Massage can help restore our awareness, balance and health. Whilst ideas and concepts are a large part of our reality, the information that our whole body provides offers a much greater sense of our selves. In the words of Fitz Pearls, the founder of Gestalt Psychotherapy, “lose your head, and come to your senses”.
Massage helps the flow of blood and lymph in our bodies. It can also decrease our blood pressure and heart rate, sooth our nerves and decrease tension, producing relaxation and a state of wellbeing. Massage may aid the production of endorphins (meaning ‘morphine within’), the brain chemicals that function as natural pain killers. One of these, enkephalin, has the ability to reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria.
During massage a range of different strokes are used. For Swedish massage these fall into two main groups: light gliding strokes and medium depth strokes.
Long, light gliding and feathering strokes are used at the beginning and at the end of a massage. The gliding strokes vary from light to firm, but are always done slowly and with the whole of the hand flowing and moulding over the body. This is a therapeutic stroke aimed to bring balance to the body and mind. It creates pure relaxation, resulting in a soothing, almost meditative, state.
The application of pressure and movement encourages the blood and oxygen to circulate properly. Muscle tension and spasms are alleviated, discomfort is relieved and healing is promoted.
Massage has a positive impact on the whole person both physically and emotionally. Many illnesses result from stress and strain in daily life. Massage is particularly effective as a means of calming and soothing tension and bringing about a sense of peace and balance.