Have you seen friends walk out of a massage parlor with a goofy look on their faces? That’s the look of relaxation! Massage has been around for generations, and for good reason. Your muscles and skeleton go through a lot of stress each day. Massage simply puts every tissue back into its proper place.
You can expect to learn a lot about massage right now, including information on:
- Defining massage
- Understanding its benefits
- Exploring risk factors
- Varying massage techniques
- Comparing therapeutic and relaxation massages
- Diving into aromatherapy
- Learning about various oils
- Discovering argan oil for massage
It’s time to dive deeper into the world of massages. Are you wondering what this service really is when you step into a massage parlor? Learn all about massage and how it came about by understanding its definition.
Massage Beginnings: What It Is And Where It Came From
Massage therapy may seem like a new-age concept, but it’s really been around for thousands of years. What is massage by definition? A synonym that properly fits the term is “rubbing.”
Every form of massage includes the rubbing of your soft tissues, namely the muscles. There are dozens of variations on rubbing, from using the forearms to employing the feet, but every technique comes down to relaxing the body’s tense tissues.
A Historical Perspective
Between 2,700 and 2,500 BCE, the first uses of massage were seen through Chinese and Egyptian books and paintings, respectively. Several different techniques were born through these early discoveries, such as:
Massage concepts slowly spread into Europe by way of Rome and other emerging societies. Travelers from around the world who visited Europe soon realized that massage was the key to healing certain ailments.
Because the medical arts were only in their infancy during these evolving times, massage was seen as a real solution to curing bodily diseases. Manipulating the body with noninvasive maneuvers was seen as a much better solution when the alternatives were surgeries that had questionable outcomes.
The massage arts finally descended on the United States where they emerged as a million-dollar industry. Many cultures influence the techniques today as science and experience converge to improve the art.
This brief, history lesson takes you to the next part of this complex, healing technique. Learning about the benefits of massage is critical to your understanding of why it’s used throughout the world. Nearly every culture has some form of massage.
Benefiting From Massage
Have you been to a massage therapist before? You probably emerged from the appointment feeling loose and relaxed from a muscle perspective. There are other massage benefits to your body besides a relaxed sensation for a few hours. In fact, many benefits revolve around your skin’s health and enhancement.
1. Lymph Flow
Strategic rubbing across your body invigorates nearly every body system. Your lymphatic system, in particular, receives a lot of stimulation. This system is your natural waste conduit that runs throughout the tissues. It has no form of propulsion, which makes massage a vital tool for its efficient operations.
With lymph fluid running steadily through the body, waste from your skin can be quickly removed. You’re left with glowing skin that’s constantly being serviced by the lymph system. Dull skin is the result of a poorly functioning, lymphatic system.
2. Exhilarating Circulation
Another side effect to massage is enhanced, blood circulation. Rubbing the muscles also forces blood to these specific areas. You’re stimulating the tissues so the body responds with blood focused to each area.
The bloodstream nourishes each area, which includes the skin. Extra nutrients, including oxygen, become available for your skin’s enhancement. Blood flow is important for every aspect of your health.
3. Muscle-and-Skin Connections
The main reason for a massage-therapy appointment is to relax those tight muscles. As the therapist manipulates the muscles, they’re moving into more natural positions. These positions translate to better skin tone.
The skin rides above the muscles, and it’s pulled in severe directions when tightness and stress are involved. With muscles in their proper positions, your skin can even out into a healthy glow.
4. Scar Solutions
You’ve probably heard that there’s no real solution to skin scars. They’ll possibly fade over time. However, massage does offer some solutions.
Stretch marks and scars simply require new tissue. By receiving massages on a regular basis, you’re invigorating the bloodstream and lymph system to move nutrients to your skin tissues. Because the skin has enough nutrients to regenerate cells, your scars have a chance to fade at a quicker rate than without massage.
The countless benefits to massage will often overshadow any drawbacks. However, you should be aware of the risks to massage before your next appointment. Being aware of every aspect to massage will only improve the experience.
Knowing The Inherent Risks
If you’ve heard stories from friends that involve the terms “pain” and “enduring the service,” their massage experiences weren’t normal. In fact, every massage should be relatively comfortable. Pain shouldn’t be the overwhelming sensation.
Knowing the risks during massage is important to your safety and overall health. Look over these factors that might be concerns at your next appointment.
1. Internal Tissue Damage
It’s not unheard of for a massage patient to experience tissue damage. Some massage techniques are incredibly manipulative from a tissue perspective. Strong hands might break capillaries in the skin or underlying muscle. The result is internal bleeding that can go unchecked for a long time.
Therapists might also break bones in some rare cases. People with brittle bones, such as arthritis sufferers, might have slight fractures to the bones as a massage continues. Any tissue damage is a risk that must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
2. Nervous System Damage
Your nerves run through nearly every tissue in the body, especially the skin. If a therapist is strong enough, damaging those nerves is possible. Choose a massage technique that’s relatively mild. Speak to your therapist about your concerns so that the massage doesn’t become a worry during the experience.
3. Neck Issues
The neck is a complex yet strong part of your body. It holds up your head with grace each day. Applying the wrong pressure to the area, however, creates problems. Headaches, chronic pain and other issues arise when necks react poorly to a massage technique.
Rethink your appointment if your situation matches those listed below. You shouldn’t have a massage if any of these descriptions are accurate for your situation, such as:
- Being pregnant
- Recent surgeries
- Untreated, cardiovascular problems
- Chronic injuries
Understanding the benefits and risks to massage leads you to more queries about this fascinating art. Explore the various techniques that fall under the “massage” category. You can go a lifetime without experiencing every technique because they’re so large in number.
Defining Different Techniques
Are you curious about trying a new type of massage? With so many variations on the standard massage, you’ll want to research a little bit about the most popular types before picking just one. These massages are found in almost every corner of the world:
- Hot-stone massage
- Aromatherapy massage
- Swedish therapy
For those adventurous types, look for massages originating in foreign lands. Every type massages the body, but varied positions and pressures make each experience distinct. Explore these around-the-world choices today:
1. Thai Massage
Visit Thailand to experience a native massage. Rocking and rolling various body parts are the hallmarks of this therapy. Massage experts compress certain areas while alternating your sitting or lying position. Their hands remain as the tools of the trade.
2. Indian Ayurveda Therapies
Oils, herbs and pressure points make up this massage choice. You’ll have to travel to the Himalayas in order to find a true expert, however. The oils and massage create a harmonious exchange with your body so that every system works as well as possible.
3. Balinese Treatments
Are you looking for a deep-tissue experience? Venture out to Bali where the massage experts use their strength to work those deep muscles. This massage isn’t for the faint of heart so be ready for an intense experience. You can always request for a gentler touch if you have sensitive areas.
4. Traditional Turkish Experience
This massage incorporates temperature into the process. You’re warmed up in several different rooms until you’re incredibly relaxed. End the experience with a massage and cooling room that solves nearly every body ache. This massage takes some time so plan out this experience for an entire morning or afternoon.
Both standard and exotic massages can do a lot for the human body. However, what about those therapies marked as “therapeutic” or “relaxation”? Dive deeper into the massage world by learning more about these diverse therapies.
Therapeutic Versus Relaxation Massages
Countless terms surround each massage, from regional descriptions to styles. Two terms that are used on a constant basis are “therapeutic” and “relaxation.” Knowing the differences between these two massages can help you make a decision on your next treatment.
In general, therapeutic massages are designed to treat an ailment. Sore muscles or tense body sections are perfect candidates for therapeutic massages. Your therapist focuses on these areas so that you feel more comfortable than before.
You’ll receive a consultation before a therapeutic appointment. The therapist learns about your ailments so that a proper plan can be set into motion. Most plans involve deep-tissue massage or adjustments based on your ailment.
Relaxation massages are designed to feel comfortable as you lay back and forget about your worries. In fact, many people fall asleep during these treatments! There are several similarities between relaxation and therapeutic massages, including:
- Massages pressure points
- Involves oils or lotions for smooth motions across the skin
- Overall goals are proper muscle locations and functions
Relaxation techniques give you a chance to reflect on your mind and body as slow and calculated motions massage out your soft tissues. There’s no need for deep-tissue treatments here.
You might think that these massages are so much alike that deciphering between them is impossible. However, there are stark differences to note, such as:
- Deep pressure accents therapeutic massages
- Relaxation therapies cover the entire body, whereas therapeutic focuses on one or two regions
- Multiple appointments are necessary with therapeutic treatments
Learning about the differences between therapeutic and relaxation techniques is important, but you want an enhanced experience above all else. Adding in another sensation, such as aromatherapy, creates a complex layer to any massage. Explore your options with this massage specialty so that every treatment is an exhilarating episode.
Enhancing Experiences With Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy massage may sound complex, but it’s really a simple concept. Have you ever walked into your therapist’s office and inhaled a lovely mixture of flower scents? This experience is part of aromatherapy.
Various scents can be either massaged into your skin or infused into the surrounding air during your appointment. The sense of smell is incredibly strong. It contributes to your relaxation so that the tissue massage is that much more successful.
There are several reasons why aromatherapy massage is different than standard therapies, including:
- Long strokes across the body are common with aromatherapy appointments compared to kneading the muscles
- Several oils combine to make up your massaging lubricant
- Massage experts carefully warm up the skin before working the tissue too deeply
The definitive process of warming up the skin before any real pressure is made against the tissue creates good circulation. Your lymphatic system comes into play too. Those toxins being pulled from your tissues have fluid for transport at that point.
Don’t forget that those oils rubbed onto the skin are doing more than just lubricating the rubbing action. Your skin improves with the additional moisture. Regular, massage appointments lead to glowing skin that’s obvious from afar.
Are you wondering about the oils being used for aromatherapy? They come from a wide variety of sources. Typical oils include:
- Orange blossom
- Tea tree
Always choose an experienced therapist when it comes to aromatherapy. They mix several scents together as a way to please your senses. If an improper match is made, your experience will be less than appealing. Be frank about your likes and dislikes as oil scents come up in conversation. You can pick and choose your favorites.
You’re probably intrigued by oils at this point. They play a key role during any massage. Familiarize yourself with essential and carrier oils so that you have a good grasp of the subject during your next visit.
Oiling Up The Skin
A friend who walks up to your shoulders and gives them a rub is missing a key component. The entire process may feel uncomfortable because the hands and shoulders are being rubbed without any lubricant. Oils must be part of any massage.
Oils prevent the skin from rubbing too harshly against a surface, including a massage therapist’s hands. It doesn’t evaporate as lotions or water-based products tend to do. For many minutes, oils remain on the skin for a top-notch massage.
Have you heard the terms “essential” and “carrier” oils? These two items are both used in massage, but for very different reasons. Carrier oils are the best types for overall massage. They come from plants where fatty sections reside, such as nuts or roots.
Essential oils come from more potent areas of the plant, including the flowers and stems. They have a concentrated scent that’s intoxicating. However, they can damage your skin if they’re used without a carrier oil.
During your next massage appointment, ask about these top oils for carrier purposes, such as:
- Sweet almond
They all have fatty content that nourishes the skin as the massaging friction remains controlled. These oils are also neutral in their chemical activity, which protects your skin from any damages.
Carrier oils are certainly a treat on your skin, but they don’t contribute a distinct scent to an aromatherapy session. Consider these essential oils that can be added in small amounts, including:
- Ylang Ylang
These oils are also referred to as fragrance oils. You avoid any skin irritation with a careful mixture of carrier and essential oils during your massage.
You’ve probably noticed that argan oil has been mentioned several times, but you’re not familiar with this product. Learn more about argan oil so that you can be sure to request it next time you enjoy a massage.
Argan Oil To The Rescue
Argan oil comes from nuts dropped from the argan tree found exclusively in Morocco. Some people call it a golden liquid because of its pure, honey-like appearance. It’s especially useful as a massage oil for several reasons, such as:
- Absorbs into the skin after use
- Non-greasy sensation both during and after the massage
- Skin-enhancement benefits
It’s considered a strong, carrier oil because it has a fat-based structure. The molecules within the oil come from a nut that’s nearly all fat and protein. These molecules move into the skin as the oil is used for massaging techniques. The result is supple skin without a greasy feeling.
Think about the other benefits of argan oil. Because it absorbs so well into the skin, it benefits the tissues immediately below the dermis. The muscles relax, which improves your massage. It’s possible for the joints to be positively affected as the oils contribute to smooth transitions at the spine, knees and elbows.
Ask for argan oil as a carrier during each appointment. After each application, be observant about your skin’s appearance. This oil is known to improve the skin on several levels, such as:
- Fading scars, including acne
- Improving the look of stretch marks
- Reducing fine lines
Receiving a massage with argan oil can be a fountain of youth. Fine-line reduction is thanks to the fatty acids that boost collagen and elastin production in the skin. If your skin has the components to create supple tissue, it will do it as the argan oil continues to flow.
Add essential oils to the argan concentration in order to vary your massage. Experiment with these scents for the best experience.
Argan oil may be your next great discovery. Try it out as you use this article to guide your way toward a better massage. This knowledge will only make your experience an unforgettable one.
People from around the world depend on massages for their well-being. As a mature woman, you need this relaxation too! Afterwards, you can tackle any challenge that comes your way.
With your massage exploration, you’ve learned a few key points, such as:
- Massage’s origins
- Benefits and risks to the practice
- Learning about varying techniques, including relaxation and therapeutic selections
- Aromatherapy’s part in the massage world
- Oils, including argan oil, that make differences in the experience
When an opportunity arises in the future for a quality massage, take advantage of it. Ask for argan oil as your main lubricant across the skin. From your head to your toes, benefit from massage as your golden years continue. You’ll enjoy life with greater intensity as a result.