Massage notes and news

Thursday, January 30, 2003

A Brief History of Massage

Massage is considered to be among the oldest of all treatments used by man. Chinese records dating back 3,000 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, 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 provide as part of the prescribe 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. ABMP offers a referral service to the public and will provide you with a list of practitioners in your area. For information, call 800-458-2267 or visit our Web site at www.abmp.com.

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 & 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.

Types of Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Therapies

There are a variety of bodywork techniques. Here are brief descriptions of just a few:

Swedish Massage: The most common form of massage, Swedish mainly relaxes the muscles and eases aches and pains.
Joint Play: Passive and/or active movement performed by the therapist that increases mobility within the joint.
Deep Tissue: Similar to Swedish but directed towards the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia.
Reflexology: Massage of the feet, hands, and/or ears. Stimulates corresponding areas in the body.
BodyTalk: Uses muscle biofeedback, linking, and tapping to re-establish good communication and facilitate healing.
CranioSacral: A gentle, light-touch method of evaluating and enhancing the environment in which the brain and spinal cord function.

There are more than 150 variations of massage, bodywork and somatic therapy techniques. Many practitioners utilize an integration of techniques.

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