All Posts from September, 2016

History of Massage

September 21st, 2016 | By Deborah Giorno in Activities, Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments »

Massage is the oldest form of physical therapy, used over time by different civilizations to relieve pain and encourage the muscles to relax. The word massage seems to derive from the Arabic word “mass” (rub, press) or from the Greek word “boulder” (kneading, handle). Today it has found its place within the recognised and respected fields of physical therapy, alternative health and beauty treatments and encompasses many different types of massage all with different purposes: relaxing, muscle, sports, pain relief, draining, anti-cellulite.

The massage technique is one that is done through manual bodily contact and with precise and sequential maneuvers, reducing pain and tension in the muscles.This ancient form of therapy is one of the most natural from gestures that we make every day, given that it is instinctive to rub a sore shoulder or stroke the body part that hurts us. In practice, it is a different set of maneuvers performed on the body which relieves muscle or joint pain, to tone the volume of some tissues, but also to preserve and improve the psychological well-being by easing tension and fatigue. The massage movements should be performed in the direction of the muscle fibers and must respect the direction of the body’s circulation, therefore from the extremities towards the heart. It can be decisive and quick for a toning effect or slow and gentle for a calming effect.

In addition to this, there are various massage techniques and specific maneuvers for pregnant women, for infants or for the elderly. The touch characterized by the hand that glides over the skin with a minimum pressure (real touch) or with more accentuated pressure (deep touch).

The effects of the touch are: superficial vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels), anesthesia on the skin’s nerve endings. The deep-touch effects are: elimination of dead skin cells, stimulation of circulation (should always be practiced in the direction of the heart). With friction, unlike touch, the hand does not simply slip over the skin but engages on a deeper lever in circular or elliptical movements. The effects are: detachment of adhesions (scar or postural), dissolution of all the aggregates (cellulitis, hematoma, toxins). Percussion is a sequential series of knocks with a cupped hand, a slash or a clenched fist which induces a stimulating and invigorating effect. Surface kneading ( the act of wringing / squeezing and releasing the skin with the underlying connective tissue) and deep kneading (which involves squeezing / compressing and releasing the muscles) have the main effect of accelerating the replacement of fluids for the massaged tissue and increasing oxygenation, nourishment, cleansing and cell turnover. The vibration, which is a pressure combined with an oscillating motion, produces a calming effect on nerve endings. The “virtues” of massage are innumerable. You can start with relaxation which, already in itself, allows the body to regenerate and it rebalances the nervous and hormonal system which, in turn, provides a long list of positive effects. Among the benefits, are:

  • Reduction of tension present in the form of cramps and muscle spasms.
  • Strengthening of the immune system thanks to the fact that movement and muscle contractions are an effective way to circulate lymphatic fluid (which removes toxins) in the body.
  • Improved circulation, as the movements made during the massage help to push the blood towards the heart. In practice, it promotes the exchange, on a cellular level, of blood containing toxins to be augmented with new blood rich in nutrients.
  • The elimination of dead cells while absorbing elements that nourish the skin, making it silky and helping it breathe.
  • The feeling of well-being

Are there any situations where the treatment is inadvisable?

• Usually, this technique does not carry any contraindications, however, it is worth considering that in some situations (as in the case of injuries and diseases such as fever, inflammation, heart disease, infectious diseases) it would be prudent to avoid it. When it comes to a person with any health problems, in order to avoid unnecessary risks, it is advisable to seek the opinion of the consulting physician before undergoing any massage.

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To properly perform a massage, you can not neglect the preparation phase. During the session there are, in fact, other senses (such as smell, sight and hearing) that are also stimulated which is why the environment has to be spacious, heated (24-25 °) and comfortable; soft lighting and relaxing music in the background completes the atmosphere. For the massage itself a bed is sufficient, but you can also just lie on the ground. Scented candles, finally, enchant and engage one’s sense of smell to promote relaxation. It is advisable to use a special massage oils and creams and not to do not overdo the amount. These products are already ready-made, but can also personally be created by combining a few drops of an essential oil, chosen from those used in aromatherapy, to a base oil such as wheat germ or sunflower.

In the West, massage is done mostly on massage beds, while in the East a the futon or mat on the floor are pften used so as to make better use of the weight and the parts of the body of the massager in the execution of “pressures.” This is widely used in oriental massage techniques. In order to ensure the full benefits of a massage, the duration of the session must not be less than 30 minutes. Very rarely is it more than two hours. Special creams and oils too improve the effectiveness of treatment and the session should be conducted in an environment with proper temperature not to feel cold.

Anyone can receive a massage, with some caution regarding children as a lighter massage for them will be necessary, taking into account the fragility of their bones.

written by Deborah Giorno, SPA Manager