By Lindenberg Junior
You finally arrive home from an exhaustive day at work. Got in an unbearable traffic, for hours, in order to cross town. You open the door and look at the armchair; it invites you to relax before dinner. When you think all is well, you feel your neck and shoulders muscles heavy because of daily tension, and on top of it all, a light headache. Can you relate to this scene? Most probably yes.
The stresses of daily survival battles, plus modern life comforts (how many of us choose to change the TV channels without using the remote control?) make us have sedentary lives, which many times cause our bodies to get stiff. Consequently, we have muscles pains, sore neck, and headaches.
When this happens, nothing is better than a good massage. With the correct techniques, a massage can alleviate muscle pain, eliminate fatigue, facilitate relaxation, avoid injuries, help us keep a good shape, and assist with psychological problems. We can classify the massage in two categories according to its origins: oriental and occidental.
There are many types of massage and, in the last years, many more oriental and occidental techniques are being disseminated, with the objective of increasing body awareness. Some techniques are more indicated for physical and mental relaxation, and others aim the relief and even the cure of ilnesses and pains. We describe below some of the most known ones:
Swedish: Also known as classic, works directly with the body structure, combining movements of kneading, stroking, friction and vibration over the soft tissues, relaxing the muscles and improving blood circulation. It controls the nervous system and promotes general well being. It’s a purifying massage .
Manual Lymph Drainage : This technique was created in the 30s by Danish therapist Vodder. Its objective is to drain the liquids retained in the organism, treating swollen areas, which may cause the appearance of cellulites in certain parts of the body. It’s also great after lipoaspiration surgery, because it speeds up tissue regeneration process. It’s also recommended for people with blood circulation problems.
Rolfing: Named after Dr. Ida Rolfer, who researched a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and body movement education. People look for rolfing as a way to lessen chronic pain and stress, and to increase performance in daily and professional activities, as in the athletes and dancers case.
Rhythmical: Based on classic (or Swedish) massage, it was developed in the beginning of the 20th century. It’s based on the knowledge of different human body parts, and in the relationship between neurosensorial, rhythmic and motor metabolic systems. It aids in the prevention of illnesses and stress, acting as a support for the healing process. Rhythms such as the seasons’ changing throughout the year, the awakening and the falling asleep, the breathing in and breathing out are like the rhythm of turning the massage on and off.
Shiatsu: Ancient Chinese technique that means “finger pressure,” although it also uses hands, elbows, and even knees during a session. It works the vital energy that circulates in the body, through the channels, or meridians. These channels may be out of balance or with their energy stagnated, what can cause body pains. It stimulates lymph drainage, eliminating the toxins faster; it increases cell oxygenation and blood circulation. It eliminates fatigue, reduces pains and gives a general feeling of relaxation..
Tantric Indian Massage: This massage session lasts around one hour and is always given by a person of the opposite gender, in order to exchange polarities. It’s preventive and acts to reestablish a person’s physical and spiritual balance. It harmonizes energy bodies and prevents illnesses stimulating the body’s natural defenses. It also treats general heart weaknesses, nervous, emotional, and mental disturbances, and it also harmonizes sexuality.
Shantala: Originated in the south of India. This technique, based on Yoga and Indian medicine, was developed especially for children and babies, and taught by a mother to her daughter. It relaxes, relieves colic and insomnia. It also acts in muscle and bone development, as well as in the balance of nervous and emotional system. It provides a sense of safety and self-esteem to the child, who feels loved.
Reflexology: It’s based on the principle that all organs, glands, and body parts have corresponding spots on hands, feet and ears. We can say that the foot, for example, has a map that works as a guide to the masseuse. The most immediate effect of reflexology is relaxation.
Quick Massage: Lasts around 15 to 20 minutes. Usually done in an ergonomic chair, it’s very common in companies for its convenience. It gives employees relaxing moments right at the workplace, leaving them more energetic and productive. It works the neck, shoulders, arms and back.
Of course, the success and acceptance of massage is directly related to the pleasure it brings. Massage is a language of touch and can be a successful form to relax body and mind. It can also be a special way of establishing communication or connections without words.