Реферат: Massage Therapy Essay Research Paper The practice

Massage Therapy Essay, Research Paper

The practice of massage therapy is

rapidly growing in the United States. It has numerous

benefits to offer and is becoming more widely accepted as

a medical practice by doctors and the general public.

Massage is defined as: ?the systematic manual or

mechanical manipulations of the soft tissues of the body by

such movements as rubbing, kneading, pressing, rolling,

slapping, and tapping, for therapeutic purposes such as

promoting circulation of the blood and lymph, relaxation of

muscles, relief from pain, restoration of metabolic balance,

and other benefits both physical and mental (Beck 3).

There is much historical evidence to indicate that massage

is one of the earliest remedies for pain relief and for the

restoration of a healthy body. It is said to be the most

natural and instinctive means of relieving pain and

discomfort. The roots of massage can be traced back to

ancient civilizations. Many artifacts have been found to

support the belief that prehistoric people massaged their

muscles and even used some form of rubbing oils on their

bodies. According to research, some form of massage was

practiced in almost all early civilizations. Ancient Chinese,

Japanese, India, Hindu, Greek, and Roman civilizations

used some form of massage as a medical treatment. In

many of these civilizations a special person, such as a

healer, doctor, or spiritual leader, was selected to

administer massage treatments. With the decline of the

Roman Empire in 180 A.D. came a decline in the

popularity of massage and health care in general. There

was little history of health practices recorded during the

Middle Ages (476-1450). The Renaissance period

(1450-1600) revived an interest in health and science.

Once again, people became interested in the improvement

of physical health and by the second half of the fifth

century, massage was a common practice. By the sixteenth

century, medical practitioners began to incorporate

massage into their healing treatments. Massage has been a

major part of medicine for at least five thousand years and

important in Western medical traditions for at least three

thousands years. In the early part of the nineteenth century,

Per Henrik Ling, a physiologist and fencing master, from

Smaaland, Sweden, developed and systemized movements

that he found to be beneficial in improving physical

conditions. His system of movements, based on the science

of physiology, became known as Medical Gymnastics. In

1813, Ling established the Royal Swedish Central Institute

of Gymnastics, which was financed by the Swedish

government. From this institute Ling and his students were

able to educate people about his Medical Gymnastics

movements, which became known as the Swedish

Movements. By 1851, there were thirty-eight institutions

for Swedish Movement in Europe. Today, Per Henrik Ling

is known as the father of physical therapy. Mathias Roth

was an English physician who had studied at one of Ling?s

institutes. In 1858, he published the first book in English on

Swedish Movements and then established the first institute

in England. Charles Fayette Taylor, a New York physician,

studied, under Roth, and in 1858, Taylor introduced the

Swedish Movements to the United States. The beginning of

the twentieth century brought with it a decline in the use of

massage. There were several possible reasons for this

decline. One reason was that there were too many false

practitioners who gave poor care and hurt the reputation of

all massage practitioners. A second reason for the decline

in the popularity of massage therapy was the advancement

made in medicine. ?Technical and intellectual advances

developed new treatment strategies that were based more

on pharmacology and surgical procedures. The old ideas of

treating disease through diet, exercise, and bathing gave

way to the more sophisticated practices of modern

medicine.? (Beck 13). Beginning around 1960, another

massage renaissance took place in the United States and

continues to this day. This popularity boom was due in part

to the increased cost of traditional medicine and in part to

an increased awareness of physical and mental fitness.

Since the 1960s massage therapy has gained popularity

and acceptance. In 1992, the first National Certification for

Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork exam was given,

making recognition for a massage therapist official.

Massage therapy offers numerous benefits to the human

body. Renslow Sherer, M.D., states, «Massage therapy

has clearly been shown to me to be very beneficial,

particularly in areas where conventional medicine has not

been as successful, including chronic arthritis,

musculoskelatal syndromes and chronic headache, among

others? (Enhancing Your Health?). Massage is a natural

and instinctive way of relieving minor aches and pains,

nervous tension and fatigue. It has direct benefits such as

increased circulation, stretching of muscle tissue, and

loosening of scar tissue, as well as indirect effects such as

reduced blood pressure, and the general relaxation of

muscles. Massage therapy offers benefits in four major

ways: the muscular system, the nervous system, the

circulatory system, and psychologically. Massage therapy

encourages the nutrition and development of the muscular

system by stimulating its circulation, nerve supply, and cell

activity. In general, it relaxes and refreshes muscles. ?A

muscle fatigued by exercise will be more quickly restored

by massage than by rest alone because massage helps to

remove from the muscle the lactic acid and metabolic

wastes that cause it to tighten or become sore?(What Can

Massage Treat). Muscle tissue that has been injured will

also heal more readily and with fewer complications when a

therapeutic massage is applied because it prevents, or

breaks down, the formation of scar tissue. Massage also

eases the pain of an injury to a ligament or tendon by

dispersing the inflammation an injury would cause. Because

of the benefits massage therapy offers the muscular system,

massage is an effective means of improving muscle tone as

well as muscle stamina and strength. ?Massage has the

ability to prevent or at least delay muscular atrophy that

stems from inactivity? (Enhancing Your Health?).

Massage will help to relieve, or even prevent, muscle

cramps or spasms. The nervous system can be stimulated

or soothed depending on the type of massage applied.

Massage stimulates the nerve endings in the skin and

muscle tissue. As easily as massage can stimulate a nerve, it

can bring about a sedative effect to the nervous system.

Massage can induce deep relaxation and even relieve

insomnia. A therapeutic massage effects the quality and

quantity of blood flowing through the circulatory system.

?Massage dilates the blood vessels, which improves the

circulation of blood? (Beck 250). An increase in blood

flow causes an increase in the blood supply and the

nutrients that muscles and other vital organs receive.

Massage eases the strain on the heart by helping push

venous blood and lymph toward the heart. It also improves

the blood-making process, resulting in an increase in the

number of red and white blood cells. Because of the

benefits a massage offers to the circulatory system, it can

eliminate swelling in the extremities. The psychological

effects of massage can not be underestimated. Massage

relieves mental fatigue by oxidizing and removing toxins

from the body. Beck (252) states that ?It [Massage] has

been proven to be an effective tool to rebuild a positive

self-image and sense of self-worth.? Many people who

suffer from stress find that massage promotes both mental

and muscular relaxation. Overall, massage helps to create a

greater sense of self-awareness and well being. There are

many different types of massage that are used in order to

obtain a desired outcome. The most commonly used

massage is known as Swedish Massage. It is a collection of

techniques that are designed to relax muscles, increase

circulation, remove metabolic waste products, and help the

recipient obtain ?a feeling of connectedness, a better

awareness of their body and the way they use and position

it?(Basics of Massage). The Swedish system emphasizes

applying pressure against muscles and rubbing in the same

direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.

Swedish Massage is used to shorten the recovery time

from a muscular strain because it flushes the tissue of lactic

acid and other metabolic wastes. It stretches ligament and

tendons, keeping them supple. Swedish Massage can help

reduce emotional and physical stress and is often used in

stress management programs. While Swedish Massage is

the most commonly used, there are a variety of other

systems that offer a wide range of benefits. One type is

Shiatsu; it is a massage system based on the body?s energy

meridians. The practice of Shiatsu involves the pressing of

certain points on the body and the stretching and opening

of energy meridians. Proponents of it view Shiatsu as a

form of treatment alternative to medicine or surgery.

Closely related to Shiatsu is Polarity Therapy, it asserts that

energy fields exist everywhere in the body and that the flow

and balance of this energy in the human body is the

underlying foundation of health. A second type is

Reflexology; it is based on the belief that there are points

on the hands and feet that correspond to other parts of the

body and that the manipulation of one of these points will

have a direct effect on a corresponding body part. It is

unclear why Reflexology works, but one currently accepted

theory is that it works by way of nero-reflex points found in

the hands and feet. When an organ doesn?t function

properly, the neural signals along the network change

patterns. These changes can be detected through the reflex

points on the hands and feet. The chemistry at the reflex

point relating to the dysfunctional organ may change

causing a hard painful spot. When this spot is massaged

away, the area begins to become less tender and the organ

to which the reflex point corresponds also functions better.

A third type is Aromatherapy; it is the use of fragrant

substances for a remedial treatment. Aromatherapy is often

combined with massage since oils can be used to carry

fragrances while also allowing more pressure to be applied

to muscles. It is believed by many that certain health

benefits are associated with specific scents. A fourth type is

an On-Site Massage; it is a short, 15-20 minutes, massage.

The client sits in a portable massage chair while the

shoulder, neck, upper back, head and arms are massaged.

This type of massage is popular at the office as an

employee benefit and at conferences and workshops. A

fifth type of massage is Trigger Point or Myotherapy; these

are pain-relief techniques that ease muscle spasms and

cramping. Trigger Point reduces muscle spasms by

introducing new blood flow to an affected area.

Myotherapy relieves muscle pain and stiffness. It is usually

most beneficial to those with chronic muscle tensions. A

sixth type is Craniosacral Therapy; it is especially suited to

addressing tensions in the membranes of the head and

spinal column as well as the cranial bones to which these

membranes are attached. The release of these tensions is

deeply relaxing and may relieve certain types of headaches,

spinal nerve problems, and stress. One last type of

massage is Reiki, it is a gentle, hands-on healing technique

used to reduce stress, relieve pain, and promote healing. It

is based on the belief that energy can be channeled through

a practitioner to energize the various body systems of a

client. Reiki practitioners hold that an imbalance of the

energetic nature manifests in the body to cause stress or

even life-threatening diseases and that re-channeling the

energy in the body can reverse these conditions. In addition

to these types of massage is an athletic massage, it refers to

a method of massage that is especially designed to prepare

an athlete for an upcoming event and/or to aid the body in

recovering from a workout or competition. For many years

athletes have included massage as part of their training.

Recently, in 1984, massage was made available for all

athletes who were competing in the Olympic Games. Since

then, massage areas have become common at many athletic

events. Athletes have recognized massage as a valuable

asset to improving their ability to perform better with fewer

injuries. ?Athletic massage enables athletes to attain their

highest potential by accelerating the body?s natural

restorative processes, enabling the athlete to participate

more often in rigorous physical training and

conditioning.?(Beck 505) It helps to reduce the chance of

injury by identifying and eliminating conditions in the soft

tissue that are a possible risk. An athletic massage allows

an athlete to reach their peak performance sooner and to

sustain it longer. It stretches and broadens muscles,

tendons, and ligaments, which improves the flexibility,

quickness and power of an athlete’s muscles. An athletic

massage eliminates muscle stiffness by removing excess

acid buildup from the muscles. With a massage, an injury

will heal quicker and stronger, without a loss of strength. In

general, a sports massage is based on the Swedish system

with a few practical variations. There are four basic

applications for an athletic massage, pre-event, post-event,

training massage, and rehabilitative massage. A massage

given previous to an event will prepare an athlete for the

strain of an intense competition. A massage given after an

event will normalize the muscle tissues and relax the athlete.

A training massage is given during a workout to allow an

athlete to train harder with fewer injuries. A rehabilitative

massage helps an athlete to recover from an injury more

quickly with less of a chance of re-injury. In the United

States, the laws and regulations for massage vary greatly

from state to state and city to city. The regulation of

massage therapy may be controlled by the state, the

county, the city, or may not exist at all. Currently, just over

half of the states regulate the practice of massage therapy.

Among the states regulating massage therapy is Nebraska.

The State of Nebraska requires one to complete at least

one thousand hours of course study and training in massage

therapy, to be at least nineteen years of age, to be a

resident of Nebraska, and to have received a passing score

on the licensure examination. There are many career

opportunities for a certified massage therapist. There are

positions available as a massage therapists in many

chiropractic offices, in health clubs or day spas, in resorts

or on cruise ships, in hair salons, and in hospitals. Many

certified practitioners will either establish or work in a

massage clinic. Another opportunity for a massage therapist

exists in the sports realm. Many professional baseball,

football, basketball, hockey, ice skating, and swimming

teams keep a professional massage therapist on its staff.

The vast number of benefits realized by massage therapy

make it one of the most used and useful tools for dealing

with mind and body stresses. Massage therapy has proven

to be an effective method for treating many conditions for

thousands of years and it will continue to be used for

thousands of years to come.

Basics of

Massage. 8 Feb. 1999. Alt.Backrub Newsgroup. 11 Nov.

1999. Beck, Mark. –Theory and Practice of Therapeutic

Massage. Ed. Joseph Miranda. 2nd ed. Albany: Milady

Publishing Company, 1994. Enhancing Your Health with

Therapeutic Massage. 1999. American Massage Therapy

Association. 1 Nov. 1999. What Can Massage Therapy

Treat?.. Alive! Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. 4

Nov. 1999. Works Consulted Calais-Germain, Blandine.

Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993.

Higley, Connie, comp. Reference for Essential Oils. Olathe:

Abundant Health Publications, 1996. Jacobs, Jennifer, ed.

The Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Boston:

Journey Editions, 1996. Massage Careers. 1999. Natural

Healers. 30 September 1999. Premkumar, Kalyani.

Pathology A to Z: a Handbook for Massage Therapists.

Calgary: VanPub Books, 1996. Young, Gary D. An

Introduction to Young Living: Essential Oils and

Aromatherapy. Payton: Young Living Essential Oils, 1998.

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