable range of different massage techniques - from the classic massage on the Thai and the foot reflexology massage to the exotic Lomi Lomi massage. Massages are used today both for the treatment of physical ailments and as a means of relaxation.
Effect of massages
Depending on the type of massage, the effects of a massage on our body may be quite different. What is common to most massages, however, is that the skin, muscles and connective tissue are mechanically influenced. This influence is effected by pressure, expansion or tensile stimuli.
The various massage strokes promote blood circulation in the skin and muscles. In addition, the cell metabolism in the tissue is stimulated and blood pressure and pulse drop. In addition, massaging the skin and muscles has a relaxing effect on them. Hardening in the musculature can be solved as well as adhesions. Thus, a massage can also be pain-relieving.
However, a massage should not only have a positive effect on the immediately treated area, but also on the entire organism. About so-called reflex arches, it should also have a beneficial effect on the internal organs. But not only the body, but also the psyche feels a massage as relaxing: Through the gentle touch existing stress can be reduced.
When is a massage recommended?
A massage can have a positive effect on one or more of the following symptoms:
- Back pain and hardening and tension in the back (If you suffer from severe back pain, you should first examine a doctor and then only be treated by a trained physiotherapist!)
- Bad circulation
- Psychological stress
Incidentally, a massage is particularly effective if the body is warmed up a bit beforehand. This can be done for example by a warm bath, a fango pack, a sauna or a red light treatment.
When should a massage be waived?
As a general rule, massages should not be performed in case of acute inflammation. Typical symptoms of inflammation include pain, fever, swelling, redness of the affected area and a change in the white blood cell count. If an acute inflammation, the body is already heavily stressed by the inflammation. A massage is an additional burden for the weakened body and can thus worsen the clinical picture.
Also with a skin illness one should be careful with massages. Because the touch of the skin or the massage oil can lead to a worsening of the disease. During pregnancy you should first check with a doctor if and what forms of massage are allowed.
Finally, even with traumatic injuries and open wounds on a massage should be waived. Such traumatic injuries include, for example, bruising or fractures. Since pressure is exerted on the tissue during a massage, a massage is counterproductive to the healing process. For bruising, a massage is only allowed again if the risk of rebleeding is no longer present.
Tips for a relaxing massage:
To enjoy a massage, it is important to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Choose a suitable place for the massage, make calm, relaxing music or light a candle. In such a feel-good atmosphere, it can be switched off particularly well during the massage. In addition, you should consider the following tips for a relaxing massage:
- Cover the body parts that are not being massaged with a blanket or towel to prevent them from cooling down.
- If you warm the oil in your hands before the massage, the contact with the oil will not be unpleasant.
- Always massage to the heart, for example from the feet to the hips and not vice versa.
Various massage techniques
Thai massage, foot reflexology or hot stone massage: Today there are a variety of different massage techniques. In general, a distinction is made between massages that have a direct effect on the painful area and massages that have a reflex effect. While in the former directly the place is massaged, at which a relaxing and analgesic effect should occur, occurs in the latter an indirect effect.
Massages with direct effects include classic massage and sports massage. The most famous massage with a reflex effect is the foot reflexology massage. Some massages, such as the Thai massage, can have a direct as well as an indirect effect on our body.
On the next page you can get an overview of the best-known types of massage and their particular features.