Massage is a healing practice that is very beneficial to both body and mind. It is by far the simplest and oldest form of therapy that involves stroking, pressing and kneading the different areas of the body to alleviate pain, tension, and other discomforts. Well, massage comes in different forms. And, one of the most popular and most practiced is the body massage.
The body massage is commonly applied in different techniques and in different strokes. The techniques and strokes vary widely from the most delicate touch with the fingertips to the more focused deep tissue work. These techniques may even vary in speed as well as in pressure, but usually most of the therapists who do body massage start by keeping their hands relaxed. They work slowly with a different kind of rhythm, and gradually build up speed and pressure as the process goes on.
Common Effects of Body Massage
Numerous reports and findings have revealed that a regular body massage has the ability to bring numerous benefits for the clients. In fact, it has been said that although a single body massage will be enjoyable, its effects are cumulative. In the most basic, a regular massage can strengthen and tone the entire mechanism of the body. With this benefit, it’s no wonder that a body massage can help prevent any unnecessary injury and strain that might otherwise occur due to excess tension or stress.
Aside from that, a regular body massage can have a very beneficial effect on the nervous system. It can stimulate or calm the nervous system, but this effect depends greatly upon what is required or needed by the client. Body massage can also do miracles on reducing fatigue. This particular benefit is basically what makes body massage perfect for reenergizing the body, as after a regular session, the client is expected to experience a feeling of replenished energy. And, the best of all, body massage has the strong potential for restoring the generally well-being of the person. It restores the individual not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.
The Basic Strokes
So you’ve learned the benefits or effects of body massage to the mind and body. Now, I think it’s best for you to know the different strokes employed during a massage session. As I’ve said earlier, the strokes in this kind of therapeutic practice may vary differently, so it’s best also that you know how to differentiate a single stroke from the other strokes. Well, here are a few of them:
* Kneading – is a stroke determined by a firm stroke and is commonly applied on a specific area of the body to alleviate muscle tension and enhance circulation.
* Draining – is a light medium stroke that is commonly used in body massage to relax and stretch the muscles. This also improves the blood circulation.
* Gliding – a stroke that is valuable for applying oil to the body. This stroke may vary from feather-light to firm reassuring.
* Hacking – is performed by leaving hands open and palms facing each other. This is often performed as a form of alternating chopping motion up and down the body.
* Pulling – this is a body massage stroke used to pull and stretch the muscles of the trunk and legs. The therapist usually does this with alternating hands in pulling motion, gradually progression up the body.
It is important to note finally that as a general rule for body massage, those strokes must be given firmly in the direction of the heart. It should be followed lightly for the return stroke. In the end of the session, the client may find the technique as one long series of rhythmic strokes.