by: Maritess Reyes
Getting a massage has become a popular pampering treat for many. With the emergence of affordable spas, home and hotel massage service, massage has indeed became a quick means to de-stress and unwind. But the real benefits of massage go way beyond relaxation.
Generally, massage relieves pain, reduce state of anxiety and regularize blood pressure and heart rate. This explains why it became a popular way of relaxation in many parts of the world.
In the ancient times, massage involves the application of pressure to the abdomen of pregnant mothers. Until now, this custom was carried over and was actually being recommended by OB-Gynecologists. It helps relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage also helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.
The most common massage technique – Swedish massage – helps alleviate muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation. It also helps improve the condition of those who have osteoarthritis.
Hilot, or the Filipino traditional healing technique, is also becoming popular worldwide. It includes joint manipulations to help relax stressed muscles. It can also be used to reset sprained joints, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal ailments, and even to aid in giving birth, as in the old times. After giving birth, hilot can be done on the mother and the baby born of normal delivery for 10 consecutive days so that they may recover easily. Banana leaves and coconut oil used in hilot also helps soothe sore muscles.
A stone massage uses cold or water-heated stones to apply pressure and heat to the body. As the stones are placed along the recipient's back, they help to retain heat which then deeply penetrates into the muscles, releasing tension and alleviating back pain.
Thai massage on the other hand is based on ayurveda and yoga. It combines stretching and acupressure that helps promote blood circulation.
Other benefits of massage include pre-menstrual syndrome relief, decreased water retention and cramping.
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