The practice of soft tissue manipulation by exerting physical pressure on selected parts of a person's body, through various methods.
To manipulate the subject's body, either completely or targeting specific body parts, through the use of pressure, tension, vibration, or motion.
This can be accomplished physically or with mechanical aides
1876 French, masser, (friction of kneading). May have been picked up in Egypt during the Napoleonic Wars, from Arabic massa (to touch, feel, handle)
Masseuse (feminine) and Masseur (masculine) are taken from the French word masser. Noted in 1887
Massage Parlor was a euphemism in 1913 to refer to a prostitution house.
An older version may have come from Ancient Hebrew, which when translated meant the 'to anoint with oil'.
Massage is well documented in Ancient times, of all cultures. Writings describing forms of massage from such ancient civilizations as the Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Japan, are plentiful.
The ancient Chinese book Huangdi Neijing of the Yellow Emperor recommends the massage of skin and flesh.
In Romania, massage was a part of treatment for some illnesses, which involved a person being trod on by a tame bear.
In the United States, massage became popular in the mid 1800's.
It was introduced by two New York Physicians. It was based on the technique by Per Henrick Ling's, from Sweden.
Usually a massage is done on a special massage table, chair, or on a mat.
The subject is usually disrobed but not totally nude. They are also covered by a towel or other covering.
*In erotic massage, the subject is generally naked, without any coverings used.
There are several different techniques that can be employed, to be considered a massage.
The primary object is to physically relax the muscles, and stimulate the soft tissue of the person's flesh. This can be accomplished with hand motions, in a constant movement with degrees of pressure, over the subject's body.
It can also include manipulation of the limbs in different positions, than normal, to further stimulate the soft tissue and muscles.
Mechanical aids are also part of the various techniques used, which can include vibrators.
There are over 80 different styles of non sexual massage, with various effects or for various results.
** Erotic Massage includes the touching of the genitals, and can include making the subject achieve an orgasm.
Techniques used are similar to normal massage practices, however while they begin in the same fashion, they generally develop into more sexual touching.
It is considered a form of foreplay, to massage or rub the other person, in quick even strokes. Just as in more 'normal' massage practices, the use of pressure to targeted body parts is essential.
*** Erotic Massage can also be a prelude to other sexual activities, and is therefore not concerned about making the subject achieve an orgasm.
It is instead, used to help stimulate them, to enhance their arousal, for other activities that will achieve orgasm.
**** In addition, Erotic Massage has been used to help those suffering from premature ejaculation problems, by helping them establish means of controlling their physical reaction to stimulation.
Practice (Associated Acts): True massage tables are designed to create comfort, and ease for the operator to work on the subject's body. The table usually is well padded for comfort.
It also has a unique head rest, in which the subject's head is supported, but the face is allowed to see through, or fit through when facing stomach down on the table.
When facing stomach up, the head and neck are equally supported to avoid any discomfort.
Chairs are usually ergonomic in design, and can be portable or stationary.
This is the preferred method used in Corporate Offices and business, as the subject can be given a massage, without the need to undress.
In addition, Chairs are easier to transport from place to place.
Various oils are also a trademark of many of the massage techniques used. These can include aromatic oils, for aroma therapy benefits, while engaging in the muscle and tissue aspect of the massage.
Salt is also used, to help remove dry skin while it is being massaged, or manipulated.
Noteworthy: There are some risks if a person is taking any blood thinners, or has any condition such as bleeding disorders, or weakened bones from illness such as Cancer.
The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta was the first to offer massage as part of the core medical treatment available to athletes.
Many business and organizations also offer massage treatment, to employees, which include Boeing and also the U.S. Department of Justice.
Massage can be of help in the relief of pain. The Swedish Style has been documented to help ease joint pains, especially for those suffering from some forms of arthritis.
It has been used by Nurses to aid patients with sleeping problems.
The relief of anxiety, of tension and even depression can be achieved through massage therapy.
Proper massage has been shown to help reduce blood pressure as well, and to create a more alertness in Heart Patients.
No proper medical proof can be created, to disprove fully or approve fully the benefits of any massage, due to the inability to perform placebo testing.
Meaning that in proving the benefits, or lack of, of any medication, trials are created where subjects are given either the drug, or a fake drug. With massage, it is impossible to accurately fake a massage, so results are more peer to peer accepted, rather than in the strict clinical sense.
Massage therapy has been used to aid in disease progression, improve symptoms, and quality of life, for those with HIV. However, there is no scientific support of this facet of massage therapy.
The most used Complimentary and Alternative medicine used in US Hospitals is Massage Therapy.
In 2003 it was estimated that there were 136 Million visits to Massage Therapists, in the USA.
Massage therapy, using aroma therapy, has been noted to help improve the subject's immune system, over time. The use of specific oils such as Sweet Almond Oil, lavender oil, Cyprus oil, and sweet marjoram oil have been shown to help improve the immune system, when combined with massage therapy.
However no proof exists as to the length such an improvement lasts.
Specific body parts or regions can be targeted for massage, to help relieve pain. It can help improve blood flow, as well.