“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can do is take a complete rest. – Ashleigh Brilliant
Massage, massage therapy, energy work, energy therapy, energy healing and bodywork are all general terms used to reference the many different holistic health practices and techniques intended to re-balance and nurture the body.
Many techniques and principles have been handed down to us nearly unchanged from ancient and traditional medical practices such as Ayurveda (India) or Traditional Chinese Medicine, while others are a combination or integration of several different practices. Some are named after people who have discovered different techniques or ways of working they found to be beneficial in their own practice or life, and then taught to others, such as Polarity Therapy and Cranio-sacral Therapy.
In a broad sense, there are over 200 types of massage, energy and bodywork, and often the word “massage” is used loosely to describe any or all of them. Many holistic health practitioners have studied more than one type, and integrate all of their training into a session tailor-made for their clients. The benefits of massage, energy and bodywork are being borne out by scientific research and therefore all are becoming more accepted in mainstream western medicine. This has also increased the specialization and diversity of techniques offered.
Regardless of what name it goes by, massage, energy and bodywork are important pieces of an overall holistic health program.
• Reduces the flow of stress hormones
• Improves sleep
• Improves energy levels and reduces fatigue
• Improves concentration
• Increases circulation
• Improves self-esteem
• Reduces frequency of headaches
• Releases endorphins
• Reduces low-back pain and improves range of motion
• Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shortens maternity hospital stays
• Eases medication dependence
• Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system
• Exercises and stretches weak, tight, or atrophied muscles
• Helps athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
• Improves the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin
• Increases joint flexibility
• Lessens depression and anxiety
• Promotes tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
• Pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
• Reduces post surgery adhesions and swelling
• Reduces spasms and cramping
• Relaxes and softens injured, tired, and overused muscles
• Releases endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller
• Relieves migraine headache pain
• Massage can reduce sports-related soreness and improve circulation — good to know when you may be exercising more to reduce stress.
• Deep-tissue massage is effective in treating back pain, and arthritis.
• Fibromyalgia patients receiving massage have less pain, depression, anxiety, stiffness, fatigue and problematic sleep.
• Massage reduces symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Oncology patients show less pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, and depression following massage therapy.
• Stroke patients show less anxiety and lower blood pressure with massage therapy.
• Alzheimer’s patients exhibit reduced pacing, irritability, and restlessness after neck and shoulder massage.
• Massage during labor appears to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles, and help block pain. Massage may also reduce tearing, shorten labor, reduce the need for medication, and shorten hospital stays.
• Preterm babies receiving massage therapy gain more weight and have shorter hospital stays than infants not receiving massage.
• Massage is beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis, asthma, burns, high blood pressure, and premenstrual syndrome.